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Grapefruit Ginger Cold Process Salt Bar Recipe

I’m a member of a Facebook group with a bunch of other soap makers, and when I first joined the group, everyone was in the middle of a salt bar soap exchange. Salt bar? What the heck is that? So I read up on it a bit and decided that I must make some of these myself!

What Is A Salt Bar, Anyway?

Simply, it’s bar of soap that has sea salt added to it. The reason people do it, is for the properties the salt adds to the soap. Sea salt is full of minerals, and just as taking a salt bath can help to soothe pain and inflammation, it would seem that washing with a salt bar may have similar positive effects. I don’t know if I buy all of that, since you would soak in a salt bath for about 20 minutes or so, while soap is just washed away. However, the claim is also made that washing with a salt bar can regenerate and hydrate the skin, while removing toxins and impurities. I think this is more easily believed, since the salt is a bit exfoliating.

I learned a few things from my first couple of batches, and I wouldn’t make that first recipe again, for a few reasons – mainly because my superfat was too low. There is room for experimentation with these. You can use up to 100% coconut oil in a salt bar, and the same goes for the amount of salt you use – I prefer half my oil amount, but you can use up to 100% of your batter amount. The reason the coconut oil is so high, is that the salt reduces lather and coconut oil will still lather in salt water; and the reason the superfat is so high, is because the coconut oil can be drying. It’s all about balance.

The recipe below is a pretty standard salt bar recipe. Feel free to tweak it to your preference – but always run it through a soap calculator afterward, to make sure your lye amount is correct.

salt bar recipe

Grapefruit Ginger Salt Bar Soap Recipe
Yield: 1 pound

You’ll want to use a mold that has individual cavities (or a slab mold with dividers), because salt bars harden very quickly; and once your soap hard, you can’t cut it into bars without them crumbling all over the place.

Add your colorant to your oils and blend a bit before adding your lye water. Once your soap reaches trace, mix in the essential oils. Now stir in the salt (at this point, you should be using a spoon instead of a stick blender). As you are pouring the batter into your mold, make sure to keep stirring, so that the salt is distributed evenly, or you’ll end up with your first bars having very little salt and your last bars having lots!

I used yellow Brazilian clay to get this color, but any kind of soap colorant would work.

Salt Bar Variations

Cucumber & Aloe – I used about 35% aloe vera juice and 65% pureed cucumber in place of my lye water and left the soap unscented. The cucumber scent came through very faintly at first in the finished bars, but it faded over time. I would use a cucumber and aloe fragrance oil next time.

Soleseife – I learned that you could make a different kind of salt bar by dissolving the salt in your water before adding lye to it. I have tried this a couple of times, and I will talk about that in a future post.

Final Thoughts on Salt Bars

I would like to try making a salt bar with less coconut oil and see what happens. Either with one of my standard recipes or just using less coconut oil. I don’t think salt bars have to be 100% coconut oil and I intend to prove it. Have you ever tried salt bars? What did you think?

Sources: Lovin Soap and David Fisher

10 thoughts on “Grapefruit Ginger Cold Process Salt Bar Recipe

  1. You mentioned using aloe and cucumber in place of lye as a variation of this recipe; does that mean you used no lye at all? If so, how did it turn out?

    1. Not in place of the lye. In place of the lye water. You can’t make soap without lye.

  2. I have only just found your website ! Thank you for these informative posts and wonderful insights and recipes. Personally…I am a late convert to high coconut oil soaps and really love them on my skin. Salt bars suit my skin as long as they are superfatted above 10%. Animal fats feel terrible on my skin , which started my journey in soapmaking. Thank you again !
    Susi @ SoYummy Soap
    Adelaide, South Australia

    1. It’s funny how people prefer different things. My skin really doesn’t like the high coconut oil soaps and loves lard. 🙂

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  4. I agree that too much coconut oil does not agree with some people’s skin, and I happen to be one of the them. I used this recipe 3 times, but my soap is not hardening, feels more like lotion bars than soap. I am hoping that you know what my problem is…..3 coconut, 3 palm, 3 lard, 1 castor, 5.2 water, 2.3 lye, 1.1 superfats(olive) Thank you…..jean

    1. Hi Jean,
      Those numbers…are they ounces? If I enter just the first 4 ingredients as ounces into soap calc with a 5% superfat, I get the water amount as 3.8 ounces and lye as 1.55 ounces. So it looks like you are using too much lye for your recipe, to start with. 1.1 oz of olive oil is an 11% superfat, which could also cause your soap to be soft. I never go over 8% superfat.

      Unless I’m misunderstanding your recipe.

      1. So sorry….I left out the 6 oz of olive oil.
        Thank you

  5. If your not going to use a higher coconut oil content in your recipe your salt bar might not lather farely.

    1. This recipe with 73% coconut has fantastic lather:
      Happy soaping!

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