Formulating Cold Process Recipes

It may be the foundation of cold process soapmaking, and it’s often the most difficult and intimidating part — formulating a cold process recipe. From this post about my favorite cold process recipes to our Free Beginner’s Guide to Oils and Butters, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you create your own recipes. Sometimes though, it’s nice for a little refresher course if you want to try and create a recipe from scratch. Customizing your recipe is all part of the fun!

When formulating a basic cold process recipe, you can never go wrong with a 33/33/33 ratio. That’s 33% Olive Oil, 33% Coconut Oil and 33% Palm Oil. Another good standard recipe is the 30/30/30/10. That’s 30% Olive Oil, 30% Coconut Oil, 30% Palm Oil and 10% of something special — Rice Bran Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Butter or Sunflower Oil are all good starter options. When you begin to branch out from that basic starter, there become many more factors to consider.

We usually create recipes by starting with the trinity of base oils: Coconut, Palm and Olive. These three oils have become the de facto foundation of many soap recipes because they have qualities that complement each other to form a robust bar of soap. Palm acts as a secondary lathering agent and contributes to bar hardness, Coconut Oil produces big bubbles and is super cleansing, and Olive Oil is moisturizing and gives soap a silky feel.

 To formulate a recipe, start by designing your base oils or foundational recipe. You can use each oil between 20 – 30%. For the remaining portion of your oils, consider what you’d like the outcome of the final bar to be. Do you want it to be super moisturizing, have a nice thick lather, or be hard and long lasting? Once you decide the end result, you can flesh out the remaining oils. We list the maximum usage rate of each oil and butter we carry in our free beginner’s guide, so start there if you’re not sure about oil properties or max usage rates. And remember, just because I (or anyone) says that you should use an oil at a certain % range doesn’t mean you have to stick within those “rules” exactly. All fats will saponify and turn into soap and it’s a matter of personal preference for how you want your soap to lather, feel on the skin and rinse away.

There are some general rules of thumb that can make formulating recipes easier. In general:

  • Liquid oils (those that do not solidify at room temperature) tend to trace more slowly, which means a largely liquid oil recipe tends to be good for doing swirls and intricate designs. They also take longer to harden in the mold and can be more sticky before a full 6 week curing and drying time.
  • Conversely, solid oils (those that are solid at room temperature) trace more quickly. Keep in mind that solid oils are necessary to help a bar harden and keep shape, which is why Palm Oil is such a staple oil in many recipes. Recipes with a large percentage of solid oils tend to harden up faster in the mold and need to be cut more quickly to prevent shearing.
  • Though any soap can technically be made with a single oil, the only oil we recommend to use up to 100% is olive oil. The best recipes are generally some combination of hard and soft oils.
  • We’ve found that lard is an excellent alternative to Palm Oil. Although our Palm Oil is responsibly sourced, we respect that some people may still choose to not use it in their recipes. Other palm free recipe links are here, here, and here. My favorite one is this one that uses salt water to harden the bar.
  • Canola Oil is an excellent substitute for Olive Oil. This is especially useful to know if you’re working with a recipe where color is particularly important. Olive Oil is a darker oil, which can cause lighter colors such as yellows, greens and pinks to have a green-ish hue. Canola Oil does not have this effect on color. Rice Brain is also another good substitute for Olive Oil.

At the end of the day, formulating a recipe is somewhat of a beautiful art that gets better with experience. While we do our best to formulate a recipe so we can predict exactly how it will behave, there are unlimited number of factors and variables that go into soapmaking that can lead to unexpected results. You may have heard of INS numbers and how they can help you formulate, but I’m not a big fan of them and here’s why. As the saying goes, even the best laid plans of mice and men go astray, we’ve given you the basic rules for formulating a cold process recipe, so go forth and experiment!

Many of the recipes below have been formulated and used in our own Soap Queen tutorials within the last three months. We’re sharing them with you now because they were brand new recipes that turned out exceptionally well! Remember that soaping recipes are subjective, and what we prefer may be different from what you prefer. It all comes down to personal preference, and we’re giving you these recipes as a jumping off point to begin formulating your own recipes.

Old Faithful:
This recipe is solid and reliable, and the Castor Oil gives it a super luscious lather. This is a great recipe for beginners because it’s simple and produces great results. It is very similar to our Lots of Lather Quick Mix.

