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Sea Mud Soap Recipe

on July 31 | in DIY Beauty | by | with 24 Comments

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“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea”

~ Baroness Karen Blixen

I love the sea like some people love chocolate. Nothing stills my soul like the sound of waves lapping away every last worry as the salty breeze kisses my skin. When I’m feeling a little ragged – which, uh, happens from time to time while parenting, right? – I crave what Daddypotamus and I call “beach therapy.” Unfortunately with three little ones and a homestead, we can’t just pick up anytime and head to the shore. So when I can’t go to the beach, I make beach therapy in a bar.

While it’s just as easy as my three-ingredient pure coconut oil soap, it’s got a personality of it’s own. The lather is so luxurious I can’t help but feel like I’m at a spa when I work it through my hands, and I love the way my skin drinks in its moisture. And of course it contains one of the greatest gifts of the sea – mud!

Why Sea Mud?

Sea mud – also known as French green clay – is often called majestic clay . . . and for good reason. It contains montmorillonite, decomposed plant material such as kelp and seaweed, magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosporous, silicon, copper, selenium,  and up to nine mineral oxides. These elements work synergistically to nourish and gently detoxify skin, while the olive oil moisturizes and softens. Though sea clay is recommended for all skin types, it is thought to be especially helpful for individuals suffering from acne, eczema and psoriasis. Are you ready to get started?

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Sea Mud Spa Soap

All amounts are by weight:

Ingredients

  • 20 oz. olive oil
  • 10 oz. coconut oil (where to buy coconut oil) *
  • 11.4 oz water (preferably distilled)
  • 4.2 oz lye (where to buy lye) **
  • 2-4 level tablespoons sea mud, also known as French green clay. Use two for a more moisturizing bar and and four for a more deep cleansing/detoxifying bar. (where to buy french green clay)
  • 1/2 ounce essential oils (I like rosemary for this recipe, but cedarwood, lavender and tea tree are also good options)

* For soap making purposes there are several types of coconut oil. The stuff I buy has a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type. ** You can often find 100% lye in the drain cleaner section of a mom n’ pop hardware store. Lye is a naturally occurring substance that can be made by burning hardwoods and boiling the ashes, but it’s much easier to just buy. If you don’t see it, ask a sales clerk for help. They may be keeping it behind the counter because it has multiple uses. Be prepared to explain that you want to make soap, not meth. :)

Equipment:

Photo Tutorial:

Step 1: Weigh all your ingredients.

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Step 2: Add coconut oil and olive oil to the slow cooker. When they are almost fully melted move on to step 3.

sea-mud-soap-recipe sea mud soap recipe 2

Step 3: Add your water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside along with the lye and long-handled spoon.

While wearing your protective gear and taking care not to breathe the vapors, slowly add the lye to the water while mixing gently. Order is important here, so make sure it is the lye you’re pouring into the water.

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The mixture will get very hot so be careful! Let it transition from cloudy to clear, then bring it inside. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.

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Step 5: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of a light pudding.

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Step 6: Cover and let cook on low. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture.

Mine usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour but the cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot is. Check on it often.

Step 7: After the soap has been cooking for about 20 minutes add the sea clay and mix thoroughly.

Some people prefer to add the clay at the end so that it doesn’t go through the cooking process, but I prefer to add it at this point because otherwise I end up with white clumps of untinted soap mixed in the the final bar. In my opinion the therapeutic properties of the clay remain intact when added at this point.

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Step 8: When the soap is ready it should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline with no oil puddles in the middle.

In the photo below there is a small oil puddle – this batch is not yet ready.

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The batch below has no oil puddles, and you can also see how it has risen up on the sides and then folded back into itself. It’s ready to test.

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There are two ways to test and see if it’s done. First, dip a PH test strip and wait several minutes for it to fully change color. It should be between 7-10. If it is higher than 10 it’s not done. For a slightly less scientific approach, take a little of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should feel a bit waxy. Now touch it to your tongue. If it ‘zaps’ you, it’s not done.

Note: It is really important to make sure all the lye is converted – otherwise the finished soap can burn skin.

Step 9: If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture cools a little and then add them, otherwise they will lose their fragrance.

(I added rosemary and peppermint but forgot to take a photo.)

