African Black Soap Salt Bar

This past weekend I was hanging out with Benjamin (Prairie Soap Company) at the shop and decided to knock out a few projects for my blog. I took along my favorite molds for salt bars and decided to do three different salt bars using interesting additives, natural colorants and amazing essential oil blends (which Benjamin helped me out with!). This series will include an African Black Soap Salt Bar, a Cocoa and Coffee Salt Bar and an Orange Oatmeal Salt Bar!

African Black Soap Salt Bar

Cold process salt bars are super awesome to make for a couple of reasons.

They are cheap to make! My favorite salt bar recipe is 100% coconut oil with a 20% superfat. Coconut oil is one of the cheaper oils to make soap with.

They have a luxurious lotion-like lather. Salt kills fluffy lather so don’t expect a super bubbly bar (even with 100% coconut oil). You will get some bubbles but they quickly turn into a lotion-like lather – silky, smooth and decadent.

You would think that the soap is scratchy or exfoliating. Nope. Quite the opposite. I’ve heard bathing with a salt bar being compared to bathing with a smooth, silky river rock.  You can have as much salt in your salt soap as you like.  I prefer 50% of the oil weight, but sometimes do up to 100% (equal weight salt to oils).

The soap comes out ROCK HARD and seems to last quite a bit in the shower. My salt bars last forever.

Because they set up fast and hard, I prefer to do salt bars in individual cavity molds. My favorite salt bar shape, and a way to make them unique and different than my regular bar soap, is a half round /half cylinder shape. This mold from Bramble Berry is absolutely perfect.  Anne-Marie sent me one to play with and I immediately bought three more!

salt soap mold

African Black Soap Salt Bar Recipe

Coconut oil – 567 g
Water – 160 g
Lye – 83 g

Crumbled African Black Soap – 189 g (Soaperschoice.com)
Fine Sea Salt – 283 g

Essential oil blend
Rosemary – 15 g
Tea Tree – 10 g
Balsam Peru – 10 g
Bay – 5 g
Clary Sage – 5 g
Lavender 40/42 – 20 g

If you are new to making cold process soap, please visit my basic tutorial.

Step 1 – Make your lye solution.  Weight out the water and the lye into separate containers.  Pour the lye into the water and stir.  Set aside to cool down.

Making the lye solution for salt bars

lye solution for salt soap

Step 2 – Weigh out the coconut oil and melt.  Melt just until melted and no longer.  Set aside to cool down a bit.

coconut oil for salt bars

coconut oil salt soap recipe

Step 3 – Weigh out the salt, black soap crumbles and essential blend so that everything is ready to go!

african black soap for salt bar

salt bar soap with black soap

Step 4 – Time to make soap!  Add the essential oil blend to the oils.  Add the lye solution to the oils.  Mix until you get a very light trace.

salt soap bars

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Once you have a light trace, add the salt.

IMG_8144 (1024x683)

Mix and add the African black soap crumbles.

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african black soap

Mmmmm, kinda looks like sausage gravy!

african black soap salt bars

Pour into the molds.

salt bar mold for soapmaking

soap mold for salt bars

Salt soap gets hard pretty fast so you’ll be able to unmold the same day!

Be sure to let these beauties cure for a good 4-6 weeks and they’ll become nice and mild.

cold process salt bar soap

Happy (Salt Bar) Soaping!

-Amanda Gail

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About the Author:

I am a soapmaker, author and blogger! I started blogging in 2008, sharing soap recipes, design tutorials and publishing articles on various topics of soapmaking.

52 Comments

  1. Olubunmi July 20, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

    I would love to make this soap, but am wondering if I can omit the sea salt and use the same percentages of water, lye and coconut oil.

  2. Vivid April 1, 2017 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Hello
    Please can I use coconut milk in place of water

  3. Natasha July 1, 2016 at 11:23 am - Reply

    When I enter this recipe into soapcalc, it states to use 215g of water. Are salt bars water discounted? Thanks.

  4. junell June 27, 2016 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Do you have a source for the half cylinder mold?

    • Amanda Gail June 27, 2016 at 11:43 am - Reply

      These are from Brambleberry.com. Wholesalesuppliesplus.com also has them. 🙂

  5. Natasha March 28, 2016 at 7:10 am - Reply

    I would think a soap bar made of 100% coconut oil would be very drying to the skin. This is what they recommend for laundry soap. Help me out here to understand why you did this. Thanks.

