Your Skin Will Love This Nourishing Cold Process Oatmeal Soap

Oatmeal is a great addition to homemade soap. It creates a nourishing, cleansing bar that’s gentle on the skin, and you probably already have it in your kitchen. Here’s everything you need to know about making oatmeal soap, a cold-process recipe your skin will love.

4 bars soap on wooden board with oats scattered nearby

Nourishing Oatmeal Soap Recipe

A gentle and soothing cold process soap recipe. Palm free and simple to make.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Curing Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 30 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4 ounces almond oil
  • 2 ounces castor oil
  • 11 ounces coconut oil
  • 10 ounces olive oil
  • 3 ounces shea butter
  • 10 ½ ounces water
  • 4.30 ounces lye
  • 2 tablespoons ground old-fashioned oats crushed in a food proessor
  • color and/or fragrance if desired

Instructions 

  • Combine the lye and water. In separate, non-reactive containers, measure out the lye and water. Add the lye to the water, stirring until the lye dissolves. Set aside in a safe, well-ventilated place and allow the lye water to cool to 100-115 degrees while you melt the oils.
  • Melt the oils. Add all the oils and butter to a large, non-reactive saucepan and melt over medium-low heat until fully melted. Set aside to cool to 100-115 degrees. This may take an additional hour or so.
  • Combine lye solution with the oils. (Before blending, prepare your soap mold and have your oatmeal, fragrance, and colors ready to go.) Pour the lye water into the pot with melted oils and combine with a stick blender until “trace” is reached. The batter has traced when a trail rests on the surface of the liquid rather than immediately sinking back it. Add the oats, fragrance, color, and stir by hand.
  • Pour soap into mold. Immediately pour into the soap mold. Allow the soap to cure in the mold for 24 hours. To prevent gel phase, put it in a cold place such as the fridge. To force gel phase, place it in a warm (140 degree) oven, then turn the heat off and allow to finish curing in the oven.
  • Unmold and cut into bars. Carefully turn the soap out of the mold. Cut into bars. Place on breathable fabric or wire racks and allow the soap to finish curing at room temperature in a well-ventilated space for at least two weeks. A longer cure time will result in harder, longer-lasting bars.

Notes

Working with lye requires safety precautions: be sure to wear goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Take care not to splash or spill the lye water or the raw soap batter, as both are caustic. Take special precautions if you have young children or pets.
To resize this recipe, you’ll need the following percentages: 13.33% almond oil, 6.67% castor oil, 36.67% coconut oil, 33.33% olive oil, and 10% shea butter. Lye is calculated for 6% superfat. 
3 bars of homemade soap with oats on top

Benefits of Using Oats in Soap Making (especially for sensitive skin)

Oatmeal soap can help you maintain your skin’s health. For dry or oily patches on the body – either one will benefit from having their pH balanced by oatmeal.

Oily skin can benefit from the absorbent nature of oatmeal. It’s often included in scrubs that work to remove dead cells and extra oil.

And of course, if you remember soaking in oatmeal after getting chickenpox as a child, you know that oatmeal can relieve itchy skin. A combination of oatmeal soap and an oatmeal soak is an effective treatment for rashes, chickenpox, poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac, rashes, and insect bites.

What You’ll Need

This recipe uses natural ingredients for gentle cleansing. I sometimes use artificial fragrances, but you can substitute essential oils or just leave them out.

shea butter, almond oil, olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, lye, and oats
stick blender, digital scale, and white silicone soap mold on blue counter

This recipe fits perfectly in this ten-inch silicone loaf mold.

Oatmeal Soap Recipe Tips

  • Adding Fragrances and Colors: For a soothing scent, try adding lavender essential oil or an essential oil blend. Fragrance oils can also be used for a variety of scents. Just make sure they are skin-safe.
  • Substitutions: You can substitute goat milk for water to make goat milk soap base, or use coconut milk for extra moisturizing properties. For a shea butter soap base, you can replace some of the base oils with shea butter.
  • Exfoliating Soap Bar: To make an exfoliating soap bar, add some whole oats or quick oats for texture. This helps in removing dead skin cells.

Safety First: Essential Precautions for Making Soap with Lye

Working with lye (sodium hydroxide) requires special care due to its caustic nature. It’s essential to prioritize safety and take the following precautions:

  • Gear Up:
    • Safety Goggles: Always wear protective goggles to shield your eyes from splashes.
    • Gloves: Wear chemical-resistant gloves (nitrile or latex) to protect your hands and arms.
    • Long Sleeves and Pants: Cover your skin with long sleeves and pants to minimize exposure to lye solution or raw soap batter.
    • Mask (Optional): Consider wearing a mask to avoid inhaling lye fumes, especially if working in a poorly ventilated area.
  • Work Environment:
    • Well-Ventilated Area: Choose a space with good airflow, ideally near an open window or exhaust fan.
    • Clear Workspace: Keep your work area clean and free of clutter to prevent accidents.
    • No Distractions: Avoid distractions and focus on your task to prevent spills or mishaps.
  • Handling Lye:
    • Slow and Steady: When mixing lye with water, always add the lye to the water (never the reverse) slowly and carefully.
    • Stir Gently: Stir the lye solution gently until the lye is fully dissolved.
    • Cool Down: Allow the lye solution to cool to the appropriate temperature before mixing with oils.
    • Spill Control: Have a plan for spills. Keep vinegar (a mild acid) on hand to neutralize any accidental lye spills.
  • Children and Pets:
    • Keep Out of Reach: Store lye in its original container in a secure location, out of reach of children and pets.
    • Supervise: Never leave lye solution or raw soap batter unattended, especially if young children or pets are present.
  • Additional Tips:
    • Read the Recipe Carefully: Familiarize yourself with the entire soap-making process before starting.
    • Weigh Ingredients Accurately: Precise measurements are crucial for a successful and safe batch of soap.
    • Respect Lye: Remember that lye is a strong chemical. Treat it with respect and follow safety guidelines meticulously.

Important Note: If you get lye solution or raw soap batter on your skin, rinse immediately with plenty of water. If irritation persists, seek medical attention.

Variations to This Recipe

This recipe can easily be adapted to suit different needs.

  • For sensitive skin, try a goat milk base (just substitute goat’s milk for the water)
  • For oatmeal and honey soap, add 1 tablespoon of honey to the oats. (You’ll need to cure the loaf in the fridge to keep it from overheating.)
  • If you love adding natural ingredients. to your soap bars, you’ll love this lemon zest soap recipe.

Common Issues and Solutions

False Trace: If your soap mixture appears thick but hasn’t reached trace, it could be a false trace. This can happen if the oils or lye water are too cool. Warm them up slightly and blend again.

Preventing Overheating: To avoid overheating, especially when adding honey or using a goat milk soap base, cure the soap in the fridge.

Variations

Honey Oatmeal Soap Bars: Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey with the oats. This adds extra moisturizing properties and a lovely scent.

Goat Milk Oatmeal Soap: Replace water with goat milk for a creamier, more nourishing soap.

Layered Soap: Create a second layer of soap by pouring half the soap mixture, letting it set slightly, and then pouring the remaining mixture on top. This can create beautiful layered effects.

FAQs

What is the best type of oats to use in soap making?

You can use colloidal oats or ground old-fashioned oats. Colloidal oatmeal is finely ground and dissolves more easily, providing a smoother texture.

Can I use different oils in this recipe?

Yes, you can substitute or add oils like tamanu oil, sweet almond oil, or even cocoa butter for additional benefits.

What type of mold is best for soap making?

Silicone molds are ideal because they are flexible and make it easy to unmold the soap.

You Can Do It

Oatmeal is a beneficial ingredient in soap, especially for sensitive skin. This recipe uses natural ingredients that are gentle on your body and includes oils to keep your skin moisturized. If you’re looking for an all-natural soap or need something with some extra benefits, this oatmeal soap recipe might be perfect.

overhead view of soap loaf sliced into bars
Your Skin Will Love This Nourishing Cold Process Oatmeal Soap

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Recipe Rating




22 Comments

  1. Question…. The recipe online uses 4.34 ozs of lye, but when the print option states 4.30. I’ve previously made this using the print option with marvelous results. Should I increase the lye? What, if any, effect will .04 ozs make? Thank you!!

    1. hey debra… it is a VERY small difference. the only possible change would be the bbar wwould slightly more drying/ more cleansing. i doubt you’d notice. my scale does not measure that precisely so i think i rounded to .3.

  2. I’ve been looking for a good oatmeal soap recipe. Thank you!
    This is probably a dumb question, but are your soap recipes by weight or by volume?
    I’m planning to make it as soon as I gather all the ingredients.

  3. 4 stars
    Hey, I made this recipe and it turned out great! A little softer than I like ,so I was wondering if there is any way to make it harder? I’m new to soap making and I have a lot to learn though. Thanks for all of your amazing recipes and tutorials.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this soap a few weeks ago and its not quite cured but I used the cut off the other day just because and it was great! sudsy and super nourishing

  5. Good morning. How many pounds does this recipe make? I’m thinking 2 to 3 pounds, but would like to be sure because of my molds.

    Thank you!

    1. My soap needed up hardening and I am making it again. I appreciate this recipe and apologize about my last comment =)

  6. I have never made soap but always appreciated homemade artisan soaps. I am about ready to make the leap; to join the club; to gift cleanliness to everyone I know 😀

    This is exactly the type of recipe I was looking for (and I saw so many others on your web site that I want to try!) I want to make it with the goat milk substitution, if I can get it locally. Thank you for your thorough instructions!!