Cream Soap – Using BTMS during saponification

Download$IMG_053711I like to experiment and, occasionally, break soaping rules. Here I present my version of cream soap using an ingredient not generally used when making soap.

PHOTO_20160208_095934Many months ago while researching oil combinations for use in a  liquid soap experiment, I came across an elusive category of soap that is spottily documented – Cream Soap. After hours, days, weeks of searching I found a few reliable resources on the internet, in a book, and a few videos documenting the process. Many many batches later, I was still a bit baffled by cream soap. Some batches foamed up and separated, some were too slippery and  slimy to use in the shower, and nearly all of them left my hands feeling like they’d just baked in the Sahara for a week. I kept experimenting.

Recently on a forum there were several discussions about shampoo and I began itching to experiment again.  Another soaper, Christine from The Magic Soap Pot, mentioned she had experimented with mixing melted conditioning emulsifier into her 100% coconut liquid soap and shampooing with the mixture with some nice results. Christine also mentioned she’d had some luck adding BTMS to a grated rebatch and thought she might try adding some to the end of a hot process cook. I don’t know if she’s had time to try yet. Thanks to Christine for pushing me this direction. 🙂

I wanted to saponify Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol or conditioning emulsifier, and see what happened. I scoured the internet for any mention or example of using a conditioning emulsifier in any saponified soap recipe with absolutely no luck. I did find this one list of ingredients here that might have been a successful experiment but not sure because there are no notes and two listings of ingredients for the same bar. Unless someone has tried and not documented their experiences or I’ve just missed a secret post somehow, this may be a first. If you know of another example, please share, I would love to have a conversation!

Initially, the recipe below was intended to become a liquid shampoo even though this recipe is technically a cream soap. Well the liquid experiment failed, leaving me with separated liquid soap. However, the paste I had reserved from my first batch of this soap gave me surprising and exciting results as a cream soap! I stripped the recipe bare so I could try it again with just the basics. Here is the recipe and I will share with you the steps to make this cream soap, I apologize the post is so long but wanted to share pictures of these steps.

Cream Soap Recipe

I used two different lye calculators to put together this recipe, MMS’s Cream Soap Calculator and Summerbee Meadow’s Advanced Soap Calculator. I also used a lye ratio provided by Taylor at MMS for a soap recipe she had sent in a swap and that I had duplicated at home, the ratio seemed to work well for that recipe so I went with it here as well. When I’ve learned to calculate sap values by hand I might be able to refine this recipe further.

68 grams 10% Castor oil
272 grams 40% Coconut oil
102 grams 15% Olive oil
136 grams 20% Rice Bran oil
102 grams 15% Tallow

68 grams BTMS – Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (not in recipe calculations, just added in addition to everything else – probably just under 10%)

850 grams Distilled Water
119.5 grams Potassium Hydroxide (-8)
26 grams Sodium Hydroxide (+1)

Supercream at 5% – 34 grams Stearic Acid and 85 grams Glycerin – added after cook

Recently Updated
TOP LEFT – BTMS still floating on top of melted oils | TOP RIGHT – BTMS sinks to the bottom of melted oils | BOTTOM LEFT – Finally, all melted and clear | BOTTOM RIGHT – Adding lye(s) to melted oils and BTMS


If you’ve made it this far, I am impressed! Shew that’s a lot of stuff in one post. Any of you that have made cream soap before know that during the “rot” the whipped soap will change. Here is a picture of the cream soap a few days after I whipped it with a little fragrance, germall plus, and hot water (I did not measure my water exactly, I just went for a thick whip that pulled the soap away from the sides of my bowl a bit). PHOTO_20160210_183838

I will continue to let this cream soap rot and check on it in the mornings when I grab a little for my shower spoon. It will probably get pearly very soon.

I have been using this soap for nearly a month on my hair. I will keep using and perhaps add some other goodies like panthenol, silk, vitamins, etc. Overall, I’m SUPER pleased with this soap so far. The lather and bubbles are incredibly stable, it does not dry my skin, and I shave with it too. This cream is also not nearly as slippery when wet! Of course it is a little slick but I’m able to easily get it moving in my hands without dropping it in the shower. Yay 😀

I sure hope there’s someone else out there trying BTMS in soap. If you find me, let’s brainstorm! If anyone tries this early recipe, please share, I want to hear all about your adventures in soap 🙂


13 thoughts on “Cream Soap – Using BTMS during saponification

  1. !!! I recently came across cream soap onlin but had trouble finding any more information on it. I’m so happy you wrote this! I’ve been planning a liquid shampoo recipe but I haven’t tried I yet. Does the BTMS add anything beyond conditioning properties? I’m SO intrigued, not only by the cream soap aspect of this recipe but also the emulsifier. My objective I’m formulating a shampoo fo myself is to get the ph as low as possible. I color my hair and I also have issues with my scalp that no product I have tried so fat has been able to help. I know that a low(er) ph will also keep the hair from feeling all of those unpleasant side effects from a true soap based shampoo. I would love to give this a try in cream form! It would be an adventure but it usually is when I make new soap! I have a rough draft liquid soap paste recipe written down that I could probably convert to cream.. I didn’t know those calculators existed so thank you!

