Free Beginner`s Guide to Soapmaking: Common Soapmaking Oils

One of the best parts of soap crafting is being able to customize your recipe down to the very last ingredient. There are an infinite number of oil, fragrance, color and technique combinations, which is one of the reasons soap making can be so exciting!

Arguably one of the most important aspect of any soaping recipe is the combinations of oils and butters that make up your base recipe. The oils you use impact most all defining factors in your finished product, from it’s moisturizing properties, to how well it lathers to the ability to do all kinds of coloring techniques and designs. In essence, think of your oils as the foundation of a house. You need a solid base to support everything else.

To guide you through the wide world of oils, we’ve assembled our most comprehensive resource on fixed oils to date. Think of it as a supplemental companion to our Free Beginner’s Guide to Cold Process Soap Making and our Free Beginner’s Guide to Melt and Pour. It’s just one more tool to help you on your quest for soapy excellence. Keeping scrolling (it’s worth it, we promise!) for a Frequently Asked Questions section as well as a handy chart on fixed oil shelf life.

As an added bonus, we’re even offering a free downloadable two page PDF with information on more than 30 common soapmaking oils and their shelf life, usage rates, characteristics in soap, and more.

Apricot Kernel Oil - 6 months to 1 year

Similar to the makeup of Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil is lightweight and high in linoleic and oleic acids. It is conditioning and is easily absorbed into the skin (making for an excellent carrier for massage oils). It produces small bubbles and isn’t used at more than 15% because it produces a softer bar of soap that probably will not hold up as well in the shower or bath.

Recipes: Cold Process….With a Twist! & Salt Glow Facial Scrub

 

Avocado Oil 1 year

Avocado Oil (from the pulp of the Avocado fruit) makes a soft bar of soap and is generally used at 20% or less in cold process recipe. Rich in vitamins A, B, D, and E, Avocado Oil leaves your soap with a high percentage of  fatty acids and unsaponifiables, making it great choice for massage oils, lotions and butters in addition to soap.

Recipes: Tiger Striper Hanger Swirl, Fuzzy Felted Soap Balls & Sea Clay Avocado Facial Bar

 

Avocado Butter - 3 years

Avocado Butter is solid at room temperature but because of its low melting point, it’s perfect for all sorts of skin care — soaps, balms, hair-care products and even lotion blends! It is derived from the fruit of the Avocado Tree and hydrogenated to yield a green-tinted butter that is kissably soft with just a mild odor. You can use this butter up to 12.5% in your cold process recipe to create a knock-out, skin-loving soap.

Recipes: Whipped Body Butter (pictured below),  Vertical Sandalwood Vanilla Soap, &  Winter Lip Balm

 

Beeswax (White & Yellow) – Indefinite

Beeswax has an indefinite shelf life. While the Yellow Beeswax is fully refined, the White Beeswax is bleached naturally by exposing it in thin layers to air, sunlight and moisture.  In cold process recipes, Beeswax acts as a natural hardening agent and can be used up to 8% in your recipes. There are special considerations when using beeswax; melt it first and add it at thin trace to soap that is 140 degrees or higher. Otherwise, the beeswax will harden in your soap mixture (no fun!).

 Recipes: Vanilla Latte Lip BalmCoffee Butter Foot Creme & Cuticle Salve

Canola Oil1 to 2 years

For an affordable ingredient option in your recipes, you can use Canola Oil.  This inexpensive oil works great in combination with other oils like Coconut and Palm, and makes for a very balanced bar of soap. It also produces a more white soap than Olive Oil which allows for a wider range of colors to be used. Canola Oil produces a creamy lather that can be used as a partial substitute for Olive Oil or up to 40% of your total oils.

Recipes: Handmade Soap for the Gardener, Peacock Swirl & Three Color Mantra Swirl

 

Castor Oil1 year

This thick and viscous liquid is extracted from the Castor Bean Plant and has a slight but distinctive smell. It behaves like a  humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air onto the skin. If you want a stable, lush lather, you can technically use Castor Oil in your recipe up to 25% (though using much more than 10% can make for a sticky soft bar). This oil is great for superfatting and is often used to contribute to the thick and large bubbles in most bars. Most soapers use this oil in the range of 3-8% traditionally.