32% Coconut
32%  Palm
32% Olive Oil
4% Castor Oil
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold (50 oz.)9 Bar Birchwood Mold (48 oz.)18 Bar Birchwood Mold (96 oz.)5 lb. Wood Log Mold (80 oz.)
Coconut Oil10.8 oz.10.5 oz21.12 oz.17.2 oz.
Palm Oil10.8 oz.10.5 oz.21.12 oz.17.2 oz.
Olive Oil10.8 oz.10.5 oz.21.12 oz.17.2oz
Castor Oil1.4 oz.1.3 oz.2.6 oz.2.1 oz.

Old Faithful with a Twist:
This is a fairly standard recipe with some fun stuff thrown in: moisturizing Sweet Almond Oil and silky soft Mango Butter. Sub the Mango Butter for Shea Butter at the same rate for a super moisturizing bar!

25% Coconut
25% Palm
30% Olive
15% Sweet Almond
5% Mango butter

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold (50 oz.)9 Bar Birchwood Mold (48 oz.)18 Bar Birchwood Mold (96 oz.)5 lb. Wood Log Mold (80 oz.)
Coconut Oil8.5 oz.8.2 oz.16.2 oz.13.7 oz.
Palm Oil8.5 oz.8.2 oz.16.2 oz.13.7 oz.
Olive Oil10.2 oz.9.9 oz.19.5 oz.16.5 oz
Sweet Almond5.1 oz.4.9 oz.9.8 oz.8.2 oz.
Mango Butter1.7oz.1.6 oz.3.2 oz.2.7 oz.

Perfectly Palm Free:
If you’re looking for a palm oil free recipe, look no further. This is a a wonderfully slow moving recipe that is great for intricate designs.

15% Coconut
30% Canola
25% Rice Bran
15% Shea Butter
10% Avocado Oil
5% Chia Oil*

*(Don’t have exotic Chia on hand? Hempseed also works great in this recipe))

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold (50 oz.)9 Bar Birchwood Mold (48 oz.)18 Bar Birchwood Mold (96 oz.)5 lb. Wood Log Mold (80 oz.)
Coconut Oil5.2 oz.4.9 oz.9.9 oz.8.2 oz.
Canola Oil10.5 oz.9.9 oz.19.8 oz.16.5 oz.
Rice Bran8.7 oz.8.2 oz.16.5 oz.13.7 oz
Shea Butter5.2 oz.4.9 oz.9.9 oz.8.2 oz.
Avocado Oil3.5 oz.3.3 oz.6.6 oz.5.5 oz.
Chia Oil1.7 oz.1.6 oz.3.3 oz.2.7 oz.

Beautiful Swirls:
This recipe, in addition to our Swirl Quick Mix, is great for — you guessed it — swirl designs!

20% Coconut Oil
30% Palm Oil
20% Canola Oil
4% Castor Oil
6% Hazelnut Oil
10% Rice Bran
10% Sunflower Oil

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold (50 oz.)9 Bar Birchwood Mold (48 oz.)18 Bar Birchwood Mold (96 oz.)5 lb. Wood Log Mold (80 oz.)
Coconut Oil7 oz.6.6 oz13.2 oz.11 oz.
Palm Oil10.5 oz.9.9 oz.19.8 oz.16.5 oz.
Canola Oil7 oz.6.6 oz.13.2 oz.11 oz
Castor Oil1.4 oz.1.3 oz.2.6 oz.2.2 oz.
Hazelnut Oil2.1 oz.1.9 oz.3.9 oz.3.3 oz.
Rice Bran Oil3.5 oz.3.3 oz.6.6 oz.5.5 oz.
Sunflower Oil3.5 oz.3.3 oz.6.6 oz.5.5 oz.

Do you have any tried and true recipes that you’d like to share? We’d love to see them in the comments!

114 Responses to “Formulating Cold Process Recipes”

  1. I have some palm free favorites I would like to share. The way I see it, one soaper cannot clean the world! The more of us making and selling luscious handmade soaps, the better!

    Super moisturizing and gentle with a robust bubbly lather. This is a very slow moving recipe. It is really soft at first, but hardens up after 4-6 week cure. This is definitely a go-to recipe for me.
    72% olive oil
    25 % coconut oil
    3% castor

    Another palm free lovely. This makes a very smooth bar with a silky, creamy lather. It hardens up quite nicely. I tweaked this one many times and figured out it was the rice bran that made it so nice & firm…I think! :) Adding a little bentonite clay makes it even better with a nice slip for shaving.
    40% Olive oil
    25% Coconut Oil
    25 % Rice Bran oil
    7% Mango Butter
    3% Castor oil

    I have more, but I don’t want to go coo-coo! I hope to see more soapers recipes!

