Hops and Lavender Soap Recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes.

It produces a hard, long-lasting bar with insanely wonderful lather—fluffy with just the right amount of creaminess. 

The coconut oil and palm kernel oil provide a deep cleansing but the cocoa butter, lard and olive oil keep it from drying out your skin. Activated charcoal and a little salt give you a gentle exfoliation to wash those cares and woes down the drain. And the lavender and hops work as a natural sedative.

I took a bath with this the night after I found Joyce Costello's body in The Hell's Kitchen Community Garden. I emerged from the tub quite relaxed and ready for a good night's sleep. All the better to start the next day trying to find out who killed her.

The recipe below is for a one pound batch at 7% superfat. I've included the percentages of the oils and the lye and water ratio to make it easier to convert it to a larger batch using SoapCalc.

Hops and Lavender Soap

1 oz. castor oil (6.25%)
2 oz. coconut oil, 76 degrees (12.5%)
2 oz. palm kernel oil (12.5%)
4 oz. olive oil infused with hops and lavender (25%)
4 oz. lard (25%)
3 oz. cocoa butter (18.75%)

2.2 oz. lye (26.595 % concentration)
6.08 oz. water

2 tsp. activated charcoal
½ tsp sea salt

Proceed as you would with any cold process soap recipe.

Add the charcoal to your freshly-made lye/water mixture and stir until it's completely incorporated and strain the mixture as you add it to the oils.

Add the sea salt at trace for a starry night sky effect—a technique I borrowed/stole from Clara Lindberg (aka Auntie Clara). Do check out her website and blog—both filled with gorgeous photos of soap to inspire and tons of ideas to borrow/steal. And best of all, soap you can buy.


  1. Replies
    1. Are these fl.oz of Oz.?

    2. Super Important Soap Making Rule: Always weigh ingredients rather than measuring them.

  2. I'm so glad I found you :) I have a feeling I'm going to love not only your soap but your adventures too!

  3. So when you refer to infusing 4 oz of olive oil with 25% hops & lavender. My understanding is that means 1 oz. of a *mix* (1:1) of dried hops & lavender, infused into 4 oz. of oil? Is that correct? I'm still just staring at this soap wondering how it turns that color with just charcoal and salt!?

  4. 25% refers to how much of the recipe is olive oil. You can use as much hops and lavender as you want for the infusion--neither add much color to the olive oil. And they're stained out of the oil before the oil is added. Be sure to weigh out the oil AFTER the hops and lavender have been strained out. The soap gets all its color from the charcoal added to the lye water. The salt only gives it that dappled effect.

    1. Thank you! I knew that--doh. :) One last question. I've yet to use lard in my soap recipes. Can I just get that at the grocery store? Tallow is different thing, right?

  5. Lard is different from tallow and it can be tricky to find. Everybody's so health conscience these days. I've only found it in 2 grocery stores here in NYC. You can use any recipe to do the charcoal/starry sky effect. But I love using lard in soap, makes a hard ba with gentle lather.

  6. One year later and I'm coming back to your recipe because I never got a chance to make it last Christmas! Found the lard at a local carniceria. :) Question, is there some magic that happens when you add the charcoal to the lye, specifically? In other words, you don't want to add the charcoal to the oils first, right? (which I did because it was so late at night and I was stubbornly not looking at the recipe. ugh.

    1. I think adding the charcoal to the lye water gives it an extra boost of of blackness. I've made charcoal soap by adding charcoal to the oils as well. Ended up with great soap, but not quite as dark. Would love to see a photo of your soap, dms. Thanks fo coming back!

  7. I found this soap completely on accident and I absolutely LOVE it! I was curious How you got the purple in there? Did you use mica? Also, o was wondering if you put it through a full gel phase and if you did did you put it in the oven? Or did you just wrap it up in some blankets and keep it there over night? Thanks again!

  8. Thanks for dropping by Chelsey. Glad you like my Hops and Lavender soap.

    There's no mica in it. All the color comes from the charcoal--that can look purplish in certain light. Especially with the sea salt added.

    I usually put my finished soap into the oven overnight. Pre-heated to 170 degrees, then turned off before I put the soap in.

  9. Castor and palm oils?!? Are you out of your mind! Cruel and absolutely not eclological.....

  10. If you do not care to use castor or palm oil you most certainly can use something else. Run the new oils thru soapcal as she mentioned. Also, since you mentioned you do not care to use these oils you might not want to use lard either.

  11. Hi,
    Your soap looks beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.
    What can i substitute for Hops?
    Thank you.

  12. Hi, I am wanting to make a hops soap but have a few questions. Did the hops oil give much scent at that amount? It's so expensive I don't want to waste it! Thx!

  13. Can I replace palm with equal amounts of lard?


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