Sea Clay Avocado Facial Bar

Guest post by Amanda from

I was so excited to see sea clay being offered at Bramble Berry!

This dark gray-green clay is ideal for facial masks and body mud masks. It originated as mud laid down under the sea millions of years ago. This clay acts as a mild exfoliant and is thought to have many properties around detox and cellulite reduction. – Bramble Berry website

I immediately thought of making a facial bar.  I had a new recipe that I wanted to try out.  This recipe is great for those that want to go palm oil free but don’t want to sub lard or tallow.  I’m really happy with how it came out and make it often.

The recipe:

Olive oil – 12 oz
Coconut oil – 8 oz
Avocado oil – 6 oz
Cocoa butter – 4 oz
Castor oil – 2 oz
Water – 10 oz
Lye – 4.42

1 teaspoon sea clay
1 oz essential oil blend for face (Lavender, Geranium and Tea Tree essential oil)

When I use clay in cold process soap the first thing I like to do is hydrate the clay.  To do this simply measure out your clay and add some water to it.  I usually do about 1/2 tablespoon water to 1 teaspoon clay.

Before you start…be sure to gear up in your goggles and gloves! Safety Info for CP soapmaking is here or on SoapQueen.TV

Step 1: Weigh out your lye and water and make your solution. Set it to the side to cool of a bit.

Step2: Weigh out your solid oils and melt. Melt just until melted…don’t overheat.

Step3: Once your solid oils are melted, add your liquid oils to the solid oils.

Step3: Go ahead and add the clay water to the oils.  It will bead up and not mix in but will once you start stick blending.  You can also add your scent at this time.  Since this is a facial bar I did a lavender, geranium and tea tree essential oil blend and added 1 ounce.

Step5: Once your oils and lye solution are both in the range of 120-140 go ahead and add the lye solution to the oils and stick blend to trace.  Since we’re using a high amount of cocoa butter I like to soap a bit hotter than usual.  My usual temps are 100-120.  You don’t want the cocoa butter to start to solidify and give you false trace so keep the temps up a bit.

Once you’ve reached trace, pour into your mold.  I love making round facial bars so prefer to use pvc for molding.

One of the best things about pvc is that I usually get a full gel without having to insulate the molds.  The next day remove your soap from the molds, slice up and cure 4-6 weeks.

Happy Soaping!


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    • says

      Hi Nicole!

      Absolutely! Just make sure that if you are using a clay in dry form that you pre-disperse (hydrate) it in water beforehand. If you don’t, it can actually accelerate your trace and causing cracking your final product. In this recipe, Amanda from Lovin’ Soap likes to do 1/2 tablespoon of water to
      1 teaspoon clay. I hope this helps. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  1. says

    I really want to try this recipe! I was wondering, if you did use palm oil, do you have a recipe for that? I am wanting a good facial soap. Also, could you replace the clay with activated charcoal clay?
    Thank you!!

  2. hilda says

    hi.gud day.i was wo deri g if i could make this soap without a stick blender bc i cant get them here in nigeria.can i use a hand mixer instead?

  3. says

    Hi, I wanted to know if this makes a 4 lb loaf of soap or just 2 lbs…sorry, I couldn’t figure it out!

    Also, if I were to replace the cocoa butter for shea butter, would that changed the lye amount?


    • says

      Good afternoon, Sobia!

      The easiest way to figure out how much a recipe will make (final weight) is to add the amounts of the oil + water + lye and will equal your final weight.This particular recipe would make about 47 ounces of soap, which would be a little over 4.5 lbs. And, if you wanted to get the same shape as Amanda did, you can use our brand new heavy duty column mold.

      Heavy Duty Column Mold:

      And, if you did change anything in this recipe, you would need to run it through the lye calculator again as it would change the water and lye amounts. Just be aware that your soap will be a bit softer because you will be using Shea Butter instead of Cocoa Butter.

      Lye Calculator:

      I hope this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  4. Amy says

    The water used to mix in with the clay, is this water part of the water used for the lye, or is it an extra teaspoon? Thanks

    • says

      Hi Amy!

