How to Make Sea Salt Soap

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How to make sea salt soap
Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » How to Make Sea Salt Soap

I have written before about the many benefits of using salt, both internally and by transdermal application. A fun and easy way to incorporate some of these benefits into your daily routine is by adding salt to your homemade soap. Salt is an inexpensive additive that transforms a regular bar of soap into a luxurious sea salt soap bar that gently exfoliates and softens your skin.

If you are new to soapmaking, I would recommend reading my tutorial on how to make cold-process soap so you have a good grasp of how to make soap before you get started with this variation.

There are a few important things to understand about adding salt to soap that make it a bit different than traditional soapmaking. Let’s get started…

Adapt The Recipe

Your favorite soap recipe will need to be adapted before adding salt. When salt is added to soap it greatly reduces the lathering abilities of the average soap recipe. In order to counteract this effect, you will need to increase the amount of coconut oil to at least 70%.

Coconut oil makes large, fluffy bubbles so this high amount is able to give salt bars a nice lather, but it also can be very drying when used in large amounts. Typically, you would use somewhere between 15-50% with a 5-8% superfat.

Because this recipe will be using 70% coconut oil, I have increased the superfat to 15%. There is a bit of slip when I am rinsing the soap off but I have not found it to be excessive and this soap does not dry out my hands. You could definitely try a lower superfat percentage, just be sure to recalculate your recipe to find the correct amount of lye needed.

What Kind Of Salt to Use for Soap?

A better question is what kind of salt should you NOT use. Dead Sea salt and epsom salt are not advised. Dead Sea salt has a very high mineral content and epsom salt is high in magnesium. Both will draw moisture from the air and make a sweaty, weepy soap.

Sea salt and Pink Himalayan salt are both wonderful choices. The size of the salt grain is a matter of personal preference. I used a large grain but you can certainly use a fine grain if you prefer. The warm water dissolves the salt as you are washing so it is not rough or sharp on your skin.

How Much Sea Salt?

There is really no set rule regarding how much salt should be added. Anywhere between 50-100% of the amount of soaping oils can be used. For everyday hand-washing I like 50% because higher amounts can be slightly drying to your hands, but a higher salt percentage makes a great body bar for the shower.

This number is calculated by the weight of the oils alone, not the weight with the water and lye added in. So for example, if you want 100% of the oils you would use 32 oz of salt for 32 oz of oils.

Adding Salt and Molding

The salt is added after the lye/water has been mixed in and your soap has reached trace. Just pour it in and mix it with a spoon. The soap will set up fast once you add the salt so it is important to move fairly quickly. In fact, you will probably need to spoon the soap into the mold rather than pour it.

If you will be using a traditional log mold your salt bars need to be un-molded and cut about an hour or so after they are poured into the mold. This type of soap gets hard quite fast and if you wait too long you will end up crumbling the soap when you try to cut it.

Personally, I find it the easiest to use individual cavity silicone molds for this project. I leave them overnight and they just pop right out with no problems.

Soap-Making Supplies

I have a set of supplies I keep on hand for making soap. You can use your kitchen tools if you are diligent about cleaning them thoroughly, but I prefer to keep them separate.

  • Glass canning jar or high quality pitcher for mixing lye and water
  • Second glass jar or disposable plastic cup for measuring lye
  • Non-reactive pot or slow-cooker for warming oils
  • Small glass bowl for measuring essential oils (optional)
  • Digital infrared thermometer or 2 candy thermometers (one for lye and one for oils)
  • Soap mold- (I used these tree molds in the picture)
  • Immersion blender
  • Digital scale
  • Spoon for mixing lye
  • Spatula
  • Protective gloves and eyewear
  • Vinegar for final clean-up

Sea Salt Soap Ingredients

All measurements are by weight. This recipe has a 15% superfat and makes 2 lbs of soap.