Step 10: Spoon mixture into your mold and let cool. If you want to speed up this process put it in the fridge

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Step 11: Cut bars after 24 hours.

Step 12: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray with about an inch of space between them.

Allow them to dry out and harden for another few days. Though you can try your first bar right away, it’s best to let them sit for 2-3 weeks to let the conditioning properties fully develop.

sea-mud-soap-3f Shelf Life About 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.

Looking For More Recipes?

DIY Organic Beauty Recipes4-001

My ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is a 198 page guide that will show you how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products, like:

  • Quick yet luxurious gifts for friends and baby showers
  • Fabulous shampoos and conditioners
  • Tooth whitener
  • Lotion
  • Body sprays
  • Deodorants and more.

Check it out here

Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soap makers responsibility to research safety procedures for soap making.

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24 Responses to Sea Mud Soap Recipe

  1. Allison says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Would Bentonite clay work here also?

  2. Michelle Cathey says:

    Heather,
    I tried to send you an email regarding my purchase of you Organic Beauty recipes but not sure if I sent correctly or where I found an email address. Would you mind posting a way to contact you please? Thanks!!

  3. Sara Carlson says:

    I was just wondering how long these bars last. i have read that a mostly coconut oil soap tends to be a softer soap. I also know that the longer you let them “cure” the harder they would be.

    Any thoughts?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Sarah, did you mean mostly olive oil soap? Yes, it does tend to be softer but some of that is balanced by the addition of coconut oil to this recipe. I’d say that if they’re dried well they should last at least a year. I’m not 100% on that, though, because we always use ours up before then :)

  4. Cait says:

    I hope to make several batches of soap for Christmas gifts, and this will definitely be one of them! Your coconut oil soap was my first (and favorite so far). I haven’t actually used a crockpot at all though. I’ve just reached trace and kept it on the stovetop on low for awhile, and let it cure well. Do you know of any reason not to do it this way, if it seems to work? We haven’t had any issues with lye remaining, as far as I know, and since there is also cold process soap I wonder if it’s fine and more about being mixed well and curing for a bit.

  5. Laura Allison says:

    I was wondering if you had utensils just for soap making or if you just clean them well enough. I new to soap making and am excited about this recipe!

  6. Lisa says:

    Do you use a crockpot that is dedicated to soap making? Can I use my everyday one and wash it out and still use it for cooking?

  7. Erin says:

    Radiantly You sells Dead Sea Mud soap and Dead Sea Whipped Face Wash. Mommypotamus you should check them out :) http://www.radiantlyyou.com/ErinRF

  8. Karen Wood says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I haven’t made soap yet but I recently purchased almost everything I need for it. Just need to get some litmus test papers. I have the clay so am going to make this first.

  9. Debbie says:

    The French green clay the you use has aluminum in it (14%), isn’t this a concern for you?

  10. […] I love the quote by Baroness Karen Blixen about the cure for anything being salt water, sweat, tears, or the sea. Anytime I see the sea I get so excited. I don’t know why I live in the middle of a dessert when I love the ocean so much. So instead I try to find little ways to bring the sea to me… and one of those is this awesome sea mud soap recipe. […]

  11. Sheena says:

    Hello! I just made the sea mud soap recipe and I did everything to the T but it seems as if the clay dried my oil infusion out. Did you mean to add teaspoons or is the tablespoons in the recipe correct? I made one batch with the 4 tablespoons and another with 2 tablespoons and the same outcome came for both batches. In the picture above it shows you having oil in the middle of the batch after the clay was added but mine didn’t do that with either batch I’ve made. Should I decrease the clay from tablespoons to teaspoons or add a luxury oil in with my eo’s? Help!?!?!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Sheena, I used four tablespoons. Did you measure everything by weight?

      • sheena says:

        Hi Heather!! Yes, everything was measured by weight. This was my first time using clay though. I measured out the tablespoons and put them into a container and weighed them as well to write everything down in my book by weight. I am going to try a different tablespoon my next batch to see if maybe the tablespoon I have is incorrect. I absolutely love your 100% coconut oil soap!! I’ve made tons of it and everyone that has tried it has fallen in love! Your blog is wonderful and I’m so happy I’ve found it!

  12. Katy says:

    Is this pH a good option for dog shampoo?

    Thanks!

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