Soap Oils Properties Chart: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Soap Maker

Discover the diverse properties of soap oils in this comprehensive guide. Each oil brings unique characteristics to your soap creations, from the rich, nourishing avocado butter to the lightweight sweet almond oil.

Knowing these oils’ shelf life, benefits, and potential downsides is the secret to creating your own successful soap recipes.

Get acquainted with the different oils, understand their properties, and learn how to make the most of each one in your cold-process soap recipes.

sauce pan full of oils
Every soap recipe starts with choosing the oils!

It’s crucial to understand not only the benefits but also the limitations of each oil.

Knowledge about their shelf life, the nourishment they provide, and any potential downsides is essential for creating perfect, high-quality soaps.

Categories of oils

The most common soapmaking oils are affordable, easy to find, and balance each other well for a simple, basic bar.

But there is a whole world out there to explore of luxury oils and butters.

Common Soap Oils

Olive oil, a staple in soap making, provides excellent moisturization and a creamy lather, though it may create softer bars.

Coconut oil contributes to a hard bar with a fluffy lather, but can be drying in higher percentages.

soap mold filled with batter
This recipe is 1/3 each palm, olive, and coconut

Palm oil also adds hardness and creamy lather, playing a significant role in achieving a balanced soap recipe.

Rarer oils

Beyond the realm of common oils lie exotic and intriguing options, each adding a unique touch to your soap creations.

Take Lingonberry Seed Oil, a lesser-known oil packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids, beneficial for nourishing and protecting the skin. Or consider the gentle and moisturizing properties of Green Tea Seed Oil, ideal for sensitive skin types.

 Caribbean Coastal Delights Unrefined Raw Shea Butter – 2 lb – Ivory – Ghana Africa Leven Rose Green Coffee Bean Oil 100% Natural Pure Cold Pressed Unrefined Coffeebean Oil For Around Eyes, Face, Nails, Skin, And Hair- 1 oz Bottle (1 ounce) Yellow Brick Road Raw Mango Butter 8oz


While these rarer oils can elevate the quality and appeal of your soap, it’s essential to understand that they have downsides and are best used at lower percentages. They also tend to be quite expensive!

Butters in Soap Making:

Butters, like Avocado and Shea Butter, bring luxurious richness to soap, offering exceptional moisturizing and nourishing properties.

Including butters in your soap recipe enhances the feel and performance of the final product, leaving skin feeling pampered and cared for with every use.

Understanding the roles and properties of these butters is fundamental in crafting a bar of soap that is as delightful to use as it is beneficial for the skin.

How to Pick the best oils for you

This is a balance of personal preference and what your skin needs.

Do you like a hard bar? Do you want lots of lather?

Is your skin dry? Is it important to you to have a vegan recipe?

soapmaing oils on white plate
Some oils, like coconut, are solid at room temperature.

Glance through the chart and look at the properties that interest you, taking note of the downsides. Pay special attention to the percentages.

Try a bar that’s 30% each palm, olive, and coconut as a starting point, then pick 1-2 “fun” oils to make up the remaining 10%.

Properties of commonly used soapmaking oils

Name of OilHighlightsUsage in Cold Process SoapDownsides
Apricot Kernel OilLightweight, conditioning, easily absorbed produces small bubbles.Up to 15%Produces small bubbles
Argan OilSilky, moisturizing, vitamin rich.Up to 10%Expensive
Avocado OilRich in vitamins A, B, D, E, high levels of fatty acids.Up to 20%Softens bar
Beeswax Hardens bar10%Reduces lather, comes to trace very quickly
Babassu OilFirm, cleansing, good palm oil replacement33%More expensive and hard to find than palm oil for similar performance
Castor OilAmazing lather10%Makes bar soft and sticky at high levels
Canola OilAffordable olive oil substitute33%GMO concerns, can cause orange spotting in finished bar
Cocoa ButterMoisturizing15%Makes bar crack or crumble at high levels
Coconut OilVery cleansing, hard bar33%Drying at high levels
Grapeseed OilLightweight, skin softening15%Goes rancid quickly
Hemp Seed OilVery hydrating, great lather15%Strong natural odor
Jojoba OilFirms bar10%Reduces lather
Mango ButterFirming, moisturizing15%Can crack at high levels
Meadowfoam OilMoisturizing15%Small lather
Olive OilMoisturizing, make bar easy to work with (slows trace)100%Small lather, soft bars
Palm OilHardens bar, good lather33%Environmentally controversial
Rice Bran OilVitamin-rich olive oil substitute100%More expensive than olive oil, small lather
Sunflower OilLightweight but still moisturizing20%More expensive than sweet almond
Sweet Almond OilLightweight but still moisturizing, affordable20%Limited shelf life

LEss Commonly Used oils

Name of OilHighlightsUsage in Cold Process SoapDownsides
Avocado ButterVery rich and creamy12%Can feel heavy
Carrot Seed OilLightweight but still moisturizing15%
Chia Seed OilVitamin-rich, moisturizing12%Expensive
Coffee ButterRich, creamy, very moisturizing7%Contains coffee scent
Coffee Seed OilThick and moisturizing10%Expensive, hard to find
Cucumber Seed OilVery moisturizing15%Not suitable for oily skin
Emu OilLightweight and moisturizing15%Possible ethical concerns
Green Tea Seed OilLightweight, moisturizing, rich in vitamins6%Expensive
Hazelnut Fixed OilLightweight, slows down trace15%Reduces lather, possible allergy concerns
Kukum ButterLightweight and moisturizing10%Reduces lather
Lingonberry Seed OilSilky, lightweight, lots of antioxidants.15%Very expensive
Oat OilQuickly absorbs, hydrating15%Does not provide long-lasting moisture
Peach Kernel OilMoisturizing, stable lather25%
Raspberry Seed OilLightweight, quick absorption15%Expensive
Red Palm OilFirm bars33%Stains, orange color carries through bar
Rosehip Seed OilVitamin-rich, hydrating10%Expensive
Sesame OilHigh in antioxidants and fatty acidsUp to 10%Expensive
Tamanu OilLightweight and moisturizing5%Limited use in cold process (up to 5%)
Walnut OilAntioxidant-rich, conditions, moisturizes15%Very short shelf life (3 months)
Wheat Germ OilNutrient-rich, very light feeling10%Limited use percentage

How do you turn this into a workable recipe?

It’s easy! (Sort of.).

First, you need to convert percentages to weights. This will require a little thinking because you need to know how much your mold holds. Also, about a third of it will be water.

soapp making ingredients
Lye + oils + liquid = SOAP!

So let’s say you have a 3-pound mold that holds 36 ounces. You’ll need to allow 12 ounces of water. So you have 24 ounces of oils to work with. If 25% of your recipe needs to be olive oil, that will be 6 ounces of olive oil. Keep going down your recipe converting into weights.

Then, use a soap calculator, enter the weights of the oils you want to use, and it will let you know how much lye and water is needed for your recipe.

Enjoy your soapmaking journey

Knowing about different soap oils is very important for creating your own soap recipes. Whether using common oils like olive oil or trying out less common ones like lingonberry seed oil, making the right choice will help your soaps work well and feel nice on the skin. Use the Soap Oils Properties Chart to help you pick the right oils and create a balanced bar you love.

Soap Oils Properties Chart: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Soap Maker

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