Simple Shea Butter Soap Recipe {Rich and Nourishing}

For a nourishing bar that sticks to the basics, turn to this shea butter soap recipe.

A classic blend of oils designed to nourish your skin, this simple yet luxurious formula is the perfect starting point for beginners and seasoned soap makers alike.

Not only does it offer the tender care of shea butter but it ensures a hard bar that lasts.

stack of white bars of homemade shea butter soap.

Ditch the store-bought soaps and pamper your skin with the natural goodness of this homemade bar. It’s one of the best soap recipes without too many oils.

Important ingredients

Shea Butter: Known for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, shea butter is a powerhouse ingredient that can combat dry skin and reduce skin inflammations. Its rich texture and natural vitamins make it incredibly nourishing for the skin.

Lye: While it might sound intimidating to some, lye is essential in the soap-making process. It’s a major component of the saponification process, turning oils into soap. However, always handle it with care.

ingredients laid out on wooden blue surface.
  • Stick Blender: This helps in achieving the right consistency or ‘trace’ for your soap batter quickly.
  • Digital Scale: Precision is key in soap-making. A digital scale ensures you’re using the right amounts of each ingredient.
  • Safety Gear: Safety goggles and gloves are a must when working with lye to protect your eyes and skin.
  • Stainless Pot: To melt and combine the oils and shea butter.
  • Soap Mold: To shape and set the soap. Choose from a variety of shapes to customize your soap’s look.

 Plant Therapy Organic African Shea Butter Raw, Unrefined USDA Certified 16 oz Jar For Body, Face & Hair 100% Pure, Natural Moisturizer, Best for DIYs Like Lotion, Cream, Lip Balm and Soap Lily Flower Soap Mold Pretty Flower Soap Silicone Mould for Handmade DIY Soap Making Lotion Bars Scented Candles Resin Crafts Aromatherapy Gypsum Moulds Cake Ice Cube Molds The Boyer Lye for Soap Making, Sodium Hydroxide Pure High Test Lye Food Grade, Caustic Soda, Drain Cleaner and Clog Remover, 2 Pack 2.2 lbs


You can customize this recipe with mix-ins, fragrances, colors, and just about anything else you’d like.

Tips for successful cold process soap making

Brand new to soapmaking? Be sure to read my Soap for Beginners article first!

Trace is Key: Achieving “trace” in cold process soap making is crucial. It’s the point where oils and lye water have emulsified. You’re looking for a consistency where a drizzled line of the mixture leaves a visible trace before sinking in. Too thin, and it might not set properly; too thick, and it may become hard to work with.

Stay Safe: Beyond just lye safety, remember to always work in a well-ventilated area. The saponification process can release fumes that are best not inhaled in large amounts.

Patience During Curing: It’s tempting to use the soap immediately, but a proper cure ensures a harder, longer-lasting bar and a gentler cleanse. It allows the saponification process to complete and the water to evaporate, resulting in a milder bar.

Avoiding “Soda Ash”: This white powdery substance can form on the surface of cold process soap during the curing phase. While harmless, it can be unsightly. Spritzing the top of your soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol right after pouring it into the mold can help prevent its formation.

Keep Notes: Every batch of soap can be a learning experience. Documenting your process, including temperatures, ingredients, and even the weather, can help you replicate successes and learn from less-than-perfect batches.

finally, I like to finish this section with a few words of spacing before moving to the next H2

More Soap Recipes

shea butter soap finished on blue wood board

Full ReCipe

shea butter soap cut into bars.

Shea Butter Soap Recipe

A nourishing recipe that makes a hard bar and is great for your skin. Simple recipe suitable for beginners.
Prep Time 45 minutes
curing time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 30 minutes



  • 11 ounces coconut oil
  • 11 ounces olive oil
  • 11 ounces palm oil
  • 5 ounces shea butter
  • 5.43 ounces lye
  • 10-14 ounces water I use 12
  • 3 tablespoons fragrance oil can vary by fragrance


  • Make lye water. 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.
    lye water before mixing and dissolved.
  • Melt oils and shea butter. While the lye solution is cooling, measure out the oils and shea butter 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.
    soap oils before and after melting.
  • Check temperatures. 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.
  • Prep mold and mix-ins. Prepare your mold and measure out any fragrance or color you will be adding.  (For the best blending of colors, mix some color into a few drops of melted oils.
  • Stick blend to trace. Pour the water and lye solution into the pot with the melted oils.  Blend with a stick blender until a thin trace is reached.  The soap batter will noticeably 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.
    pouring lye water into oil and blending to tract.
  • Pour into mold. Immediately pour the soap batter into the mold.  Smooth out the top with a spoon or spatula. Allow to cure at room temperature, uncovered for 24 hours.
    soap batter poured into mold and hardened.
  • Unmold and cut. After 24 hours of curing, unmold and cut into bars. Allow to cure at least 3 weeks in a well-ventilated place.
    cut soap bars on wooden board.


Be very careful while your lye water is cooling!  It is dangerous if it spills and also releases fumes.  
Don’t leave your soap to cure much longer than 24 hours or it will become very hard.
Simple Shea Butter Soap Recipe {Rich and Nourishing}

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