How to make a gentle and skin-loving Bastille soap

Hi, and thanks for joining me on this cold process episode. Today I’ll be showing you how to make a gentle and skin-loving soap. It’s made with carrot puree and buttermilk. I got this baby bastille recipe from Alina from Dobre Mylo and we featured it on It’s great for dry, sensitive skin or delicate skin.

What does bastille mean? Bastille is a term used by soapers and it references any soap that’s made with 70% olive oil or more. Traditionally, castile soap refers to any soap made with 100% olive oil. Soap made with a lot of olive oil is extremely gentle to skin but it doesn’t have the most copious large lather.

So for this bar we’ve added just a little bit of coconut oil to help with firmness and lather. If you’ve never made cold process soap before there are some serious safety considerations to take into account. Follow this link to be taken to my cold process basic series on Soap Queen TV or read the first chapter on lye safety in my Soap Crafting book. It’s important to get a few recipes under your belt before you try this more advanced technique.

Before we get started, let’s review the basics about using milk in cold process soap. Milk such as buttermilk, coconut milk, etc., adds lots of extra moisturizing properties to your soap and it’s great from a marketing standpoint. Milk can actually replace up to 100% of the water in your cold process recipe. But it’s not quite that simple.

When sodium hydroxide, or lye, is introduced to milk it can scorch the milk and smell pretty awful and change color. Scorched milk still makes great soap but that color change can really affect your design. To see examples of this color change check out the Goat Milk Soap video on Soap Queen TV for an in-depth explanation of making milk soap. There’s also a book on making milk soap on that has 10 detailed recipes, including photos. My favorite way to prevent milk from scorching is to freeze the milk 24 hours ahead of time before adding the lye to it. Another important part of this recipe is the carrot puree.

Be sure to use a carrot puree that doesn’t have any additives, it’s just carrots and water. It makes your soap a beautiful creamy yellow, all the way up to orange, color depending on the type of carrot puree you’re using. To give the soap a very soft scent, I’m using Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil. This is completely optional, and if you are making the soap for babies or for someone that you know has sensitive skin, you might consider leaving out the essential oil.

To make the soap we need to prep our ingredients. Measure out 2.5 ounces of the carrot puree and set it aside. Weigh out 1.5 ounces of Lavender Essential Oil, if you’re using the essential oil.

Make sure to place the essential oil in a glass container and not in a plastic container because essential oils can eat through plastic, making a mess of your countertop. Let’s get all these buttermilk ice cubes out of our molds and popping it out. These little marble molds come from And aren’t they cute? Notice that I’ve got my container in an ice bath.

This will help to keep the entire temperature down a little bit more when I’m adding the sodium hydroxide. Now it’s time to suit up for safety. I am soaping in a very well ventilated area and there are no children and no pets anywhere near me.

In addition to that, I’ve got long sleeves on, long pants on, close-toed shoes, putting on my gloves, and the last essential step is the goggles. Slowly begin adding the sodium hydroxide to your buttermilk. The key for this is slow, slow, slow. If you add it too quickly, your milk will scorch. Keep stirring and make sure that while you’re stirring you’re checking periodically to ensure that each little bit of lye has fully, fully dissolved.

This entire entire process can take up to 10 minutes, so be sure you have patience. Adding the lye slowly helps keep the buttermilk temperature nice and cool. Continue to add the lye until all of the lye is fully dissolved. You may start to smell somewhat of an ammonia smell. Don’t worry, this goes away within 5 to 7 days of making the soap.

If you notice your mixture is starting to harden up or thicken up just a little bit, don’t worry. That’s just the fat proteins mixing with the sodium hydroxide, totally normal. Because we’re working with a silicone mold, adding sodium lactate to the lye/milk mixture can really help decrease the amount of time that the soap needs to stay in the mold. The usage rate for sodium lactate is 1 teaspoon per pound of finished soap. So, for this recipe I’m going to add about 2 teaspoons. My olive oil and my coconut have already been weighed out and melted.

They are about 120 degrees. Take your stick blender, place it all the way at the bottom of your container. Burp it to make sure that there are no air bubbles trapped underneath that head and then gently pour your milk/lye mixture down the shaft of the stick blender and alternate pulsing the stick bender, using the stick blender also to stir the mixture. Eventually your soap will reach a light trace. Gently drizzle some soap on top. Are you seeing thin trailings?

If so, your soap has reached light trace and it’s ready to add your additives. Add your essential oil and the carrot puree. You can whisk this in or stick blend it in, depending on how thick your trace is, I’m going to stick blend.

I want the soap to have a fairly thick trace because I’d like to do a textured top. Stick blend just a little bit more and before turning on that stick blender, don’t forget to burp the stick blender to release any air bubbles. I want this soap batter to have a nice thick consistency, similar to pudding.

This texture looks perfect. Now I’m going to pour it into my mold. And, oh, gorgeous. Use a spoon or a spatula to scrape those last bits of soap out of the mold. Tap the mold firmly on the counter to release any bubbles from the batter.

Now let’s give the soap some texture. Using a spoon, just start to create waves. I like how it looks when I just kind of push it up like this on the sides, that’s kind of fun. You can even make waves by kind of doing this little plop or this little turn with your spoon. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You just want a gorgeous, interesting texture on top.

Once you’re happy with your design, spray a little bit of 99% isopropyl alcohol to help prevent soda ash and set this aside. Let your soap harden in the mold for at least a week. This soap actually contains so much olive oil that it takes a few extra days to come out of the mold. Are you ready to see this soap? I made this soap a week ago just so you could see how it looks. In order to release it gently pull away from the sides, then turn over.

Make sure that when you’re letting this airlock release that you’re not dropping the soap on the top because that’s where your pretty design is. So just pull it on the side, gorgeous. That looks so nice. Take a non-serrated knife and push firmly down to cut through. Wow. This turned out so beautifully on the inside and it smells really good, too.

I do notice that there’s an interesting kind of ring around the soap, that’s actually from the gel phase. If that happens to your soap, it will actually go away over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Allow this soap to harden and cure for 4 to 6 weeks before giving it away, or using it yourself, or selling it. Thanks for joining me on today’s episode of Soap Queen TV.

Until next time, happy soaping. Close-toed shoes, putting on my gloves, and the last essential step is the goggles.