      The water that you use is extra water that is not included in the lye water amount. This much water isn’t going to affect your lye amount and just helps to mix in the clay. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  5. Sara says

    Oh no! I tried this recipe the other day, went to cut it today…and it started crumbling! I’ve never had soap crumble but I did do something different this time. I didn’t gel. I thought I’d go for a more milky texture and bypass the towels but every time I begin to cut the loaf breaks apart :(

    Also, the wax paper seems damp?? I’ve not had this happen before either (or at least my paper has never been this wet).

    Any thoughts????

    • says

      Hi Sara!

      That can be so frustrating when a soap recipe doesn’t go the way you planned. What kind of fragrance oil did you use for this recipe? Sometimes if you don’t mix it in all the way, it can feel a bit damp afterwards. Could you walk me through your process so I can help troubleshoot this for you? Thanks!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Sara – Sometimes ungelled soap can be a bit crumbly…especially on corners and edges. Crumbly soap can also be a sign of lye heavy or separation due to not mixing well. Its hard to say without actually seeing your soap. Using too much clay can also make for crumbly soap because it sucks up the moisture. But if you used the amount in the recipe…then you should be fine on that. As far as the oily wax paper…some cheaper wax paper soaks the oil right up when used touching soap. That’s why most soapers use freezer paper that has the plastic lining. That’s not uncommon for wax paper to be oily.

  6. Tiiu says

    Hi, I made this soap several days ago. It looks beautiful, and lathers up wonderfully (yes, I went ahead and tried it). To the person asking about what to cap the PVC with, my local big box sold two types of PVC, and the more plasticky kind also had flat end caps for sale. So I had several 6″ pieces cut and got some end caps.I had to leave it in the freezer for 2 hours before I could free it up, and even then had to smack it on the garage floor several times as Amanda had suggested. But it was well worth the trouble. I also got some 2″ PVC but instead of caps, they sell plastic plugs to fit in the ends of that size pipe. Just tape the plug for reinforcement; although they seemed very snug with a piece of parchment inside the end of it, one came undone and I had a mess on my garage floor where I was working (fortunately it was there and not in the house). This soap looks and smells terrific and I can’t wait until it’s completely cured.

  7. Clara says

    For me, it isn’t an issue with the palm oil itself. I liked the bars I would make, but I stopped after studying what happens to the orangutans when Corporate goes in for the palms. Not worth it to me to kill those animals. When I saw an article about it, there was a male that was shackled with his mate cowering beside him. They looked just like the pictures from the Old South, and I knew I didn’t want to contribute to that.

  8. Jessica says

    Is Palm Oil bad for your skin? Everybody seems to be so excited by the fact this recipe is Palm Oil-free haha.

    • says

      Hi Jessica!

      Palm Oil is actually great for your skin, but there has been some controversy over palm oil and it’s sources in the cosmetic industry.

      For sometime now, numerous suppliers of Palm Oil have been clearing vast tracts of land which as cause environmental damage most commonly seen as destroying the habitat of the Orangutan.

      Because of this, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) production was formed.

      RSPO is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Members and participants in its activities come from many different backgrounds and include environmental NGOs, banks and investors, growers, processors, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products and social NGOs. They come from many countries that produce or use palm oil. The principal objective of the RSPO is “to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders.”

      Soap Queen (and Bramble Berry) only sells and uses RSPO Certified Palm Oil in our soaps.

      ~Becky with Bramble Berry

    • Tabitha says

      I went to Lowes and bought some PVC caps that fit a 3 inch round pvc I then put wax paper on the end of the pvc and pushed the cap in on top of the pvc. I then put plastic wrap of more wax paper to cover that and hold it in place with a rubber band to catch anything that leaks out and i put it in a storage container so it dosen’t leak on my counter. Hope this helps.

  9. Shiley Rojas says

    Hello! Thanks for a wonderful recipe of facial soap. Question, Im wondering the reason why you´re adding the clay and essential oils in the oil and not in the trace? Bunch of thanks!

  10. Tabitha says

    Okay I did use a towel and this morning I woke up and it had set up awesome. I left it to sit on the counter but I took the cap off and the wax paper and flipped it over so the other side could get some air to dry a little. I then put it in the freezer for a couple hours and it popped right out of the mold and I didn’t even line it or put a oil on the side walls . So Happy, although is there something out there that you could put a round soap loaf in so that you can cut the 1 in soap bars and it be straight I can’t cut straight for nothing but I did the best I could.

