Back to Basics: Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap
Serves: 2-3 pounds of soap
This Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap is the perfect project for somebody who has never made cold process soap before!
  • 8 oz. Coconut Oil (24%)
  • 15 oz. Olive Oil (44%)
  • 11 oz. Palm Oil (32%)
  • 4.8 oz. Lye
  • 11.2 oz. Distilled Water
Prepare your Mold: For this recipe, we are going to use a box rather than a mold. To turn any box into a soap making mold, it first needs to be lined with freezer paper. Freezer paper is heavy duty and durable, and has one side that is shiny. This side needs to be facing up. Learn how to line molds including recycled boxes in this blog post.
Set Up Your Area: Before soaping, it’s helpful to have your soaping area prepared before you start. While soaping, you don’t want to be running around looking for a spatula or whisk! Because this recipe does not have any complicated designs, the tools are minimal. But you will need your fully lined mold, prepared lye water, pre-mixed oils, stick blender, and a spatula. Check out the Soapy Session Preparation and Setup Guide for tips.
SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices! That means goggles, gloves and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, and other distractions and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.
  1. ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the coconut oil, olive oil and palm oil (remember to fully melt then mix your entire container of palm oil before portioning). Allow the lye water and the oils to cool to 130 degrees or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other). For this recipe, both the oils and lye were around 120 degrees. If you’d like a harder bar of soap that releases faster from the mold, you can add sodium lactate to the cooled lye water. Use 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate per pound of oils in the recipe. For this recipe, you’d add about 2 tsp. sodium lactate.
  3. Place your stick blender into the oils. Gently tap the blender on the bottom of the bowl several times to release any bubbles that got trapped by the stick blender head. This is called, “burping the stick blender.”
  4. Once bubbles are no longer rising to the surface of the oils, gentle pour the cooled lye water down the shaft of the stick blender and into the oils.
  5. Turn on the stick blender and pulse several times. You will immediately see the lye and oils begin to come together, and begin to create a creamy yellow color. Alternate between using the stick blender to stir the mixture, and pulsing the stick blender. After about 30 seconds, test for trace. Because this recipe contains a large amount of olive oil, it will stay at a thin trace longer than recipes with fast moving oils such as butters.
  6. As you continue to pulse and stir with the stick blender, you may notice the soap starting to lighten in color. It will also start to become thicker. Below is a good example of medium trace. The soap is thick enough to support the trailings and drops on the surface. It’s slightly thinner than pudding. This is a great consistency!
  7. Once your soap has reached medium trace, pour it into the mold until all the soap is in the mold. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure you get every last bit of soap!
  8. Once the soap is all poured into the mold, firmly tap the box on the counter. Doing so will help bubbles within the soap to come to the surface. Make sure you still have your goggles on! Sometimes soap can jump up during this process =)
  9. Spray the top of the soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Doing so helps to avoid soda ash from forming. Allow the soap to sit in the mold for 3-4 days. Unmold, and cut into bars. Allow the soap to cure for 4-6 weeks. During this time, water evaporates from the soap making it firmer and longer lasting in the shower. The soap can be used before the full cure time, but will not last as long. It's best to wait!
Recipe by Soap Queen at