Recipes: How To Make Solid Bubble Bath, Luxurious Liquid Soap, & Invigorating Shampoo Bars

Cocoa Butter - 1 to 2 years

This oil is solid, hard and brittle at room temperature making the term “butter” a bit of a misnomer. When melting cocoa butter for beauty recipes, it’s best to temper it (as you do with chocolate) to prevent crystallization but in cold process soap, no tempering is needed. At Bramble Berry, you can purchase it in it’s natural form, which smells like warm cocoa, or in it’s deodorized state if you aren’t a fan of the smell. Learn more about how our cocoa butter is deodorized here. Use cocoa butter at 15% or less in cold process soaps; any higher than than can cause cracking in your final bar. Because of its naturally chocolatey scent, Cocoa Butter can hide some delicate fragrances, like florals so keep that in mind when working with more faint fragrances.

Recipes:  Luck of the Green BeerHoney Beeswax Cold Process & Chai Latte Love

 

Coconut Oil - More than a year

One of the most common raw materials used in the soap and cosmetic industry, Coconut Oil comes in a range of melting points (76°F and 96°F are the most common) and has one of the lowest melting points of any solid oil. Both the 76 and 96 degree melting point oils have the same saponification value and can both be used in your soapmaking recipes. Coconut oil is a super cleansing addition that produces big, copious bubbles. It is so good at its job that it can inadvertently strip skin of moisture (leaving it dry and even irritated). A maximum usage rate of 30% is ideal for the perfect balance of cleansing without drying. For more sensitive skin, keep the Coconut Oil a 15% or less in your bar.

Recipes: Crisp Anjou Pear Embed Tutorial, Impressionist Soap Tutorial, Goat Milk In-The-Pot-Swirl

 

Coffee Butter - 1 year

This luscious and rich butter is perfect for your lotions, body butters and even soap. It is a blend of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and Coffee Seed Oil, and contains between .5 – 1% natural caffeine (perfect for that extra pick-me-up!). It has a natural coffee scent with a smooth and creamy feel that can be used at up to 6% in your cold process recipes.

Recipes: Whipped Coffee Butter (pictured below), Coffee Butter Foot Creme & For the Love of Coffee (Butter)

 

Emu Oil – 1 year; up to 3 years if frozen

This exotic oil is a medium-weight oil that has known anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation properties. Use it in cold process concoctions up to 12.5%. It is a great skin-loving ingredient to use alongside essentials oils that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties such as Black Pepper, Anise or Eucalyptus Essential Oils.

 

Evening Primrose – 6 months to 1 year

This lightweight oil has been know to treat dry, red or irritated skin because of its high content of fatty acids. It is an exotic oil with a short shelf life. Use it up to 6% of your total oils in your cold process recipe.

 

Flax Seed Oil – 6 months to 1 year if refrigerated

Flax Seed Oil is a lightweight and a rich source of fatty acids that can be used to create skin-loving balms, body butters and lotions. You can also use it in any cold process recipe up to 5%. With its shorter shelf life, it typically is not a staple in common cold process soap recipes.

 

Fractionated Coconut Oil – Indefinite

More stable than traditional Coconut Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil contains only the medium triglycerides, which means that it won’t ever turn solid. It is a great carrier for essential oils and it often used in scrubs. This clear and lightweight oil can be used in cold process soaps up to 30% though it contributes to a more soft bar and does not have the same cleansing and bubbling abilities of solid Coconut Oil.

Recipes: Coconut Oil & Pink Salt Scrub & Bug Away Spray Bouquet

 

Grapeseed Oil – 3 months to one year if refrigerated

This lightweight yellowish-green oil makes for a great salt and sugar scrub ingredient and is full of antioxidants. Somewhat oilier than Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed adsorbs quickly and you are left with kissably soft and smooth skin.  When working with cold process recipes, you can use it up to 15% of your total oils.

 

Hazelnut Oil - 3 months

Producing a skin-conditioning and minimal lather, Hazelnut Oil is low in unsaturated fatty acids and slows down trace. It is typically used at less than 15% in cold process recipes, but be aware of the short shelf life when including this oil in your products.

 

Hempseed Oil - 3-9 months, longer if frozen

This viscous oil has a distinctly earthy smell and helps to create a luxe bar of soap with excellent lather. It is available both refined and unrefined. Use it at less than 20% of the total oils in a recipe.