    • Awesome, thanks so much for sharing Nikki! Both of these sound great :)

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

      • Jenny says:

        I don’t know if this helps but I was having the same problem
        And also no matter what I did I got huge bubble I in love with kitchen
        Aid products but found thier stick blender just too
        Powerful for soap and it seemed like a suction was h
        Happening because of a perfect half circle so I switch
        My stick blender to a lower watt cusinart It is harder to
        Clean mine does not come apart like the nice ones
        That Annmarie has but I’m notice a big deference
        In the bubbles and it not going from not mix to med
        Trace right away hope this helps

    • Donna says:

      I’ve made your mango-rice bran recipe many times and love it! Thanks Nikki! And I think I know why it hardens up so nicely. It’s not the Rice Bran – it’s the Mango Butter! Mango Butter’s fatty acid content includes 40% stearic acid, which is more than even cocoa or shea butter. And as you probably know, stearic acid contributes to a hard, long-lasting bar. (Mango Butter: 43% oleic, 40% stearic, 7% palmitic, 5% linoleic, 5% others)

  2. Molly says:

    I actually love an all palm oil bar! It’s hard as a rock and produces a thick almost shaving cream like lather. Babassu oil is also fun in place of some or all of the coconut oil, it feels a little gentler in my opinion.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I just adore the Lots of Lather basic recipe (30/30/30/10 of Palm/Coconut/Olive/Castor) and use it as a great starting point.

    The recipe as it’s written makes an awesome bar of soap, lathery and moisturizing. And it’s so easy to remember; since I use 30% water to oils, four of the six weights are the same (palm, coconut, olive, and water), and the castor weight is 1/3 that weight. Just need to determine the lye weight, and I’m ready to go!

    This is the recipe I make every time I want to test a new FO or EO (which is quite often in my case!) – it’s naturally a very light-colored soap, so any discoloration is easy to see, as long as you use a light-colored olive oil or canola.

    I add powdered goats milk to this recipe at trace, and it’s a lovely super-moisturizing soap. This has been my go-to recipe recently – absolutely love it!

    It’s also easy to swap out 5% of this or that to play with “fun” substitutions like hemp oil; I know I’ve got a good base recipe that I started from, and the small substitutions won’t throw it off too much.

    In my Soap Journal, I just notate it as “LOL” and keep up with whatever changes I might make. So far, it’s never let me down!

    (Note that I do make lots of other recipes and have designed a few myself, but I do keep LOLing a lot! :) ).

  4. AshMac says:

    OK, so I have a question about the salt water. Can you use this method to harden a bar in every recipe? If so, what is the math for that? Also, does it speed the trace (i.e., would it be bad for intricate swirling)? Is this like using sodium lactate? And does sodium lactate speed the trace (and therefore make it a bad choice for intricate swirl recipes)? Thanks for another great post!

    • Hi,
      Yes, using salt water is essentially the same as using sodium lactate. I would still recommend using 1 tsp. of salt water per pound of oils in your recipe (and I might do an equal 50/50 ratio for salt to water). As for speeding trace, we’ve not found that adding sodium lactate or salt water really effects trace at all, and in fact we often add sodium lactate to swirl recipes so they harden faster and we can cut them sooner to see the reults :) Happy soaping!

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

  5. Alysia says:

    Thanks for the great advice as always! Gonna try those recipes this week.

  6. Hi,
    Thank You for the great recipes! However, I noticed on the amounts for the 10″silicone under Beautiful Swirls, it only adds up to 40 oz. surely a typo!!
    Thanks Again!!

  7. rookie says:

    may I just ask if I can use oils for cooking in making these soaps? i see coconut oil, palm oil, and canola oil in the grocery shelves.

    • Hi Rookie,
      We actually don’t recommend using oils from the store just because even extra virgin olive oils and other supposedly ‘pure’ oils aren’t really that pure. Only by buying oils from a reliable source — like Bramble Berry — can you be sure that the oils will behave correctly in soap!

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

  8. Eyman says:

    I think using a certain rate of bees wax can harden the soap bar and reduce the period of curing. What do you think?

    I think stearic acid also stand for the same role of bees wax in CP soap making .

