Banana Soap Recipe: Cold Process Berry Banana Smoothie Soap
Learn how to make a cold process banana soap recipe. Plus discover the benefits of banana soap when used as part of your daily, summer beauty regimen.
Summer is all about fresh fruit — and fresh fruit smoothies! So I really wanted to create a seasonal summer soap with a smoothie theme. My berry banana smoothie soap recipe does just that! Made with real banana and a wild berries & mimosa fragrance oil, this cold process banana soap recipe not only hydrates parched summer skin and fights acne and diminishes the signs of aging, it also soothes itchy skin and bug bites! Don’t just reserve this natural soap recipe for summer though. It’s also a great soap to use year round to tackle irritated or dry skin as well as sensitive (sans the fragrance) and eczema prone skin.
What Are the Benefits of Banana Soap?
This wasn’t my first time using real banana in cold process soap. And it won’t be the last! Bananas are an affordable to way to add additional, natural skin care benefits to your soaps without significantly increasing your per bar.
So, what are the benefits of banana soap?
- Bananas have anti-inflammatory skin care properties thanks to nutrients like zinc, lectin and amino acids. Therefore, when real bananas are used in banana soap, it can help soothe dry, itchy skin as well as ease the itching caused by bug bites, seasonal skin allergies and poison ivy.
- As bananas are rich in potassium, banana soap helps to keep skin hydrated so it feels moisturized. This also can improve the appearance of skin. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in bananas, further supports healthy looking skin.
- Bananas are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients that can help reduce the appearance of aging.
- Vitamins A, C and E help keep skin balanced, so it’s neither too dry or overly oily, They can also help boost collagen production and promote healing. The Vitamin C found in bananas helps to protect skin against fine lines and pesky premature wrinkles, while also reducing dark spots cause by hyperpigmentation.
- Niacin, or vitamin B, is also found in bananas. This further adds to the benefits of banana soap as vitamin B is shown to offer relief from symptoms of eczema, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, acne, aging skin, dermatitis and sun-damage as well as dry skin.
How to Make Banana Soap Using Real Bananas
It had been a while since I made a cold process banana soap recipe. So I forgot how much natural sugar is actually in ripe bananas. I also forgot that those sugars significantly heat up soap. Combined with the tallow I used for my berry banana smoothie soap recipe, my soap overheated quickly. However, I was able to save the batch by letting it gel and finishing it off as one would hot process soap.
Lucky for you, you get to learn from my soap making mistakes. Should you choose to make my berry banana smoothie soap recipe, be sure to pop your mold into the freezer after pouring the soap batter and all should be well. Otherwise, if the thought of soap overheating freaks you out, you can try one of my other cold process banana soap recipes.
My yogurt and banana soap recipe with flaxseed oil is made with banana powder. While my banana oatmeal soap recipe is made using real banana and oats. I didn’t experience any overheating with either of these banana soap recipes. Therefore, they make great alternatives if you’re not yet a very experienced soapmaker.
Tips on Making Banana Soap
If you’re new to making banana soap using the cold process soap making method, there are a few tips to keep in mind. These are also great soap making tips for when you’re ready to formulate your own soap recipe using real banana.
- Using a higher percentage of real banana when making banana soap means more sugars. In turn, your soap is more likely to overheat the more banana you use. Therefore, utilize your freezer to prevent soap from overheating.
- If your banana soap overheats, it can be saved. If you catch your banana soap separating from excessive heat, mix it like you would when making hot process soap when separation begins. Once it hits that mashed potato like stage, shove it back in the mold and pop it in the freezer.
- If your soap overheats and separates, and you don’t catch it, don’t trash it. Simply throw it back into a soap making pot on the stove the next day. (You can also use a crockpot.) Then add 1 to 3 oz. of liquid in with the soap (starting with less, then adding more if needed) and heat over low, stirring occasionally. Once it looks like mashed potatoes, remold the soap. As your soap will be softer after the rebatch, it may be necessary to wait a few extra days before unmolding.
- You don’t want to use chunks of banana when making banana soap. Therefore, I use ripe banana as it’s easier to puree. I simply mashed the ripe banana with a fork, then mixed it thoroughly with my soap making oils using an immersion blender until smooth, prior to adding the lye-water.