Recipes: Nourishing Cold Process SoapHot Process Series: Oven Process Layers, & Whipped Belly Butter

Jojoba Oil - Indefinite. 

Acquired from the seeds to the Jojoba Shrub, this oil actually a liquid wax that will contribute to a very stable and long-lasting bar of soap. If used at any more than 10% of the total oils in a recipe it can begin to weigh down the lather, but has an indefinite shelf life which makes it terrific for a wide range of bath and body products.

Recipes:  Loofah Cold Process SoapCheery Holiday CP Soap & Moisturizing Cold Process Soap

 

Mango Butter - 1 year

Mango Butter is extracted from the fruit kernels of the Mango tree. It is solid at room temperature but melts upon contact with the skin. Because this butter does not strengthen the lather or hardness of a soap, it is generally used at less than 15% of the total oils in a recipe.

Recipes: Mango Avocado Balmy Salve (pictured below), Gardening Cold Process Soap & Let it Bleed CP Color Gradation

 

Meadowfoam Oil - 3 years

Meadowfoam Oil is a moisturizing and conditioning oil similar to Jojoba Oil. It contributes to a creamy and silky lather in soap. Originally developed as an alternative to Sperm Whale Oil, this skin-loving and earth-friendly product is generally used at 20% or less of the total oil in soap recipes.

Recipes: Bonus 2-in-1: Man Soap with Tamanu Oil, Solid Perfume & Winter Salt Soak

 

 Olive Oil (Pomace & Pure) – 2 years

Used essentially in soap for its incredibly creamy and mild lather, Olive Oil yields a soap bar that will last longer with tiny bubbles. Any grade (Pomace, Pure or EVOO) can be used in soapmaking, but we have found that the Pure Olive Oil tends to trace much slower than the Pomace Olive Oil, so be sure to use the Pure Olive Oil if you are soaping with a recipe that you need time to work with. It is a wonderful addition to any soap recipe and can be used up to 100%.

Recipes:   Hot Process Series: CPOP SwirlsInvigorating Shampoo Bars & Baby Soap: Buttermilk Bastille Baby Bar

 

Palm Oil - 1 year

Palm Oil is widely used for it’s hardening properties in soap, and acts as a secondary lathering agent when used in conjunction with Coconut Oil. This is a medium-weight oil that can be used up to 30% in any given cold process recipe. The Palm Oil for sale on Bramble Berry’s website is purchased from a member of the the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production. For more information on Palm Oil, click here.

Recipes: Fruit and Veggie Wash, Tiger Stripe “Hanger” Swirl & Crock Pot Camo Soap

 

Palm Kernel Oil (Flakes) - 1 year

This oil comes in the form of solid flakes that must be melted before use. It contributes to a hard bar of soap and can also add a lustrous sheen. It will speed up trace when used in recipes, so be prepared to work fast. It can be used up to 15% of your total oils.

Recipes: Let it Bleed: Cold Process Soap Color Gradation & Holiday Soap Cubes

 

Peanut Oil – 6 months to 1 year

This pale yellow oil is typically used as a substitute for Olive Oil or Canola Oil in cold process recipes and can be used up to 25%.

 

Peach Kernel Oil – 6 months to 1 year

This skin-loving pale yellow oil adds to the moisturizing, nourishing and conditioning properties of your soap while contributing to a stable lather (when used in combination with Coconut Oil). It is used at a rate of 25% of your total oils or less and can be a great substitute for Sweet Almond or Grapeseed Oil.

 

Rice Bran Oil - 1 to 2 years

Found in the husk of rice grains, this cold-pressed oil is rich in Vitamin E and anti-oxidants. It is an effective substitute for Olive or Canola Oil and contributes to a stable bar of soap with small and mild bubbles. It’s effective for treating dry and mature skin and can be used up to 100%  of the oil in your cold process recipes.

Recipe: Making Sunshine Cold Process SoapFalling for Pumpkin Pear Soap & Fall Sweater Stripes

 

Safflower Oil – 1 year

This mild and skin-loving oil is similar to Soybean, Canola or Sunflower Oil and is superb for lotion bars. Use at a rate of up to 20% of the total weight of your oils in cold process soap.