  9. Kim says:

    Hello!
    I was wondering if you could help me, I’m kinda trace challenged…
    No matter my recipe, even a 100% olive oil, always give me a very fast trace. It’s like the part that just went through the stickblender is already thick. I soap at 30-35°C, have used tap water, bottle water and distilled water. I have also tried different suppliers of sodium hydroxide. All types of FOs and EOs or scentless.
    I really like soapmaking but this is getting to me. There are so many beautifull swirl designs out there, and most of them require a thin trace. Yet there where I should have a thin stream of soap batter, i get “blob…blob…blob…”.
    Really hoping you can help me find out what I’m doing wrong!

    • Hi Kim,
      Oh no, that is frustrating! When you combine your oils and lye, how long are you mixing for? We typically don’t stick blend more than a few seconds at a time to get the soap to start to emulsify. After that point, I recommend using a wire whisk or spoon to gently stir the batch. Stirring too vigorously can thicken the batch prematurely. I hope that helps — let me know and I can troubleshoot more!

      -Kirsten with Bramble Berry

      • Kim says:

        I use my stickblender for a second at a time, using a spatula to move the top of the batch towards the stickblender. If I wouldn’t do that I’d have to use the stickblender longer. It’s basicly pulse, move the oils around and repeat (4 or 5 pulses) until I don’t have any oils on top anymore. I’ve been considering using a whisk, at times I use it instead of the spatula just after adding my lye. After using it for only a few seconds, an emulsion is already starting. I’ve never fully used the whisk because I worry about a false trace/emulsion.
        I don’t get how my batch (well, the part that just passed my stickblender) is already very thick, almost the way a medium trace looks like.
        Have you ever heard of anything like this?

        • Patricia says:

          Do you know what percentage of water to oils are you soaping at? Full water is 38 – 40% of the oil total. If using less than that (taking a water discount,) try upping it. If you don’t know the percentage, try running the recipe through the SoapCalc website at the pre-set 38%. Then hit calculate & view the recipe. A separate page will appear flashing in your browser – the recipe totals. Compare the water amount specified to what you are using.

          I only use distilled water to be certain of no contaminants.

  10. Judy says:

    Anne Marie–Love this recipe, got it from your site, over a year ago…
    coconut 12 oz.
    palm kernal 4.5 oz.
    palm oil 12 oz.
    shea butter 2.25 oz
    olive oil 15 oz
    and I add a little castor oil

    Thank you for a great receipe–my customers tell me all the time, how they love our soap!

  11. Judy says:

    Sorry, I forgot Sweet Almond (2.25 oz.) in the recipe I just sent!

  12. Vicki says:

    Hi! I’ve been using an ( approximately) 31% olive, 27% palm & coconut, 7% castor, and 4% cocoa & shea butters or slight variations of the above recipe. I recently began using sodium lactate (1tsp ppo or less) because I purchased some new silicone molds and wanted the loaves to harden well for easy release from the molds. Since I did achieve harder bars that seemed to last longer I started using the sodium lactate in all my batches ( even in an acrylic slab mold that I use for bars I want to swirl). I noticed in two of these slab batches I got white crumbly edges and whitish spots throughout the bars. Theses were NOT lye heavy, I tested them and seem to be related to the sodium lactate as I’ve made lots and lots of batches, same recipe, same mold before. Has anyone else had this experience? the soap seemed fine otherwise but I could not sell it because it was ugly looking! I have also noticed that I end up having to shave the entire outer edges of my sodium lactate soaps because they develop way more soda ash on the outside once removed from the mold. ( I do spritz the tops with 91% alcohol). Otherwise, this recipe makes a nice lather and fairly hard bar over time. Thanks!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Vicki!

      We have never had a problem with the sodium lactate, and it sounds like you’re using the correct ratio. It could be a temperature issue; you want to make sure to add the sodium lactate to your lye water once it has cooled. I hope this helps Vicki!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  13. […] lastly, here’s a good piece by Soap Queen on formulating your own recipes and a great Soapmaking 101 video on making a dollar store […]

  14. Karly says:

    This is so very informative and helpful!! I was wondering if you could do a sequel on temperatures for cold process soaping? The internet seems to be severely lacking on explanations for temperatures to soap at, and why (different sites or recipes will give you a particular range, but no real explanation of what happens at higher or lower temperatures or how an ingredient is effected by high/low temps, how temps effect soda ash etc etc). Thanks for your site:)

  15. Hannah says:

    Salt in water…. When do you add the salt? Do you mix up the salt in the water and then add the lye to that?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Hannah!

      You’re correct, you can add the salt to your wamr water and then simply ad the lye to that mixture!
      I would recommend using 1 tsp. of salt water per pound of oils in your recipe.

      Happy Soaping!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  16. Hannah says:

    So I dissolved some salt in a small portion of water and then added it to the lye solution. It turned the water cloudy. Is that expected?

