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The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

A super bubbly homemade soap with great cleansing and moisturizing properties. Once you try this recipe, it will be all you want to use!

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

stack of pink soap bars

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Perfectly balanced between cleansing and moisturizing: Every oil brings its own properties to a bar of soap, and finding the perfect soap recipe is a balance of those things. This recipe does it.
  • Tons of lather and big bubbles. This is most people’s complaint about homemade soap, and this recipe takes care of it.
  • Suitable for beginners. Yes, it has a lot of oils, but the basic process is the same as any recipe. If you’ve never made cold-process soap before, you should read my Beginners Guide to Soapmaking first.

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on counter

You’ll need the following for this bubbly bar:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • palm oil
  • sweet almond oil
  • castor oil
  • avocado oil
  • mango butter
  • lye
  • water
  • fragrance and color (optional)
  • sodium lactate for a harder bar

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🍴Instructions

Step One: Measure water and LYE

pyrex cup with lye on top
Remember “snow floats on the lake”: the lye goes on top

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.

Step Two: Measure, melt, and cool the oils

oil and butter 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.

If you’re using sodium lactate, add it now to the cooled lye water.

Step three: Blend to trace

stick blender combining water and oils

Once your temperatures are right, it is time to combine.   Pour the lye water into the pot of oils and stick blend.

Important: Before you do this, make sure any color and fragrance you want to add are ready to go, and that your mold is prepared. Things will move very quickly and you don’t want your soap batter hardening in the pot. 

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 on top, it would stay instead of sinking in.  

Step FouR: Add Color and fragrance and pour into mold

pouring pink soap batter into loaf mold

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

Then pour everything into your prepared mold.

Step FIVE: CUre and cut

cut bars on tea towel

Let the soap cure in a warm, draft-free place (such a turned-off oven that has been warmed to 140 degrees, then turned off), or wrapped in quilts.

The next morning or afternoon you take it out and cut it into bars.   Let it cure for 3-5 weeks before using in the shower

🥫 Storage instructions

Once fully cured, homemade soap should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated spot. I like to put it in shoe boxes in the closet with layers of newspaper in between the bars.

While it is in use, use a soap saver to keep your bar dry. It will last much longer.

🔍 FAQs

What kind of mold did you use?

A 10-inch silicone mold. It’s my favorite for most soaps.

What type of color is this pink?

It is a pink mica from Nurture Soap. You can find it here.

Can I use this recipe in individual cavity molds?

Yes, absolutely. I’d recommend using sodium lactate since it can be a bit soft when unmolding it.

What are the best soap fragrances?

This is 100% personal preference (except for the fact that florals are more difficult to work with). My personal favorites are Comfort and Joy from Nurture Soap and Mango Mango from Brambleberry

Will this recipe work with swirls or embeds?

Yes! I used to swirl it all the time before I got too lazy. 😊

Can I resize this?

You sure can. You’ll need the following percentages:

Coconut Oil: 26.83%
Mango Butter: 4.88%
Olive Oil: 21.95%
Palm Oil: 21.95%
Sweet Almond Oil: 4.88%


Enter them into a soap calculator with the desired size of your batch and it will give you the correct amounts.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Working with lye is dangerous and you must be in a well-ventilated, distraction-free workspace. Wear goggles and gloves to protect yourself and keeps kids and pets away.
  • You must follow soapmaking recipes exactly. If you’re going to make changes or substitutions, you must first run the recipe through a lye calculator and accept that you’ve created your own recipe at this point.
  • Castor oil is the “secret” to big bubbles. Don’t substitute!

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📖 Here’s the recipe

4.23 from 117 votes

The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe

Print Recipe
A super bubbly homemade soap with great cleansing and moisturizing properties. Once you try this recipe, it will be all you want to use!
Prep Time:30 mins
curing time:1 d
Total Time:1 d 30 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 11 ounces coconut oil
  • 9 ounces olive oil
  • 9 ounces palm oil
  • 2 ounces sweet almond oil
  • 4 ounces castor oil
  • 4 ounces avocado oil
  • 2 ounces mango butter
  • 5.83 ounces lye
  • 10-15 ounces water
  • 3 tablespoons fragrance oil for a strong scent, vary this to your preferences
  • 2 teaspoons sodium lactate optional, for a harder bar
  • colorant or mica optional

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.
  • Immediately 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!
Keyword: best cold process soap recipe, extra lather cold process soap
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

188 thoughts on “The Best Cold Process Soap Recipe”

  1. Hi katie
    Can you please tell me how to calculate oil and lay ?in cold procsses soap? In simple method imam from India ndia and love watching your videos new in soap making ☺️

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, it’s my first time making soap and I’ve made 3 loaves with this. Thank you for your detailed instructions. I seem to get soda ash on the tops even if I spray 99% isopropyl alcohol right away. I used 12oz of distilled water and soap between 100-110 degrees. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • hi jen! this happens to me sometimes still too because i like to soap at low temperatures. blending at higher temps will prevent this but it’s trickier in general. some people steam the tops of their soap but i’ve never tried that! honestly i wouldn’t worry too much about it, it’s just cosmetic.

