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Soleseife Soap Recipe – German Brine Soap

soleseife soap recipeA few months ago, a “new” kind of German brine soap was all the rage on soap making forums, so of course I had to try it out, too. It was called soleseife (zo•luh zigh•fuh). People spelled it all different ways and many were mistakenly treating this soap like a regular salt bar, even though the outcome is very different. Soleseife is different, because the salt is dissolved in the water instead of stirred into the soap batter; so you get the benefits of bathing with saltwater without the exfoliating dimension of using undissolved salt. I think salt is too scratchy for soap, and prefer sugar scrub bars instead, but I was intrigued by the idea of a different kind of spa bar.

I developed my own soleseife soap recipe after dissecting two others that I found online:

Both of these seemed just like any other soap recipe, except for the sea salt mixed into the water and that the coconut oil was on the higher end, at 25-30% (my usual recipe is only 15%). Saltwater and sea salt soaps tend to have less lather, so that is why these recipes have more coconut oil. I couldn’t find any resource that told me how to know how much salt to use, so I just did some math to figure it out. If you divide the ounces of salt by the ounces of water, both of the above recipes used what came to 25% of their water amount for salt concentration. So that is what I went with, also. By the way, don’t try to do this soap recipe using the hot process method. The salt in the water causes it to dry out and harden up very quickly, so the results are unattractive. I used cavity molds for my soleseife soaps.

Soleseife Soap Recipe

Yield: 36 oz (oils)

  • 9 oz Olive Oil (25%)
  • 9 oz Coconut Oil (25%)
  • 5.4 oz Avocado oil (15%)
  • 4.7 oz Shea butter (13%)
  • 5.4 oz canola oil (15%)
  • 2.5 oz castor oil (7%)
  • 2 T goat milk powder (not required)

Lye solution:

Fragrance:

  • 2.25 oz essential or fragrance oil

I scented mine with a mix of peppermint, lavender, tea tree and Himalayan cedarwood essential oils; and as you can see, it turned out very white. It was fun to try a soap recipe from another country – I wish they were easier to find! While I’ve only made this recipe twice, I have started using brine water in my Dead Sea Mud Facial Bar recipe – I use a lot less salt, just over 3% for this purpose, but my skin absolutely loves it.

Have you made soleseife soap? What did you think? Do you have another favorite recipe from another country?

36 thoughts on “Soleseife Soap Recipe – German Brine Soap

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  2. Hi! Thanks for the recipe for the soleseife soap. I wanted to ask how the soap felt after it was cured. I’m trying to make a soap bar for my customers that have hard water. i want a bar of soap that would feel slippery smooth and moisturizing. And I think that by making a batch of soap with the salt brine would be the answer. Please let me know! Thanks again!

    Jennie

    1. Hi Jennie,
      Mine wasn’t slippery smooth, but I think that’s because it ashed really bad, so it had that coating to it. I like my regular bars more than the soleseife. But that’s just my personal preference. I think if you want lather in hard water, just go up a little on the coconut oil. But I wouldn’t go over 25%. Hard water causes dry skin anyway, and high coconut oil will only exacerbate that.

    2. I have hard water and yes those customers definitely need a salt bar and better yet a coffee ground salt bar. Hard water is like plastic, it doesn’t clean and you really need to exfoliate. I make salt bars just for myself, loaded up with coffee grounds….awesome bar for hard water folks. I ve also live in the south where soft water requires a different kind of bar. Water definitely affects how handmade soap performs!

  3. Thank you very much. I wonder about adding CA to water before salt, it seems that Citric acid cuts significantly on soap scum,
    What do you think should I add it before salt?

    1. Hi Danuta, I’m afraid I haven’t used citric acid in soap, so I can’t answer your question on that. Do you have a link to more info on the citric acid reducing soap scum? I’d like to learn more.

    1. Or you could use Sodium Citrate in 1% of oils 🙂 then you do not need to add more lye ,

      1. Thank you! 🙂

  4. http://www.soapmakingforum.com/archive/index.php/t-52456.html
    this will explain how it works;)) I should link you to this thread:))

  5. Also soleseife soap is no where near being close to a salt bar. Am I understanding this correctly? Salt amount for a soleseife recipe is 25% of the water amount verses a salt bar recipe using 50-100%of the oils, is a big difference. A salt bar has 7 times more salt! Anyone welcome to jump in here.

    1. Technically, it’s a brine soap…the salt is dissolved instead of left granular.

  6. Can you explain the benefit of using this kind of soap versus not adding salt to the lye water?

    1. The minerals in sea salt are good for the skin, but you don’t have the exfoliation like with a regular salt soap. Some people don’t want an exfoliating soap. Plus a regular salt soap has very high coconut oil and that is drying to the skin (so I personally do not care for that kind of soap).

      1. I am also curious about this soap bar. It is on your skin for such a short time, does it really make a difference to your skin?

    2. From the research I’ve done, and am about to make a small batch tonight, the salt brine makes for a nice hard bar of soap as well as creamy lather. I’ll know soon if I do things correctly. I’ve read that one need NOT use titanium dioxide to make a nice white bar because brine (Soleseife) soap produces such a bar all on its own. Palm oil is used by many to produce a hard bar of soap with a nice creamy lather so making soap this way seems to (from what I’ve read) contribute what Palm oil contributes– a hard / creamy bar. The usage of Palm is somewhat controversial so this seems like nice a way-around if anyone wanted one.