 

Sesame Oil - 6 months to 1 year

This light, golden oil  is full of unsaponfiables, high in antioxidants and Oleic and Linoleic fatty acids and as a result has a longer shelf life that can add to the moisturizing and skin-loving properties of your soaps. This oil is not the same toasted Sesame Oil that is typically used in Asian Cuisine. It can be used at up to 10% in cold process recipes.

Recipes: Circle Swirled Soap in Column Mold

 

Shea Butter - 1 year

Acquired from the seed of the African Shea Tree, this oil is solid at room temperature and known for it’s softening and moisturizing qualities. Refined Shea has a neutral smell while the unrefined smells slightly nutty. This super skin-loving butter is typically used at 15% or less of the total oils in your cold process recipes.

Recipes: Luck of the Green Beer (CP tutorial), Shea Butter Soap Cupcakes & Easy Whipped Shea Butter (pictured below)

 

Soybean Oil – 3 months if refrigerated

Soybean oil has a known creamy, stable and conditioning lather which can produce a hard bar of soap when used in conjunction with Palm or Coconut oil. It’s typically used at 50% or less in cold process recipes.

 

Sunflower Oil3 months if refrigerated

Sunflower Oil has a high amount of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, making it it one of the more cost-effective fixed oils. It’s great to blend with other base oils for massage or perfume bases. All types of sunflower oil are suitable for soapmaking and have the same SAP value. This particular oil produces a lather that is incredibly conditioning to the skin.  Some soapmakers choose to use it in large proportions in their recipes because it’s a great alternative to the higher-price Olive Oil. It does have a slower absorption rate, so it can feel slightly oily on the skin in leave-on recipes, such as balms and lotions. To help increase the shelf life of this oil, be sure to keep it refrigerated. It can be used up in cold process recipes up to 100% but is typically used at 20% or less.

Recipes: Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Mantra Swirl SoapImpressionist Soap TutorialHoney Beeswax Cold Process Tutorial

 

Sweet Almond Oil - 6 months to 1 year

Amazing as a massage oil, this luxurious oil can also be added to your soap recipes at a 5-20% usage rate. Because it has a high fatty acid content including oleic and linoleic acids, its an unparalleled carrier for salt scrubs and is a nourishing oil in soap recipes.

Recipes: Faux Funnel Pour: Advanced Cold ProcessHot Process Series: Crock Pot Camo, & Hot Process Series: CPOP Swirls

 

Tamanu Oil - 2 years, 5 years if refrigerated

Tamanu Oil is a rich and multi-faceted ingredient to use in your bath & body products. Use it in soap up to 5% or as a massage oil or even in a salt scrub. Did you know that it takes a 100 full kilograms of Tamanu fruit to make just 5 kilograms of cold pressed Tamanu Oil? This oil has been used by the people of Tahiti for burns, insect bites and even stretch marks. As with any nut-based oil, people with allergies to nuts should not use it.

Recipes: Bonus 2-in-1: Man Soap with Tamanu Oil, Rich Mud Mask & Healing Under Eye Serum

 

Walnut Oil – 3 months

Gold in color and high in antioxidants, this emollient oil has been known to condition and moisturize skin. It can be used up to 15% in soap.

 

Wheatgerm Oil – 6 months

This skin-loving yellow liquid oil has high Vitamin E content and does contribute to the softness of a bar. It typically isn’t used at more than 6% of the total of your oils in any given recipe.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to heat up my entire container of Palm Oil before I use it in my cold process recipe?

A:  Palm Oil contains Stearic Acid strains, which contribute to hardness in your final bar of soap but can also cause spottiness when not properly dispersed throughout the oil. To prevent the Stearic Acid from settling to the bottom of the Palm Oil container, melt the entire container and stir before using in your recipe.

Q: Do I need to heat up my entire container of Coconut Oil before I use it in my cold process recipe?

A:  Unlike Palm Oil, you don’t have to heat up the entire container of Coconut Oil. You will find that most soapers will just scoop out the amount that they need for their recipe.

Q: Whoops, I’m out of Palm Oil – can I use Palm Kernel Oil instead?

