Marseille Facial and Baby Soaps

After several requests, I finally made some facial and baby soaps and decided to do a simple Marseille formula which is traditionally made with 72% olive oil. My worry was that it would be on the soft side so I combined a few tricks to make a hard bar of soap: discounted water, sodium lactate, yogurt (for some) and salt. I also placed them in a warm oven – no more than 50˚C – to ensure a full gel. I tried a higher temperature and the soaps would end up with a wrinkly surface or would have a lot of small holes.

1. Baby Powder and Unscented Goat’s Milk – the darker one is lightly scented with baby powder F.O. at 2.5% of oil weight. My normal usage rate is 4% or more for F.O.s, and 5% for E.O.s unless the scent is exceptionally strong. The baby powder-scented soap is with yogurt, while the unscented one is with Meyenberg goat’s milk powder – reconstituted with 240 grams distilled water for every 28 grams of powder.

Facial Soap 1

Top: lightly scented Baby Powder yogurt soap, Bottom: unscented goat’s milk soap

2. Moringa Soap – I steeped 15 grams moringa powder with 300 grams olive oil for a month before using it. The infused oil turned a dark green and produced a beautiful avocado color in soap. I took the photos when the soap was about 2 weeks old. Now that it is a month old, it’s still green but a shade lighter. I have been using a bar for a few days already and I like the way it feels on my skin. It produces rich, fine, and creamy lather. The rest of the soaps in this post are Marseille soaps except for this moringa soap. It contains olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, and essential oils of rosemary, tea tree and peppermint. I also added 2.5% sugar for extra bubbles.  Maya of Infusions blog also wrote about moringa soap here.

Facial Soap Moringa

Moringa Soap with yogurt, rosemary and tea tree oil

Facial and Baby Soaps

3. Dead Sea Mud – a Marseille soap with Dead Sea Mud at a little over 4% of oil weight. I added the mud to the soap batter, but next time I would like to mix it first with the oils for a smoother, less speckled appearance. Designed for oily skin, tea tree and cajeput essential oils were added. It’s interesting to note that this soap and the moringa soap, both with tea tree oil, are completely ash-free. Is it coincidence or has anyone noticed this about tea tree oil?

Facia Soap Dead Sea Mud 3

Facial Soap Dead Sea Mud

Marseille Soap with yogurt, Dead Sea mud, and Tea Tree oil

4. Unscented French Pink Clay – this clay is said to be the mildest and suitable for sensitive skin.  I mixed into a paste 2 tsp or 6 grams of pink clay with double the amount of water into 480 grams of oils. I am really happy with the resulting salmon color. 
Facial Soap Pink Clay

Facial Soap Trio

Facial Soap Pink Clay 2

Unscented Marseille Soap with yogurt and French pink clay

Thank you for reading! I hope all of you are having a good, productive week. Happy soaping! 🙂

39 thoughts on “Marseille Facial and Baby Soaps

  1. Monica Glaboff (@SoapSudsations)

    Oh my gosh Silvia, they all sound so fabulous! I love your stamps, they look so amazing against these beautiful soaps. The second to last picture you have posted, incredible! You are so talented and have such a great eye for picture taking. You’re going to have to quit your day job soon and concentrate full time on making soap.

    1. soapjam Post author

      I wish I can make soap and skin care products full time! One of the benefits of my soap obsession is that I get to practice photography. I enjoy composing but my technical skills need a whole lot of improvement. Thank you for being ever supportive, Monica. 🙂

      1. soapsudsations

        I think you’re just going to have to clone yourself because you do both soaping and your daytime job so amazingly well. Oh wait, we’ll need 3 of you so that the third one can do all the photography. I think your pictures look amazing; if you got any better, you’d have a lot of food photographers scared for their jobs.

  2. Sly

    OMG Silvia!!
    Those soaps are exquisite!! I love them all. And your soap stamping is perfection!
    So, so beautiful!!
    Thank you!

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you, Sylvia! I find the Marseille soap easier to stamp than my regular soaps. It’s a lot of trial and error on the timing. 🙂

  3. Marika

    Your soaps look so simple, but elegant. I bought dead sea mud for almost a year ago, but have not had the inspiration of how I want my soap to look like. Maybe I´ ll try something soon.