    I just realized I am rambling on, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cream Soap is an incredibly elusive soap and the recipes are guarded secrets I’ve yet to crack! I’ve tried many times to make cream soap (and then liquify it to varying degrees of success to downright terror). In my limited understanding and experience, I’ve not really liked cream soap much, until now. The difference is the BTMS, I’m certain of it! This soap really lathers and really cleans but is way less slippery and drying than other cream soaps I’ve made. Note I’ve used a relatively tiny amount of stearic acid. Some recipes call for up to 70%¡ The stearic acid has made all of my attempts extremely slippery and drying. That being said, I still use a hefty amount of coconut and don’t superfat (only supercream with stearic/glycerin) this soap so it is only as drying as a typical soap might be. It has not stayed white but is yellow, from the other oils and is quite thick, paste like now. I’ve learned to take a small bit and lather it up on a bath pouf and then wash my hair. This way I don’t leave any soapy residue behind when I wash. My friend who is testing swears his dry splotchy spots he used to get are gone. He had his hair washed at the salon and said he itched all day after, may he please have more of this soap. Yay. I’m still very early on in the formation and testing of this one but with time and more experimenting I think it could be awesome! Now, I’ve rambled on and don’t even know if I’ve answered your questions 😉


      1. You have! I want to try my shampoo recipe with the BTMS now! I have to order some. My scalp is prone to extreme itchiness, flakes, and even breakouts. I think I may have some sort of scalp eczema or something, but I try and stay away from doctors so it’s never been diagnosed. Any sort of soap based shampoos I’ve tried leave my fine hair sticky and tacky feeling as well as leaving incredible build up on my scalp. I wish I could exfoliate my head! My rough draft contains coconut, castor, olive, babassu, and probably 5 or 6 other oils (I don’t have it in front of me) and I plan to dilute with a mix of witch hazel and aloe juice to lower pH. Then I want to add rosemary and tea tree oils as they are known to help my sort of scalp issues. You said adding the BTMS to a liquid recipe didn’t work, correct? Maybe I need to convert my recipe to a cream recipe, because it sounds like this BTMS is the key to success for a shampoo recipe! I only need like 12 more hours in a day to get this done in a timely fashion! =’P

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I think I’m going to tweek this recipe and play with it a little this weekend. Couple things…
              I have NO Idea what the PH of this soap is, I have one of those readers but have yet to master it – something to work on…
              I also start big usually! Adding as many awesome ingredients as possible. You should have seen my very first shampoo bar recipe, LOL. I’m trying to go the other way now, start small and add as I go. On this recipe, I’m thinking of lowering the percentage of castor oil a bit. I’ve really hard water and I think it contributes to the tiny bit of a problem of not getting the soap rinsed out all the way. I am also thinking of replacing the tallow. I used it because I had it but am thinking of switching it out for Nilotica Shea. Possibly a lighter oil for the Rice Bran too. Also may pull back a little on the lye ratio – I still don’t want to superfat, only supercream, but think I could ease back a tiny bit to get the recipe a little closer to 0. My concern with superfatting this soap is it sticks around for a very long time and I’m trying to keep oils from turning rancid over long periods. And then there’s additives. I’d like to work on those.
              I have not added anything like witch hazel or aloe to any of my recipes yet, sounds intriguing! We’ll have to talk about those and what they might do! Anyway, If you’ve the time we should have an actual conversation to brainstorm 🙂 I’ll send you the digits. ❤


        1. Annie:
          I just wanted to interject about your scalp issues. What do you use now – store bought shampoo and/or conditioner? If so, you may be having issues with all the chemicals in them.
          Have you ever tried home-made shampoo bars?
          Also, I would even try washing your hair with Pink Himalayan salt bars, as it should relieve the eczema. I have found it to be a miracle worker on skin (and have had a lot of feedback from people that tell me so from their experience with my PH salt bars.) I have even used them on my face to get rid of hives – one use and they were immediately gone and have never come back.
          Hope some of that helps! Good luck.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Annie:
              I’ve only made the soleseife soap once, and there is just so little salt in there that I can’t believe it would make much of a difference. I also have noticed that it’s specifically the Pink Himalayan salt that seems to work miracles. I just posted two blogs on PH Salt Bars this past month, if you want to check it out at:
              Sorry to hi-jack your blog, but I just really wanted to talk to Annie about this. I look forward to your next posting – especially on your progress with the cream soaps…although I enjoy all your blogs!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Sly, feel free to hi -Jack anytime! We’re here to learn, experiment, fail or succeed! I value your input ❤

                Got experiment #3 in the works on this one. Don't know yet if I'll blog it but one of our tries will get uupdated 🙂


  2. April:
    Interesting post….I’ve never attempted liquid or cream soap. Good on you!!
    I look forward to the updates.

    Have you ever done shampoo bars? I’ve been making & using them for 3+ years and really like them. (I also make/use a thick conditioner….both Bramble Berry/ Soap Queen recipes.)


    1. I have a whole shelf of shampoo bars, I really like using bars, so convenient! I’m just a little lazy about getting conditioner made (ran out of last batch) and always have something else in the works. I’m very low maintenance though so no conditioner just means I comb more carefully 😉 You should give it a whirl, I bet you’ll enjoy making liquid and/or cream soaps! 🙂


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