A: Palm oil and Palm Kernel oil are harvested from entirely different parts of the palm fruit and will yield completely different results in your final soap, in addition to having different usage and saponification rates. Palm oil contributes to texture and lather, and is a great compliment to the attributes of Coconut oil. Palm Kernel oil contributes to the hardness of your bar, and can add a lustrous sheen to the final bar. For these reasons, they should not be substituted for one another in your soap recipe.

Q: How can I tell if my oil or butter is rancid?

A: When an oil or butter starts going rancid, there is a noticeable change in either the color, consistency or odor of the oils (or any combination of the three) and your butters may start to develop mold or dark spots. Always check your ingredients before you use them in your bath & body products.

Q: What happens if I used rancid oil or butter in soap?

A: If you use a rancid ingredient in your soap, it can develop DOS, or Dreaded Orange Spots. These small spots will start to show up in your soap as a result of oxidation and cause unsightly discoloration. Additionally, the smell of rancidity can sometimes be detected in your final bar. Be sure to check the shelf life of the ingredients that you are using.

Q: What happens if I used a large amount of Olive Oil in my recipe?

A: A 100% Olive Oil Soap (also known as Castile soap) results in a gentle and luxurious soap, but it requires some patience. Being a soft oil, it can take quite some time before the texture of the final bar has reached an ideal hardness. It’s not uncommon for castile bars to take as long as 6 months to cure, which is why many soapers have developed a taste for what is lovingly referred to as a Bastile bar – a recipe with a high percentage of olive oil used in combination with other harder oils to help speed along the hardening process while still yielding many of the desirable benefits that olive oil brings to soap. Another bonus – high amounts of pure or extra virgin olive oil in your recipe tend to inhibit trace, which makes bastile recipes ideal for soaping techniques or designs that require a bit more time to work with them. Try increasing the olive oil content in your recipe the next time you need a slow moving recipe.

Q: I have unrefined shea butter and it smells like campfire. Will that scent come through in my soap?

A:  Shea Butter is obtained from the nut fruit of the African Shea Tree, and in its unrefined (virgin) form retains a nutty and smoky natural aroma that can possibly be detected in a final bar of soap. If you don’t want to risk the natural scent of the Shea Butter coming through in your soap, you can always use refined Shea Butter, which has been through a deodorizing process, or embrace the prospect by using a complimentary fragrance or essential oil.

Q: Help! I’m out of Sweet Almond Oil, can I just put in Avocado Oil?

A: The answer to this is both yes and no. You can switch out an oil for any other oil you have on hand, but be aware that it will affect the final consistency, texture and/or other attributes of your bar. Follow the rule of liquid oils for liquid oils and solid oils for solid oils, and be sure that when you need to pull an oil from the bench that you are subbing it for an oil whose usage rates are similar. For example, you wouldn’t want to replace Canola oil in a recipe where it’s used at 30% with Avocado Oil, which shouldn’t be used at more than 20%. A good choice in that situation would be Olive Oil, which can be used at up to 100%. Once you’ve found an alternative ingredient that works for you, be sure to run your entire recipe through the Lye Calculator again. If you don’t, your lye and water amounts will be off and you could run the risk of having a lye-heavy soap!

Q: What is a SAP Value?

A: A saponfication value or number is the amount of lye needed to completely saponify 1 gram of an oil or butter (see the Beginner’s Guide to Cold Process Soapmaking for an explanation of saponification). For example, the SAP value of Canola oil is .132, which means it takes .132 grams of lye to turn 1 gram of Canola oil into soap. Often, SAP values are given in ranges – when in doubt, use the mid range value when calculating your recipe. Or, you can use an online Lye Calculator.

 

