On my list to make has been brine soap. What is that you ask? Brine soap or Soleselfie (German and pronounced: zo-luh-zigh-fuh) is soap made with salt, but instead of adding the salt at trace you mix the salt in with your lye-water solution and let the salt dissolve. You end up with a super hard bar like a salt bar, but not the super scratchy bar of a typical salt bar.
A few things you have to remember: Salt takes more water to dissolve than lye and so the amount of salt you use can only be 25% (max) of your water. And you have to take in to consideration that the lye requires at least a 1:1 ratio of water to dissolve. You’re not using nearly as much salt as you would in a traditional salt bar, but the results are still pretty awesome.
Say my recipe calls for 10 oz of water and 3 oz of lye. I need at least 3 oz of water to dissolve my lye. That leaves me with 7 oz of water. I take 25% of that and that’s how much salt I can use if I want it all to dissolve. You can’t take 25% from the 10 oz.
I’ve seen soapers use traditional salt bar recipes (majority of recipe is coconut oil) for brine soap and I’ve seen them use standard recipes with multiple oils. I think my preference is towards the latter. I have to cut my soap sooner, and the lather is much smaller (but creamier), but I really like the end result.
A few months ago I made a seaweed and brine facial bar. I used mostly dead sea salt (it’s all I had on hand). I KNEW it would make a soft soap, but it was a small batch and I wanted to play and so I did it.
It took days before I could unmold the soap it was so soft (almost crumbly). And when I did unmold it the bars ashed over (thickly). But I put it on my dry rack and forgot about it for a couple months. Then one day I went to check it and the soap was rock hard (just like a salt bar). I was pleasantly surprised. I started using the soap and I loved it. It didn’t build a big lather—I used my standard facial recipe and not a traditional salt bar recipe—but it was oh so creamy and for washing my facial it didn’t bother me the lack of big bubbles.
When I was playing around with aloe and avocado I thought I should make another batch of brine soap. I had sea salt on hand this time and I liked the previous bar so much that I thought it was good enough to sell.
The facial soaps turned out great. I made some body soaps too in a loaf mold where I had to cut the soap about 4 hours after I poured. If I’d waited a full 24 hours to cut like I usually do the batch would have been rock hard! I can’t wait to see how these set up and to try them once they’ve cured. I might have some new soaps I add to my line!
Experimenting is fun! These past couple weeks I’ve played around with aloe, avocado, salt, and tallow. I need to do this more often!