London Fog Latte Soap with Cornflowers

If you ever crave a 20 minute vacation away from reality, one way to escape the ordinary is with a London Fog latte.

For those who don’t know, a London Fog is a latte made with Earl grey tea, milk, vanilla and honey or another sweetener.  Most coffee shops, including Starbucks, brew up a nice version, but it’s very simple to create at your home or office.

You can bring that small luxury home with a soap made from the rich combination of creamy and moisturizing oils.

I make mine at the office when I need a quick afternoon pick-me-up. With one sip, the essence of black assam tea takes me to India, with a stop in Italy to pick up the bergamot, and finally, in ‘ol London Town.

Because of that London Fog’s always reminds me of a small, affordable, yet slightly exotic luxury.

You can bring that small luxury home with a soap made from the rich combination of creamy and moisturizing oils.

Note: This recipe contains Palm Oil. I use Palm Oil from a supplier that is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but choose not to use Palm Oil or Palm Oil Flakes, you can always substitute with Babassu or Coconut oil.

At a glance:

Type:
Cold Process Soap

Level:
Intermediate to Advanced

Skin feel:
Moisturized

Cleansing strength:
Mild

All natural?
Contains fragrance oil which includes lab-derived components  

Properties:
Bubbles are small yet lather is creamy. Scent is noticeable but not overwhelming.

David's Tea Organic Earl Grey Tea with cornflowers and marigold
Making the earl grey tea to add to the lye water

About the Ingredients

I went a little crazy here and attempted to create a combination of oils to produce a luxurious and creamy soap experience.

Babassu or Cusi Oil

My current favorite multi-purpose oil. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm, a tree native to Brazil. It has similar properties to Coconut and Palm Oil, but feels lighter on the skin.  

Coconut Oil

This oil has very strong cleansing properties and creates a nice, fluffy lather. Too much coconut oil, and the bar can become drying to the skin.

Palm Kernel Flakes

Helps create a super hard bar of soap.

Avocado Oil

My current second favorite oil. Adds a luxurious, rich feeling to lather. Also super hydrating on the skin.

Palm Oil

A very popular soap ingredient. Low cost and provides a rich, creamy lather with fluffy bubbles. I like Palm Oil from sustainable sources.

 

Castor Oil

An oil with a very unique chemical composition that creates a rich, creamy lather unlike any other oil.

Rice Bran Oil

This oil is extracted from brown rice. It creates a creamy and moisturizing bar of soap, similar to that of olive oil. It is a high quality oil, yet inexpensive oil.

Sodium lactate

Helps harden the soap and allows it to be removed earlier from the mold

Earl Grey Tea

I used David’s Organic Cream of Earl Grey made with black tea, blue cornflowers, marigolds, with a hint of vanilla because I had it around. Any black tea would produce similar results.

 

Fragrance oils

I chose to use a fragrance oil versus an essential oil for a few reasons. The biggest reason is the smell of the Bergamot Black Tea FO from Bramble Berry is too good not to use. It’s not quite like the real thing, but combine with the natural smells from the tea/lye water, it created a more natural, organic. The second reason is I’ve found the aroma of citrus EOs tend to degrade during the saponification process. If you prefer to use essential oils, you should experiment to find a combination that works to create the scent profile you like.


My fragrance blend

Bergamot Black Tea Fragrance Oil

As mentioned before, this is a beautiful fragrance. It’s not an exact replica of the aroma of earl grey, but combined with the real earl grey tea and other oils, it creates a wonderful scent perfect for a luxurious, everyday soap.

Yuzu Cybilla Fragrance Oil

I added the yuzu to make the citrus of the earl grey pop a little more. Alone, it smells like a yuzu candy.

Pure Honey Fragrance Oil

A very nice, pleasant honey aroma, but too sweet for me to be used alone. But, combined with the earthier bergamot tea FO, it’s wonderful.

Notes on the soap-making process

Tea for Lye Water in Soap
Measuring the tea to be added to the lye water mixture. Be prepared, the lye water will be much darker than expected.
This is the color of the lye water. Both the lye water and the soap batter will be much darker than usual. You may need to add more colorant that normal to offset the brown color. Or, you can embrace the natural, rustic look.
Ingredients including fragrance, tea, and cornflowers
Ingredients including fragrance, tea, and cornflowers. Feel free to substitute any of these items to make your own creation
Tea soap in mold
This is the color of the tea immediate after it was poured in the mold. As you can see, it loses the brown color and becomes a muted purple after the saponification process.
Finished tea soap
The finished product has a rustic look with high moisturizing properties and barely there exfoliating because of the strawberry seeds.
Finished tea soap
5 from 1 vote
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London Fog Soap with Earl Grey Tea and Cornflowers

For those who don’t know, a London Fog is a latte made with Earl grey tea, milk, vanilla and honey or another sweetener. Most coffee shops, including Starbucks, brew up a nice version, but it’s very simple to create at your home or office. You can bring that small luxury home with a soap made from the rich combination of creamy and moisturizing oils.

