Gardener’s Cleansing Bar with Rosemary & Mint


Mentha x piperita f. citrata “Eau de Cologne Mint”

This cold process soap recipe is my second attempt to go palm oil free, having decided that even so-called sustainably produced palm oil was not something I was comfortable using for reasons explained here. Last time I used beef tallow as a substitute which made a great soap. I have no issue with using tallow, but I recognise that some might – so here’s a recipe that’s both palm oil and tallow free, with 100% natural ingredients.

When finishing up a day in the garden this cleansing and gently exfoliating soap is ideal.

GCB chart

This fills a 1.5ltr mould.

Liquid & Lye Portion:
• 146.56 grams lye (7% superfat)
• 410.40 grams mint leaf infusion/tea (Mentha x piperita f. citrata “Eau de Cologne Mint”)

Oil Portion (1080 grams total):
• 458 grams olive oil pomace (38.1%)
• 316 grams coconut oil (29.3%)
• 228 grams rapeseed oil (25.4%)
• 78 grams castor oil (7.2%)

At medium or light trace, add:
• 1 tablespoon dried and very finely chopped mint leaves. I sieved mine.
• Rosemary essential oil (I had 20ml but for a stronger fragrance you could double that)

I was inspired by Jan Berry’s excellent blog The Nerdy Farm Wife to try some of the ideas in this recipe, including mint tea instead of water and allowing for a longer cure. I realise a lot of people argue that the mint tea versus water won’t make a difference due to the saponification process, but there’s no harm right? .. and it smells better when mixing the lye if nothing else. I put the recipe together using the soapcalc PRO app using a simple blend of oils available cheaply in my local Tesco and some other ingredients I had left around. The olive oil pomace and rapeseed oil came as a ready mixed 60:40 blend, so I just added 686 grams of that (458g + 228g as listed in the recipe). I read somewhere that olive oil pomace is just the same to use in soap as the much more expensive ‘extra virgin’ olive oils – it has the same key qualities that it imparts to the soap, I’m not drizzling it on a salad after all.


Woody – my toughest critic

Sources: (Prices and availability at time of publishing)

The Natural Soapmaking e-book – Jan Berry <- The best place to start!


Tesco – Olive Pomace Oil Blend 5 Litre <- This was £7.00 for 5 Litres. That’s about £6.40 or $10 a gallon!

Tesco – KTC Pure Coconut Oil 500ml <- This was £2.25 a tub and works out at £4.50 per litre. The ‘organic extra virgin’ variety they sell in the same store costs more than £20 a litre.
JustASoap – Castor Oil BP

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