Soap Making with Argan Pulp
One of the more interesting ingredients I have used in soapmaking is argan pulp. A few months ago I was fortunate to meet a woman who sold argan oil at an event. She told me her husband’s family grew argan trees in Morocco and processed the oil themselves. She had argan pulp (what remained after the oil was pressed), and she wanted to know I could make a soap for her and incorporate the pulp into the soap. I spoke with her and her husband, did some research, and we decided I would try two different ways of using the pulp in the soap.
The first way was to use the pulp as is. It has a distinct, meaty-nutty odor. Not unpleasant, yet not really a scent you would associate with a soap. The pulp looks like crushed olives, and feels very oily. I used a basic recipe of olive, coconut and palm, adding 5% of argan oil and superfatting at 6%. I chopped up the argan pulp (1 tablespoon per pound of oils) as finely as I could, then added it to the oils before adding the lye and hit it with the stick blender. Once it was well mixed, I added the lye and made soap as usual.
The second way we discussed was to dry the pulp in an oven on low heat for a few hours. This turned the pulp into something I thought could be used as an exfoliator. The final product has a roasted meat-like scent that isn’t as strong as the nutty scent of the wet pulp. I used a mortar & pestle to grind it finer. I used the same recipe, only adding the dried pulp (1 tablespoon per pound of oils) at trace.
For both soaps, the cure time was 4 weeks. No added fragrance or essential oil was used.
The soap made with the wet pulp has a stronger meaty/nutty fragrance. It is a dark brown. It is a softer bar of soap than the one made with the dried pulp. The dry soap feels oily to the touch, but not when used for washing.
The soap with the dried pulp, has very little scent and is as hard as my usual soaps. It is a light beige color. The dried pulp doesn’t give too much of an exfoliating feel though, (feels more like oatmeal than powdered apricot seeds). This dry soap does not feel oily to the touch.
Both soaps lather well and left me feeling clean. She and her husband liked them both, but like the soap with the dried pulp better. I will be making it again for them, this time increasing the amount of dried pulp. They plan on selling it under their label with their other argan oil products. I am not sold on the feasibility of selling the soap with the wet pulp. I can’t accurately account for the fat in the pulp, therefore, I’m not sure what the true superfat is. Since it is oily to the touch when dry, I don’t know if a consumer would purchase. And the scent from the argan pulp is detectable and although it’s not an unpleasant odor, the soap doesn’t smell good. For me, it’s moot anyway, since they like the other soap better.
What do you thing of an argan oil soap? Would you wash with it?
Yours in Gratitude,