Who said Lard soap has to be boring?! Here I’m sharing three great lard soap recipes. Learning how to make soap with lard is a great technique because it’s a super cheap ingredient to work with.
It’s a good idea for beginners to work with lard first before moving on to more expensive oils and cosmetic butter. It’s much less disappointing when a lard soap goes wrong, as opposed to a soap recipe with many different expensive ingredients.
But that’s not to say that a lard soap isn’t any good. On the contrary! Lard makes a lovely pure white soap that produces large soapy bubbles. And if you learn how to make your lard soaps interesting, they can actually look and feel much more luxurious than you might think.
Easy, Cheap and Surprisingly Versatile
So, in sum, lard is very economical and creates hard, long-lasting bars. It’s a great ingredient to experiment with different soap making techniques without breaking the bank!
I’m starting with a simple no thrills soap recipe then I’m going to show you how to spruce it up and give it a completely different look and feel. I’ll show you that soap making can be very diverse without needing to use lots of expensive ingredients.
Choosing The Right Mold
In the past, I’ve used plastic Tupperware, wood, and glass molds with great success, but they do need to be lined with waxed baking paper or the soap is nearly impossible to remove.
The easiest mold to use is a flexible silicon mold as it’s so easy to remove the soap from once it’s hardened.
On the downside, they do need to be supported. Silicon molds are very flexible and ‘floppy’ for lack of a better word. So unless you are using a purpose-built soap mold, It will need to be stood on something solid like a book or cutting board.
My No Thrills Lard Soap
This first one is a simple lard soap that has excellent cleansing benefits and is great for anyone with sensitive skin.
If you are new to soap making read my beginners guide for making cold process soap first.
- If Lard soap is left unperfumed, it can have a bit of a fatty smell, so I always add a little essential oil to this soap.
- Sweet orange is a good choice for a morning wake-up call and de-stressor. However, If you do have sensitive skin, stick to one of the more gentle essential oils like Lavender.
- Lard is quick to trace so make sure you have your mold and fragrance ready to grab when you need it. This goes for all 3 recipes in this blog post.
Basic Lard Soap Recipe That Looks Great
- Spoon or Spatula
- Weigh the distilled water into a glass jug. In a separate container, weigh your sodium hydroxide/lye crystals. When you’re ready, combine these by pouring your lye crystals into the water and stirring. This will result in a chemical reaction, and the lye water will begin to increase in temperature and release noxious fumes. Turn your head and lean away while stirring, so as not to breathe any of the fumes in. now place it to one side, somewhere well ventilated, and allow to cool as we get on with our other steps.
- Weigh and melt the lard. You can do this in a saucepan over a gentle heat, or in a large glass jug and use a series of 30-second bursts in the microwave. If you are using a saucepan, it is so important not to allow the lard to burn. Very gentle heat is all that is necessary.
- Whilst your oils and lye are cooling weigh out your essential /fragrance oil and prepare your mold if needed. As mentioned earlier, lard soap batter reaches trace quickly so it's good to be prepared.
- When the lye and oils have cooled to around 120° F (54C) to 90f (32c), pour the lye/water mixture into the oils in a thin stream.
- Use an electric stick blender to blend your mixture in bursts of a few seconds.
- Continue blending until the batter is thick enough to leave a trace line on the surface of the mixture when you trickle some of the soap off the blender or a spoon. (commonly referred to as the ‘trace stage’)
- Add any optional coloring and essential/fragrance oils and stir well. In this soap, I am not using any soap pigment as I want to keep things simple, but you can add a variety of soap safe pigments to create whatever color your heart desires.
- Pour your soap into the mold. Cover the top with a lid or card, then wrap it in a towel and allow it to set for 24 hours in a nice warm area.
- After 24 hours the soap should be hard enough to remove it from the mold. The soap should still be soft enough to cut into bars with a dedicated kitchen knife or soap cutter.
- Once you’ve cut your bars, You will then need to leave your soap in a dry place to cure for around a month, turning once in a while before it’s ready for use.
A Beautiful Rose Soap With Lard
The same ingredients as the simple lard soap above, but we are adding some wonderful Australian pink clay that is great for drawing out all those toxins that are blocking up our pores.
Rose petals give the soap a touch of luxury. If you don’t want to use petals or you can’t get hold of any, you can make this soap without them, and the finished soap will still look great.
I’m using essential oils in this recipe as it keeps it natural. Rose essential oil is far too expensive to add to soap, so I’ve chosen rose geranium, teamed up with lavender and lemon which gives this soap a classic floral scent with great cleansing properties.
You can substitute the essential oils for a rose fragrance oil, or any other floral fragrance you choose, just make sure they are suitable for use with cold processed soap.
- 1000g Lard
- 133g Lye
- 266g Distilled water
- ½ teaspoon rose-pink clay
- 2 tablespoons of distilled water
- 15g geranium essential oil
- 11g lavender essential oil
- 7g lemon essential oil
- A handful of dried rose petals
- Rubbing Alcohol
Step 1: In a separate container, mix the clay with a couple of teaspoons of distilled water and set it aside for later.