- Using banana in soap will turn the soap a tan to light brown color. Go into making your soap with this expectation so you aren’t disappointed with the final outcome. This is especially important to consider if you are using a colorant in your soap recipe.
- When using banana to make soap, you will need to reduce the water amount by the amount of banana puree you include in the recipe.
My Cold Process Banana Soap Formulation
I really wanted to make my berry banana smoothie soap recipe palm free. As I have literally never used tallow in soap before, I figured I’d finally have at it. My original soap recipe for this project was comprised of 25% beef tallow. However, somewhere along the way I misplaced my original palm free soap recipe and created another one. The second recipe for my banana berry smoothie soap somehow ended up with 40% beef tallow. This was the recipe I made. In the end it was likely for the best as the banana used did make the soap softer than say if I only used water with no banana at all, as it leaves additional fats after saponification.
However, looking back, both of my berry banana smoothie soap recipes are totally different. They don’t even use the same base ingredients! That’s the way it goes sometimes. I did think it would be fun to share both of my banana soap recipes — the one I made and the one I originally planned to make. I’d love to hear from you if you brave making the alternate version of this recipe, as lacking all the ingredients to recreate it, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Below is the cold process recipe I created and used to make the banana berry smoothie soap you see pictured. If you’re interested in making the alternate version, you can find that recipe further down, after the first recipe.
Berry Banana Smoothie Soap Recipe
© Rebecca D. Dillon
5.5 fl. oz. distilled water (33% of oil weight, reduced by amount of banana used)
3.6 oz. sodium hydroxide/lye (6% superfat)
3 oz. very ripe banana, mashed
1.3 oz. Wild Berries & Mimosa fragrance oil, optional (or another fragrance oil of choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons Fruit Punch Red mica powder, optional
various botanicals, optional
Tools & Materials:
Banana Soap Making Notes:
I do not recommend my banana berry smoothie soap recipe if you’ve never made cold process soap before as it is not a beginner soap recipe. If you need it, you can find a basic refresher course on how to make cold process soap here. I also have a simple beginner cold process soap recipe here if you’re just getting started.
Further, as lye, or sodium hydroxide, is caustic, you do need to take care when making soap. This includes wearing eye protection, gloves and avoiding use of any and all aluminium containers, molds and utensils. You can learn more about safely working with lye here.
As mentioned previously, due to the tallow content and the natural sugars found in banana, this soap does overheat. Therefore, I recommend soaping at colder temperatures of around 100°F. You should also place your soap in the freezer immediately after pouring the soap batter into the mold of your choice. Otherwise, your soap will likely overheat, which can result in heat tunnels, cracking or separation.
Finally, I used this loaf soap mold for this recipe. However, you are welcome to any mold of your choice. You can use either a loaf mold or a silicone soap mold with individual cavities.
To create a harder bar of soap, you can reduce the water discount to 30% of the oil weight and/or reduce the percentage of the super fat, if desired.
Using a digital scale, weigh out the soap making fats (oils and butter) called for in the recipe. Place the ingredients into a heat safe container, such as a non-aluminum stock pot, to heat on the stovetop. You can also use a crockpot or another heat safe container if you choose not to melt your oils on the stove.
Heat the soap making fats over medium-low to medium heat until melted on the stovetop (or using your preferred method) in a stainless steel pot. Once melted, remove the oils from the heat and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, measure out the water into a separate heat safe container. (You don’t want to use Pyrex to mix the lye, therefore a stainless steel pitcher or heat safe plastic container is recommended for mixing.) Then, using a third container, weigh out the lye.
Slowly pour the lye into the water in a well ventilated area. Mix well to combine, until all of the lye has dissolved. Set the lye-water aside to cool.
Now weigh out the fragrance oil and set aside.
Then, use a measuring spoon to measure out the mica.
Once the lye-water and the melted oils both reach a temperature of around 100°F to 110°F, you’re ready to make the banana soap loaf. (Ideally you want both the lye-water and soap making oils to be within 10°F of one another.)
Mash the ripe banana, then measure out the amount called for into a measuring cup. Add to the cooled soap making fats. Then mix well using an immersion blender, until the banana is no longer lumpy.
Add the fragrance oil and mica powder to the soap making fats and banana mixture. Mix again to incorporate the fragrance and colorant into the soap making fats.
