Orange & Anise Swirled Soap


I tried my first batch of swirled soap this weekend, using this video as a resource.

My recipe is a bit different than theirs, since I like to focus on natural pigments and essential oils. This soap is a blend of olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. I added some bentonite clay, which colors the soap green and retains moisture in the final product for a more moisturizing bar, and tumeric, for its exfoliating and beneficial effects on skin (prevents acne by reducing oil secretion, encourages scars to heal). It also makes a nice orange-brown color in soap. Again, since this is mostly olive oil, we have to cure for 4-6 months.

This recipe is for 5 pounds of soap.


*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 56 oz Olive Oil
    • Extremely gentle and conditioning in soap.
  • 16 oz Coconut Oil
    • Provides cleansing ability to a bar of soap.
  • 4.6 oz Safflower Oil
    • It is mild and moisturizing. Can be prone to rancidity; proper storage is a must.
  • 3.4 oz Sunflower Oil
    • It provides stable lather, conditioning, and a silky feel to soap. Sunflower oil naturally resists rancidity due to its  high vitamin E content.
  • 25 oz water
  • 10.92 oz lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 oz Anise EO
  • 2 oz Orange EO
  • 2 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp lemon peel powder in 2 oz warm water
  • 4 tbsp bentonite clay

Base Oil Composition:

  • 70% Olive Oil
  • 20% Coconut Oil
  • 5.75% Safflower Oil
  • 4.25% Sunflower Oil


Make sure you follow all the general safety precautions for making soap before you start.

  1. In a heat-safe container, add lye to your water, stir, set aside to cool. Be very careful not to spill, as this is a highly concentrated solution of lye. Keep some white vinegar nearby for an emergency neutralization.
  2. When the lye solution is close to 110F, set up a double boiler. Gently heat the oil blend to about 100F.
  3. Combine the lemon peel powder and tumeric in a separate container, which is about 4 cups in volume. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the warmed oil blend in the container. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Carefully pour the lye water into the oil blend. Do not pour any lye water into the container with tumeric and lemon peel. Gently stir with a heat safe rod.
  5. Pulse the stick blender in the mixture a few times, and then patiently blend until you are about halfway to trace.
  6. Add essential oils. Pulse the blender to mix a few times, stopping before you reach trace.
  7. Pour the mixture in the tumeric-lemon container until it is as full as it can be, while still being able to accommodate the stick blender (I filled it about 70-80% full).
  8. Pulse the stick blender in the tumeric-lemon container until you reach trace.
  9. Add the bentonite clay to the other container. Blend to mix well. Stop when you get trace.
  10. Pour all of the green bentonite mixture in the soap mold.
  11. Starting at a high height, pour 1/3 of the tumeric-lemon mix in the soap mold. This will reach the bottom of the mold.
  12. Do the same with the second 1/3 of the tumeric-lemon mix, but at medium height. This will reach the middle of the mold.
  13. Repeat one last time, with the final 1/3 of the mix, but at low height. This will reach the top of the mold.
  14. Use a rod (or the end of a spoon) to touch the bottom of the mold. Using even and fluid strokes, draw swirls in the soap.
  15. Wait 1-2 days before cutting.
  16. Cure for 4-6 months.