    1. soapjam Post author

      I think the Dead Sea mud would be nice contrasted with some pink clay. I hope you will be inspired to soap with it soon. 🙂

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thanks so much, Darlene! I usually make soap for a few nights in a row, then stop for a week or so, before I start again. I have so many ingredients I want to try! 🙂

  4. Gordana

    You were so productive Silvia! All soaps look so gentle and I am sure that they are grate for the skin. I have similar recipe with 73% of olive oil an it is one of my favorite recipe. I am impressed with perfect round shape of your soaps. What type of mold do you use?

  5. Clara

    They all look exquisite; there’s just something very appealing and inviting about the natural, single colour look – and how you combine different single colour soaps for an attractive display. Very hard to beat! And since I have a big soft spot for oval soap these are just up my alley!

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you, Clara. Like you, I love the oval shape. It has a graceful look to it. While I enjoy playing with different colors and designs, I have to say I also love looking at simple soaps, either au naturel or with a single color. 🙂

  6. Oksana Mylchik

    Какое элегантное мыло! Хороший мягкий состав. Сильвия, очень понравились именные штампы!

  7. mijnzeep1

    Silvia, you are the most productive soaper I have seen! I can’t believe you show as so many perfect soaps ar once! Your stamp is gorgeous, and the effect on your soap is … wow!
    Thanks you for showing us your moringa soap( love the colour). All the soaps look so perfect and neat that you wouldn’t say they are homemade! Congratulations, Silvia!

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you for your kind words, Natalia. A have a healthy dose of soap obsession so that explains the productivity. 🙂 A natural green color that does not fade or morph in soap is quite elusive. Moringa looks very promising. I hope the color will stay.

  8. DivaSoap

    What a wonderful collection! Every and each of them is perfect on its own, but lining them up into a collection is beyond perfection! So smooth, clean and clear! Now, I want that moringa plant, would be great to plant it.

  9. soapjam Post author

    Thank you, Maja ! I will send you some moringa powder together with your stamp. Now, I have to find where to buy more of it. I found it in a 3-day bazaar that coincided with a big local holiday last January.

    1. DivaSoap

      I think I found someone who sells the seeds. In the description, he says it’s not demanding plant to grow, it just needs to be inside during winter months (in the Philippines it’s not of importance, I believe). Would be great to have it, cos it has so diverse purpose.
      Oh, thanks for your kindness, it’s not that I’m not grateful, but you rather keep, you will need it yourself, as I foresee this collection will be a great seller!

  10. Jenny

    All of those soaps look and sound amazing, Silvia! I can tell that a lot of work and love went into them. They would make a great facial bar set!

  11. Jennifer

    I love these… I think these are the nicest soaps I have seen of yours… love the simplicity… the clear crisp stamping, the distinct colours… the shape, everything about them. Also, wonderful photography!! I see you are not using Palm oil? I love soaps without palm. Do you ever use cocoa butter or beeswax for hardness? I see you water discount and use sodium lactate. I have had misteriously, some soaps get hard crusts around the edges… even crumbling or cracking when we cut…. but using the same recipe as always!!! Must be something to do with temperatures? Very frustrating… but the mystery keeps me hooked…. I see you like to warm your soaps for a full gell? How do you think temperature effects your soap? xoxoxo

  12. soapjam Post author

    Thank you for your comment and compliment. It’s always great to hear from you, Jen. 🙂 I did not use palm oil in these soaps, but some of my other soaps have it. I do remember you’ve decided to go palm-free. I use cocoa butter in most of my soaps, but I avoid it for sensitive skin soaps because some are allergic to it. I’ve used beeswax before, but currently I am not because it requires a higher working temperature and I prefer to soap at room temp. My normal lye concentration is on the high side at 36-37%, and I use sodium lactate all the time. Do you use sodium lactate? What about salt? I experienced once getting a hard crust and some brittleness around the edges when I made a charcoal neem soap containing both sodium lactate and salt. I think i used 3% salt which may have been too much? When I have a formula that calls for salt, I’ve lowered my usage rate at 1.6%, and together with sodium lactate at the same percentage, I haven’t had that problem since then. I did not consider that it could be the temperature, which is also possible. All these mysteries! 🙂 I only do the oven process with the small individual soaps. I think it contributes to overall hardness, but I have not done a side by side experiment to see if it really does make a difference. I would like to hear your thoughts on gelling. 🙂

