A gentle baby soap recipe using nourishing oils and shea butter. Lavender helps relax little ones after a long day.
Table of contents
What makes a good baby soap recipe?
If you are familiar with soap making, you know that different oils have different properties that they bring a bar of soap. Some are nourishing, some are extra cleansing, some make the bar harder. A baby soap should get your little nice and clean, but most importantly, it should be moisturizing and gentle.
This recipe is very gentle on the skin. There is a pretty good amount of coconut oil (a very cleansing oil) to ensure the day’s grime is washed away, but that is balanced by a lot of olive oil, and some almond oil, which is both very gentle.
Shea butter and beeswax help make the bar harder as well as nourishing baby’s skin.
And finally, lavender essential oil leaves a relaxing fragrance without adding any chemicals.
Please note that since this is a real lye soap, it is not tear free. It will sting little one’s eyes, so please be careful!
Ingredients and tools you will need
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- A digital scale
- A stick blender
- A soap mold (I used this 10-inch mold for this recipe)
- Coconut oil (look for it in bulk at Bramblerry.com or Bulk Apothecary)
- Beeswax (pellets are the easiest type to work with)
- Olive oil (any kind will do)
- Shea butter
- Sweet almond oil
Step by step:
Like all soap recipes, we begin by measuring out the lye and water into two separate containers. Mix them together by adding the lye to the water and stirring until dissolved. The solution will get very hot. Set it aside to cool in a safe place.
While the lye water is cooling, measure out the oils. Since this recipe contains beeswax, which is slow to melt, I like to give it a head start in the microwave. Measure all the soil oils (coconut, shea butter, and beeswax) and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on low for a minute or two until they begin to melt.
Measure the olive oil and almond oil. (I pour them right into the pot, but you should technically measure them out in separate containers.)
Now pour the pre-softened hard oils into the liquid oils and melt them all together. This will take a few minutes on the stovetop on low. You want them fully melted and about 140 degrees.
After the oils have melted, they need to cool. We want the lye water and the oils to be about 100-110 degrees. Ideally, they will be very close together in temperature.
This will take a few hours, depending on the temperature of your room. Once they have cooled off enough, it time to combine them into soap.
Before you begin, make sure you have your mold and fragrance ready to go. Pour the lye water into the melted oils and blend with your stick blender until you reach “trace”.
There should be so visible spots of oil, and the solution will thicken until it looks like a batter. When you lift up your stick blender, the soap will leave a trail that rests on top, rather than immediately sinking in.
When trace is reached, add the fragrance and stir in by hand. Once the fragrance is added, it will start to set up very quickly. Immediately pour the soap into the mold.
Wrap the baby soap in an old blanket so that it will retain its heat as it cures. Let it sit, undisturbed, for one day, then turn out of the mold and cut into bars.
This soap is very high in olive oil, which means it will improve with a long cure time. It will be safe to use after 2 weeks, but after a month it will be a harder bar that will last longer.
Here’s the printable recipe!
Gentle Cold Process Baby Soap Recipe
- 3 ounces sweet almond oil
- 8 ounces coconut oil
- 14 ounces olive oil
- 4 ounces shea butter
- 1 ounce beeswax
- 4.10 ounces lye
- 8 to 11 ounces of water
- 2 tablespoons lavender essential oil or fragrance oil optional
- Measure out the lye and water into two separate containers, using a digital scale. Add the lye to the water (not the other way around) and stir until it’s fully dissolved. It will get hot. Set it aside to cool in a safe place.
- Measure out the oils and butters in separate containers. (Or at least measure the solid oils in one container, and the liquid oils in another.) Melt the solid oils, then add them to the liquid oils and melt on the stovetop on low until 140 degrees. Set aside to cool.
- When the lye and the oils have both cooled down to about 110 degrees, it’s time to make the soap. Prepare your mold and any fragrance you are using. Pour the lye water into the melted oil and blend with a stick blender. Blend until the soap reaches “trace”, meaning that it has turned into a slightly thickened batter. There should be no visible oil droplets, and. if. you lift up your stick blender, the soap that comes off of it will rest on top of the soap instead of just sinking in. If you are adding fragrance, measure it out and stir by hand.
- Immediately pour the finished soap into the mold. Cover with an old towel to insulate. it so it heats up evenly. After 24 hours, turn out and cut into bars. Allow. to cure for 2-3 weeks before using. Store in a dry, cool place.