Next, carefully pour the lye-water into the soap making fats. Mix with the immersion blender until you reach a light to medium trace. (You’ll know you’ve reached trace when you drag your blender across the top of the soap and it leaves a trail behind it. It will be similar to the consistency of pudding.)
Working quickly, pour the soap into the molds of your choice using a spatula. (In this instance, I use this wooden loaf soap mold with a silicone liner.
If desired, you can add botanicals to the freshly poured soap as a decorative element. (I did this, however, as I had to finish my berry banana smoothie soap off using the hot process soap making method, the botanicals ended up being mixed inside the soap bars.)
Place the loaf soap mold in the freezer overnight.
You can then unmold the banana soap loaf the next day.
Once you unmold the oap loaf, cut the soap into bars using either a Chef’s knife or a soap cutter. Then allow your soaps to cure in a cool, dry location over a period of four weeks prior to use.
Once the cold process banana soap bars have cured, they are ready to be used!
- 10.4 oz. beef tallow
- 5.2 oz. 76°F melt point coconut oil
- 2.6 oz. castor oil
- 5.2 oz. pomace olive oil
- 2.6 oz. shea butter
- 5.5 fl. oz. distilled water
- 3.6 oz. sodium hydroxide
- 3 oz. very ripe banana, mashed
- 1.3 oz. Wild Berries & Mimosa fragrance oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Fruit Punch Red mica powder, optional
- various botanicals, optional
- Digital scale
- Non-aluminum heat safe containers
- Immersion blender
- Silicone soap molds
- Glass measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Loaf mold
- Use a digital scale to weigh out the soap making fats.
- Place the ingredients into a heat safe container, such as a non-aluminum stock pot, then heat over medium-low to medium heat until melted. Once melted, remove heat and set aside to cool.
- Measure out the water into a separate heat safe container. Then, weigh out the lye into a separate container.
- Slowly pour the lye into the water in a well ventilated area. Mix well to combine, until all of the lye has dissolved. Set the lye-water aside to cool.
- Now weigh out the fragrance oil. Set aside.
- Measure out the mica into a separate container. Set aside.
- Once the lye-water and the melted oils both reach a temperature of around 100°F to 110°F, you’re ready to make soap.
- Mash the ripe banana. Then measure out the amount called for into a measuring cup. Add to the cooled soap making fats. Mix well using an immersion blender, until the banana is no longer lumpy.
- Add the fragrance oil and mica powder to the soap making fats and banana mixture. Mix again to incorporate the fragrance and colorant into the soap making fats.
- Pour the lye-water into the soap making fats. Mix with the immersion blender until you reach a light trace to medium trace.
- Thoroughly mix the fragrance oil into the soap batter, bringing to a medium trace.
- Pour the soap into the mold of your choice. Add botanicals as a decorative element to the top of the soap, if desired.
- Place the soap mold in the freezer overnight. Then unmold the soap the next day.
- Once you unmold your soap, cut it into bars.
- Allow the soaps to cure in a cool, dry location over a period of four weeks prior to use.
You can find the alternate berry banana smoothie soap recipe below. It uses the same amount of banana, however, the total recipe weight is slightly larger in size. Simply follow the same directions, per above, to make this other version of my banana soap recipe.
Alternate Banana Soap Recipe with Real Banana
© Rebecca D. Dillon
7.5 fl. oz. distilled water (33% of oil weight, reduced by amount of banana used)
4.4 oz. sodium hydroxide/lye (6% superfat)
3 oz. very ripe banana, mashed
1.6 oz. Wild Berries & Mimosa fragrance oil (.8 oz. fragrance oil per lb./5% of oil weight)
2 teaspoons Fruit Punch Red mica powder, optional (1 tsp per pound)
various botanicals, optional
If you enjoyed my banana berry smoothie soap recipe, then also be sure to try my other recipes for making cold process soap. These include my neem oil soap recipe for problem skin,my calendula soap recipe and my eco-friendly solid dish soap recipe. You may also like my strawberry smoothie foaming salt scrub recipe.
Have you tried one of my cold process soap recipes or other DIY skin care recipes? Do you make your own homemade bath and body products? I’d love to see your creations! Be sure to use #soapdelishowoff on your Instagram posts so I can see what you’ve created.