    • Amanda Gail March 28, 2016 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Hi Natasha! The high amount of coconut oil is balanced with a 20% superfat. The resulting soap is quite nice. Many soapmakers make salt bars and love them.

      Thanks!
      Amanda

      • Hasna November 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

        Hi Amanda!

        Thanks for the recipe. Great. May I know the oils you use to superfat this recipe? Thanks in advance.

        Hasna

  6. Anne-Marie Faiola November 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    These bars look amazing! I am so glad you are enjoying the mold I sent you, your soaps are turning out great. =)

  7. Dawn November 8, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Hi ..I just found this recipe and was wondering instead of water can I use goats milk in it?

  8. Dawn November 8, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Hi ..I just found this recipe and was wondering instead of water can I use goats milk in it?

    • Amanda November 9, 2015 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      You can use goat milk for sure!

  9. Nampande July 20, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Hi,

    I’m wondering if it’s absolutely necessary to add lye? I’m using black soap specifically to avoid having to use lye.

    • Amanda Gail July 22, 2015 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Yes, lye is what turns the oils into soap. You can purchase black soap already made so that you don’t have to use lye, but you wouldn’t follow this recipe as it is a soap-from-scratch recipe that uses lye.

  10. Julia September 24, 2014 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Hi! I love the salt bar recipes. I was just wondering what happened to the orange oatmeal one? I can’t find it and would love to try it. Your essential oil combos are amazing!

  11. Krys August 25, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Hi,

    Could I use this same procedure for the “hot process” soapmaking?

    • Amanda September 27, 2014 at 11:44 am - Reply

      I haven’t tried this with hot process. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      • Thoughtless May 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm - Reply

        I made up a batch of oatmeal… then realized there were ‘webs’ on the INSIDE of the bag!( clue: what hatches – flies! meal worms at work – EWWW), and then couldn’t bear to simply chuck it (yep, I’m beyond frugal). So… set about converting it into wonderful (omg! SO MUUCH!) soap with oatmeal additive. 9 pounds of soap later, I added almost a full 2 lbs of salt to get it to harden beyond just being gel like (this took about 4 or 5 rebatchings and salvage attempts), even now, smells super, is very latherful and tests perfectly. It’s been a solid learning experience, but sometimes, being stubborn (and cheap) can pay off in a big way.
        NOW all my neighbours are clamouring to become testers for new batches of thrown together recipes. Undoubtedly, given my propensity to experiment.. there’ll be a lot of ‘new’ stuff to try out before I do anything else with it.

  12. Kristen July 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    I just made this soap today, using your exact measurements. However, instead of your EO mix, I used a FO/EO blend of bay rum FO, and cedarwood and francincense EOs. Smells great but the bay rum is definitely the dominant scent.

    One question: why do we need to let the soap cure for 4-6 weeks before use? Since the salt hardens the bar faster, doesn’t it also rush saponification?

    • Jade September 28, 2014 at 4:18 am - Reply

      Salt does speed up saponification… but for a reason I cannot explain salt bars are best after 8-12 weeks of curing. The lather becomes a lot more creamy and luxurious, and the bar lathers more easily too.

  13. Renee Lane May 29, 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply

    I made the African Black Soap Salt Bars using BB’s Lemongrass Essential Oil. I can not wait to use a bar. I purchased my African Black Soap from Soaper’s Choice which is where Mr. Benjamin thought was the purest form. I had to order 10 lbs because that is the only way they sold it. Now, what else can I do with all that soap?

    • Amanda May 29, 2014 at 8:15 am - Reply

      Awesome! You can add it to many different products including other soap recipes (not counted in lye calc) and scrubs! Its also great to use as is and makes a wonderful face soap. Customers will purchase it just as it is also.

  14. Rita May 21, 2014 at 7:54 am - Reply

    This is just the recipe I was looking for. Thank you!
    If I change the proportion of Black Soap crumbles or salt will my lye amount change or do I just treat them as additives? I want to make a larger batch and use less salt.
    My guess is that I’m only using the lye for the un-saponified oils. Is that correct?
    Thank you again for your wonderful site!

    • Amanda May 27, 2014 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Nope, if you change black soap or salt amount, the lye will not change. 🙂

      • Rita May 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

        Can I leave out the salt altogether?

        • Amanda May 27, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

          You can! And because of the high superfat, it won’t be too dry. You might like it or not… Let me know!

