This post may contain affiliate links.

30 December 2017

Basic Bastille Soap Recipe with Essential Oils

If you or your family have sensitive skin, then this basic bastille soap recipe may be the answer to alleviating some of your skin care issues. Formulated with a high percentage olive oil in combination with additional soapmaking oils, Bastille soap is a modern twist on traditional Castile soap which is made using only olive oil.

What is Bastille Soap?

While traditional Castile soap contains 100% olive oil, modern Castile soap has a looser definition in which Castile soap is defined as any hard soap made from olive oil in addition to other fats and oils. However, purists reject any soap not made with 100% olive oil as Castile soap and instead term soaps made primarily, but not wholly, with olive oil as Bastille soap. 

Like Castile soap, bastille soap still entertains a high percentage of olive oil. Any cold process soap made with at least 70% olive oil is considered a Bastille soap. However, because Castile soap has low lather and requires an extended cure time, Bastille soap makes a wonderful substitute that results both in a better lather as well as a harder bar.

Additionally, as olive oil historically creates a gentle soap that is well suited for sensitive or delicate skin, bastille soap tends to be gentler on skin than other types of soap. This includes many commercial soaps and beauty bars made with detergent foaming agents and poor quality ingredients. With bastille soap there is also less of a chance that you might develop an allergic reaction to the ingredients used as typically the ingredients for homemade soaps are chosen for their purity and benefits in skin care.

My basic bastille soap recipe that I'm sharing with you today is comprised of 80% olive oil. I also have included coconut and castor oil for better lather and cocoa butter to make a harder soap bar, thus shortening the cure time considerably over Castile soap.

While making homemade soap from scratch using fats (soapmaking oils and butters) and an alkali (lye or sodium hydroxide) involves a bit more know how than crafting your own melt and pour soaps, getting started with a basic recipe isn't as difficult as one might presume. In fact, this basic bastille soap recipe can made in about hour and is a lot like baking a cake in many ways, though with weights rather than liquid measurements.

There are however, certain safety precautions you should take to avoid harm when working with a caustic material such as lye. These include wearing gloves, safety glasses and a safety mask that covers your mouth and nose. Nature's Garden actually has a wonderful article on soapmaking safety where you can learn more about how to best protect yourself when working with lye.

If you've never made cold process soap before, I have an in-depth cold process soapmaking tutorial on my blog, Soap Deli News, here that instructs you on how to get started making homemade soaps from scratch. In addition, you can also find a plethora of soapmaking videos on YouTube, something that wasn't available when I first started making soap many many years ago. So hopefully you'll feel comfortable diving right in once you have a grasp of how it all works. 

I know this information can seem like a lot at first for someone new to soapmaking, however, I promise you that once you start you won't want to stop. Not only are cold process soaps a blessing for troubled skin, but they also make beautiful and functional homemade gift ideas for friends and family. 

My basic bastille soap recipe yields approximately six 3.5 oz. soap bars.

Basic Bastille Soap Recipe


1.6 oz. refined coconut oil (10%)
.8 oz. castor oil (5%)
12.8 oz. pomace olive oil (80%)
.8 oz. cocoa butter (5%)

4.85 fluid oz. distilled water (30.5% of oil weight)
2.05 oz. sodium hydroxide (8 % super fat)

1 Tablespoon sodium lactate (60% solution), optional
.5 oz. essential oil (or essential oil blend) of choice



To make this basic bastille soap recipe, you'll begin by measuring out the water into a non-aluminum, heat safe container. Next, using a digital scale, weigh out the lye.  


In a well ventilated area, slowly pour the lye into the distilled water, then stir until all of the lye has dissolved. Now set the lye-water aside to cool. 


Meanwhile, while the lye-water cools, weigh out and combine the soapmaking oils (coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and cocoa butter) in a non-aluminum pot. Then heat on the stove over medium-low heat until all the oils have melted. 

Remove the soapmaking oils from heat once the oils have melted and allow to cool.

Once both your soapmaking oils and lye-water have reached about 90° - 95°F you're ready to make your basic bastille soap recipe!


If desired you can add one Tablespoon of sodium lactate (60% solution) to your lye-water prior to making soap for a harder bar and to give your soap an additional boost in lather.


Now slowly pour the lye-water into the liquified soapmaking oils then blend with a stick or immersion blender until you reach a light trace.


Weigh out the essential oil you've chosen to use, if a fragrance is desired, then add to the soap batter.

Continue mixing with a stick blender until you reach a medium trace, then pour the bastille soap batter into a six-cavity rectangle silicone soap mold.


If desired, you can add flowers or decorative salt to the tops of your freshly poured soap. I added blue cornflowers to the tops of my basic bastille soap bars.


Cover the soap lightly with plastic wrap then set aside in a safe location for 24-48 hours. 


