How to make honey and beeswax soap using all natural ingredients. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
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How to make Honey & Beeswax Soap + deepening the color using honey

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Recipe and instructions on how to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on how much beeswax to use in a soap recipe, and how to use honey to tint soap caramel-brown.

When I first taught myself to make soap I was determined to make some with my own honey and beeswax. With two hives of honeybees, I had buckets of the stuff to use and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to create products for Lovely Greens Handmade. I won’t lie — it was a difficult process. Batch after batch was either cracked or crumbly and I couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong. After a lot of trial and error, I finally mastered using honey to make soap. It’s all down to the amount you use and your soaping temperature.

This honey and beeswax soap recipe will make you six creamy yet cleansing bars. Although it’s an advanced soap recipe, you can make it as a beginner if you stick to the recipe.

How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
This recipe makes a hard, creamy bar with plenty of cleansing lather

Benefits of Honey and Beeswax Soap

Aside from wanting to use my own produce, both honey and beeswax have some incredible soap properties. Honey is used to add moisture and a sweet scent. It also increases lather which comes in useful if you’re making soap with beeswax too.

If you’re after natural color, you can also use honey in a technique that tints your soap a warm brown.

Beeswax is mainly used in soap to harden it. At small amounts, it can add firmness and silky texture to your bars while not affecting lather. It also has quite a high melting temperature which means you have to make soap at a slightly higher temperature too.

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How to make honey and beeswax soap using all natural ingredients. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
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Using beeswax in soap

Beeswax is a tricky one since up to 50% of the amount used in a soap recipe will not actually change into soap. If you use too much beeswax, this “un-unsaponifiable” portion of beeswax can stop your bars from lathering and give them a waxy feel. That’s why I don’t use any more than 1-2% beeswax in soap recipes.

That small percentage is more than enough to harden up the bars and give them a good texture. Even at just 1-2% beeswax in soap, it will also speed up the tracing time — I’m talking less than a minute. Using more would dramatically speed things up and I imagine it would be liquid to thick gloop in a matter of seconds.

You might bemoan not being able to use more but there are plenty of other ideas you can use your leftovers in. Beeswax furniture polish and healing skin salve to name two.

How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
Beeswax is used at 1-2% in soap recipes to harden your bars

 

Using honey in soap

Honey is just as tricky to use in soap as beeswax can be and you need to be careful about amount and temperature. Honey is a sugar, and just like all sugars will heat up your soap after it’s poured into the mold. This can cause all kinds of things, from changing the color to causing cracks and making the soap go crumbly. The color change can make your bars turn brown because the sugars are heated and caramelize. Sometimes they can scorch through, and the color is very dark and the scent isn’t great. When this happens the bars usually crack too.

Another issue is that if you use too much, or if the honey isn’t fully liquid, you can also get honey oozing from your bars.

The key to using honey in soap is to be moderate in the amount used and conscious of heat. I use no more than 15g (1.5 tsp) of honey per 454g (1 lb) batch of soap. When trying to make a light-colored soap I’ll keep the soaping temperature as low as possible, add the honey at trace, and potentially refrigerate the soap after it’s poured. The first two are problematic when you’re also working with beeswax since it needs a warmer soaping temperature and traces so quickly. You barely have enough time to stir anything in at the end. I share my work-around in the recipe below.

How to make cold-process honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
Honey increases soap lather but can also cause your soap to heat up and scorch

Sustainable Palm oil

You’ll notice that I’ve included Sustainable Palm oil in this recipe. After a LONG hiatus of not using palm at all, I’m back. It’s one of the best oils for the job but is very controversial. It stems mainly from the way it’s grown and how it has utterly destroyed rainforests in south-east Asia. We’re talking about an area the size of New Zealand folks. It’s a devastating blow to our environment which is why we should all avoid dirty palm oil. This is ALL palm oil that hasn’t been certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO). It’s used in a lot of things including prepared cookies, bread, and Crisco, not to mention soap.

So why am I using palm at all? It’s complicated and I encourage you to read my piece on How avoiding Palm Oil in soap making could INCREASE deforestation. I am now a staunch supporter of the RSPO’s efforts and in helping whichever way I can. Please ensure that the palm oil you use for this recipe is sustainable. If you can’t find it, then please make one of my palm-oil-free recipes. You can also adjust this recipe to not use palm oil with these directions.

How to make cold-process honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
RSPO certified palm oil is available from soap ingredient suppliers like this one in the UK

Making this Honey and Beeswax soap recipe

This is an advanced soap recipe. Both honey and beeswax are amazing ingredients to use in soap making but both can cause so many issues. If you stick diligently to the recipe you should be fine though.

Another issue with making soap with honey is its potential to turn a bit crumbly. This can happen at the corners and edges and is a nightmare. It’s especially a pain if you’ve poured the soap into a loaf mold, only to find that each bar you cut is crumbly. To avoid any issues with heat, cracking, or crumbling, follow this recipe to a T and pour your soap into a 6-cavity silicone soap mold. You’ll thank me for it later.

How to make honey and beeswax soap using all natural ingredients. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
Making honey and beeswax soap is simple but you need to keep an eye on temperature and measurements.