Makes 2 pounds of soap
Author Drew @ Botaneri

Ingredients

Water Phase

  • 7.16 oz Water
  • 5 oz Earl grey tea
  • 4.61 oz Lye
  • 2 tsp Sodium lactate

Oil Phase

  • 8.32 oz Rice Bran oil (26%)
  • 6.4 oz Palm oil (20%)
  • 4.8 oz Babassu oil (15%)
  • 4.8 oz Coconut oil (15%)
  • 2.56 oz Palm kernel flakes (8%)
  • 2.4 oz Avocado oil (7%)
  • 2.88 oz Castor oil (9%)

Additives

  • 1 teaspoon Strawberry seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Cornflowers approx.

Colorants

  • 3 teaspoons Purple mica
  • 1 teaspoon Purple clay dispersed in 3 tablespoons of rice bran oil

Fragrance

Total 1.5 oz fragrance oil

  • .7oz Bergamot Black Tea fragrance oil
  • .35oz Yuzu Cybilla fragrance oil
  • .15oz Pure Honey fragrance oil

Materials

  • 2 pound Mold with liner
  • 3 Plastic pitchers or another lightweight material
  • 2 Heat-proof containers/Pyrex measuring cups/beakers
  • Spatula
  • 1 Glass stirring rod
  • Immersion/stick blender
  • Food scale

Instructions

Prep Work

  1. Organize work space with ingredients. Safety First: Put on gloves and goggles to protect from lye solution. I like to line my workspace with paper, especially when working with mica, which can get very messy.
  2. Measure my fragrance oils and disperse colorants into oil. This way, they are all ready when needed. Sometimes soap batter traces quicker than expected so it’s good to be prepared.

Create lye and water + tea solution

  1. This soap uses tea mixed in with lye water. I suggest making the tea prior to starting the process. Boil approximately 8 ounces of water and a heaping amount or multiple tea bags of Earl Grey tea to water. Let infuse for 10 minutes. Color should be nice and rich. Set aside in refrigerator to cool. 

  2. When cooled, measure out 5 ounces of tea and set aside. 

  3. In a small beaker, weigh 4.61 oz of lye,
  4. In another heat proof container, measure 7.16 oz of water. Add 5 ounces of cooled earl grey tea.
  5. Slowly add lye into water mixture while stirring with glass rod. Stir until lye is completely dissolved in the water. Set aside and let cool for approximately 15 minutes or until cooled to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). NOTE: Lye water will be very dark and smell earthy and slightly burnt. This is normal. Add 2 sodium lactate. Stir to fully incorporate.

Measure and heat oils

  1. In a large lightweight container, weight oils. Heat in the microwave, stopping to stir occasionally, until all oils are melted. Check temperature and heat or cool until temperature is around 110 degrees F

Create soap batter

  1. When the oils and lye water reach 110 degrees, very slowly pour lye mixture into oils while gently stirring with unpowered immersion blender.
  2. Once lye water is fully added, turn on fully immersed stick blender and blend until a light, very thin trace (thickness similar to a light cream sauce) is reached.
  3. Add fragrance oil blend. Plus stick blender lightly to distribute evenly. Be careful not to overmix. 

Create colored soap batter blends

  1. Divide the thin trace into the following segments:
  2. ⅓ batter + approx. ½ tablespoon purple mica and clay mixture + strawberry seeds (mix in strawberry seeds with spatula)
  3. ⅓ batter + approx. 1 tablespoon purple mica and clay mixture
  4. ⅓ batter + remaining purple mica and clay mixture
  5. Mix color into batter until fully dispersed. Mix final container until a thicker trace is

Pour soap batter into mold and create textured top

  1. Pour each later into the mold starting with strawberry seed layer moving torwards the thicker batter. This will help to make a nice textured top. Use a spoon to create a textured pattern of choice on top.

Sprinkle cornflowers on top

  1. Add the corn flowers in any way you like. I added a straight line to the top. Press in gently. (If you press in too deeply, the lye can react with the lye and discolor flower). Spritz with rubbing alcohol to reduce soda ash.
  2. For this soap, I prefer the more rustic, matte finish achieved by avoiding gel phase. To achieve this, place the mold in the fridge for 12 hours.

Unmold, Cut Soap and Cure

  1. The soap should be ready to unmold after 3 days or so. If you have trouble removing the soap, let it set for another 24 hours and try again. Cut the soap and let cure for 6 weeks or until the soap is hardened.

1 Comment

  • Alex
    February 3, 2018
    reply

    Love this recipe!

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