Once your bastille soap bars are no longer soft, remove them from the mold and allow the bars to cure in a cool, dry location for four to six weeks.

If you need to resize my basic bastille soap recipe to fit another soap mold, or to make a larger batch, you will need to run the recipe back through a lye calculator prior to doing so. You can find more information on how to use a lye calculator as well as additional information on how to create your own custom soap recipes here.

Additionally, you can also explore more of my cold process soap recipes, including another beginner cold process soap recipe by visiting Soap Deli News blog.

If you enjoyed my basic bastille soap recipe, I hope you'll visit me online for more of my of homemade soap, bath, body and beauty recipes at Soap Deli News blog. You follow can also find and follow me on all of your favorite social media platforms including G+TumblrFacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Or subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

Like this post?  Pin it!

Newsletter Signup

26 December 2017

2017 Top 10 Posts from Everything Pretty

Merry Christmas!  I hope that you are all enjoying your holiday and spending time with your loved ones.  We had a fairly low key Christmas, and I loved it.  I'm suffering from a bit of burn out and general stress due to overscheduling, so it was nice to just sit back and enjoy my family without worrying about life.  

I want to start out by thanking all of my readers.  Thank you for reading, commenting,  and sharing.  Without your support, I wouldn't be able to stay at home with my kids.  My regular readers know that I work from home because public school isn't an option for my family and because my son with autism has therapy three times a week.  Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

2017 was a great year for Everything Pretty.  I worked with some new brands this year as well as some that I've worked with before.  

I wanted to work with Smucker's because they are located in the town next to me.  I have friends who work there, and they speak highly of the company.  They also give back to our small community, so I like to support them when I can.  

Most of their job opps don't fit the theme of my blog, but I did work with them on their Milo's Kitchen dog treats campaign.  I made a puzzle toy for Dolph to play with. Both of my dogs love the treats!

I love working with brands that I use and love.  This year, I did five posts in a series with Special K to promote their Own It campaign.  I really love the idea of that campaign, so I was glad to help promote it.  

I also signed a contract with Olay to work with them for a year.  I did the Olay 28-day challenge and had great results.  Check it out if you missed it before, and be sure to check back for more posts in 2018.  

Overall, it's been a very successful year.  I set goals in January to work in my photography and work on improving some things in my blog posts, like making them longer and working on getting ranked higher in search.  While there's always room for improvement, I think that my work has paid off and make this a successful year.

I may be taking the week off.  Honestly, I haven't decided yet.  As much as I love my job, I'm burnt out.  I might need a few more days off.  

Without further ado, here are my top 10 posts for 2017:

Newsletter Signup

22 December 2017

Healthy Peppermint Mocha Recipe

One of my favorite hot drinks in the winter is a peppermint mocha.  I just love the combination of the peppermint and chocolate in a smooth, hot drink as my afternoon pick me up.

I don't know if it's because I was sick for most of fall, the busy holiday season, or the fact that it's dark before we get done working for the day, but I need a pick me up in the afternoon.  

There is a locally owned coffee shop right beside my office.  I can walk there when I need a break to get some adult conversation and caffeine.  

While I love supporting businesses in small towns, I can't be spending $5 every day on coffee, no matter how wonderful it and the atmosphere are.  

Unfortunately, specialty coffee drinks are high in calories, fat, and carbs.  Right now, I'm more concerned with carbs and sugars than I am the fat.  If you want a low fat drink, I'll tell you how to make that as well.  

20 December 2017

What is Essence in Skin Care and Should You Be Using One?

When you do your daily skin care ritual, you probably cleanse, tone, and moisturize.  But there's a new product that you should be using: essence.  

Essence as part of your skin care routine isn't a new concept, but it's gaining popularity.  Essence is a skin care product that is now famous thanks to Korean skin care getting popular in America.  

So what s essence and should you be using one?  Keep reading to find out.

18 December 2017

Best Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

It's cold and flu season, and I've got one kid still suffering from allergies.  My essential oil diffuser has been working overtime for since September.  

I'm not completely opposed to medicine, but I like to try natural remedies first. I haven't found a cold medication that doesn't make me drowsy, including the ones labeled non-drowsy.  I get a brain cloud that doesn't allow me to work or teach my kids like I should be able to.

So we turn to essential oils.  I'll share the best essential oils for cold and flu with you so you can choose the best ones for your family.  

I like that there are options in what to use.  Sometimes I don't use a particular oil often, so I don't keep it on hand.  That's ok!  There are usually other oils that you can use.

This is my personal experience that I'm sharing with you.  I am not a doctor, and this is not meant to replace a doctor's advice.  Always check with your doctor before using any oils.  

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Cold weather doesn't directly cause a cold or the flu.  However, during the colder weather, people are more likely to be inside and share close quarters, which certainly  helps spread germs.