      1. Hi Michele, I don’t like to use palm, either. I normally use lard instead for a hard bar. 🙂

        1. Howdy Thumbprintsoap! I would love to master brine soap! Another good thing about this is the nice white color it yields 🙂 My 1st attempt did not harden quickly like so many who have made it and are KIND to share their ‘how tos.’ Mine took 4 days to be able to remove from the 2 oz molds they were in 🙁 I shall keep trying and continue reading, somehow I must have done something incorrectly. “Light” trace might have been it because I read a few tutorials saying do not take it to trace; I’m guessing they mixed theirs to emulsification only. Today’s try will be taking my soap batter to medium trace. I am going to master this kind of soap!!–eventually 😀 I soaped at 80 F lye / 82 F oils/buter; does that sound to be correct?? Oh I did 3 small trials, one with only sea salt, one with sea salt and GM and one with sea salt and honey. Only used 6 oz of oils/butter for each because I am new to this method and didn’t want to mess up large batches. All are curing well but took FOREVER to unmold. One of these were 100% coconut oil and the other two contained the same mixtures of oils/butter. I have used lard as well and like the results, that’s all that was used back in my husband’s grandmother’s day.

          1. Hi Michele, in this case, I don’t think the thickness of your trace or the temperature of your oils is a contributing factor to your problems. I never take temps and trace thickness doesn’t affect your final product. I think you should double check that you have the lye calculated correctly. But also keep in mind that when you use cavity molds instead of loaf molds, your soap will not gel. Soaps that don’t gel take longer to get out of the mold. You could always try freezing the soap to get it out of the molds easier.

  7. Oh, you are surely missing out on coconut oil soap made into the Soleseife bar. I make 100% Coconut Oil Soap with 20-25% super fat and it’s the greatest bar of soap you ever used. Bubbles galore. My skin is naturally very dry and using the coconut bar with hight super fat…..I don’t need lotion unless I just want to put it on. Ya’ll don’t know what you’re missing till you try it.

    1. Hi Alison,
      Your coconut soap sounds great! Would you mind sharing your recipe? Thanks!

      Jennie

      1. She just did. 100% Coconut oil at 20% – 25% superfat. You can soap calc it from here.

  8. HI! Your recipe sounds great. I just did one that’s 100% coconut oil with a superfat of 20% and its an AWESOME Soleseife bar!!! The coconut oil lathers perfectly in the salt brine, and the super long shelf life of CO makes the high superfat possible, balancing out the cleansing power. Just ignore what the soapcalc says, use it to get the lye amount you need and forget the “cleansing” and other factors they give. Not even CLOSE to how they actually turn out. Hard as a rock within 2-3 hours, I used my seasalt at 20%

    1. Ok real quick just to double check (since messing up the formula to a cold process recipe is like the biggest waste of time ever!) I did my last batch of 100% C oil soap in my mold that I usually figure out at 88oz and it had something like 19.6 oz of water (that may not be quite right, I’m not at home to look) so I would take 20% of the amount of water I have and add that much salt to my water? Im a little confused. I’m still kind of new to soap making.

      1. Just take .25 x 19.6 = 4.9 oz salt.

  9. What would be good alternatives for the Shea butter and the avacado oil? I’m still somewhat new to soap making and formulating my own recipes scares me 😋 And I love the white color of these bars and I wouldn’t want to change that in any way but I currently am out of both Shea and avacado. I’m very surprised at how white the soap is since it has the olive oil in it. I’d appreciate the help. Thanks!

    1. Hi Maggie, I’m having trouble logging into my wordpress site, so I’m just going to reply to you this way…if you replace those two oils, you will have to run the recipe through soapcalc again to get an accurate lye amount. You could use any butter in place of the shea and really any other oil for the avocado oil…I used that because I had some to use up. I think the soap looks white because of ash. I can’t remember if the whole bar was really that white or not. You could add some titanium dioxide to whiten your soap a bit. Happy soaping!

  10. One little detail that I think should be mentioned. Pink Himalayan Salt is not a sea salt at all. It is mined from the Himalayan Mountains and therefore is much purer and even better than sea salt. It is without a doubt the best salt on earth!

  11. Hi, I just made the 100% coconut oil soap with 25% superfat …….and 20% salt. It’s amazing and your skin feels so pampered, and the lather is greaaaat! Can do a bubble dance right now.

    1. Hi Sandy, Did you make it soleseife style or regular salt bars?

  12. Hi, I made it the soleseife style. About 79 gms of salt for 313 gms of fat.

  13. Oops, I meant water and not fat. My coconut oils was 1000 gms

  14. Did the brine rust your stick blender? I’ve wanted to try this, but can’t justify the cost of a stick blender just for some brine soap…

    1. No, I’ve never heard of that happening. Any good stick blender will be made of stainless steel, which doesn’t rust.

  15. Hi! Did you dissolve the salt in water first then added the lye? I dissolved the lye in water first then added the salt, but about 1/3 of the salt did not dissolve. The salt I used is 25% of total water. I had to strain out the salt that were not dissolved. Thanks!

    1. Hi Carolina, you have to make sure that the salt is 100% dissolved before you add the lye. Stir a long time, walk away, come back and check if any as settled to the bottom, and repeat. Once you add the lye, the salt will not dissolve any further.

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