Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Avocado-Coconut Milk Soap

So, there I was perusing my copy of Soap Crafting, looking for inspiration, when a project called "Avocado Moisturizing Bars" caught my eye. I've wanted to try avocado in soap for a while and this recipe sounded intriguing.

I wanted a palm-free recipe, though, so I went in search of such on the interwebs. And I found this Sea Clay Avocado Facial Bar recipe on the Soap Queen blog, guest-written by Amanda from Lovin' Soap. Bingo. An avocado theme, lots of avocado oil, and no palm oil. I omitted the sea clay, but otherwise followed her recipe.

And then I remembered that I had bought some coconut milk a few months ago, vowing to use it in a batch of soap. This would be the perfect time to make good on that promise to myself.

Avocado plus coconut milk should equal mad luxury.

So, I ended up sort of combining Amanda's recipe with Anne-Marie's technique, adding my own touches along the way.

Anne-Marie's project in her Soap Crafting book is a gradient soap. I wasn't feeling up to a gradient, so I opted to do a single pour.

But! Wouldn't a droplet swirl be a pretty way to jazz things up? And what if the soap used for the droplets was colored with activated charcoal! The black and green would look stunning together, and the charcoal would up the spa-like factor.

So much luxury. I hope everyone can handle it.

And so, here's how the recipe I ended up with looks:


Of course, if you use this or any recipe you find on the web or in a book, please run it through a lye calculator to double-check it! Typos happen!

You may notice that I have listed the coconut milk and water separately. That's because I replaced two ounces of my coconut milk with water for my avocado puree. (More on that in a sec.) The full liquid amount recommended for the entire recipe is 12.160 ounces (345g).

For the scent, I chose Bramble Berry's Wasabi fragrance oil, which is also the FO Anne-Marie uses for her avocado soap project. I love the Wasabi FO! It smells to me like freshly-cut grass with notes of peppermint and ginger. I thought that the bright, green scent would go perfectly with the avocado theme. The Wasabi FO sticks like crazy, too, and it behaves well in cold process soap.

I also added some sodium lactate at 1.5%, which worked out to about 1 1/2 teaspoons per pound of oils, to help create harder bars.

So how do you get the avocado into the soap? After slicing and measuring out 2 ounces of avocado (that's one ounce per pound of oils), I subtracted 2 ounces of liquid from my coconut milk and replaced it with distilled water so I could make a slurry of pureed avocado, as Anne-Marie suggests in her recipe. I suppose I could have just used 2 ounces of coconut milk pulled from my total, but the coconut milk was frozen. (To keep my temps low and to prevent the lye from scorching the coconut milk, I measured the milk and then froze it ahead of time.)

To make the slurry, I added two ounces of water to the avocado and then pureed it with the stickblender until smooth.

Using fresh fruits and vegetables in soap can potentially affect its shelf-life, so it's important to fully puree fruits and veggies because larger pieces or chunks can go bad and get moldy. It's probably best to use bars containing food ingredients within a year or so for optimal freshness.

Once my oils and lye solution were cooled to around 90-95 degrees F, I added the avocado slurry to the oils and stickblended the mixture to get the avocado really well incorporated. Then I stirred in my fragrance oil and added the coconut milk-lye solution. Once the soap was at a light trace, I separated out about one cup and colored it with activated charcoal. I colored the rest of the soap batter with Green Chrome oxide.

Something I seem afflicted with lately is overmixing my soap batter. It seems that I get to a nice trace and then hit the soap one last time with the stickblender, just for good measure, I guess? I did that with my Honeysuckle Mantra Swirl soap and I did it again here. This time, I had a light trace - which was what I wanted - but then after I added the colorants, I stickblended briefly just to mix them in well. I should have just stuck with the whisk because my soap was a tiny bit thicker than I would have liked. The soap was still very manageable, but I wanted a lighter trace for swirling. I have to learn to stop myself when I get that urge to mix things one more time.

I poured the green soap into the mold and then drizzled the black soap onto the green from up high so it would penetrate into the loaf. Looking back at the video, though, I don't think I poured from high enough. That plus the slightly thick trace made for less dramatic droplet swirls. Oh, well, the soap is still pretty!

After pouring the soap, I stuck it in the freezer overnight to prevent gel phase because there is a risk that the avocado could turn brown if the soap gets too hot. I also used a thin plastic loaf mold - I didn't want anything insulated (like a wooden mold) that would retain heat.

Here's that video I mentioned showing how I made this soap:


I am very pleased with how the soap turned out! The ingredients are luxurious, and the Wasabi scent is amazing! Overall, I like the droplet swirls and the texturing on the tops. I've tested an end piece, and, boy howdy, is it nice.

Have you ever tried avocado in soap? Coconut milk? How did you like it?

26 comments:

  1. Pretty soap and the Wasabi scent sounds wonderful. I think the black droplet swirls turned out just fine, Jer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mom! Overall, I like how the droplet swirls turned out, too. And I love the Wasabi scent!