Cold air is also drier than warm air.  Both colds and the flu are caused by viruses that thrive in dry, cool air.  You can help combat this by running a dehumidifier in your home, but be sure to keep it clean.  

If you don't have a dehumidifier at your house, try setting bowls of water on your floor registers.  

My son's doctor also prescribed him a nasal spray to keep his nasal passages moist.  This has helped him.  

When I have a cold, chest congestion, or a stuffy nose, a hot shower helps me more than anything else.  I haven't made any shower discs yet, so I just put about 10 drops of essential oils on an old washcloth and put it on the floor of the shower.  The vapors rise to help clear my congestion.  

If I take a bath, I use my bath salts for cold and flu.  The bath really helps with any body aches for me, too.  


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.


Before we go into the specific oils to use, let's talk about how to use them.  The easiest way for me is to use my diffuser.  I love mine so much that I bought another so I could have one in the main living area and one in a bedroom.

To use a diffuser, place 3-4 drops of oil in 100 mL of water.  I let mine go for 20-45 minutes before I shut it off.  I turn it back on in a few hours.  There have been studies that suggest that after 45 minutes, you don't get as much benefit from the oil.

Read: The Best Essential Oil Diffuser and How to Use It

If you don't have a diffuser, you can also put the oil on your skin.  Do not ever put oil directly on your skin though.  You need to have a carrier oil to dilute it with.  If that's too messy, try a solid carrier oil stick.   

You can also make a homemade vapor rub recipe with any of these essential oils. 


There are custom blends available for congestion, coughs, and allergies. I use Breathe Easy from Crafty Bubbles. Since this is the only blend that I use, I can't speak of other blends. 

Breathe Easy essential oil blend from Crafty Bubbles is a blend of:

We use this for allergies and colds, and it works very well for us.


If I'm not using Breathe Easy, I use eucalyptus essential oil.  This oil is found in most commercial products for chest congestion, and it's probably the most popular of the best essential oils for cold and flu.  I usually mix this with a carrier oil and rub it on my chest for a vapor rub.  You can diffuse it, but I find it overpowering when I do that.  It's personal preference.


Peppermint essential oil is said to help reduce chest congestion and headaches.  I've used this in the diffuser as well as with a carrier oil on my chest to relieve congestion.


Lemon essential oil is another great essential oil for when you're battling a cold.  It's naturally antiviral.  It also has a fresh scent that helps boost my mood.  I add this to my diffuser to make the house smell great while I'm reaping the benefits.


Oregano oil is said to be antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial.  This can be diffused or applied to the skin with a carrier oil.


Pine essential oil is one of the best essential oils for cold and flu.  It helps relieve congestion and reduce cold symptoms quickly too.  Personally, I don't like the smell, so I always use this in a blend in my diffuser.


Frankincense essential oil is also said to be a natural expectorant.  It's also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and a great cold fighting essential oil.  It's is also said to help reduce anxiety, which can help calm you when you are sick.


Tea tree oil is one of my most used oils.  It's naturally antiviral and antimicrobial.  It can help with congestion as well as act as a natural disinfectant.  I mix this with another oil in my diffuser, usually eucalyptus,  when we are sick.


German chamomile essential oil is soothing, so it can help relieve aches and pains.  You can diffuse it, but I like to mix it with a carrier oil and use it directly on my aches and pains.  You can also put a few drops in a warm bath.


Lemongrass essential oil is said to be calming and help lower fevers.  Some say that it helps reduce stomach aches and headaches too.  It is a natural analgesic and has antimicrobial properties, making it one of the best essential oils for cold and flu.

Note that lemongrass can irritate your skin.  Always use a carrier oil with any essential oil, but definitely for this one.  I don't use it topically or in a bath.  I only use it in a diffuser.


Lavender essential oil is also calming for your mood, but it also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.  You can diffuse it or add it to a carrier oil to massage sore muscles while you are sick.


Sandalwood essential oil is a good oil to add to a blend when you diffuse.  It doesn't help with your cold as much as with your mental health.  It's calming and relaxing, so I like to use it with another oil that will help relieve my symptoms.  


As I mentioned, I usually use blends in my diffuser.  I will use peppermint or eucalyptus alone, but I usually blend all of the other ones.  

Try one of these blends.

Essential Oil Blend for Cough and Cold #1

  • 5 drops peppermint
  • 5 drops eucalyptus 
  • 4 drops tea tree oil
  • 2 drops lemon

Essential Oil Blend for Cough and Cold #2

  • 4 drops oregano
  • 4 drops peppermint
  • 4 drops lemon
  • 4 drops tea tree oil
What are your favorites essential oils to use when you have a cough or cold?

Like this post?  Pin it! 

If you like this post, then you'll love these:
Bath Salts for Cold and Flu

DIY Breathe Easy Wax Melts
How to Make Vapor Rub

Newsletter Signup