    Other than that it behaved as any other batch.
    Also, I also use goats milk in all my soap. Other than the cloudiness it looks ok so far.
    Hannah

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Hannah!

      That’s totally fine to have some cloudy lye water due to the salt :). I’m happy to hear your soap has been turning out well! If you get images, we would love to see your soap on our Facebook Page!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  17. Erica says:

    I’m new to CP soaping so I am so thankful for these recipes. I have a question about the swirls recipe. I noticed several of the oils used have limited shelf life (Hazelnut and Sunflower are only 3 months). If I order from Bramble Berry, how long had it been sitting before it reaches me to know how long it will last? Also, how long would my soap be good for after I make the recipe?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Erica!

      Our oils sell through pretty quickly, so once you receive your oil, I would write a date on the bag and start the shelf life from that date. To ensure that your oil lasts as long as possible, I would recommend placing it in the fridge or freezing it if you don’t think you’ll use it in time.

      Once your oils are made into soap, the shelf life no longer applies because they have been made into a completely different substance. Your soap won’t go bad (ie: grow mold)but eventually it may start to get crumbly, usually after about 6 months or so. I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  18. Carolyn says:

    Can you substitute canola oil for all of the olive oil in a 33-33-33 recipe? How will this effect the soap?

    • Absolutely you can do that sub. I don’t notice a huge difference between Olive and Canola (blasphemy in some soapmaking circles to say that) but some soapmakers swear Canola causes soap to get DOS faster and not have as long of a shelf life. =) So, do the subs and then make a decision for what works for you and your soap and your budget.

  19. Tracy says:

    I have a nut allergy and I am concerned about using nut oils in my soap. Is there a good substitution for sweet almond oil?

  20. Samantha says:

    I have a question about the lye. Is it normal for the lye water to be somewhat cloudy after the lye has been dissolved? I make sure that there are no lye bits in my water but it also seems to have like an oil slick type appearance on the top of the lye water, its not a lot just a litter. Is this normal and does this effect the bar in anyway? Also, does this have a higher capability of possibly burning somebody?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Samantha!

      If your lye water is a little cloudy, that’s perfectly normal. We have found that if you continue to stir, it will clear up. Also, if you happen to see little bits in your lye water that is simply the caking agent and will not harm the soap. The cloudiness will not effect the bar, but if you stir a little more you may find it clears up :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  21. hemant says:

    can you tell me method of making soap with palm and coconut oil.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I have a question about the perfectly palm-free recipe. I ran the percentages through soapcalc and it’s giving me a hardness of 30. I’ve never soaped with canola, avocado or hemp before. I know that soapcalc can be misleading with olive oil; is there something about this recipe that I’m not aware of that is throwing off the numbers, or is this going to be a really soft bar that will take a loooooooong time to cure?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jennifer!

      When working with recipes that do not include Palm, they will be softer because Palm contributes so much to the hardness of your bar. This recipe uses Coconut, Canola, Rice Bran, Shea Butter, Avocado Oil and Chia Oil. It will definitely take a little bit longer to harden than recipes that do contain Palm. One thing you can add that will help with the hardness is Sodium Lactate to your lye water! Sodium Lactate is a liquid salt, and I recommend adding it to your lye water at 1 tsp. per pound of oils :)

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  23. Gina says:

    Hi, I purchased a bunch of palm oil kernel instead of palm oil once from your store. I can’t find any moisturizing recipes that have that as an ingredient except the one from Anne-Marie’s book with the fresh avocado slurry and i wanted to try something without the fresh avocados. Do you happen to have a link to any other recipes using it? I have avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and of course the palm kernel oil i would like to use up. Any help would be appreicated!

  24. Jenni says:

    I’ve never made bar soap before and I want to very badly. I like that you provide a break down in ounces of what to put in the soap but how do I go about making the soap with out adding lye? I can’t seem to find any such resource in the actual process.

  25. Elaine Wright says:

    I have only been soaping for 2 Mo. now. I am having a hard time figuring out how to use the soap calculator. Where should I go to find out moon on how to use it ?

  26. Hailey says:

    What is a good substitute for hemo oil?

  27. Hailey says:

    “Hemp oil”

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Hailey!

      Hemp Seed oil has a SAP value of 190-195. If you are looking for a good replacement for Hemp Seed Oil, Oils that have a similar SAP value are Almond Oil, Soybean Oil and Walnut Oil. I would recommend running your recipe through a lye calculator again, just to be sure you have the correct amount of water and lye :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  28. Lee says:

    What is the total number of ounces you should end up with when you give a recipe of 33/33/33 ratio, for example. Is it per pound? How many total ounces would you need for a 5lb mold?