        • Rita September 28, 2014 at 8:05 am - Reply

          Well, I left out the salt and just made a coconut bar with the black soap crumbles.
          I love it! The soap has big bubbles and is very creamy as well.
          I like having a way to hold those African black soap crumbles together in one bar!
          I have a picture of it on my website. I couldn’t figure out how to post a picture here.
          So the crumbles are treated like an additive and can be added to any soap recipe?
          It might be nice with goat’s milk soap. Thank you!

          • Amanda September 29, 2014 at 7:43 am

            Yep, since its already saponified, just treat it as an additive! 🙂 Glad it came out well!

  15. Lisa May 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Wondering, does the premade african black soap have palm in it? I cant find that info on the soaperschoice site? I would love to make the african black soap myself. Do you think I can just add the coconut carbon directly to this recipe?

    • Jennifer May 28, 2014 at 5:56 am - Reply

      I would really like to know this too! I’d love to make this recipe, but I’m very strongly anti-palm and I’m hesitant to use a premade soap that I’m not completely sure about the ingredients. Is there an alternative to the premade black soap? I’m thinking I could just leave it out, but I like the appearance. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  16. Dori Martz May 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Is there a recipe for the Orang Oatmeal Soap Bar? Would love to see that one. Love to read all of your posts

  17. Jackie April 27, 2014 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Hello Amanda
    I am so thrilled to have found you online.
    I want to start soap making and prefer not to use palm oil. Do you have some simple recipes to start me off. I just want to make simple, good quality, moisturising soap.
    Any help and advise you can give would be so appreciated.
    Thank you
    Jackie

  18. Jackie April 25, 2014 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Hi Amanda,
    Just wondering whether you have ever made African Black Soap. A tutorial on that would be great ……. just a suggestion!

    • Amanda May 1, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

      I haven’t!

  19. sarah April 24, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

    I’ll have to give this a try since my last attempt at a salt soap was a total botched batch.

    One question on the 100% coconut oil – in my research I thought that too much coconut oil made for a drying bar. Does the salt mitigate that?

    • Amanda April 24, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Hi Sarah! Great question! 100% coconut oil can be drying and that is why we use a 20% superfat. That gives us lots of unsaponified oils to counteract that issue.

  20. Fran April 24, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

    That is so cool. The combinations are unique. I’m doing the ABS salt bar tomorrow since I have to make ABS luquid soap for the family. Thank You for sharing!!!

  21. Abiola April 24, 2014 at 3:31 am - Reply

    Ooooh, this is exciting. I really like salt bars and adding black soap is genius! Will try this as soon as I can. I use 75% salt but 50% makes more sense if I’m going to add dry crumbly black soap as well.
    Thanks for sharing!

  22. Darlene April 23, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Looks lovely! I love the feel of salt bars. Thank you for sharing

  23. Darlene April 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Looks lovely! I love the feel of salt bars. Thank you for sharing

  24. Beth April 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the great tutorials! I’ve learned so much!

  25. Molly April 23, 2014 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I’ve been eyeing this mold at Bramble Berry since it came out! Awesome to see it used for salt bars, they look really tasty 😉

  26. Di Grissom April 23, 2014 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Hi,
    I am very interested in making this soap but I have a few questions.
    Where do I get the African Black Soap?(I would like to use the real stuff)

    How many molds does this recipe require ?
    Thanks in advance
    Di

    • Amanda April 23, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Hello! It requires two molds (fills 11 cavities). The black soap is from soaperschoice.com

  27. Renee Lane April 23, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Could i have the other two salt bar recipe’s also. I would love to try these. I read something on adding salt to soaps from David Fisher – About.com…About Candle & Soap Making.

    • Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Hi Renee – stay tuned! I’ll be posting them this week and next.

  28. Ellen April 23, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    How did you determine the amount of salt in the recipe? Did you use a soap calc or some other website for the amount? Thanks.

    • Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Hi Ellen – I typically use 50% of oil weight in salt. So since I had 567 I used 283 g of salt. You can use as much or as little as you like. Some people even use equal amounts of salt to oils. All a matter of preference.

  29. Renee Lane April 23, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Can you convert your grams into ounces please. Also does this recipe fill all the cavities in this particular mold?

    • Amanda April 23, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Hi Renee – you can use an online calc to convert grams to ounces and run the new ounce recipes through a lye calc to get the precise amount of lye needed. This recipe filled up 11 cavities.

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