Category Archives: sodium lactate


Sodium Lactate in Soap

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sodium-lactate-in-soapSodium Lactate in Soap

Hello everyone! I’m sure you’ve seen from most of my recent blogs that I’ve been experimenting with making many different soaps lately. I recently attempted making a Tiger Swirl Soap, and I actually had one major problem with it! While it was a beginner’s problem, I’m actually glad it happened so that I could learn from it! Have you ever experienced any problems while using sodium lactate in soap? For the base of this soap, I used our Shea Butter Cold Process Soap recipe, which happens to have 181 grams of Palm Oil in it. The palm oil actually contributed to the problem I had with using a high amount of sodium lactate in the soap.

In my Tiger Swirl Soap, I included Sodium Lactate in my recipe. Since Sodium Lactate helps to make your soap easier to remove from your mold, it seemed like a wonderful ingredient to include in my recipe! I added 55 grams of our Sodium Lactate to my lye water and thought that I was going to be so much better off! I finished my soap and it came out quite beautifully, beautiful bright orange, white, and bright green swirls! This was one soap that all of us here at Nature’s Garden were extremely excited about!

However, when we finally removed my Tiger Swirl soap from its mold and attempted to cut it, it just kept falling apart. This soap would literally just crumble in our hands. We were so disappointed, but then we tried to figure out what our problem might have been. First we thought maybe our calculations were off? But then we got to thinking about the Sodium Lactate since this was the first soap I’ve ever made with that particular ingredient. Sodium Lactate is used in cold process soap to help make a harder bar of soap. It can also be used to help your soap set up faster, so that you can remove it from your mold sooner!

After some research, we finally figured out my problem! Because I already had a high amount of Palm Oil in my soap, the addition of high levels of sodium lactate actually hardened the soap more than what we would have liked. This was caused because the combination of Palm Oil and Sodium Lactate made my soap way too hard and crumbly.

Don’t worry, these beautiful orange and green swirls will be back! I’m going to remake this soap without the Sodium Lactate and see how it turns out then! I will be back to report! While using a high amount of Sodium Lactate with Palm Oil is apparently not a good idea, you can still use just a small amount. For example, in the Aqua Di Gio soap I made after the Tiger Swirl, I only used 8 grams. (I still used our Shea Butter Soap for that base.) That soap turned out absolutely perfect! However, now we do recommend using Sodium Lactate mainly in palm-free recipes. Have you ever had any problems using sodium lactate in soap? I would love to hear from you! Make sure to check out all of our free classes and recipes, and keep watching for more Enlightened by Layla!



Brittle Soap

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soap that has too much sodium lactate
Warning, the following pictures may disturb some soapers!

Here was the scenario:  Using a Hot Process Recipe, we made a soap batch that we thought would work.  However, we got a little too sodium lactate happy.  As a result, our soap bars were not functional.  And, to be completely honest, some of our soap could not even be classified as a bar.

Can you feel the soaping life lesson coming on?

Our hot process soap was molded and ready to be removed and sliced.  The end was trimmed off, and we went in for our first cut… that was when the slice fell, and broke into two pieces.

brittle slice of soap

Again we tried, but to no avail…

crumbly soap

That was when we thought to slice the bars thicker.  Still the same result, a broken bar of soap.

high amount of sodium lactate

Heart broken, we came to the conclusion that there was too much sodium lactate in our recipe.

Yes, sad but true; we have brittle soap.  And, a 4 pound batch at that!  Even though the soap was brittle, we still wanted to find out how it performed.  So, we washed our hands with the bar pieces.  This action made the finished bars completely crumble as we rubbed them together under the running water.

testing the processed soap

The original recipe was a failure, but not a complete one.  We were able to see first hand what happens to soap when too much sodium lactate is added.

soap that needs a rebatch

In one of the earlier Natures Gardens blog posts, we wrote that using too much sodium lactate in your soap recipe will produce finished bars that crumble or are brittle.  This soap is the perfect example of exactly how this worked.

The recipe that we used contained 1 ounce of sodium lactate per pound of soaping oils in our recipe.  We thought that this would help harden the bar, especially since the soap was made from very soft oils.

Well, we were wrong.  This is why testing is highly suggested when dealing with soaping additives like sodium lactate.


Hot Process Soap

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hot process soap Hello everyone!