    Also, do you substitute ounce per ounce when changing from and oil to a butter or vice-versa?

    I am trying to figure this out so I can get started making soap. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  29. Patg says:

    Could someone tell me how cool the lye water must be to add sodium lactate – I am new at this and I keep seeing cooled lye water but no specifics. I have been soaping at 110 to 120 degrees and have had no problems with soda ash but don’t want to have to go lower.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Patg!

      Adding your Sodium Lactate to lye around 110-120 will be just fine :). You could even add it around 130-140, although I wouldn’t go much higher than that! You just don’t want to add it immediately after making your lye water :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  30. Laura says:

    I am thinking about doing a canola, olive, coconut, sweet almond and caster? Do you think that would give good results?

    Thanks so much!!

  31. Janae says:

    Hello! I’m attempting cold process for the first time. I am wondering if possible to use a whisk attachment on a mixer instead of an immersion blender. Would this ruin the saponification process?

    Thanks so much!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Janae!

      While it is possible, we don’t recommend it because using a whisk attachment will incorporate quite a bit of air bubbles into your soap. We have found that immersion blenders work the very best :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  32. Deborah Weaver says:

    I have very dry skin and was reading that lotion bars are more moisturizing for the skin instead of soap. What do you think and do you have a good lotion bar recipe to share?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Deborah!

      While soap can be hydrating for the skin, because it is a product that you wash off, it does not add additional hydration during the say. I find that lotion and lotion bars add more moisture because you don’t wash it off :)

      If you prefer the idea of having a lotion bar rather than lotion, here are a few recipes that you might like! The first recipe is made with an essential oil blend to keep bugs away, but you could use whatever fragrance you like :)

      Bite Me Not Lotion Bar:http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/bite-me-not-eo-blend/

      Lotion Bar Love: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/lotion/lotion-bar-love/

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

      • Deborah says:

        Thank you for the lotion soap recipes. I assume they would be good to use after cleansing with soap or do they have cleansing properties since you don’t wash them off?

        Also, I am looking for a SUPER moisturizing soap with nice creamy bubbles that leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth without that tight ashy look and feel. I have mature skin and I hear Mango Butter is good for that. Do you have any suggestions?

        I am still quite new to soap making and I love making CP soaps yet my quest is to produce the best moisturizing all natural cleansing bar for my dry skin. The only thing I can relate the feel I’m looking for is Dove Bars which I know are full of unwanted chemicals. Can you help? Many thanks.

  33. jonijoni says:

    hi, i’m completely new in soapmaking.
    i would like to know where is the right place to have a dicussion as i believe this section is actually only for comments.

    thanks

  34. Hi all forgive me but I’m struggling a little with trying to calculate how much oils to use for my first batch.

    Im very new to soap making in fact I’m yet to make my first soap. I would like to make a basic mixture with coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil. I have 12 moulds that are 125 grams each.

    How do I calculate how much oil I need and run this through the lye calculator in order for me to have the correct amount of mixture?

    I’m really sorry I know this must sound ridiculously simple but I can’t seem to get my head around it

    Many thanks

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Geoffrey!

      No worries, it can be a little tricky! So first I would figure out how much you need total. If each mold is 125 grams and you have 12, you need 1,500 grams of soap, or 52.9 ounces.

      Once you know how much your mold can hold, then it’s a little bit of a guess and check process with the lye calculator . I would recommend working in percentages in terms of entering the oils in your recipe. Once you enter all your oils, the calculator will ask you how much you’d like the finished oils in your recipe to weight. You can go ahead and throw out any reasonable number, because you can adjust it later.

      Choose your superfat percentage, then hit “Calculate.” You will see that the calculator will give you the weight of each oil, along with the amount of lye, and water. This total weight is your yield. Most likely, your yield will be too big, or too small. At this point, you can “Resize” your batch by entering a new number for the amount of oils. You can resize your batch as many times as necessary to get an appropriate yield.

      Lye Calculator:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Pages/Lye-Calculator.aspx

      I hope this helps! If you have more questions, let me know :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  35. Kathy Singer says:

    Love that you ladies give us so much helpful information, not to mention great products. I’m an avid user of the “Old Faithful” recipe for the 18 bar mold. I recently bought some red palm super olein oil and would love your thoughts on incorporating it into the Old Faithful recipe. I was going to send it back but figured some where, some how there is a recipe using red palm super olein. My thought is that I should substitute part of the (regular) palm oil with a percentage of the red palm SO. Don’t want everything turning orange so guess a small percentage, any guidance from you would be greatly appreciated.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Kathy!