- 10% sweet almond oil
- 26.67% coconut oil
- 46.67% olive oil
- 13.33% shea butter
- 3.33% beeswax
- 6% superfat
Looking for more homemade things for baby?
- This homemade hand cream would be lovely for elbows, knees, and any other dry patches on a little one’s skin. Just make sure to choose a skin safe essential oil, or leave it out all together.
- If you have mango butter on hand, you can try this moisturizing soap recipe, also suitable for babies.
66 thoughts on “Gentle Cold Process Baby Soap Recipe”
Hi, will this be hurt babies eyes?
Yes it will sting! It is NOT tear free.
Why do you have a range for the water amounts? I read and re-read the post to see if there is a reason for this so can you help me out?
a range is normal and acceptable for the water, just not for the other ingredients. as you make more soap you’ll probably develop a preference as to whether you like more or less water- less will come to trace faster and cure slower. you can just go right int he middle to start. 🙂
Hi Katie, love your soap making tutorials. I want to make this baby soap but do not have shea butter, what could I use instead?
kerstin, mango butter or cocoa butter! run it through a lye calculator first
I am going to try this recipe next. I have cocoa butter but not Shea butter. What do you think as a substitute?
I would simply replace the shea with cocoa (unless you have mango butter, then I’d use that.). Run it through a lye calculator to make sure the lye doesn’t change… buut i doubt it will
I tried this recipe for my grandson and it turned out excellent!. Making another batch for his sensitive skin
I really like this recipe and I consider expanding it with castor oil 2 oz. Do you think it’s a good idea?
Of course I will alternate the amount of lye and water.
yes i think it would be a great addition. nice and bubbly. it will soften the bar a bit.
Hi! Have you ever done this hot process? If so, is there a different process to follow? Thanks!
hey kimberly. I’m sorry i’ve never done that way!
This is a great recipe, I tried it and it worked for me…. Thank you dear
So I tried this recipe and when I cut the soap it started to crumble it was 2 hard it set on longer than 24 hours
oh no i’m sorry! i haven’t had this problem but i know sometimes beeswax can get very hard 🙁
i tried the recipe. but the final product is soft as a marshmallow. so disappointed. what may I have done wrong. doesn’t seem to harden over time either. i reduced a bit of olive oil and almond and added Castor oil (6%) palm oil (5%)as I wanted a bit more lather and wanted it to be harder. but instead, it is the opposite. i did run the receipt through soapcalc
Hi Nina! castor oil will definitely make the bar softer, but you didn’t add too much so I’m honestly not sure what happened. this recipe is actually very hard.
Just give it time. Takes a little longer to harden up sometimes.
Awesome recipe. I don’t think I have seen many geared toward babies. Have you ever tried Bulk Apothecary for ingredients?
A question. Is this baby soap mild enough for my face? I haven’t hade babies for almost 35 years now, and even my grandchildren are older now. But I really need a good soap for my face.. I don’t like all the chemicals in the ones you buy. Or do you have any suggestions to how I can adjust this recipe? I love that it’s not a bunch of expensive stuff I this one.. 👍
Love that you put out the ratios in percent. That way I can use it without translate it into grams first. 😊
Thank you! 💕🌼🙏🌼💕
Yes it should be fine for your face! To make it even milder, I would chhange the superfat to 8%! Just plug everything in a lye calculator (I like the mountain sage one), and set thhe supeerfat at 8. Everything will stay the same exceept the wateer and lye.
Hi, This recipe looks great. If I do not have sweet almond oil, how would you adjust the recipe? I have every other ingredient. Thank you!
hi monica, i’d just increase the olive oil, run it through a lye calculator to see if the lye amount changes. 🙂
This is my first time trying soap with more than one type of oil. I went rogue and didn’t melt the hard wax/oil separately. It never looked “oily” even though I heated it to 140. It looked grainy/milky. I used the immersion blender to try to emulsify the oils while cooking. I went ahead and finished the recipe but not sure it will turn out. Is it just because I didn’t melt the hard ingredients separately or did I maybe not buy the right kind of Shea butter and bees wax???
hi susan! melting them together is no big deal. BUT it should have gotten oily when you melted it, not stayed grainy. It will look liked a pot of completely liquid oils. The beeswax is last to melt and does take longer than the shea butter. If it sets up, you can still try what you’ve made, but test on your hands before using on your whole body in case its too harsh.
Hi, love your recipes. Shall we use liquid oils for this one. If yes please tell the measurements.
I’m getting in my order with https://www.bulkapothecary.com/. I had never thought of making baby-specific soap. Thank you for the idea!