Properties of Soap Making Oils

Properties of Soap Making Oils

Soap Making oils have their own characteristics the differences are in the lather, hardness andoil16k properties of the oils.  It is important in soap making to get the right combination of oils in order to produce a great bar of soap.

Here is a list of some common oils used in soap making and their characteristics.  A good percentage to start with when making soaps is 60% hard oils and 40% soft oils.  You can adjust it from there to make the right bar for you.

Oils Hardness Lather Properties
Almond Soft Medium Lather Conditioning, with low cleansing
Apricot Kernal Soft Medium Lather Soothing and Conditioning
Avocado Soft Stable Soothing and Conditioning
Canola (Rapeseed) Soft Poor Conditioning
Castor Oil Soft Rich and Fluffy Rinses and Clean  *
Cocoa Butter Hard to Brittle Creamy Conditioning  **
Coconut Hard Rich Cleansing
Grapeseed Soft Thin Conditioning
Hemp Seed Soft Thin Soothing and Restorative
Jojoba Oil Mushy None Restorative
Lard Hard Creamy Cleansing and Conditioning
Olive Soft to Hard Poor Cleansing, Soothing and Conditioning ***
Palm Hard to Very Hard Stable Cleansing
Palm Kernal Hard to Brittle Rich and Fluffy Cleansing****
Shea Butter Hard Stable Soothing and Restorative
Tallow Hard to Very Hard Creamy and stable Cleansing
Wheatgerm Soft Creamy Soothing
  • *When making soap with Castor Oil the maximum oil that should be used is 5%.  If you use more you can end up with a bar of soap that is very soft and sticky.  With the right amount of Castor oil, you will get one of the best lathering soaps.
  • **Cocoa Butter can be drying to the skin when used on it’s own.  It is best and can be very conditioning when used with other oils.
  • ***Soaps made with only Olive Oil can be soft after the 4 week curing period is up, it is best to leave them for another few weeks at which time you will end up with a hard long lasting bar of soap.
  • ****Palm Kernal oil can be drying if more than 30 % is used in making your soap.

You can see by the chart above that some oils will produce better lathers than other, some are more cleansing and some soothing.  Other oils are soft or hard.  Finding the right combination is part of becoming a soap maker.

It took me many many recipes before I found the perfect combination that I use in my regular bars.  I still like to experiment and try new recipes all the time.  It’s the love of soap making.

Before you dive in and start creating your own recipes, get comfortable with making soap first. Maybe start off with a recipe and get used to making soap, then make it with color and scent, as you make more you will be more comfortable in creating your own recipes.

Some pages you may want to read

Soap Making Oils

Step by Step Instructions on making cold process soap

Soap Making Supplies

Books on how to make soap

© 2016, Tes. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to Properties of Soap Making Oils

  1. Chris says:

    My sister had been considering making her own soap. She likes to know what types of ingredients she will be coming in contact with.

    I myself didn’t realize the amount of experimentation that was involved trying to find the correct balance.

    How long do you think it would be before my sister would get good at making her own soap? Is it months or even years? Thanks

    • Teresa says:

      There are lots of good recipes she could try here is one Soap Recipe – Green Mint Tea but I think what happens as did with me. I tried a recipe and then wanted to add different oils so that’s when the experimenting began. I think it was a few months and many recipes before I found the one I like to use the most.

  2. Darren says:

    In terms of price, what is the most economic way of making your own soap? Out of that list which is your favorite and for a complete beginner which is the easiest one to make and get into making on a consistent basis?

    That hemp oil one looks pretty cool. Didn’t know that hemp oil could be used for making soap. Looks like you learn something new everyday!

    • Teresa says:

      Prices can definitely vary with oils. I like to use Olive Oil as my main oil, but others will use Canola Oil as it is a fraction of the cost. Canola Oil I also love Hemp oil and have been making a soap with that for many years. For me cost is not so much a factor as the quality of the soap. Here is are a few recipes to try out. Recipes

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