  13. Jennifer

    Hello! Great response. I water discount. I use sodium lactate. Not currently using cocoa butter or beeswax in soap, but I may experiment with them again. I also soap around room temp. The crumbling mystery…. I really think it must be temps. For several reasons – it was only on the outside. The inside of the slab was the same as usual. I changed nothing else. And 1 story from my soap-making past – there are so many but I will share this one. Can you imagine discovering a pot of gold, they burrying it and not being able to find it again? That is what I feel like with the long-lost-goat milk-hardest-ever-pot-of-gold soap. In attempts to keep the goat-milk soap as white (naturally) as possibe, I kept temps below 40º when mixing, had not wrapped this mould and I left it for atleast 24 hours in a very cold room on the cold hard floor. As you can see, this was over 2 years ago now, so I don’t remember many more details. Soap hard crumbly. I thought it was a waste, but it was my lost POT OF GOLD. It looks ugly, but WOW! Best goat-milk soap I ever made, hard right until the end, white white, bubbly bubbly…. It wasn’t crumbly because of the water discount, becuase I made the same recipe over and over and was never able to get the same results. I think it was the cold. So, if you are up for a good experiment (I am moving into busy season and just about finished with experiments for the next few months… shux!), try curing at different temps. I will LOVE to see the results. My goat milk soap now, is still wonderful, but it is softish and darker. The secret may be to soap at low temps. Cure at LOW temps, but pour into individual moulds so no need to cut? About gel, I have never really understood this to gel or not to gel thing. I just let soap take its natural course… but I have a feeling that this is exactly what happend here to this goat milk soap – it didn’t gel? Interested in your thoughts. xo Jen

    1. soapjam Post author

      I am trying to think of what may have happened to your pot of gold goat’s milk soap but I am running into a blank wall. The lighter color is almost certainly due to the low temp, but the hardness/crumbliness does not make sense if it did not go through gel phase. From what I understand, gelled soap is harder than ungelled soap, at least in the beginning, but after curing, the hardness of both should be around the same. The ends of my soaps are usually lighter in color and a little softer compared to the rest of the soap because it did not completely gel down to the last quarter inch of the soap loaf. Could it be that you cut that batch of soap a little bit later than usual? For soaps with heavy water discount, I’ve noticed a one to two hour difference in cutting makes a difference. Could it be that it went through gel phase, but cooled down very quickly, so it hardened up much faster than usual?
      Soap’s natural course is to gel, but I just want to ensure that it gels completely because I am not keen on the partial gel or what some people call power oval. Since it’s hot here in the Philippines, I actually don’t have problems with gelling my soap. I have never tried to prevent the soap from gelling by placing it in the fridge. First of all, I don’t have much room to spare in the fridge and I don’t want to mix food and soap smells. 🙂

  14. ecovioletsoap

    I love the natural look of all these soaps. And interesting on all the tricks for the harder soaps. Do you find the salt in the soap irritating? I have not had much time lately to do much soaping- my workload has been overwhelming but hopefully I can get something done this weekend. 🙂

    1. soapjam Post author

      Hi JV! Have not “seen” you around, I figured graduate school must be taking up a lot of your time.
      I hope you get some much needed rest this weekend.:)
      The salt is not noticeable at all. I use very little, around 1.6% of oil weight, and I dissolve it first before mixing with the oils.

  15. Jennifer

    Hi… i would love to tell you that the crumbling and hardness happend because I waited to long to cut, but I cut this soap just days after unmoulding and it was completely different from any other soap I had made. So…. the only other factor I can think of is Human Error in measuring something that we will never know? Ahhhhh….. the wonders of soap making!!! As for salt, I have been thinking of trying to add a little as you do. I do a salt bar but that is entirely different. How do you add your salt for hardness. You say salt at 1,6% of oil weight? Is that 1,6% salt alone or salt solution (including water?). Do you add to lye? xo Jen

    1. soapjam Post author

      There will always be these mysteries we can’t explain . 🙂 I use 1.6% pure salt, and dissolve it in my liquid-separate from the lye -because I usually use master batched lye. If you don’t master batch, dissolve the salt in the water first before adding the lye. I tried the other way around and the salt did not dissolve. I only use salt for formula with more than 50% olive oil. I will try though to do without the salt and just rely on water discount and sodium lactate. I have seen other European soap makers use 3%-5% salt but I think they don’t use sodium lactate. 🙂

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