Making soap is a lot of fun, especially the part where you can experiment with different ingredients. But have you experimented with using coconut milk instead of water before? This lime and coconut milk soap recipe is exactly that, walking you through the different steps needed to use milk instead of water.
This recipe also includes a fair amount of coconut oil and makes absolutely wonderful soap that I just adore. While I’m using coconut milk, you can use pretty much any milk you can think of! Again, this is what I love about soap making, the ability to be totally experimental. We’re practically scientists at this point!
Milk Can Make An Amazing Coconut Oil Soap!
So here’s the lowdown. Using milk over water offers your soaps a creamier, silkier texture that you just couldn’t achieve without using fancier, more expensive ingredients. I love how it makes my skin feel. I come out as soft as a baby’s bottom all over! If I have this soap in my house, I always prioritize it because it’s that good.
Not only that but if this recipe isn’t to your liking that’s totally fine. You can use milk as a substitute for water in practically any soap recipe you’ve used before.
Do you prefer my recent ‘pretty pink clay soap’ recipe? Just swap out the water for milk and you’re done (although you’ll still need to freeze the milk first and consider whether or not to gel, we’ll come to that later).
Fun Tropical Fragrance
I love the smell of lime essential oil. It’s so zesty and yummy… Don’t worry, I’m not eating it, I promise. This, combined with the very subtle hint of coconut that comes through from the coconut milk and makes this soap smell heavenly.
It actually reminds me of a tropical getaway. It brings me back to sipping cocktails on the beach or by the pool while on vacation in the Carribean. It’s exactly what I need now that the weather has turned and mid-winter fast approaches.
Full Of Skin Loving Ingredients
While the milk does its job of making this soap super creamy, the other ingredients are amazing for your skin too! If you’ve ever made coconut oil soap before, you’ll know it absolutely amazing at rehydrating dry skin.
Shea butter does this as well, while simultaneously packed full of vitamins that your skin craves. From your head to your toes, it really is a gorgeous soap!
Supplies For My Lime and Coconut Milk Soap
- Oils and Butters
200g Coconut Oil
200g Olive Oil
50g Shea Butter
- Lye Solution
147.96g Frozen Coconut Milk
66.17g Sodium Hydroxide Crystals
- Essential Oils, Botanicals, and Additives
20g Lime Essential Oil
As I’ve already said, coconut milk (and any milk, for that matter) offers your soap a super creamy texture. However, with coconut milk specifically, you can expect lots of lovely bubbles that are also extremely creamy. Also, just to clarify, I’m using coconut milk from a fridge bottle, not a can. Coconut milk in a can tends to have a higher fat content and is a lot thicker and more difficult to work with.
But let’s discuss the specifics of using milk over H2O for your lye solution. It’s important to freeze your milk before you use it. Why? Because if we don’t, that milk is gonna burn almost immediately. Freezing allows time for your lye crystals to fully dissolve before this can happen.
You can either freeze it completely or get it to a slushy like consistency. Both are fine, or you could even use half and half.
Great substitutions for coconut milk are cow’s or goat’s milk (goat’s milk, in particular, gives your soap an even creamier consistency).
But basically any milk is worth experimenting with. I can imagine the high-fat content of camel’s milk being heavenly in a soap, although it is expensive and more difficult to get hold of.
This sounds absolutely crazy, and I’m not sure I’d want to try this, but I’ve even seen people talking about using human breast milk in their soaps!
Out of the box, I know, but if that’s your thing then absolutely go for it. I guess you’re going that extra mile to add a ‘personal touch’ to your soaps.
A quick note on fragrance. While I do personally like the subtle hint of coconut, for many it may be too subtle. If you are one of those, I would recommend a good quality, cp soap safe coconut fragrance oil. Normally I wouldn’t recommend one, but 5-10g of fragrance oil to go along with the 20g lime essential oil shouldn’t hurt nor cause too much trouble.
How To Make My Lime and Coconut Milk Soap
Step 1: First up, we need to freeze enough coconut milk. To do this, simply weigh out the amount of milk you’ll need and then pour it into an ice cub tray.
Then, put it into the freezer. This should take about 3-4 hours to freeze, although I like to do it the day before so I don’t have to wait around before I can get started.
Step 2: Weigh out your essential oils now into a glass container and set it to one side. This is so we can add them quickly later when we need to.
Step 3: Weigh out your sodium hydroxide crystals. In a separate container made of glass, empty out your frozen coconut milk cubes. Make sure to get all of the cubes as we need exact measurements.
Step 4: Pour your sodium hydroxide crystals into your frozen coconut milk. Give it a stir so that the crystals coat the cubes.
You should immediately notice the frozen milk starts to melt as the chemical reaction begins. Place to one side, preferably somewhere well ventilated.
Step 5: Weigh out the coconut oil, olive oil and shea butter into a large, glass mixing bowl. Be sure it’s one you use only for soap making.
Pop this in a microwave and nuke in 30 second bursts until the coconut oil and shea butter melt. If you don’t have a microwave, you can use a water bath.
Step 6: Now we need to balance our oil and lye solution. Check the temperature of both using a laser thermometer.
If you’ve ever made soap with ordinary lye solution before, you’ll notice that the lye solution is much cooler at this stage than it ordinarily would be. This is fine.
You’ll want both your lye solution and your oils to be within a temperature of 90-120F, although I have mixed my lye solution at around 80F before and had good results.
Just be sure neither are hotter than 120F or cooler than 80F. Once they are within this range, pour your lye into your oils and mix them with a spoon or spatula.
Step 7: Now we’ve mixed, it’s time to blitz! Using an electric stick blender, blitz your batter in pulses. You don’t want to be blitzing longer than a second at a time. Then give it a little stir.
Continue this until you achieve a light trace. Never heard of light trace before? Take a look at step 5 of our Soap Making – A Guide For Beginners post to learn all about it.
Step 8: Now we’re at light trace, go ahead and add your essential oils then give it a good stir. You can use a couple of pulses of your stick blender to do this, but no more than 2.
Step 9: If you’ve made soap before, you’ll know that when you add ingredients at trace that batter will rapidly begin to harden.
This is particularly noticeable with essential oils. So once the essential oils have been added work quickly be carefully to pour or spoon the mixture into your mold.
The longer you wait the stiffer your mixture will be, and in turn the harder it will be to get a smooth finish on top.
Step 10: Once your batter is in the mold, you’ll want to leave it for 24-48 hours to harden.
In order for us not to burn the milk, many soap tutorials will tell you to put the mold into the fridge for the first 24 hours. This will also prevent gel phase.
I like do this for a milk soap. However, beware that it can make soap take a little longer to harden. After the first 24 hours, remove from the fridge and leave for a further 24.
If you don’t put it in the fridge, I find the color of the soap is much darker. If the soap is allowed to gel, it will darken even further. Note the picture below. The soap on the left if the finished product of this tutorial that has been put in the fridge. The one in the middle was left out of the fridge, but not allowed to gel. Finally, the one on the right is a small bar of milk soap that has been gelled. Best to ignore the texture on the middle soap, I was a bit heavy-handed with the spoon; but the color is quite accurate for a none gelled, non-refrigerated milk soap.
Step 11: Once your soap has hardened, remove from the mold and cut into even bars. Although keep in mind that your soap is still caustic at this stage and should not be used right away.
Allow your bars to cure for 4 weeks before using, and test with universal indicator strips to ensure that the soap is between 8 and 9.
For another coconut soap try this coconut and shea butter soap recipe with easy embed. I made the embed using a cute column silicone soap mold, but you can also make it without the embed to create a lovely natural soap.