I just finished my second round of training in…..wait for it…..HOT PROCESS SOAP MAKING….(insert scream)….dunt, dunt, duuunnnn!!!

Yep, that was my initial thought as the word Lye came into the conversation.  However, going through the checklist and noting that safety glasses, gloves, and a mask are extremely necessary for any recipe containing this soaping ingredient, I felt safer.  Although, the well written instructions helped as well.

This hot process soap recipe is pretty lengthy and I almost felt like I was engaged in a major project.  So I decided to take each step slowly and precisely.

After reviewing the process, something I thought was interesting was that I would be using a crockpot to slowly cook the ingredients.  Now, I will certainly never look at my crockpot the same way again!  Please remember that you CAN NOT use this or any other household item you use for these types of recipes (containing Lye) for everyday cooking.  They MUST be kept separate!

Now, another key factor for soaping is that all of the measurements must be exact in order for your recipe to work properly.  Hot process is similar to cold process but you are “cooking” your ingredients in the crockpot.  This heat speeds up the “saponification” process.  Yea that IS a big word!  What does it mean?  It means “the process of the chemical reaction that the lye solution and the oils/fats/butters go through when making soap.”  Another interesting thing I learned during my adventure was a little thing called a soap calculator.  Yea, it’s a calculator used to determine if all of the ingredients you want to use are going to work together and figures out how much of everything you will need.  This is a definite must in the world of soap making.

I knew I was gonna like this recipe when I was told to watch for when my creation looked like mashed potatoes and when it does…it’s done!  I mean, who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?  Keep in mind you must be patient when making this type of soap because the process is slow going.  The stirring and cooking and watching is the longest part, aside from the setting up of the soap.  This soap doesn’t look as pretty as some of the other recipes while in the molds, but the results are ones you will be happy with.  If you don’t make your own soap, but you buy other peoples; I hope after reading this, you look at it a bit differently.  Just knowing what all is involved in the homemade soap making process, gives you a whole new understanding.

However, I hope you all try this recipe if you have never made soap before.  

Please Note: With the exemption of the lye and water, all other soaping ingredients can be purchased at Natures Garden.  Also, if this is the first time you are attempting the process of making soap (like me), please review these classes to familiarize yourself with the processes.

Soap Making Safety
Making Your Own Soap Recipe
Soap Making Terminology
Finding the Perfect Recipe
Soaping Oils Properties

Here are the steps that I took to make my very first batch of Hot Process Soap.  I also included pictures to show you the process.  In the end, I ended up with (4) beautiful 1 pound loaves of soap.

Step 1:  Prior to making this hot process soap recipe, clean and sanitize your work area.  Then, put on your safety gear.  You will want to wear gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses while preparing this recipe.

safety gear for soap making

Step 2:  Now, turn your crockpot on a low heat setting.  Then, place one of your mixing bowls on your scale.  Next, weigh out the 503 grams of Olive Oil, 408 grams of Coconut Oil 76, 109 grams of Castor Oil, and 340 grams of Palm Oil.

hot process soaping ingredients

Step 3:   Once you have all your oils weighed out, place them into the crockpot.  Heat this on low until the palm oil and coconut oil 76 are in a liquid state.  Stir occasionally.

soaping oils in the crockpot
Step 4:  Now, get your two mixing bowls.  In one bowl, weigh out your 188 grams of lye.  In the second bowl, weigh out your 517 grams of water.

weigh out your lye and water
Step 5:  Next, take your lye and water bowls to a well ventilated area.  NEVER add the water to the lye!  Slowly add small amounts of the lye to the water.  Stir in between each addition of the lye to the water.  DO NOT breath in the fumes.  Continue doing this until all of the lye has been mixed into the water.

stirring the lye water

Step 6:  Now, weigh out and add the 50 grams of sodium lactate to the lye water.  Using your spatula, stir this slowly to incorporate.

adding sodium lactate to the recipe

Step 7:  Carefully, add the mixture of the lye water and sodium lactate to the crockpot.  Then, give this a quick stir with your spatula.

adding the lye water to the crockpots

Step 8:  Now, get your stick blender.  Place the stick blender into the crockpot and start to blend.  You will want to do this for about 10 minutes off and on.  Keep your blend periods short.  In between blending, use your spatula to clean the sides of the crockpot.