Sea Salt Soap Instructions

  1. Prepare your mold. If you are using a wood mold it will need to be lined with wax paper. Silicone molds are ready without any special preparation.
  2. Place the glass canning jar on the scale and tare your scale. Pour distilled water into the jar until it reads 6 oz. Set aside.
  3. Put the second jar on the scale and tare the scale. Wearing your protective gear, carefully pour lye into the jar until your scale reads 2.3 oz.
  4. Take both jars and your spoon outside. Still wearing your protective gear, slowly pour the lye into the water. Stir the mixture. It will become quite hot so keep this in mind if you need to move it. Let this mixture sit and cool to about 100 degrees.
  5. While the lye is cooling, measure all other oils EXCEPT the essential oils and warm them together in your pot or slow-cooker. Once they are melted, remove the oils from the heat and let cool until 100 degrees. I use the infrared thermometer about every 5-10 minutes to test the temperature. This works really well. A candy thermometer placed in each container also works. If one is cooling faster than the other you can put your oils back on the heat source or the lye/water mixture in a warm water bath to slow the cooling process a bit. Ideally, you want the lye water and the oils to both be around 100 degrees and within 10 degrees of each other.
  6. When the temps match, slowly pour the lye/water into the oils. Use the immersion blender to bring the batter to a light trace. It should be slightly thick and resemble cake batter.
  7. If you are adding essential oils now is the time to do so. Pulse the immersion blender a couple of times to incorporate the essential oils. If you prefer not to use them just skip this step.
  8. Add salt. Stir until it is evenly distributed.
  9. Spoon the soap batter into your prepared mold. Remember that the soap is not fully “cooked” yet at this point and could still irritate your skin so you should still be wearing your gear.
  10. If you are using a silicone mold with individual cavities you are done! Let it sit for 24 hours and then you can un-mold your soap.
  11. If you are using a log style mold, keep an eye on your soap and as soon as it is set (after approximately an hour) un-mold it and cut it into bars. If you wait too long it will become too hard to cut.
  12. Stand bars up in a dry area with an inch or so of space in between to allow for air circulation and let them sit for 4-6 weeks. This will allow the soap to complete the saponification process and also dry them out a bit so they last longer in the shower.

Since my skin tends be slightly more oily, I found this soap to be great for my face. If you want an exfoliating option to your normal bar soap, I think you’ll like this recipe!

Do you use salt in your beauty care? Will you try adding it to your soap?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


51 responses to “How to Make Sea Salt Soap”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    I added salt to my caustic soda and olive oil after discovering the oil was too much but notice adding salt there was a separation. The water, oil and soda got separated. Can it form a soap or I should just throw it. Thanks for such a great teaching

  2. Meg Avatar

    Hi! This sounds fabulous! I’m wondering about the mango butter. I am making this for a friend but she is allergic to mango butter. Can it be substituted with shea butter or cocoa butter?

  3. Tiffany Avatar

    I’m wondering if since the trace thickens from the salt would it be a good idea to pour into mold and then mix in the salt? I mean if it’s a loaf mold you won’t need to worry about getting exact amounts in each individual mold the way you might if you did this with individual bar molds.

    Quick interesting related comment:
    Back in ancient times making soap was done with solution of potash made from the ashes of fires which made a gooey liquid gel type soap but on occasion (probably for the upper classes) salt was added to make a solid more bar like soap.

  4. Deborah Avatar

    I have made sea salt soap a few times. And then lost my recipe… I had gathered all of the ingredients for this one. Then discovered my immersion blender was broken. A new one arrived today! Guess what I’m doing tomorrow?

  5. Cathy Callan Avatar
    Cathy Callan

    I just made the sea salt soap, once I added the salt I could hardly stir it, it was very thick didn’t seem to melt the salt at all is that normal ? It’s been 3 hrs I have it in a silicon mold seems quite soft. Maybe this is how it reacts I’ve never made salt soap before . Thanks

  6. Ben Avatar

    Hi Katie, I really enjoy your blog and this is a lovely recipe too. Only one thing – Himalayan salt is rock salt, not sea salt 🙂 best, B

  7. Anna Avatar

    I love this recipe. I would like to make a 4 lb batch.. any suggestions on how to do that since soap calcs have the values all messed up due to these being salt bars? Do i simply add the oils into the soap cal and then itll figure out my lye amount?

  8. Katherine Avatar

    Hi Katie- Most of the salt soap recipes I have seen have low conditioning values when I run them through Is that made up for by the high % superfat? I like the idea of exfoliating with salt but don’t want to dry out my skin in the process. Thanks for all your great recipes and sharing your background research about health and body products!

  9. Marta Avatar

    Can I add mica powder to it? if so how much and would I have to change any proportions?

  10. Siobhan Avatar

    Please don’t use any kind of glass even Pyrex for containing lye. Lye will etch into glass and can eventually cause a it to fail with possibly catastrophic consequences. Stainless steel is the best thing to use with plastic number 2 or 5 coming next but never any glass.

    1. Cara Avatar

      Very true! Please dont use glass when mixing lye water. Sooner or later it WILL break.

  11. Tren Avatar

    Do you think it would be worth trying salt in my shampoo bars? I’m just wondering if it would help combat our really hard water.

  12. Shawn Avatar

    Any suggestions on how to change the recipe so it is goat milk soap?
    -Asking for a friend who makes soap –

  13. Cindy Avatar

    Hi, I wanted to get your thoughts on using this sea salt bar as a shampoo a few times a week. I’ve read that sea salt is supposed to give your hair lots of body and volume. My hair is very thin and lifeless and needs all the help it can get ;D

    Thanks, Cindy

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