      Delete
  2. It´s a great natural green from the avocado - it looks fantastic. Nice combination with the active charcoal. My Soaps with charcoal are often Grey and not really black.

    I used in my Soaps milk powders, so i mustn´t fridge the milk into ice cubes - I´m a Little bit lazy,of course ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Krissi! Thanks so much. The green color is from Bramble Berry's Green Chrome oxide. Milk powders are great for soapmaking, too. I really like how the coconut milk worked out in this batch!

      Delete
  3. I love the look of this soap. I have not used avocado oil in soap, but I want to since I make homemade cream with avocado oil, and it is divine. I have used coconut milk in lard soap, and it is very nice. I hope you do a "round up" at the end of the year and let us know how you like all your soaps after cure.
    I am afraid I have developed the same habit, Jenny! Just want to make sure everything is mixed well, I guess. I made a batch this week, and after I added the FO (which was not supposed to accelerate), I almost had soap on a stick! I managed to get it into the mold, but it is not pretty. Oh well, it's soap, and it smells amazing. Maybe we should place our whisks front and center in front of our bowls. Think that would help? LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, beckster! Thanks for your comments. I love avocado oil in soap! I think you'll like it. The coconut milk adds a nice touch, too. This batch has been curing for about four weeks now and I've been using an end piece. It is really nice! The lather is creamy and bubbly and it feels great on the skin. I don't know why I'm suddenly overmixing everything lately. I haven't had problems with that before and now all of a sudden I'm overdoing it. I need to step away from the stickbender! :)

      Delete
  4. Beautiful, Jenny! I like how the black stayed toward the top of the soap. I think it shows off that gorgeous green better. What a luxurious recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janelle! That's true, it does show off more of the green that way. The avocado and coconut milk combination is really nice, and I love avocado oil in soap!

      Delete
  5. This soap had one of my favorite ingredients: avocado! Love the green, so intense!
    and it really looks creamy thanks to the coconut milk! beautiful, Jenny, love the design( i know you love this technique, nice to know you used it again).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalia! I do enjoy the droplet swirl. I'm using an end piece (the soap has been curing for about four weeks now) and the avocado-coconut milk combo is divine! The lather is very creamy and luxurious.

      Delete
  6. What a brilliant green and the black is such a beautiful contrast! I think this is why I stick to MP soaps, every time I read all the delicious ingredients you guys use in soaping, it just makes me hungry. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Monica! I like the black and green together, too. Avocado and coconut milk does sound yummy, doesn't it? :)

      Delete
  7. Oh, yum. Those look fantastic. I am thinking about trying avocado in a batch soon myself :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue! I can't wait to see your avocado soap!

      Delete
  8. Such beautiful soap Jenny! You combine so many skin loving ingredients and this green is really perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gordana! This recipe does pack a lot of luxury. It will be so nice to use!

      Delete
  9. Ooh, this sounds like a decadent soap! And what a beautiful emerald green!

    I love fresh avocado in soap. Coconut milk is awesome too. I still have a couple bars of my first avocado soap from more than a year ago. They're still good, although the shape has warped because at that time I was using full water. I will always remember what Mika (Savonnerie Mika) said: if using fruit or vegetable purées, make it as fine as possible to avoid the soap going bad. Because of this invaluable piece of advice, I always strain my purées. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Silvia! That's a good tip about straining purees. I like to add my puree to my cooled oils before adding the lye solution and give it a good mix with the stickblender to make sure that it's finely-processed. I used one of my pumpkin puree bars that was over a year old and it seemed fine, too. I don't know how it would have held up after several years, but having soap hang around for that long usually isn't a problem for me. :D Maybe I should keep an end piece from this batch and see what happens over the years.

      Delete
  10. It really is luxury,loaded with all those goodies! I don't know Wasabi scent, but it sounds like something I'd like! The way you describe it goes perfectly with the green, (which is awesome). I'm sure you'll treat yourself in luxury once it is cured!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Maja! BB's Wasabi FO is one of my all-time faves. I've been using an end piece from this batch and it is sooo nice! The avocado and coconut milk is a great combo, and I love avocado oil in soap.

      Delete
  11. Jenny, the avocado face bar is one of my favourite too! Is this beautiful green given by the avocado pulp? Or did you add some extra color? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Iulia! I am very happy with how nicely this batch turned out, too. The avocado and coconut milk are great together. The green is from Bramble Berry's green chrome oxide.

      Delete
  12. That green is amazing ! I think you were spot on to add the drop swirl in charcoal - it does set the green off nicely. I have an avocado in the fridge that's a bit overly rip - I think I'll be soaping this weekend!! Thanks for the recipe and great ideas, Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Suzy! I like the black drop swirls in the green, too. The charcoal looks dramatic and adds a bit more luxury. Sounds like some avocado soap is in your future! I can't wait to see how your batch turns out!

      Delete
  13. I can't wait to try an avocado soap! Sometimes the liquid substitutions can be confusing to me and Jenny you do a wonderful job explaining it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, isoap! Thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad that the post was helpful. Enjoy your avocado soap!

      Delete

Spammy or inappropriate comments will be removed.