Add luxury to your skincare with a sparkly frosted cranberry soap! The melt-and-pour soap recipe is infused with cranberry seed oil that is guaranteed to soothe and pamper dry skin. Essential oils provide a delicious, all-natural fragrance reminiscent of cranberry sauce.
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DIY cranberry hand soap
If you dream of homemade cranberry soap, this step-by-step tutorial will help you learn how to make frosted cranberry soap bars.
Frosting the soap with an icy sugar ring is a trick that will make even the most beginner soap maker seem like a total pro. It looks magical and is really so easy to achieve!
Cranberry melt-and-pour soap is a fantastic idea during the busy holiday season because you get wonderful handmade gifts for relatively little work.
Plus, the nourishing ingredients in this soap will keep your hands soft and supple all winter long!
If you love homemade Christmas soap, you might also like my pine soap recipe, cinnamon hand soap, layered candy cane soap, and these cute gingerbread soap bars.
Cranberry soap benefits
What is cranberry soap good for? Let’s talk about the possible skincare benefits of cranberry soap!
- Antioxidants: Cranberry oil is rich in potent antioxidants such as phytosterols and anthocyanins. These compounds may protect the skin from photodamage due to sun exposure.
- Softening and soothing: Cranberries are a great source of vitamin E. The vitamin can soothe irritation and strengthen your skin’s protective barrier.
- Hydration: The fatty acids in cranberry seed oil absorb quickly and provide lightweight moisturization.
- Improve pigmentation and age spots: The antioxidant activity of cranberry can potentially help reduce pigmentation caused by UV exposure.
Cranberry soap ingredients
Simple, wholesome materials here! This recipe is so easy and so festive, you’ll want to make it this holiday season! Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients:
- Cranberry seed oil is a golden-hued plant oil sourced from cranberry seeds. It infuses the soap with the wonderful benefits we talked about. Make sure to buy organic, cold-pressed cranberry seed oil for the best benefits.
- Soap base: This DIY cranberry soap is made with a premade soap base like every melt-and-pour recipe. I opted for a shea butter base. Other bases like goat’s milk or olive oil would be lovely, too.
- Essential oils give the soap a natural scent. Cranberry essential oil doesn’t exist, but I’ll show a delicious blend that smells like yummy cranberry sauce.
- Red mica gives the soap bars a festive shimmer and gorgeous cranberry color.
- Granulated sugar (white sugar) is needed to create the icy frosting.
- High-proof alcohol (optional) helps to dissolve unwanted bubbles. Use rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, 190-proof Everclear, or high-proof vodka.
- Digital scales for measuring quantities.
- Cutting board + paring knife to chop the soap base.
- Large measuring jug (microwave-safe) for melting.
- Metallic spoon or spatula for mixing.
- Cylinder mold to pour round soap bars.
- Spray bottle to disperse the high-proof alcohol.
- Soft, flat brush to wet the soap before frosting.
- Shallow bowl to apply the sugar frosting.
Cranberry essential oil blend
If you ever took a sniff at fresh cranberries, you may notice that the berries don’t really have a distinctive smell.
My next thought was cranberry sauce, which is often made with orange juice, spices, and citrus rind and has a refreshing fruit aroma.
I played with different citrus oils and ratios. I found that a mix of pink grapefruit, mandarin, and a touch of lemon creates a yummy scent that smells like cranberry sauce. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 100 drops grapefruit essential oil (provides fruitiness)
- 50 drops mandarin essential oil (can sub for tangerine or sweet orange)
- 25 drops steam-distilled lemon essential oil (adds a tart note that is typical for cranberries)
The amounts are enough to fragrance 1 lb / 450 g soap base. Be sure to buy steam-distilled lemon oil because cold-pressed oil can react phototoxic.
Cranberry fragrance oil
As I mentioned, cranberry essential oil doesn’t exist, but you will find cranberry fragrance oil as an alternative to essential oils. Wholesale Supplies Plus offers a lovely frosted cranberry scent oil and also carries this fruity cranberry fragrance oil.
How to make cranberry soap
It is super simple to pull this cranberry soap recipe together! Keep in mind that it makes 8 soap bars, so if you want to create holiday gifts for more recipients, double the quantities for a bigger batch.
Step 1: Chop soap base
Carefully cut your melt and pour soap base into small cubes to speed up the melting process.
Step 2: Melt soap
Put the soap cubes into a large measuring cup and melt in the microwave on medium heat. Melt in intervals to ensure you don’t boil the soap base. Initially heat for 1 minute. Then stir and put it back in. Keep an eye on the soap as it can get very hot.
Step 3: Add oils and color
Once the soap has melted fully, add the cranberry seed oil, essential oils, and burgundy mica powder. Stir well and make sure the oils and colorant have mixed thoroughly. If you find the mica lumping, spritz the soap with alcohol to dissolve the lumps.
Step 4: Pour soap bars
When you are satisfied with the color, pour the base into the mold. Gently spray the top with high-proof alcohol to eliminate any unwanted bubbles. I recommend placing the mold on a cutting board or tray so you can move it to another location.
Step 5: Solidify
Leave the soap to set. It will take approximately 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the fridge.
Step 6: Frost (optional)
Once fully hardened, remove the soap bars from the mold. Using a soft, flat brush, moisten the edges of the soap with a small amount of water. You want the rim barely moist, not dripping wet. Place the sugar in a shallow bowl. Then roll the moistened edges of the soap in the sugar to coat. Let dry for a couple of minutes. Now you can enjoy your frosted cranberry soap!
Step 7: Store
Wrap each soap individually in plastic wrap/cling film to protect it from moisture. Store in a cool, dark, and dry location, away from direct sunlight.
Tips for success
Here are my top 3 tips for making the best cranberry soap ever! These helpful hints will ensure a beautiful soap.
- Use 2 tsp mica powder. If you use a white/opaque soap base (like goat’s milk or shea butter), you need at least 2 teaspoon mica powder to achieve a rich and deep cranberry hue. If using a translucent base (like glycerin), 1 teaspoon is probably enough.
- Frost the soap with granulated erythritol if you live in a high humidity environment. Sugar absorbs moisture from the air and will melt. Erythritol is less absorbent and will hold up better in humid conditions.
- Avoid touching the sugar rim when handling the soap. The sugar frosting is pretty delicate and will rub off if touched too much.
Can I add cranberry seeds to soap?
Yes, you can add cranberry seeds if you want an exfoliating effect. Cranberry seeds are teardrop-shaped and bright red.
The seeds are quite abrasive, be sure to grind them in a coffee grinder to create a powder. You can stir 1 tbsp ground cranberry seeds into your soap.
Can I add dried cranberries to soap?
Yes, you could decorate your soap with dried cranberries, but the berries will shorten the life span. Dried cranberries often carry residual moisture, which will soften the soap.
Can I use cranberry powder in soap?
No, I don’t recommend it. I tried to color the soap with cranberry powder in my first attempt at this homemade soap recipe, but that didn’t work out.
The berry powder didn’t dissolve, and I ended up with blotches of undissolved powder in my soap.
Packaging and storage
- Packaging: Once the cranberry soap bars are finished, wrap each soap bar airtight in plastic wrap/cling film. MP soap tends to absorb moisture from the air, which collects as small beads on the outside of the soap. This effect is called glycerin dew and can affect the quality of your creation.
- Storage: A dry, cool location is the best place to store your handmade cranberry soap. A drawer, cupboard, or lidded box are good options.
- Shelf life: Frosted cranberry soap will last for 4 to 5 months. Without the sugar frosting, the soap will keep well for 1 year.