Soap Making Equipment

Much of the soap making equipment you need could already be in your kitchen. Rubber washing-up gloves, bowls, and even silicone molds. If you don’t have everything, you can purchase it online relatively inexpensively. Also, make sure to check out second-hand shops for pots and other items. A list of needed soap-making equipment will be a little further below.

To protect yourself from the lye solution you should always wear eye protection (goggles) and rubber gloves.

Now on to the recipe…

How to make honey and beeswax soap using all natural ingredients. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe

Honey and Beeswax Soap Recipe

Lovely Greens
Small batch of light colored honey and beeswax soap with oatmeal. Includes information on deepening the color to a warm brown and caramel-honey scent. Technical information: 1lb / 454g batch — 5% superfat — 34.5% lye solution
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Curing time 28 d
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 6 bars

Ingredients
  

Lye water

Solid oils

Liquid oils

Add to Melted Oils

Add after Trace

  • 8 g Oatmeal Optional/ 1 TBSP

To decorate

  • 2.5 g Oatmeal or rolled oats Optional / ¼ tsp

Instructions
 

  • Time to suit and boot. Make sure you're wearing a long-sleeved shirt, pants or a long skirt, and closed-toe shoes. Put on eye protection (goggles) and rubber gloves.
  • Dissolve the lye (Sodium hydroxide) crystals in water. In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breathe it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water, or sink, to cool.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a potholder. Pour in the liquid oils and stir.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Measure the temperatures of the lye solution and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 130°F / 54°C for light-brown colored soap. If you want your bars darker and the honey scent stronger, then mix your soap at 150°F / 66°C. For the darker color, it's better to pour the soap into a loaf mold too. If you're a beginner, stick to the temperature and mold for the lighter soap.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Pour first the honey then the lye solution into the pan of oils. I tend to pour the lye through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye or other bits. 
  • Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan, and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple of seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard at first but it will thicken quickly thanks to the beeswax.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Working quickly, stir in the oatmeal and pour the soap into the mold(s). Use a skewer to create a texture on the top. For these, I dipped the end of the skewer in one corner then made tiny circles all the way to the other side. Four columns of this and each bar is complete. Sprinkle the top with just the smallest amount of oatmeal or rolled oats.
  • Set the mold on a heat-proof surface and leave uncovered for two days. Alternatively, you can pop the mold in the fridge overnight. This will ensure a light color.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Once 48 hours have passed, you can pop the soap out. Cure it for 28 days. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out.
    How to make honey and beeswax soap. Includes tips on creating both a light colored and warm brown tinted batch of soap #soapmaking #soap #honeyrecipe
  • Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of up to two years. Check the oil bottles that you're using though — the closest best-by date is the best-by date of your soap.
Keyword beeswax, honey recipe, oatmeal, soap, soap recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Honey and beeswax ideas

70 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Hi there – looking forward to trying this recipe, and just ordered quite a few of the suggested items using your affiliate links.

    Can you please help me understand the purpose of the milk frother in this recipe? I probably am reading right over it without it registering, but I’m not seeing what purpose it serves. Thanks!

  2. Your recipe ingredients says to add the honey at trace, your instructions say to add the honey to the warmed oils before adding the lye, im confused, which is correct please

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for your hard work and patience. I really would love to make this soap but cannot use palm oil. Can I replace it with shea butter for example using the same amount of it? Thank you.

  4. Hi Tanya,
    Does palm oil need to be melted in its container completely, stirred to the bottom and only then measured?
    Thanks

    1. Unless you are buying extra-large buckets of palm oil, there is no need to melt it. Palm oil contains oleic acid, and when it cools in large containers (think five-gallon buckets), this fatty acid sinks to the bottom. That means that as you scoop palm oil out of the bucket for soapmaking, and work your way down, the soap you make will at first be soft, then the recipes with higher concentrations of oleic acid will be much harder. As a beginner, you’re probably going to order small quantities of palm that will arrive in much smaller containers, though. Because of the container size, you won’t have the same issue with oleic acid separation as soapers buying bulk oils.

  5. Hi, first of all thank you very much for all your work in this blog, its really super.
    I would like to know if i can use coconut milk instead of water the the lye solution and can I substitute de beeswax, and if yes what would you recommend me to?

  6. thank you for a wonderful tutorial!!! I was wondering if I could make this without the beewax. Would I need to add or change anything to make up for the absence?! Thanks so much!!!!

  7. Hello Tanya,

    I tried the honey beeswax soap recipe, but during the process I forgot about the wax.
    Could you please tell me if the soap will be good to use or if i should throw it away?
    Thank you

    1. It’s perfectly fine to use, though it would only have a superfat of 4%. There’s just a small amount of beeswax in this recipe so keep in mind that if you forget a larger quantity, there’s a much more likely chance that the soap will not be safe. Always check recipes, both before you use one and if you’ve made a mistake, by using the online SoapCalc.

  8. I made this for the first time, it has been in fridge for 2 days, i was going to remove it from the moulds but it is very soft, will it harden during cure or should I have mixed it more, where did I go wrong. ??