OilShelf LifeSAP ValueUsage Rate in Cold Process
Apricot Kernel Oil6 months to 1 year.135up to 15%
Avocado Oil 1 year.133up to 20%
Avocado Butter3 years.187up to 12.5%
Beeswax (White & Yellow)Indefinite.94up to 8%
Canola Oil1 to 2 years.132up to 40%
Castor Oil1 year.128up to 25%
Cocoa Butter1 to 2 years.137 up to 15%
Coconut OilMore than 1 year.178Up to 30%
Coffee Butter1 year.188 up to 6%
Emu Oil1 year, 3 years if frozen.192up to 12.5%
Evening Primrose6 months to 1 year.19up to 6%
Flax Seed Oil6 months to 1 year if refrigerated.19up to 5%
Fractionated Coconut OilIndefinite.34up to 30%
Grapeseed
Oil
3 months to 1 year if refrigerated.187up to 15%
Hazelnut Oil3 months.136up to 15%
Hempseed
Oil
3 months refrigerated, 9 months frozen.135up to 20%
Jojoba OilIndefinite.069 up to 10%
Mango Butter 1 year.184 up to 15%
Meadowfoam Oil3 years.12up to 20%
Olive Oil2 years.134 up to 100%
Palm Oil1 year.144 up to 30%
Palm Kernel Oil (Flakes)1 year.178 up to 15%
Peach Kernel Oil6 months to 1 years.178 up to 25%
Peanut Oil6 months to 1 year.19up to 25%
Rice Bran Oil1 to 2 years.129up to 100%
Safflower Oil1 year.19up to 20%
Sesame Oil6 months to 1 year.19up to 10%
Shea Butter1 year.128up to 15%
Soybean oil3 months to 1 year.135up to 50%
Sunflower Oil3 months.134 up to 20%
Sweet Almond Oil6 months to 1 year.136 up to 20%
Tamanu Oil2 years.189up to 5%
Walnut Oil3 months.192up to 15%
Wheatgerm Oil6 months.187up to 6%

Want all this info in a handy dandy chart? You got it! Click here to download a two page PDF with a condensed version of this information.

65 Responses to “Free Beginner`s Guide to Soapmaking: Common Soapmaking Oils”

  1. Marleny says:

    Thanks so much for this list, it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    • Hi Marleny!

      We are so excited this list is going to help you out in your soapmaking! I’ve already referred to it several times today and will definitely be using it when I’m soaping this weekend. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  2. Debbie says:

    Wow! Thank you so much! It’ll be awesome to have this handy chart when designing new recipes! You are the best! Thanks again…and for everything to put on your websites! :)

  3. Molly says:

    This is awesome! Bravo!

    Thanks so much for this resource.

    • Hi Molly!

      We are so glad that you will be able to use this oils post as a resource. Be sure to share it with your soapmaking friends, we’d love for everyone to be able to take advantage of it! :)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  4. Liz says:

    This is great info! Thank you so much for taking the time to compile all this.

    • Hi Liz!

      Thank you so much for your feedback! We hope you get a chance to download the free two page PDF on all the oils so that you can have this information wherever you go. :)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  5. Silvia says:

    Great info. It is a great easy go to guide for oils. Love it!

  6. Jenny says:

    Thanks so much for this awesome primer on soapmkaing oils! The chart will come in handy. It’s great to have all of this info in one place!

  7. Sly says:

    What a really wonderful guide.

    When I was reading all the info, I was shocked to read the cocoa butter only lasted 1 year – I had been told it was 5 years and just stocked up on some that would last me way over a year.

    But then I saw on your handy chart that says Cocoa butter lasts up to a 5 years, so I really hope the chart gives the correct info.

    Thank you for this great stuff!!!

    • Hi Sly!

      Thanks for the eagle eye, we’ve actually changed it so it all reflects the same information. We appreciate your feedback and hope that you can share this chart and blog posts with all the soapers that you know. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  8. Carrie says:

    Thank you for pulling this information together, all in one place! I’d like to print the PDF, but am getting an error message when it gets to that page: “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.”
    Do you have any suggestions for how to access the chart? Thank you!

    • Carrie says:

      Disregard the above question, please. I came back to this site and tried again to access the downloadable chart and it worked just fine. Glad to have this resource!

  9. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for this information. Now I don’t have to search through several resources to find usage rates. Will definitely be printing the PDF!

  10. [...] idea to experiment and research what oils actually do. Anne-Marie has just recently published a great guide to soaping oils. I plan to import the handy PDF she shared in that post into my Evernote soaping [...]

  11. Thanks for a great resource! I’ve printed it out for reference. Whenever you update or revise this chart, would you consider including some popular animal oils, like tallow and lard? Some of us soapers rarely make a batch of soap without one. ;)

    • Good morning!

