Lavender Kombucha Soap Project
Kombucha Town has become a fixture in Bellingham, WA with their brewery and products in grocery stores. Using locally-brewed products in your recipe highlights the town you call home.
This soap was made with lavender kombucha, so it only made sense to create lavender soap! It’s scented with lavender 40/42 essential oil for a calming scent. A mixture of titanium dioxide and Lavender Mica create a soft purple swirl. It’s topped with dried lavender for a finishing touch. It’s debatable whether or not any of the beneficial properties of kombucha hold up during the saponification process. However, the extra sugar does boost lather and kombucha soap is great from a marketing perspective.
If you’ve never made soap with alternative liquids, they do require extra prep. First, the kombucha needs to be boiled to get rid of the carbonation. Then, it’s frozen to help keep temperatures cool when the lye flakes are added. This recipe contains a 3% superfat and a 10% water discount to compensate for the large amount of dispersed colorant in the recipe.
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Time to Complete: 2 hours
- Kit Yields: About 3 pounds of soap
Lavender Kombucha Soap Project
We teamed up with Kombucha Town to create this unique soap! It's made with lavender kombucha, lavender essential oil, and Swirl Quick Mix.
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
39 oz. Swirl Recipe Quick Mix
5.5 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye (3% superfat)
2 oz. Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil
11.6 oz. Prepped Kombucha (10% liquid discount)
KOMBUCHA PREP: Pour about 1.5x the amount of kombucha that you need into a saucepan. Some will boil off, so adding more than you need helps ensure you’ll have enough for your entire recipe. For this recipe, we used one 16 oz. can of kombucha and needed to supplement a little with distilled water later in the process.
Turn the heat to medium high and allow the kombucha to reach a rolling boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes to get rid of carbonation and any alcohol.
Weigh out 11.6 ounces of the kombucha into a separate container. Pour it into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, place a medium heat-safe container onto a scale and hit the tare button. Empty the frozen kombucha into the container and add extra distilled water if necessary.
SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.
KOMBUCHA LYE PREP: Measure out 5.5 ounces of lye into a heat-safe container. Add about 1/4 of the lye directly to the frozen kombucha. Stir for several minutes. Then, add about another 1/4 of the lye flakes and stir. As the kombucha heats up, it will begin to change color and emit an unpleasant odor – this is normal.
Continue slowly adding the lye flakes and stirring. This process can take some time, so be patient. Once all the lye flakes have been added, continue to stir for several minutes. Because the kombucha is cold, the lye flakes do not dissolve as quickly. The more lye that is added, the more the color of the kombucha will change.
Continue to stir until you no longer see or hear any undissolved lye flakes on the bottom of the container. Set the container aside. Optional: Add 2.5 teaspoons of sodium lactate to help the bars harden more quickly.
COLOR PREP: Disperse 3 teaspoons of titanium dioxide into 3 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil, like sweet almond oil or sunflower oil. Then in a separate container, disperse 2 teaspoons Lavender Mica into 2 tablespoons lightweight liquid oil. Use the mini mixer to help break up any clumps. Set aside. Optional: To ensure the titanium dioxide blends smoothly into the soap, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. Use a coffee grinder to break up any clumps of color and prevent streaks of white from showing in the final soap. We like to use a coffee grinder that has a removable stainless steel mixing area for easy cleaning.
FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 2 ounces of lavender 40/42 essential oil into small glass container. Set aside.
Fully melt the entire bag of Swirl Recipe Quick Mix until there is no cloudiness. Shake to mix and measure out 39 ounces into a large heat-safe container. Once the lye solution and the oils have cooled to 120° F or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye to the oils and stick blend until thin trace. Most likely, the kombucha lye solution will be on the cooler side – that’s okay.
Add all the dispersed titanium dioxide. Use the stick blender to stir and pulse in the colorant until it’s completely combined. If your soap is getting thick, use a whisk to stir in the colorant instead of using the stick blender.
Split off about 600 mL of soap into a separate container and add all the dispersed Lavender Mica. Use a whisk to fully mix.
Add the lavender 40/42 essential oil proportionately to each container (it’s okay to eyeball it). Use a whisk to fully mix.
Pour the purple soap into the white soap in various places in the bowl. Pour from a high point so the soap penetrates the entire depth of the pot, which will create a swirl.
Insert a chopstick or dowel all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Swirl the tool several times in various directions and loops to get the design started. Don’t worry about being too exact, just try to move the chopstick/dowel through the different areas where the purple soap was poured.
Pour the soap into the mold. Tap it firmly on the counter to help get rid of air bubbles.
Use a spoon to create texture on top of the soap. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so have fun with it! If you find the soap is not holding its shape, wait a few minutes for it to thicken and try again.
Sprinkle lavender buds down the center of the soap. Spritz with 99% isopropyl alcohol to help prevent soda ash. Because kombucha contains sugar, this soap has a tendency to overheat. Our space was cold, so the soap was left uncovered at room temperature for the first 24 hours. If you live in a hot climate, you may want to place the soap in the fridge or freezer for several hours to avoid overheating and cracking. After the soap has been in the mold for about 2-3 days, unmold and cut into bars. To prevent drag marks, lay the loaf on its side and cut. We used a Multi-Bar Cutter for this batch and embraced the drag marks! Allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks. Enjoy!
Photographer: Amanda Kerzman, Kelsey Bray
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