Back to Basics: Creamy Orange Cold Process Tutorial
Serves: 2-3 pounds of soapp
This Creamy Orange Cold Process soap is made with cocoa butter and orange essential oil.
  • 13.6 oz. Olive Oil (40%)
  • 8.5 oz. Palm Oil (25%)
  • 8.5 oz. Coconut Oil (25%)
  • 3.4 oz. Cocoa Butter (10%)
  • 4.8 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 11.2 oz. Distilled Water
  • 2 oz. 10X Orange Essential Oil
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. In particular, we are using a USPS Medium Flat Rate Box. The inside dimensions are 11″ x 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″.
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. 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, cocoa butter 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°F or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other). For this recipe, both the oils and lye were around 120°F. 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 no longer rise to the surface of the oils, gently 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. As you continue to mix, the color will become lighter. Alternate between using the stick blender to stir the mixture, and pulsing the stick blender.
  6. After about 30 seconds, test for trace. Because this recipe contains 10% cocoa butter, it will begin to thicken quicker than recipes that do not contain butters, or have a high amount of liquid oil. To test for trace, lift the stick blender up and out of the batter, and “drizzle” soap on top. If the drizzles of soap are slightly supported on top of the batter, this is a thin trace. Be sure to also check the sides of the bowl; you want to make sure you see no streaks of oil within the mixture.
  7. Once you have reached a thin trace, add all the 10X Orange Essential Oil and gently mix in with a whisk. You will notice the color of the soap batter to change into a beautiful orange color immediately.
  8. Once the essential oil is mixed in, pulse the mixture a few more times with the stick blender until you reach a medium trace. Below, you can see that the soap is fairly thick, and supports itself on top of the mixture. This is a great example of medium trace. For even more examples of trace, check out this blog post.
  9. Pour the soap into the lined mold, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to get all the soap into the mold. Tap the mold on the counter firmly to help eliminate air bubbles. Make sure you still have your goggles on! Sometimes soap can jump up during this process. =)
  10. Spray the top of the soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Doing so helps to prevent 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