The Best Soap Ever!

Colorful handmade soap bars stacked on a wooden surface.

This is guide on how to make the best soap ever! What is great soap? It’s soap that cleans, feels good, doesn’t cost you your first born child and is fun to make!

I’ve been making soap for quite a long time – Between 14 or 15 years.  Soap has been such a large part of my life. I know it may sound weird, but I really love soap. Not only do I like using it, I love making it and I love the excitement of it. I’ve never experienced anything else quite like it. Each soap is a tiny creation and sometimes I still stand back and say “Wow, I made that.” It never gets old, it never stops being challenging and it’s one of the most fulfilling hobbies (and sometimes business) on earth.

After all these years, I have learned to do one thing very well. I call it the KISS rule of soap making. That’s right…Keep it simple, sweetie! To often I see recipes that look something like this:

  • Coconut Oil (76 degree) – 25%
  • Cocoa Butter –  15%
  • Olive Oil –  40%
  • Avocado Oil –  10%
  • Apricot Kernel Oil –  10%

As an experienced soap maker, this makes me want to pull my hair out! Why? Because you simply do not need these more expensive butters and oils (avocado, apricot, and cocoa butter) to make a fantastic bar of soap. Soap is a wash off product and these butters and oils are being wasted. They are much more well-suited for leave on products such as body butters and lotions. In reality, you just need a few basic oils to get a great bar of soap!

This is especially helpful for new soap makers. Soap challenges me to this day, and it is certainly a challenge while learning. If a batch goes south, you’ve just wasted these beautiful oils! Here’s two great recipes that I created that will make amazing soap. One recipe is vegan with no palm and the other is vegan with palm.

Recipe 1 – Vegan and No Palm

This is the recipe I use all the time. I like it because it is simple and inexpensive. I have not used palm for a long time, and had to formulate a bar that was nice without palm. To add to the hardness of the bar without using palm, I use some shea butter. This adds creaminess and hardness to the soap.

  • Olive oil – 56%
  • Coconut oil – 26%
  • Shea butter – 11%
  • Castor oil – 7%

In this recipe we do need to use a bit of shea butter to make up for the loss of hardness from lack of palm. It’s still not a lot and keeps the soap within a decent price bracket. Believe me, this will become important if you start making a lot of soap and selling it! A simple and inexpensive keeps your price down and your margins up!

Let’s say we’re using 2 pounds of oils with this recipe and we’re going to use full water. The recipe would be:

% Pounds Ounces Grams
Olive Oil 56 1.12 17.92 508.02
Coconut Oil 26 0.52 8.32 235.87
Shea Butter 11 0.22 3.52 99.79
Castor Oil 7 0.14 2.24 63.5
Water N/A 0.76 12.16 344.73
Lye N/A 0.278 4.45 126.28

This recipe makes an amazing bar of soap! Here is a picture of soap made with this recipe:

As you can see, there is plenty of time for swirls, colors, and other designs. It also cures to make a hard long lasting bar. With this, we check off many of the best soap ever attributes:

  • Inexpensive
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to work with
  • Awesome!

Recipe 1 – Vegan with Palm

For those that like to use palm, making a great bar of soap is even less expensive. Palm is a great oil that adds hardness to a bar and is also very inexpensive. Palm really is a great soap making oil!

  • Olive oil – 35%
  • Palm oil – 35%
  • Coconut oil – 20%
  • Castor oil – 10%

And the Recipe for 2 pounds:

Oil/Fat % Pounds Ounces Grams
Olive Oil 35 0.7 11.2 317.51
Palm Oil 35 0.7 11.2 317.51
Coconut Oil 20 0.4 6.4 181.44
Castor Oil 10 0.2 3.2 90.72
Water 0.76 12.16 344.73
Lye 0.278 4.46 126.31

Basically this is the best recipe I have personally made. The olive oil is moisturizing, the palm oil adds hardness, and coconut and castor add lots and lots of bubbles.

I would encourage you to test soaps made with different oils. Use a recipe like the first one and then compare it to either of the two recipes I gave you. You will be surprised that while all are great soaps, the last two recipes are much less expensive, are easier to weigh out and measure, and are equally as great! I also like to use sodium lactate when making soaps to help them harden more quickly. This is great for unmolding if you use a silicone mold.

There it is. The KISS method of soaping.  The KISS method will never fail you, and when you’re ready to start selling or already are, it’s more money in your pocket!

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