Spotlight on Carrot Buttermilk Soap

Carrots are great for your skin. They contain beta-carotene, which is believed to relieve dry skin and reduce fine lines. Buttermilk is also great for dry skin and has alpha-hydroxy acid, thought to remove dead skin cells. Many beauty products on the market contain alpha-hydroxy acid.

I originally tried a carrot-based soap well over a year ago, and I wasn’t 100% happy with the results. It was a fine soap, and those who tried it even complimented me on it and said they loved it. It just didn’t look like it had carrots in it.

Carrot Silk

I made this soap based on a recipe I found at Soaping 101. To be honest, I think I combined the carrot soap recipe in the video with a facial soap recipe. I suspect it was another Soaping 101 recipe, but I am just not sure anymore where I found it. I do know I didn’t formulate the recipe, though I may have tweaked it. My recipe for this soap was as follows:

  • 35% olive oil
  • 30% palm oil
  • 15% coconut oil
  • 10% palm kernel oil
  • 5% sunflower oil
  • 5% castor oil

I used full water, which probably wasn’t necessary, and a superfat of 7% (I typically use 6%). I also added kaolin clay and powdered goat milk, and substituted 2 oz. of water for pureed carrots. I also used tussah silk, but I use tussah silk in a lot of my soaps. The recipe has a lot more palm oil and a lot less coconut oil than I typically use. I also used palm kernel oil, which I do not typically use and have actually discovered I don’t like much.

I was happy with how the soap looked in the mold.

Carrot Silk

However, I noticed that it heated up rather a lot, and it began to look a little bit like brains. If you haven’t experienced this phenomenon in soapmaking, check it out and scroll to Alien Brains. The resulting soap, as I said, was fine. And it was hard as a rock. I just didn’t think it looked like I wanted. I was put off using carrots for a while.

I really liked the look of some other carrot soaps I had seen. For instance, Rocky Top Soap Shop has a beautiful carrot soap, and Chagrin Valley has a very nice Carrot and Honey soap. Both soaps contain carrot juice rather than pureed carrots.

I decided to try Amanda’s advice and use carrot baby food. After trying baby food, I am convinced the trick to a good carrot soap is to use pureed carrot baby food or carrot juice to replace some or all of the water instead of making your own carrot puree. It may be that when I pureed my own carrots, I was not using enough carrots as compared to water, and though I have a blender, I had trouble making a very fine puree like you might find in baby food. You have to be careful with using fruit or vegetable purees in soap. Sometimes, they go brown (strawberries, peaches). Other purees seem to be fine (bananas).

I searched for an organic baby food that listed its ingredients as only carrots or only carrots and water, and I found one. I discovered when I used the carrot baby food, the resulting color was much closer to what I was looking for.

Carrot Buttermilk I completely scrapped my other recipe. I used two ounces of carrot baby food, removing two ounces of water from my recipe and reduced the total amount of liquid in the recipe from 38% (which SoapCalc figures as “full water”) to 33%. I superfatted at my usual 6%. As I said, I am not a fan of palm kernel oil, and I decided to simplify with fewer oils. I also used two teaspoons of powdered buttermilk, removing about a tablespoon of water from my recipe before adding the lye and using it to reconstitute the buttermilk. Buttermilk is just wonderful in soaps. I used two teaspoons of kaolin clay as well. I did not add the carrots to the lye water, as Amanda described, but rather to the oils. I blended the kaolin clay, reconstituted buttermilk, and carrots well with the oils before I added the lye water.

The recipe fit well in my 9-bar mold. I left the soap unscented as I intended it to be used on the face and/or sensitive skin. In my opinion, the new recipe, which I formulated myself, is much more face-friendly than the one I borrowed—there is an excellent case to be made for creating your own recipes instead of following others’ recipes right there. Nonetheless, here is what I used:

  • 40% olive oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 25% palm oil
  • 5% apricot kernel oil
  • 5% castor oil

I had noticed that my old standby facial soap, Provence, which is a Marseilles-style soap made with olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil, was making my face feel a little tight after I finished using it. I decided to pull out a bar of my Carrot Buttermilk soap to see how I liked it. I didn’t just like it, I LOVED it. It had a smooth, creamy lather that I didn’t expect to see because of the amount of coconut oil and castor oil I used, which usually produces a lather that is bubbly. Carrot Buttermilk will bubble up quite a bit more if you lather it up for a little longer. It actually feels like a soap that has more olive oil in it than it does (though it has a significant amount, and more than the Carrot Silk soap had). I suspect the difference is the apricot kernel oil. My face absolutely does NOT feel tight after I wash with it, and I am now in love with this little bar of Carrot Buttermilk soap.