      We are so happy that you’ve found the chart and this blog post to be such a great reference. Thank you so much for your feedback and suggestion, I will pass it onto our team. :)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  12. Tracey says:

    Great resource, just wondering if the shelf life refers to the life before being made into soap or does it refer to the shelf life of the soap made with the oil.
    Thanks tracey

    • Hi Tracey!

      When looking at the shelf lives of these particular oils, we are referring to the oils themselves. If you use new oils, your shelf life of your oils and soaps should be just the same! In fact, we’ve found that most soaps even last a bit longer then their shelf lives (I have a few soaps that are 2 years old!).

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  13. Tracey says:

    Thanks for replying Becky, just so I am clear on this, a soap with walnut oil in it will have a shelf life of 3 months from the date of being made and a soap with wheat germ in it will have a shelf life of 6 months. Is that correct.
    Tracey

    • Good morning, Tracey!

      If you have created a soap with Walnut Oil in it, the shelf life will only be about three months, so you are correct! Sometimes the soaps do last longer, but we recommended a use by 3 months on Walnut Oil. This is the same on the Wheatgerm Oil as well.

      To determine the shelf life of any bath & body product you will always want to go by the ingredients (typically oils or butters) that have the shortest shelf life.

      I hope this helps! =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  14. Delinda says:

    This list is very helpful! There are several similar lists available on the internet and all seem to use different recommended percentages for each oil. It would be helpful to know what happens if you go over the recommended amount. For example, if you use too much coconut oil it will be too drying. I guess I’m just wondering how you came to your recommended amounts.

    • Good morning, Delinda!

      We know that the mass amount of information can be confusing, but this actually comes from years of research and experimentation by Anne-Marie. Typically, if you go over the recommended amount, your lather isn’t going to be as stable and your soap may be too soft, too sticky or too hard. We highly encourage you to experiment with your recipes until you find the perfect one for you.

      In the meantime, we’d love for you to take advantage of all our free cold process recipes on the blog. To view them, click the link below:

      http://www.soapqueen.com/category/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/

      I hope that this helps! =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  15. Heather says:

    I’ve noticed that the table in this post, as well as the PDF both show that palm oil shouldn’t be used over 30% in a recipe. But I know that the tried and true 33/33/33 recipe, as well as many others commonly have over that %.

    Just wondering why this is! My current recipe is 35.5% palm and takes up to 8 days to harden (if not gelled, 3 days if gelled) and I now wonder if maybe I’ve been using too much palm? I’ve no idea why my soap takes so long to harden LOL A conundrum indeed!

  16. prem says:

    i am looking for emu oil based soap making process and different cosmetic lotions using this emu oil.
    can you explore the opportunities you have in this regards .

    prem

  17. Nic Pesante says:

    I’m curious about the shelf life of sunflower oil; shouldn’t the high vitamin E content make the shelf life longer? I have seen it listed on other pages as up to 1 year, just wondered how you came to the 3 month conclusion.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Nic!
      I have looked into this and have found somewhat mixed information regarding the shelf life of Sunflower Oil. I did find a few sources that claimed (like you found) that Sunflower oil is good for up to 1 year. They did not indicate if this was unopened or opened, so I’m assuming unopened. I did find a few sources that claimed a shorter shelf life, so I’m assuming they are referring to opened oil.

      We highly recommend either refrigerating or freezing what you will not use right away. The important thing is to keep the oil out of light, air and heat. This will help your oils last longer.

      When an oil or butter starts going rancid, there is a noticeable change in either the color, consistency or odor of the oils (or any combination of the three) and your butters may start to develop mold or dark spots.

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  18. Nic says:

    Thanks Amanda!
    I’d like to use Hemp oil in my soap but I’m afraid that it will go bad before I can sell it. I’m wondering if I could freeze some of it to keep it fresh longer. Would that dry it out? Or possibly some other problem. I looked around for the info, I was surprised no one else had asked this yet!

  19. Nic says:

    Thanks Amanda! I have been freezing the oik, and I added ROE to it. What I was wondering was if I could freeze the actual soap once it’s made.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Nic!

      Oooh, I see :). You can freeze your soap, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing it for a long period of time. Because there is water in the soap, freezing could result in some texture issues, possibly crumbling.

