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The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

This cold process soap recipe is the best ever. It makes a moisturizing yet cleansing bar with tons of lather.

three bars of pink homemade soap stacked up on white surface

I love the process of making soap, but what I love even more is developing recipes for it. Every oil brings its own properties to a bar of soap, and finding the perfect soap recipe is a balance of those things. You have to walk the line between cleansing and moisturizing, long lasting and high lather, and all the other different characteristics that make a good bar of soap.

What makes the best soap recipe?

In my mind, a good cold process soap should clean well, not dry the skin, and have a noticeable fragrance. But mostly improtantly, there should be plenty of lather and big bubbles. This is most people’s complaint about homemade soap, and this recipe takes care of it.

What size mold works with this soap recipe?

This recipe makes forty ounces, which nicely fills a good sized wooden mold.  I also use it with a 10-inch silicone mold but it fills it to the top and then some (you see in the video). The bars with a ten inch mold are oversized but you can still get the full recipe in there.  

Of course, if you have individual bar molds it works fine with them as well. It is a bit softer at first than some recipes, use sodium lactate if you are using a mold with any detail.

You can resize this recipe, or any other, by using a soap calculator like this one.

Simply enter in these percentages and it will calculate the ounces of oil you need for this recipe in whatever size you need:

  • Avocado Oil: 9.76%
  • Castor Oil: 9.76%
  • Coconut Oil: 26.83%
  • Mango Butter: 4.88%
  • Olive Oil: 21.95%
  • Palm Oil: 21.95%
  • Sweet Almond Oil: 4.88%

Step by step cold process soap making

The basic soap making process is the same no matter what recipe you use. This recipe does require a lot of different oils, so if you don’t want to invest in all of these oils before you get comfortable making soap, try my homemade cleaning soap or mango butter hand soap first.

But it is no more difficult to make this recipe than any of the others. It’s still the same process.

First measure your lye and water separately using a digital scale, then carefully combine them.  Pour your water into a cup you don’t care much about, then add the lye to the water, stir it until it dissolves, and set it somewhere it will not be knocked over, drank, or otherwise messed with.

lye being poured into water for cold process soap recipe
add the lye to the water: snow floats on the lake!

Then you measure your oils, using your scale, zeroing out the scale before each addition. 

soap making oils on digital scale in stainless steel pot

Melt them on your stovetop, bringing the temperature up to around 140.

Now everything needs to cool to about 110 to 120 degrees.  It will take a few hours.  Check with a thermometer.

Once your temperatures are right, it is time to combine.  

BEFORE you do this, make sure any color and fragrance you want to add are ready to go, and that your mold is prepared.  A wooden mold needs to be lined with freezer or parchment paper.  A silicone mold requires no prep.

Blend….

Until everything is combined and you have reached a thin “trace”.  This means your soap had thickened up JUST a little.  If you were to drizzle a bit of soap of top, it would stay instead of sinking in.  

Add color and fragrance and stir by hand or slowly with the stick blender.

Then pour everything into your prepared mold.

pink batter for cold process soap being poured into white silicone mold

Wrap in some old quilts to keep it warm, OR put in an oven set to 140 degrees or less.  Let the oven run for an hour and then turn it off, leaving the soap overnight.  Or just leave it wrapped up overnight.

The next morning or afternoon you take it out and cut it into bars.  Use three or four weeks later.  You will love it.

finished cold process soap bars laying on old dish towel

My favorite soap making tools:

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8 bars of pink homemade soap

Here’s the recipe:

Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

Prep Time30 mins
curing time1 d
Total Time1 d 30 mins
Keyword: best cold process soap recipe, extra lather cold process soap
Author: Katie Shaw, Heart’s Content

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 11 oz. coconut oil
  • 9 oz. olive oil
  • 9 oz. palm oil
  • 2 oz. sweet almond oil
  • 4 oz. castor oil
  • 4 oz. avocado oil
  • 2 oz. mango butter
  • 5.83 oz of lye
  • 10-15 oz. water
  • 3 T. of fragrance for a strong scent, vary this to your preferences

Instructions

  • Using a digital scale, measure out the lye and water in separate glass containers.  Combine them by adding the lye to the water.  (Remember: snow floats on the lake.). Stir until the lye dissolves.  The temperature will shoot up.  Place this in a safe place to cool.
  • While the lye solution is cooling, measure out the oils and butters and combine them in a large stainless pot.  Melt them over low heat and heat them up to 130-140 degrees.  Set them aside to cool.
  • After 2 hours, check the temperature of both solutions.  They should be around 110 degrees.  (A range of 100-120 is fine.). If not, allow them to cool longer.
  • Prepare your mold and measure out any fragrance or color you will be adding.  (For best blending of colors, mix some color into a few drops of melted oils.). If using sodium lactate, add it to the lye water at this time.
  • Pour the water and lye solution into the pot with the melted oils.  Blend with a stick blender until thin trace is reached.  The soap batter will noticeable thicken and a trail of soap will sit on top of the liquid rather than immediately sinking in.  (This will take about 1 minute.). Add the color and fragrance and stir by hand.
  • mmediately pour the soap batter into the mold.  Place in a turned off oven or wrap with blankets to insulate the soap.
  • After 24 hours of curing, unmold and cut into bars.  The bars may seem slightly soft but will harden considerably during the curing process. Allow to cure at least 3 weeks in a well-ventilated place.

Notes

Follow standard soap making safety guidelines!