      I’m so glad that you have been enjoying the recipes :). The Old Faithful is a favorite of mine as well! I have never actually soaped with Palm Olein Oil before…it’s not very common, and you’re right, it can be tricky to find a recipe using it! I did a little research, and from what I can gather, it is a oil commonly used for frying. The olein is the light fraction of the palm oil, composed primarily of palmitoleic acid, and is a good substitute for olive oil. I would recommend making a very small test batch, and using the SAP number for Olive Oil when adding it to your recipe :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  36. Francine says:

    Hi, i have a question about CP recipes. is it possible to make CP soap using only Hemp oil, Hemp butter and babassu oil? what would the ratios be if so and if not do you have any suggestions?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Francine!

      While this would make a very moisturizing bar of soap, the soap would also be very soft because of the lack of hard oils in this recipe. The best bars of soap are recipes that use a combination of both hard and soft oils :)

      I recommend using Hemp Seed Oil at 20% or less, and using the Babassu Oil and Hemp Butter at 10% or less each. The remaining oils of your recipe could be Coconut Oil at 30% and Palm Oil at 30%. Adding this hard oils will help your soap properly set up :)

      You may find this blog post helpful! It has general usage rates for each common soap making oil :)

      Common Soapmaking Oils and Butters:
      http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/free-beginners-guide-to-soapmaking-common-soapmaking-oils/

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  37. Francine says:

    in addition to the previous comment i posted would this recipe be ok ?

    40% Babassu oil
    30% Hemp butter
    30% Hemp seed oil

  38. […] of Miss Anne-Marie Faiola, check out her post on formulating cold process recipes. It has some basic recipes for all types of soapers–the beginners, the animal cruelty aware, […]

  39. Rita says:

    Greetings! I just made my first batch of CP soap! I’ve read a lot of books, watched quite a bit of soap queen tv , and practiced countless times in my head….by doing all of my theory before moving on to my practical application I feel like I achieved a nearly text book result! I’m very pleased. I looked over several lye calculator but ultimately ended up using Bramble Berry. It was the easiest for my non mathematical mind!! Just curious as to your opinion oflard. I did use it in my formula but now I must wait several weeks to really see. I have a freezer full of lard that I rendered myself from a friends hog. Sure hope it works out! I need to use it up! I also used olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and castor oil.I actually used about 16.5% of castor…my question is….do you think my soap will end up too sticky?
    Thanks!

  40. Angelica says:

    Super newbie here (attempting to make my first batch tonight.) Could someone be so kind to tell me if this recipe is ok, as in the outcome should be a fairly good bar of soap:
    Makes 4lbs
    16oz goat milk
    6.5oz lye
    17oz olive oil
    17oz coconut oil
    4oz shea butter
    4oz castor oil

    2 tablespoons honey
    5 tablespoons lavendar essential oil

    Any help or suggestions greatly appreciated.

  41. patsy says:

    Hi I’m new to cp soap making, but my family keep bees so would like to incorporate beeswax in to a recipe. I did see in a magazine someone did this using olive, coconut and almond oils, but I don’t have a clue what proportions this would be, can you please help. Thanks.

  42. Georgianna says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad
    for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of
    it!

  43. Carolyn says:

    Hello everyone! I would like to make the Perfectly Palm Free recipe in my 10″ silicone loaf mold, however I don’t have any Chia oil and I see that Hempseed oil would be a substitute for it. I don’t have any Hempseed oil either! What is a good substitute and do I use the same amount of the substitute 1.7oz? Since my silicone mold holds 50oz. when I run the recipe through the Lye calculator to determine the amount of lye and liquid to use to use it looks like (I used ounces) the oil weight=34.80oz., I superfatted by 5%,lye amount=4.593oz., liquid amount=11.48oz. for a yield of 50.88oz. Then I used the Fragrance calculator it gave me the amount of fragrance to use (I like my fragrance strong)which is 2.54oz. By my calculations 50.88oz.+2.54oz.=53.42oz., I think that this is too much for my mold or am I missing something??? Should I lower the fragrance amount or have a silicone bar mold handy for any extra soap that won’t fit into the loaf mold? Should any of these soap recipes made in the 10″ silicone loaf mold or the 9 Bar Birchwood mold be covered and wrapped in a towel to go through gel phase? I thank you in advance for all of your help and all that you do to help us along our journey into the soaping world!!!