stick blending the soap batter

Step 9:  Once the batter has been well blended, add 8 grams Teal Fun Soap Colorant.  Now, stick blend to incorporate the color.

adding the colorant to hp soap

Step 10:  As you blend in the color, you will notice the soap batter will resemble pudding.  Now, take your spatula with a little bit of soap batter on it and carefully in a spatter like motion, let the batter fall back into the crockpot.  You are looking for trace.  You will know trace when you can see “lines” of batter from your spatula.  A full trace is reached when the line stays on top of the rest of the soap batter.

soap batter at trace

Step 11:  After trace has been reached in your soap batter, place your lid on your crockpot.

Step 12:  Stirring periodically with your spatula, allow your soap mixture to cook.  You will want to check it every 15 minutes or so.  This is done to ensure that the soap cooks evenly, and does not scorch on the bottom.  As the soap cooks, you will notice along the sides of the crockpot that the soap looks dry.  The soap batter will even take on a waxy look.

soap batter with a waxy look
Step 13:  After about an hour has elapsed, your soap batter will have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Now, place your mold on a flat surface near your crockpot.  Please Note:  This hour time can vary based on your soaping oils.

the look of hot process soap batter before adding fragrance oil

Step 14:  You will want to move quickly for this step.  If you are using herbs or other additives, you will want to add them now.  If not, add 85 grams Purrs & Paws Fragrance Oil.  Then, stick blend to fully incorporate.

adding fragrance oil to hot process soap

Step 15:  Now, in a scooping manner; begin filling your pound loaf molds individually.

filling your mold with hot process soap

Step 16:  When the mold cavities are all filled, carefully hit the mold against the counter top.  This motion will release any bubbles of air that may be trapped in your soap batter.

filled soap mold with hp
Step 17:  Now, insulate your soap.  Once the soap has been covered, let it cool and harden overnight (for about 12 hours).

insulate your hot process soap
Step 18:  The next day, when your soap has completely cooled and hardened, you can remove it from the mold.  Then, cut the soap into bar size.  Your soap is now ready to use.  Please Note:  If you are seeking a harder bar, allow the soap to cure longer.

finished hot process soap

Overall, making this soap really was a lot of fun and I felt really creative, like a mad scientist….mmmwwaahahaha…(clearing throat)…

Well kids, until my next adventure, have a FABULOUS day!

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.


Lotion Recipe

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Homemade Tropical Lotion RecipeThis amazing Tropical Lotion Recipe is filled with skin loving and moisturizing elements.  But, not only does this lotion sink right into your skin, it smells like a tropical paradise.  Just the perfect thing to snap you out of the winter blues, and get you ready for summer!

To make this lotion, there are some supplies you will need.  To heat and melt the oils/butters, you will be using a double boiler method on your stovetop.  You will also need a larger mixing bowl to combine the water and butters/oils, as well as a stick blender to encourage the emulsification process.  Other than that, the rest of the supplies are pretty standard:  a scale, a mixing spoon, a spatula, and a funnel (optional).

As for the rest of the ingredients in this lotion recipe, they can all be found at Natures Garden.  You will also be able to find the bottles and lids to package your lotion in by clicking on this link.

Here is the lotion recipe to make (2) 8 oz. bottles:
Water Phase:
425 grams Distilled Water
8 grams Sodium Lactate
Oil Phase:
24 grams BTMS 25
10 grams Mango Butter
28 grams Rice Bran Oil
30 grams Fractionated Coconut Oil
6 grams Vitamin E Oil 
To Scent and Preserve:
10 grams Optiphen Preservative 
12 grams Papaya Dragon Fruit Fragrance Oil 
To get the same color pictured, you will need:
5 drops Da Bomb Soap Dye Yellow
7 drops Da Bomb Soap Dye Blue

It is suggested before starting this recipe to prep your area with all of the supplies that you will need.  Also, clean and sanitize your work area as well as your packaging materials.