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    This is my absolute FAVORITE soap recipe! It’s wonderfully moisturizing while bubbling beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. My family and I are grateful. ☺️

    Reply
  4. I really appreciate your lecture and I wish one day I can. Be ableto blend my own my question is that can i use palm oil olive oil only or can I just use soyabean oil to do the same only thanks you I appreciate your tutorial ideas

    Reply
  5. Hi! I am a first time soap maker and I am excited to try your recipe. I have been reading and researching and prepping before I begin. My question is do you have to melt and heat the oils on the stove to the given temp or can I just melt in microwave? Thank you!

    Reply
  6. Hi Katie, when you made this recipe, what was the source of the SAP values that you used to calculate the solid lye (NaOH) quantity? There seems to be quite a range of values for each oil, depending on the supplier or on the online database source. For example, for avocado oil, I get a 177 to 230 range from the “fromnaturewithlove.com” saponification tables, while Bramble Berry just provides one value: 200. If I use the Bramble Berry values I get 6.1 oz of NaOH (for 5% superfat) for this recipe, but you are using 5.83 oz of NaOH, which would put you between 5 and 10%. If I rely on the wider range, then 5.83 oz lands me between 0.9% and 9.3% superfat.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    I have been researching for months before trying to make soap for the first time and this was the recipe I tried. It is such a beautiful, creamy, bar that lathers like crazy which I absolutely love! After washing my hands with it they are not stripped what-so ever and is just moisturizing enough. Thanks for this recipe! I love your YouTube videos and you’ve taught me quite a bit of useful info on making cold process soap!

    Reply
  8. I’m interested in this soap recipe, but wonder if there’s a substitute for the palm oil and avacado oil; also could I use shea butter instead of mango? I’m just new at this, and I’m not exactly sure how to run this through a soap calculator. Thank you for you help!

    Reply
    • hi WT: you can definitely make substitutions! if you don’t want palm or avocado oil you might like the lemon soap recipe i have. https://heartscontentfarmhouse.com/lemon-soap-recipe/ to just do a straight up substitution with THIS recipe, you could substitute babbasou oil for the palm oil (it’s expensive) and more almond oil for the avocado. but you would have to use a lye calculator to see if the lye amount changes. hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
      • If this recipe is drying out your skin and you want a vegan recipe, reduce the Coconut oil and skip the Palm. Sub with more olive oil or canola oil to be economical. Also be sure your lye formula is mild. 1:3 is a good rule of thumb ratio. Cover it to keep carbon absorption out. You can put a little of the butter aside and add it in with your choice of fragrance as well. I try to avoid fake fragrances because of my sentsative Irish girl skin. Jess, Barblender Soaps.

    • hallie, the amount of water is flexible in soap recipes. I typically go for an amount in the middle. less water and it will come to trace faster and the bars will cure faster, it just give you less time to add fragrance, etc before the soap sets up. a higher amount of water and you have more time to work but the bars will need more time to cure. its just personal preference.

      Reply
    • hi Anna! there are very annoying decimals involved, unfortunately! 🙂
      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%

      Reply
  9. Hello! I have made many batches of this soap and the soap has cured for 4 weeks. I used one of the bars last evening and it was very drying to my hands. They felt tight etc. I love the recipe and all the ingredients. Any thoughts? Will curing longer help?

    Reply
    • Pamela, do you mean previously batches have turned out well but this particular one did not? It could have been a measuring error- leaving out a certain oil and thus too much lye, or something like that. if you mean that all of your batches have been too drying, I would recommend increasing the superfat to 7%, but it will be a softer bar. 🙂

      Reply
  10. I made your recipe the other day and I absolutely loved it! So tonight I made it a second time, it’s been poured and sitting in the mold for a couple hours now. I just realized that I forgot to add the avocado oil! ???? How bad have I messed this up? I’m a new soaper, please help.

    Reply
    • so the main issue that the lye is going to be a bit out of whack. there won’t be enough oils to balance out the lye. what I would do is use a soap calculator and input the recipe as you made it. see what the superfat percentage comes out to. if it’s below 4, it’s probably too harsh to use on your skin 🙁 but you could use it as a cleaning soap! here is my favorite lye calculator: https://www.the-sage.com/lyecalc/

      Reply
  11. Hi Katie

    I am planning to make this soap and it will be my first time! A soap virgin. Where does the pink colouring come from? I love it and want my soap to look just like that!
    Wish me luck.

    Reply

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