Soap Making Oils I Used And Their Properties

The following are some of the oils I love using:

Almond oil - produces stable lather and skin conditioning in handmade soaps.  Wonderful for dry, inflamed, or irritated skin.  Contains vitamins and minerals.  Widely used for soaps, lotion bars, and cosmetics.  Can be used as a large percentage of oils or for superfatting.  (Also called Sweet Almond Oil or SAO).

Argan Oil - Noticeably reduces wrinkles and softens the skin Rich in proteins shown to tighten the skin and protect skin’s elasticity. Promptly regenerates the skin by restarting vital functions of cells to prevent early aging.

Avocado oil - Rich in vitamins A, D, & E as well as amino acids and protein. Wonderfully moisturizing and excellent for anyone with extremely sensitive skin.  High in unsaponifiables.  Most people use this in smaller quantities to superfat because of cost.  Has a shorter shelf life than some other emollient oils. 

Castor oil - acts as a humectant by attracting and retaining moisture to the skin. Also contributes lots of bubbles to soap - a "bubble booster". Used alone, it would create a soft, transparent soap.  Castor is wonderful to superfat with, but it must be saponified if you want the added bubbles it provides.  Adding castor oil to M&P or rebatched soap will *not* improve lather.  Used in larger percentages in shampoo bars, but average usage is 1/2 to 1 oz per pound of base oils.
Cocoa butter - made from the same bean as chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa butter is a by-product of making chocolate. When used in soap, it puts down a protective layer that holds moisture to the skin, acting as a softener. Also contributes to a very hard bar. Limit amounts to 15% or less of your total oils or soap could be brittle.  You can use it to counteract "sticky" ingredients such as lanolin, honey, etc.-

Coconut Oil - If you are going to make soap, you gotta have coconut oil!  Coconut is the only oil that will lather in *any* type of water - even seawater. Solid at room temperature.  (Fractionated coconut oil is liquid at room temp and is mostly used for cosmetics and lotions.)  When used in the correct percentage, coconut oil is moisturizing and adds lots of fluffy lather.  Limit to 20% or less of total base oils (some people are more sensitive to the potential drying effects of coconut oil, so you can use 15% thereabouts with good results).  Hydrogenated coconut oil (92 degree) can also be used for soapmaking.

Hemp Seed Oil is a great non-clogging oil that helps to reduce the size of pores, blackheads, acne, protects the skin from free radicals and provides the body with essential nutrients required in order to maintain epidermal lipids, skin’s water barrier, elasticity and softness. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces redness and is recommended for the treatment of psoriasis and eczema.
Jojoba Oil - it's actually a liquid wax rather than an oil.  Commonly used in shampoo bars for its conditioning properties, but can be used in other soaps and creams as well.  Jojoba has some anti-inflammatory properties and is highly resistent to rancidity - can actually lend those properties to other oils thereby extending their shelf life as well.  An extremely stable oil to have onhand for its moisturizing potential. 
Mango Butter is extracted from the mango fruit. It is a yellowish oil and has almost no scent. It is a great moisturizer .Mango butter is obtained from the kernels of the mango tree. It has a high content of stearic acid which makes it similar to cocoa butter. Mango butter has good emolliency and lends protection against the sun. It is said to prevent drying of the skin and formation of wrinkles. Mango butter also reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores elasticity.
Meadowfoam Oil - highly resistant to rancidity and lends those properties to other oils, extending their shelf life.  An excellent moisturizer and can be used in soaps, creams, lotions, and cosmetics.   Prevents moisture loss in the skin.
Olive Oil - an excellent oil to use in soap as it is a moisturizer that forms a "breathable" layer on the skin, preventing loss of internal moisture. Produces small, silky bubbles and contributes hardness to the bar. Olive oil was used for centuries to make traditional 100% "castile" soap.  May be used in any amount in a soap recipe, but soaps with high amounts of olive oil *do* take longer to bring to trace and will be softer initially after unmolding.  *However* - olive oil makes a very hard, almost completely white bar after a few weeks that is worth the wait.  Suitable for babies and even the most sensitive of skin.  (Pomace olive oil is also used in soapmaking - it is less refined and will interfere with soap coloring unless you prefer the natural look.)
 Palm Oil - made from the pulp of the fruit from the palm tree. When used in a combination with other oils, it makes a very hard bar of soap. It is very mild and cleans well, but does not offer much in the way of skin conditioning.  Its lather is small and stingy if not used with other soaping oils.  Palm helps pull other stubborn oils into saponification faster.  Whereas you have to limit amounts of other oils that produce a hard bar (coconut and palm kernel for example), palm can be used as a large portion of your base oils.  *Do* use it in combination with other oils though or your soap will be dry and brittle.  Palm is the vegan alternative to using animal fats such as lard and tallow in soap.   **Note**  Palm separates into layers as it cools and must be melted and stirred before using in soap recipes, otherwise you may get inconsistent results.
Palm Kernel Oil - made from the kernels of the palm tree. Like coconut, palm kernel lathers well in almost any type of water. It lends to a very white, wonderfully lathering, hard bar of soap.  If you use too much, it can be drying to the skin, but does offer moisturizing properties if used correctly.  Average usage is 10 - 30% of your total base oils. 
Rice Bran Oil is moisturizing and is a good choice for inclusion in formulations intended for mature, delicate or sensitive skin.

Shea Butter - also known as the African karite butter. It is expressed from the pits of the fruit of the African butter tree which grows in Central Africa. Fabulous for superfatting soaps to add moisture and nourish the skin. I LOVE shea butter!  It's great stuff and if you haven't tried it, you must.  High in unsaponifiables, therefore leaving lots of skin conditioning emollients in your soap.  Average usage is 2 - 5% of your total recipe.  Too much can cause the soap to be "sticky" feeling.
Sunflower Oil - rich in vitamin E, provides skin conditioning for dry skin.  Can be used as an added emollient or as a larger portion of your recipe, however it can make the soap too soft if used in too high a percentage.  Slow to saponify, so use with other oils to help speed things along.  Average usage is up to 15% of your total oils.


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    I always found a lot of Soap Calculators on the web, but I never found one able to calculate the % of Glycerin inside the final soap, because mixing oils and caustic soda, the reaction produce not olny soap, but also glycerin. So some times ago I developed a special soap calculator.
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    Bye !

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