      Once your oils are in soap, they will last longer than the shelf life listed above. The time period listed above (3-9 months for Hemp Seed Oil) refers to how long the oil lasts in the bottle, so most likely your soap will sell before it goes bad :).

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  20. Jessica says:

    Just wondering if you have any information about Corn Oil? I’m really interested in subbing out most of the Olive Oil in my soap recipe to make a more inexpensive bar. Would Corn Oil be a good substitute? Thanks in advance!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jessica!

      Corn Oil is not a very good substitution for Olive Oil. I would recommend Canola Oil instead. We have found using Corn Oil results in a slimy, weak lather in your soap. Canola is a good economical oil for soap making. It gives a nice, low, creamy lather and is moisturizing.

      Hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  21. Linda says:

    So, it is OK to freeze oils? And butters?

  22. Linda Reynolds says:

    What can I substitute for mango butter in a cold process soap?

  23. Amanda says:

    Hi Linda!

    If you are wanting to substitute Mango Butter, you could use Shea Butter or Avocado Butter. In general the butters are fairly interchangeable, you just need to make sure and run your recipe through a lye calculator every time you substitute oils/butters in cold process recipes. I hope this helps!

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

    -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  24. Nic says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I’ve been playing around with several different lye calculators just out of curiosity. They all give slightly different values when the oils and superfat are the same.

    Any thoughts on this?

  25. kali says:

    Is the shelf life of the oils prolonged after they are made into soap that does not have any perservative added? For example hazelnut oil has a 3 month shelf life just sitting around but after I make a soap with it with no added ppreservatives, is the shelf life of the soap only 3 months. And is it safe to Freeze the oils?

  26. Nic says:

    Question about palm oil and kernel: would using the full 30% palm oil and 15% kernel be too much? Would it somehow = 45% or are they different enough for it to be ok?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Nic!

      That would be okay, you will just end up with a hard bar of soap! I would make sure the rest of your recipe contains some softer oils to help “even” out your bar. Also keep in mind because you are using the full amount of Kernel Flakes, that it will speed up your trace :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  27. Nic says:

    Thanks Amanda, that’s what I figured, and I’m going for a hard bar. My last batch came out kinda soft, softer than I expected for some reason.

  28. Paula Rees says:

    Does this need preservative? How long would it last without and what is the best preservative to use as well as how much?

    Thanks.

  29. Christina says:

    Okay so I have been making soap for a while (using wooden molds), but have never found it necessary to use Stearic Acid to produce a harder bar of soap. I purchased a couple of Brambleberry’s 10″ silicone molds (love them!) and they were/are working great, but even after sitting 36-42 hrs there were chunks of soap left in the mold (my mind tells me this has occurred because the soap is not evaporating is water as easily having been in a silicone mold). After doing some reading, I found that it was recommended to use Stearic Acid with these molds to aid in a shorter mold time and to produce a harder loaf (presumably one that will not leave chunks behind during the unmolding process). So I went ahead and used my go to recipe (with Cambrian Blue Clay & Eucalyptus EO. I used 7g per pound (21g in all) and on day 3 the soap is about as hard as cold butter (I cant even un mold it..planning on waiting it out) What did I do wrong? I visually observed a complete gel phase within 5 hrs of pouring in case that’s relevant. Any thoughts?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Christina!

      I have actually never worked with Stearic Acid in my soap before, but have used it several times in lotion recipes to act as a thickening agent.

      In order to produce a harder bar of soap, we like to use Sodium Lactate, which is a liquid salt. We add this to slightly cooled lye water at a rate of 1 tsp. per pound of oils.

      I did a little research regarding stearic acid in soap, and it seems that it can be a little tricky to use! From my research, it seems that the amount you use depends on what kind of oils your recipe contains. You may want to check with fellow soapers on the Teach Soap Forum to see if they have any additional tips or tricks :).

      Teach Soap: http://www.teachsoap.com/forum/

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  30. Paul says:

    Hello , I am very new to soap making and thanks for the info you are providing thru this website.
    I have couple of questions
    How to calculate the shelf life of a soap? Is it the lowest of the oils I used?
    Ex. If I use Olive Oil and sunflower oil , will the shelf life be 3 months?

    Secondly,If I heat up the whole palm oil can I use 1/2 of it now and keep the rest for few weeks for the next batch ?

    Thanks,
    Paul

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