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.
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.
Palm oil also adds hardness and creamy lather, playing a significant role in achieving a balanced soap recipe.
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 AfricaLeven 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?
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 Oil||Highlights||Usage in Cold Process Soap||Downsides|
|Apricot Kernel Oil||Lightweight, conditioning, easily absorbed produces small bubbles.||Up to 15%||Produces small bubbles|
|Argan Oil||Silky, moisturizing, vitamin rich.||Up to 10%||Expensive|
|Avocado Oil||Rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, high levels of fatty acids.||Up to 20%||Softens bar|
|Beeswax||Hardens bar||10%||Reduces lather, comes to trace very quickly|
|Babassu Oil||Firm, cleansing, good palm oil replacement||33%||More expensive and hard to find than palm oil for similar performance|
|Castor Oil||Amazing lather||10%||Makes bar soft and sticky at high levels|
|Canola Oil||Affordable olive oil substitute||33%||GMO concerns, can cause orange spotting in finished bar|
|Cocoa Butter||Moisturizing||15%||Makes bar crack or crumble at high levels|
|Coconut Oil||Very cleansing, hard bar||33%||Drying at high levels|
|Grapeseed Oil||Lightweight, skin softening||15%||Goes rancid quickly|
|Hemp Seed Oil||Very hydrating, great lather||15%||Strong natural odor|
|Jojoba Oil||Firms bar||10%||Reduces lather|
|Mango Butter||Firming, moisturizing||15%||Can crack at high levels|
|Meadowfoam Oil||Moisturizing||15%||Small lather|
|Olive Oil||Moisturizing, make bar easy to work with (slows trace)||100%||Small lather, soft bars|
|Palm Oil||Hardens bar, good lather||33%||Environmentally controversial|
|Rice Bran Oil||Vitamin-rich olive oil substitute||100%||More expensive than olive oil, small lather|
|Sunflower Oil||Lightweight but still moisturizing||20%||More expensive than sweet almond|
|Sweet Almond Oil||Lightweight but still moisturizing, affordable||20%||Limited shelf life|
LEss Commonly Used oils
|Name of Oil||Highlights||Usage in Cold Process Soap||Downsides|
|Avocado Butter||Very rich and creamy||12%||Can feel heavy|
|Carrot Seed Oil||Lightweight but still moisturizing||15%|
|Chia Seed Oil||Vitamin-rich, moisturizing||12%||Expensive|
|Coffee Butter||Rich, creamy, very moisturizing||7%||Contains coffee scent|
|Coffee Seed Oil||Thick and moisturizing||10%||Expensive, hard to find|
|Cucumber Seed Oil||Very moisturizing||15%||Not suitable for oily skin|
|Emu Oil||Lightweight and moisturizing||15%||Possible ethical concerns|
|Green Tea Seed Oil||Lightweight, moisturizing, rich in vitamins||6%||Expensive|
|Hazelnut Fixed Oil||Lightweight, slows down trace||15%||Reduces lather, possible allergy concerns|
|Kukum Butter||Lightweight and moisturizing||10%||Reduces lather|
|Lingonberry Seed Oil||Silky, lightweight, lots of antioxidants.||15%||Very expensive|
|Oat Oil||Quickly absorbs, hydrating||15%||Does not provide long-lasting moisture|
|Peach Kernel Oil||Moisturizing, stable lather||25%|
|Raspberry Seed Oil||Lightweight, quick absorption||15%||Expensive|
|Red Palm Oil||Firm bars||33%||Stains, orange color carries through bar|
|Rosehip Seed Oil||Vitamin-rich, hydrating||10%||Expensive|
|Sesame Oil||High in antioxidants and fatty acids||Up to 10%||Expensive|
|Tamanu Oil||Lightweight and moisturizing||5%||Limited use in cold process (up to 5%)|
|Walnut Oil||Antioxidant-rich, conditions, moisturizes||15%||Very short shelf life (3 months)|
|Wheat Germ Oil||Nutrient-rich, very light feeling||10%||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.
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.