There are so many amazing uses for coconut oil. From creating lip balm to cold process soap, it’s fantastic for a variety of crafty beauty projects. In terms of cold process soap, I use it in just about every recipe.
While coconut oil is extremely hydrating when applied directly to skin, when combined with sodium hydroxide, it adds cleansing properties to cold process soap. If used at more than about 33% of the total recipe, it can make the bars feel too cleansing and can be drying to some. But, some soaping rules are meant to be broken! You can make soap out of 100% coconut oil if you have an unusually high superfat. Not sure what a “superfat” means? Long story short, it’s the amount of oils in a recipe that are not transformed into soap during the saponification process. An average superfat is usually between 1–7%. This means 1–7% of oils in the recipe are “free-floating” in the bar and were not turned into soap. A superfat is also referred to as a “lye discount.” This is because in order to turn fewer oils into soap, you reduce the amount of lye in the recipe. Still a little confused? This video may help.
A high superfat of 20% combats the super-cleansing properties of soap made with only coconut oil. Because the Bramble Berry Lye Calculator doesn’t calculate a superfat that high (it’s something we are hoping to add), I’ll walk you through how I calculated this recipe. It’s super easy!
First, choose “Solid” for the type of soap. Then, select ounces or grams (whichever you prefer working with). Then, select a superfat of “None.” Click the “Next” button. Then, enter how many ounces or grams of coconut oil you’d like to use. In this case, I used 21 ounces. Click “Next.” The lye calculator gave me the recipe below.
Now, we are going to reduce the amount of lye in this recipe by 20%. This will create a 20% superfat. To reduce the lye by 20%, multiply the 3.74 ounces of lye by 0.8 (because we want 80% of the lye). This equals 2.992, which I rounded to an even 3 ounces for ease of weighing. Then, while it’s not necessary, I like to reduce the water amount by 20% to maintain the ratio of water and lye (otherwise, the soap can be pretty soft and gooey coming out of the mold initially). Multiply the 6.93 ounces of distilled water by 0.8. This equals 5.544, which I rounded to 5.5 ounces. Now you have the lye and water amounts to give this recipe a 20% superfat.
To keep these bars natural, I infused the coconut oil with annatto seeds for a bright orange color. I scented them with a blend of bergamot essential oil and litsea essential oil. It gives the soap a bright, citrusy scent that matches the orange hue. If you’re looking for more 100% coconut oil recipes, check out this 100% Coconut Oil Soap with Aloe Vera and Mantra Swirl by Kenna of Modern Soapmaking.