And now, the steps:

The Water Phase:
Step 1:  Using your scale, weigh out at least 525 grams of distilled water.  Even though you will only be using 425 grams for this lotion recipe, you want to account for evaporation while heating.  Place your water in a pot.  Place the pot on the stove top.  Heat the water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once the water hits that temperature, hold it there for 20 minutes.  This step will eliminate any bacteria that may be in the water.

heat your distilled water

Step 2:  When the time has elapsed, remove the water for the stove top/heat. Weigh out 425 grams of the water.  Then, add the sodium lactate.  Stir and set aside.

adding sodium lactate to lotion recipe
The Oil Phase:
Step 1:  Grab a larger pot.  Place a few inches of tap water into this pot.  Put this pot on to the stove top on medium heat.  Now, weigh out and combine the following:  Mango Butter, BTMS, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Oil, and the Vitamin E.  Place all of the ingredients into a smaller pot.  Then, place this smaller pot in to the larger one.  This is the double boiler method.  As the ingredients melt, stir occasionally.  Heat the ingredients in the smaller pot to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

double boiler method for the lotion ingredients

The Mixing Phase: Get ready to move!
Step 1: Double check that your water and your oils are both around 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Then, in a large mixing bowl combine the oil mixture and the water.

adding the oil phase to the water phase
Step 2:  Using your stick blender, begin to emulsify.  This will become apparent when your mixture turns white in color.

emulsifying lotion recipe

The Cooling Phase:
Step 1:  Now, allow your mixture to cool.  The temperature that you are looking for is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once your lotion is this temperature, add the Optiphen preservative, colorant, and fragrance oil.  Once again, using your stick blender, mix.

preserving your lotion
Step 2:  Finally, let your lotion cool to room temperature and then place it into your bottles.

packaging your lotion

You have now turned your Tropical Lotion Recipe into Homemade Tropical Lotion.  You will just love how truly amazing this lotion is!  Enjoy the tropical fruits of your labor!

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.


Sodium Lactate in Soap & Lotions

This entry was posted in cold process soap, cosmetic ingredients, humectant, moisturizing ingredient, Natures Garden, soap ingredients, Soap making supplies, sodium lactate and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .
sodium lactate

Sodium Lactate: Most commonly derived by the fermentation of corn or beets, this natural body product additive has a smooth, clear appearance with almost no odor.


Sodium Lactate is quickly gaining the spotlight as an additive in the creation of bath and body products.  Although it is not a mandatory ingredient, sodium lactate can hold its own when it comes to functionality in a recipe.  

Sodium lactate, a water soluble ingredient, is added during the water phase of the creation.  It is used in bath products and has many beneficial aspects to its use.  It is a natural moisturizer, humectant (bringing moisture to itself), and pH regulator.  Sodium Lactate is used in a variety of bath products such as soaps, lotions, and shampoos.   In fact, when it comes to lotion formulations, sodium lactate can be used to replace vegetable glycerin.  Why is this a benefit?  Using sodium lactate instead of vegetable glycerin will give you a final product that lacks the stickiness that usually occurs when using vegetable glycerin in a lotion recipe.  Sodium lactate also helps reduce the “greasiness” of the oils in your emulsions, while improving the absorption capability of emulsions.   In emulsions like lotions, sodium lactate is used at the rate of 1-3% of the weight of your recipe.

Sodium lactate is used in cold process soap recipes to harden the soap, making for a harder, longer lasting bar of soap in the tub.  One of the great bonuses of using sodium lactate in your soap recipe is the easier releasing of the soap from the mold, especially if you are using more of a complex shaped mold.  Besides adding moisture and conditioning aspects to your soap, sodium lactate helps to increase lather and can even add mildness to the soap.

For cold process soap makers, the sodium lactate is added to your cooled lye water solution.  What results is a harder bar of soap that will release from the mold easier, and can be cut earlier than the traditional cold process soap.  Also, the physical appearance of a soap that has the addition of sodium lactate will improve.  The bars will have a creamier look to them, and the soap will provide a more luxurious lather. Sodium Lactate aids in keeping your soap batter in a liquid state longer.  This makes coloring/swirling and pouring easier.  But once the soap is molded, sodium lactate will harden your soap faster, allowing for the soap to unmold easily.

For hot process soap makers, sodium lactate is added to your lye water solution, and other ingredients are mixed in.

Testing is key for finding the right percentage of use for sodium lactate in your recipe.  For a great starting point is 1/2 oz.  sodium lactate per pound of soap oils. But, test, test, test!  Be cautious not to add too much sodium lactate, this will cause your soap to be brittle and/or crumbly.

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.