  44. Carolyn says:

    Sorry, I almost forgot to tell you that my 9 Bar Birchwood mold has a silicone liner and the four plastic pieces that fits on each end and both sides!

  45. Carolyn says:

    My last question can castor oil substitute for the chia oil? Thank you.

  46. Carolyn says:

    Hi! In the Beautiful Swirls recipe what are good substitutes for the Hazelnut oil & the Sunflower oil? I have Sweet Almond oil, Castor oil, Apricot oil, Palm oil, Canola oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil, Grape Seed oil, & Avocado oil. I made the other recipe and it came out Great! I couldn’t have done it without you!! Thank you so much for your help!!!

  47. Joleen says:

    On your old Faithful recipe, can you substitute the castor oil with cocoa butter, or mango butter? I’m just new and still stumbling to figure it all out. The recipe I learned with seems to be missing and I feel like I’m starting all over again. Ugh. Thank you =)

  48. Kimberly says:

    On the Old Faithful with a Twist, it seems like the amount of almond oil is off for the 18 bar mold. It seems out of proportion to the other amounts.

  49. Missy says:

    I am looking to make my first batch of cold processed soap. I am wanting to use the 33/33/33 recipe using lard, coconut oil and canola oil. Where can I find a detailed recipe that’s fool proof for this newbie? Also, looking to buy a 3 lb. mold. What kind of mold works best- wood or with a silicone liner? Thanks!

  50. Missy says:

    Also, I’d like to add essential oils to the mix for scent. How do I know how much to add and how it will affect the process?
    Thanks a bunch for your great info!!!

  51. This was a huge help for me tonight in preparing a new recipe. Thank You so much!

  52. Hi, once you have poured your mixture into your moulds, where should you store them? Are you supposed to put them into the oven? Is there a tutorial on this subject please?
    thank you

    • Kelsey says:

      Hi Laura!

      After your soap is in the mold, you have several options.

      One option is to gel the soap. ‘Gelling’ and ‘gel phasing’ in cold process soap refers to a part of the soapmaking process where the soap gets warm and gelatinous – up to 180 degrees. Gelled soap also has a more translucent, shiny look than non-gelled soap. None of these things affect the final outcome of the soap after a full cure, just how the soap looks.

      To gel the soap, you can place it on a heating pad on medium for 20 minutes, or you can put a piece of cardboard over your soap and wrap it with a towel or blanket.

      If you prefer a more matte look, you can leave the soap out in the open or pop it in the freezer for four hours or so. I’ll include a link that has more about gel phase. :)

      If you place your soap in the oven after it’s poured, it will force a hot, extended gel phase. This will give you nice vibrant colors. I’ll include a tutorial on how to do that!

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

      Jazzed About Gel Phase: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/gel-phase/

      Hot Process Series: CPOP Swirls: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/hot-process-series-cpop-swirls/

  53. Munimula says:

    Do any oils exist that are good as a replacement for coconut oil? I am interested in finding a moisturizing CP soap recipe that does not contain coconut oil, as I have a relative who is allergic to it. I know I can make an all olive oil/Castille soap, however, I’d like to make soap that is not soft and will cure by Christmas. Are there any good substitutes for coconut oil? I know it’s part of the “holy trinity” base of soap making. I am finding that, although the Basic and Basic Plus make really nice soap (and I have had success with them), they are drying to my skin. I have scoured the Internet looking for coconut-free, moisturizing, simple CP recipes, to not much avail. I don’t want to put a lot of extra “stuff” in my soap and would like to keep it oils. Any suggestions, or recipes, would be appreciated.
    Thank you!

  54. D.J. Binczik says:

    Help I’m out of coconut oil but I have plenty of the following oils;
    Shea butter, palm oil, palm kernel, canola, avocado, sunflower, castor, hempseed, Mango butter, cocoa butter, coffee butter,tamanu.

    Can you recommend a recipe or will one of the oils I already own be a good substitute for coconut oil?

  55. Ok I have always wondered about this……..(I feel silly for asking it) Can you make soap using butter. Salted butter. Does anyone know the saponification rate?

    • Kelsey says:

      Hi Rose!

      We have never tried using butter, so I’m not exactly sure!

      From a quick internet search, several sites recommended clarifying the butter before adding it. Also, I would recommend using it at a low percentage in your recipe, like 15% or lower.

      Let us know how it goes! :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

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