    • says

      Hi Tabitha!

      The best way to cut out a round soap loaf is to push it out of the PVC pipe a little at a time while you are unmolding it and cut as you unmold. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. Tabitha says

    Hello I made this recipe this evening and I do have it in the PVC should I put a towel over it or not?
    It came to trace fine and I don’t know if it will gel or not and I am kinda worried about this. Will know more in the morning and let you know.

  12. Angel says

    Can different clays be used in this recipe such as moroccan clay or bentonite clay?

    Thank you.

  13. says

    These are so lovely. I’ve been pondering trying the PVC pipe thing but haven’t worked up the nerve. :) I’ve had the materials for maybe like a year and still haven’t tried. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing such a cool soap!

  14. says

    Very nice recipe Amanda. Thank you for your tutorial!

    My question is do you cap the bottom of the PVC pipe?

  15. shirlee says

    Could you sub shea butter for the cocoa butter? Looks like a great soap to try but does the clay dry your face out any?

    • says

      You could definitely sub shea butter for the cocoa butter. Just make sure to run the entire recipe through the lye calculator so you can adjust the lye and water amounts.

      There’s only 1 teaspoon of clay in the entire recipe so it shouldn’t be drying to your skin. It is a mild exfoliant so if you have sensitive skin, you might not want to add the clay.

      Courtney from Bramble Berry

  16. Misty says

    THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH! for lettin’ us know this PALM FREE! recipe too – ON TOP OF how to use this clay in our CP makin’! Thanks! Amanda!!

  17. says

    Great recipe – very close to what I’ve formulated for a shampoo bar!

    I use PVC a lot, but I don’t grease the pipe (sounds dirty!), I line it with freezer paper. It pays to be fussy with it, make sure it conforms to the sides of the mold, and I help it stay together with a small bit of scotch tape. I put a piece of freezer paper scrap over the bottom before putting the cap on, too – just lay the piece down and wedge it in – some of it should be sticking out of the sides of the cap. It sometimes needs to be scraped off the bottom to loosen it, but I haven’t had much trouble getting the soap to slide right out.

  18. Stephanie B says

    I just got a PVC pipe but it is so long that it won’t fit in the freezer… They wouldn’t cut it where I got it. :(
    Can the mineral oil and the can tricks still help on their on? I am eager to make shaving bars with it!

    • says

      I’ve tried the suggestions above and they work well even if you can’t fit your PVC into the freezer. :-)

      Also, if you have a hacksaw or a good saw (or have a friendly neighbor who does), you can go through PVC pretty quick! I never end up with really straight edges, but they still make good molds that fit in the freezer.

    • Amanda says

      You’ll need about 4.5″ of a 3″ pvc per pound of oils in a recipe. This recipe is 32 ounces so you’ll need about a 9″ tall pvc.

  19. says

    Thanks for a terrific palm-oil-free facial bar tutorial! And thanks to Amanda for tips on getting soap out of the pipe! :)

  20. says

    I love soaping in PVC but sometimes it can be tricky to get your soap out. Here are some tips:

    1. You can use mineral oil to help with unmolding. Put some mineral oil on a paper towel and wipe it on the inside of the pvc.

    2. After your soap has been in the mold for 24 hours put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take it out, let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes- the “sweat” will help the soap slide out.

    3. You can use something to help “push” it out. On Facebook, Anne-Marie had mentioned that you can use a soup can to push it out. I have a cup that fits nicely. I just wad up some papertowels to put between the soap and the soup can and push.

    4. It can help to “jar” the soap a bit. To do this I take it out into the garage and drop it on one end.

    Hope that helps!

    • Yolanda Mayse says

      I created a recipe similiar to yours and its great I didnt use f.o. I infused chamomile into evoo and made chamomile tea for my lye water. It turned orange and man! But not to worry once it went through gel it has turned a beautiful golden color. Whew!

    • Erin says

      Hello there.
      Recently by happenstance I had the thought to put Saran Wrap around the base of the column mold before I put the end cap on.It releases beautifully every time. You do not have to put it in the freezer at all :)