Step 2: Follow the steps above (for the no thrills lard soap) until you reach trace (step 7). Once you have reached trace, stir in the clay followed by the essential oil.
Step 3: Bring the soap up to a nice thick constancy; thick enough so that you could spoon it into the mold.
Once you’ve poured or spooned the soap into the mold, give it a good couple of taps on the counter to make sure there are no trapped air bubbles.
Step 4: Using the back of a spoon, create a textured effect on the top of the soap.
Then, sprinkle the rose petal’s onto the soap, pressing them down enough so that they will stick. Be generous as some will inevitably fall off later.
Step 5: Spray the top of the soap with a little rubbing alcohol, this will stop any ash forming.
Wrap a towel around the soap mold to keep it warm. If you have chosen not to add the rose petals, there’s no need to spray with the alcohol, just cover with a lid and wrap with a towel.
Step 6: Leave to set for 24 hours before removing the soap from the mold. Turn the soap on its side and cut it into bars. Cutting the soap sideways will help stop the petals from being dragged through the soap.
Step 7: Leave the soap to cure for 4 weeks, turning occasionally.
Funky Bubblegum Swirled Soap
This is a fun soap that’s perfect for the bath. Lard soap is usually pure white, so when you add color, it really makes it pop.
Although this can be made in a loaf-shaped mold, I prefer the finished effect when I’ve used a shallow square-shaped mold.
I’m using a powdered neon soap pigment that I’m pre-mixing with a little oil and a fun bubble gum fragrance oil to fit my theme.
Notes On Pigments
Not all colorings are oil soluble so always check before using them. The other thing to check for is that they are suitable for cold process soap and that they don’t bleed.
I’m recommending some pigments I purchased from PureNature, which can be found here.
You can also substitute them for mica on Amazon, but they won’t be quite as bright.
- 1000g Lard
- 133g Lye
- 266g Distilled water
- 30g fragrance oil
- ½ to 1 tsp Neon pigment Pink and blue soap coloring
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
Step 1: Let’s prepare the colors; Check whether your soap coloring is oil or water-soluble. Mine is oil soluble so I’m going to mix each of my colors with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
If you are using water-soluble colors mix them with 2 teaspoons of water. Make sure you fully dissolve them. I like to use a milk frother for this job as it speeds up the process. Then, set aside for later.
Step 2: Follow the same steps as you would if you were making the no thrills lard soap recipe up to step 7. You only want to bring this up to a very light trace.
Step 3: Divide the soap batter into three separate jugs. This doesn’t have to be completely accurate, just use your best judgement.
Step 4: Add the pink color to one and give it a blend or whisk to make sure it is well disbursed. Do the same with the blue coloring.
Then, divide the fragrance oil amongst the jugs, but don’t try to blend the soap batters from here on as the fragrance oil may cause the soap to become too thick to pour, so just use a hand whisk or spoon to gently disperse it.
Step 5: The key to getting a good marbling effect is pouring the soap from a height. Start pouring one of the colors into the corners of the mold, you will probably use around half of the jug.
Step 6: Next, choose another color and pour that into and through the color that you have just poured. Then do the same with the final one. Repeat this procedure until all the colors have been used.
Step 7: Place a piece of cardboard over the top of the mold and wrap it with a towel to keep it warm. Leave the soap to set for 24 hours before removing it from the mold.
Step 8: Cut the soap into chunky bars and leave to cure for 4 weeks, turning once in a while.
Once the curing process has passed, test with a PH strip to ensure your soap is safe to use on skin.
So that’s it! Three ways to make lard soap. The first method I often recommend to beginners, because it’s such a cheap and easy ingredient to work with.
But sometimes it’s difficult to know when you’re ready to take the next step. This is why I’ve combined a few more advanced soap making techniques with my lard soap recipe. It’s a great way to effectively, and inexpensively, practice new techniques.
So if you see someone doing something interesting on a soap making blog, such as swirling soap pigments or embedding things on top of soaps, it’s a great Idea to try these techniques on a lard soap first.
There’s nothing more devastating in soap making than when soap goes wrong and you’ve wasted your lovely ingredients on a soupy soapy mess that’s no good to anyone. So why put yourself through that?
I also use this method if there’s a new ingredient I’ve never used before. A great example is fragrance oils. While a supplier might tell me a certain fragrance oil is great in cold process soap, I don’t always trust them. I’ve been burned by poor ‘manufacturer guidelines’ in the past.
I’ll usually always try out a new fragrance or essential oil in a lard soap first, just to be doubly sure before using it in more expensive formulations. Your bank account will certainly thank you in the long run!
If you’re looking for more interesting ways to make soap, take a look at my liquid soap recipe. It’s a lot easier to make liquid soap than you may think!
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