You can purchase Carrot Buttermilk from the shop, and it’s even on sale for a limited time.

Creative Commons License
Carrot Buttermilk Facial Soap by Dana Huff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Fall Soaps

New England Handmade Artisan Soaps has a fall seasonal line of soaps, including some returning favorites and some new soaps you’re sure to love.

Apple Butter Soap

Apple Butter is scented with a rich blend of applejack peel—cinnamon, cloves, and red apples—and buttery vanilla. A gorgeous fall treat perfect for apple-picking season! Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, shea butter, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk. Available now!

Autumn Fig HarvestAutumn Fig Harvest became one of my favorites as soon as I made it. I love the spatter tops of these bars, and the fragrance is one of my favorites—top notes of bright and crisp apple, lemon and ginger with middle notes of fig, caramel, and cinnamon that lead to more earthy base notes of coffee, twigs, and wet forest. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, fragrance, shea butter, sweet almond oil, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorants, tussah silk. Available September 13.

Carrot ButtermilkCarrot Buttermilk is a lovely facial soap. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A and have antioxidant and soothing properties. Buttermilk has alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps rejuvenate skin with gentle exfoliation. Ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, water, sodium hydroxide, carrot purée, apricot kernel oil, castor oil, buttermilk, kaolin clay, tussah silk. Available September 21.

Johnny AppleseedJohnny Appleseed, born John Chapman, was from nearby Leominster, MA, right here in Worcester County. This soap is named in honor of our native son, and it smells as delicious as the apples he helped spread across America—a crisp mix of red and green apples. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, shea butter, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorants, cranberry seeds, tussah silk. Available today!

Oatmilk, Milk, & HoneyA great favorite, this soap is made with real raw local honey. I have a beekeeper friend who trades me her honey for soap! It’s also chock full of other great things for your skin, such as finely ground oatmeal and whole oats and goat milk. To top it off, it smells like grandma’s oatmeal cookies! This one will be a favorite with both men and women. Ingredients: olive oil, goat milk, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, fragrance, castor oil, finely ground oatmeal, honey, whole oats. Available now!

Coffee & CreamCoffee & Cream is made with a mix of invigorating coffee and rich cream and scented with a blend of coffee house coffee and Turkish mocha. Smooth and silky! Great for either men or women. Ingredients: olive oil, coffee, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, sweet almond oil, cream, fragrance, cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk, coffee grounds. Available now!

Pumpkin PiePumpkin Pie is a fall favorite. Made with genuine New England One Pie® pumpkin and scented with a heavenly pumpkin pie fragrance, you don’t want to miss this one. Just like pumpkin spice lattes, they only appear once a year. Ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, One-Pie® Pumpkin, water, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, fragrance, castor oil, cream, sweet almond oil, colorant, pumpkin pie spice. Available September 14.

Vanilla Chai LatteVanilla Chai Latte is nice combination of warm vanilla and spices like cinnamon and clove. A wonderful fall treat! Another nice fragrance for either men or women. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, fragrance, cream, shea butter, castor oil, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk. Available September 28.


I’m so in love with this De-Stress Stress Relief creamy white soap! Made with a blend of spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils, believed to be uplifting, soothing, and calming. I certainly can’t stop sniffing them! Perfect for men or women. A note: This soap will be added to my year-round line if customers enjoy it. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, castor oil, cream, spearmint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, kaolin clay, colorant, jojoba beads. Available October 3.

Keep your eyes peeled on the store so you don’t miss your favorites. I have to confess: fall is my favorite season, and the fall soaps are my favorites, too.