Soap Making oils and their properties



Handmade soaps are great for your skin and such fun to make. No matter where you are in the process or soap making ie a newbie or experienced soap maker, it’s important for you to understand which what properties soap making oils have so you can make the best soap possible with the oils you have on hand.


Different oils bring different properties to soap.

Sometimes you are ready to make soap and then realise you have everything but one oil in a recipe?


If you know the properties of oils it can help you replace that one oil you don’t have with another. But the best replacement is knowing the sap value and then running the numbers through Soap Maker or a lye calculator.


For example, if you don’t have coconut oil, but you know it adds cleansing power and hardness to your bar, you can find another oil that may help provide those properties as well. When you have one you’d like to try in its place you can go to a lye calculator, like on Soap Calc, and plug in the oils that you want to use and double check your numbers.

If moisturizing is your top priority, then you can learn which oils are highly moisturizing.

Soap Making Oils, Fats, and Butters

Apricot Kernel Oil

Properties: Highly Conditioning, Moisturizing, Stable Creamy Lather

High in vitamin A, C, E, linoleic and oleic acids. Too much can make soap too soft.


Argan Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Adds Hardness, Stable Rich Lather

High in vitamin A and E and antioxidants.


Avocado Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Medium Creamy Lather

High in vitamins A, B, D and E oleic and palmitoleic acids.


Babassu Oil

Properties: Cleansing, Adds Hardness, High Bubbles

High in vitamin E and antioxidants like phytosterols.


Castor Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Creamy Lather with High Stable Bubbles.

90% ricinoleic acid, which has traditionally been used to help heal skin conditions.


Cocoa Butter

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Adds Hardness, Stable Rich Lather

High in vitamin E and other antioxidants. It doesn’t fully saponify, so it lends more of its properties to soap after curing.



Coconut Oil

Properties: Cleansing, Adds Hardness, High Lather with High Stable Bubbles

Coconut can be drying if it is over 45% of total oils in a soap IF you do not compensate by increasing the superfat content. it makes a wonderful cleansing, hard bar with great bubbles.


Grapeseed Oil

Properties: Highly Conditioning, Creamy and Stable Lather


High in lioleic acid, omega 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants.


Hazelnut Oil

Properties: Moisturizing, Cleansing, Stable Medium Lather

All around great oil for soap because it cleanses, moisturizes, and creates nice bubbles.


Hempseed Oil

Properties: Highly Conditioning, Low Lather

High in vitamins A and E, but can go bad in soap faster than other oils. Use as 5% or less of total oils for a longer lasting bar.


Jojoba Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Strong Stable Lather

Like beeswax and cocoa butter, it doesn’t fully saponify, leaving more to hydropylic (water loving) qualities to help moisturize dry skin.


Lard

Properties: Conditioning, Adds Hardness, Stable Creamy Lather

Makes a great, long lasting bar. Make sure to choose a free-range, natural source.


Macademia Nut Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Adds Hardness, Creamy Lather

High in antioxidants, oleic acid, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.



Mango Butter

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Adds Hardness, Creamy Lather

High in Vitamin A and C and antioxidants.


Neem Oil

Properties: Conditioning, Moisturizing, Adds Hardness, Stable Creamy Lather

Calming, gentle oil used in soaps as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial oil.


Olive Oil

Properties: Very Conditioning, Low Cleansing

Gentle oil with little cleansing properties, but high in antioxidants (Vitamin E and polyphenols). Makes a very soft soap and is best used in conjunction with a harder or oil.


Shea Butter

Properties: Conditioning, Adds Hardness, Stable Lather

Gives a silky feeling to bars. High in vitamins A and E, fatty acids and minerals.


Sweet Almond Oil

Properties: Stable Medium Lather

Gentle on the skin, Has vitamin A and E and oleic and linoleic acid.


Tallow – this is an animal fat

Properties: Conditioning, Cleansing, Adds Hardness, Stable Creamy Lather

All around great ingredient for soap making. Makes a great, long lasting, cleaning and bubbly bar.

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