    1. Hi Mary, and no it shouldn’t be overly soft after two days. I’d recommend that you go over the bottles of all of your ingredients, double-check that they’re correct, and try making the recipe again. Sometimes it’s just a small omission or misread step that can be the culprit :)

      1. Hi

        I am keen to make this soap for Christmas this year but I wanted to know…

        Can I use raw coconut oil or does it have to be refined ? I don’t mine it having a coconut smell of that’s the problem.

        And where did you find your sustainable palm oil?

        1. Though you can use virgin coconut oil, unfortunately, the lovely scent does not survive the soap making process. Soap makers use refined coconut oil (the stuff used for healthier frying/roasting) because it’s much less expensive. I recommend you save your virgin coconut oil for tasty desserts and use refined for soap making. As for sustainable palm, you can get it and other soap making oils with a reputable soap making ingredients supplier. I have several listed at the end of this piece.

  9. Hi Tanya,
    I made this recipe today for the first time. I was surprised at how long it took for it to reach trace, and am wandering if (apart from not enough beeswax*) temperature is a factor in reaching trace?

    *You mentioned that too much beeswax isn’t good for the soap, and I wasn’t sure if my digital kitchen scales would be accurate to within 1-2gr, so I used slightly less (5gr) than your recommended quantity. Also after I had melted it, I took it off the heat to check on my lye solution, and then had some trouble mixing it with the oils as it had started to re-solidify (!).

    Also as a novice soap maker, can I just say how much I appreciate that so many of your recipes are small batch, as I really don’t want to be risking large batches and potentially wasting all those oils!

    1. Beeswax tends to make soap trace quickly so you’re fine with that amount. Temperature is a factor in trace as well and the warmer it is, the quicker it traces. Slow trace is not a bad thing especially for this recipe. Lower temperatures mean the honey won’t discolor and you have time to work. If your soap traced, it comes out looking great, and feels good on your skin then well done :)

  10. Hi Tanya,
    I am keen to try this recipe… I am also wondering if you have any experience of adding honey and beeswax to a castile soap recipe? I really like the simplicity and of castile soap (olive oil only!) and the end result, and am interested to try adding honey to it…

  11. Hi! Is it possible to leave Castor oil out from the recipe? Because it’s a little bit expensive for me :)
    And of course thanks to this recipe :)

  12. Hi Tanya thank you for the amazing recipe i am from Chile so some things arent here can i repleased de solid oils justo using only coconut oil ? For the honey lavander soap and if i can what will be the ammount in g
    ? Thank you 🤗

  13. Hi Tanya for this recipe when you say temperature at 130. Do you mean that’s the temperature they should be together or each separately. Also if I wanted to make 2 lb batch would I just double the recipe.

    1. That’s the temperature they should be at once mixed together. However, there should not be a wild difference in temperature before they are mixed. They should be within 10 degrees F of one another.

      As for doubling — go for it but I’d recommend using cavity molds.

  14. Hi Tanya,
    I’m excited to make this soap. Will the oats work as an exfoliant? If so, would I be able to leave the oats out?

  15. Hi, firstly thanks for this awesome recipe. Not sure if I’ll get a revert since this post is quite old but still gonna try my luck. I was wondering if I can use soywax instead of the beeswax? If yes then what qty / % is advisable in soaping? I have been trying to search for soywax soap recipe but no success 🙁

    1. Hi Ruchi — you can use soy wax but the quantity and amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) you’ll need will be a little different. Pop my recipe into the online SoapCalc. Take the beeswax out and fiddle around with the calculations.

  16. Hello
    I am just wondering if i wanted to do this recipe or any recipe as a hot process soap is it just a matter of cooking it for about 45-60mins? Im new to this and just used this recipe to make a cold process one with a few substitutes castor oil for Almond oil, palm oil for Shea butter and more oats. hoping it will work

    1. Hi Elise, as a beginner you should not make any substitutions with soap recipes. They’re a careful balance of different oils and the correct amount of sodium hydroxide for each. Each oil also has different properties in soap making and each can affect how hard or soft it turns out or how cleansing or not cleansing it is.

  17. My soap turned very dark brown when I mixed they lye in with the oils. I’m also concerned the soap isn’t going to be “soapy” at all (suds). I rubbed the mixture between my fingers and it was just oily. As you can tell, this is my very first time making soap. I have bees so I figured I should try projects like this since I have an endless supply of beeswax and only keep pure organic oils around the house for cooking and DIY face, body products. Please help!<3

    1. Your soap takes a full month to turn into soap Jacob — don’t rub the soap at all until it’s cured as bars for this amount of time.

  18. I have only helped another beekeeper make soap twice so am pretty new to this. I have now branched off and do my own bees with honey and beeswax as a result. I have wanted to try making a traditional honey soap for some time and this definetly fits the desired ingredients! I'm wondering about curing. I seem to recall the guy I helped letting his soap cure for 6 weeks. Do you need to do this with this soap to harden it? And also, I remember him telling me it can be really hard to get the honey to incorporate well since it will want to seperate from the soap in pockets. Have you found that to be true or how do I avoid that happening? Lastly, I don't have a stick immersion blender. Can I use standard electric hand mixers? I saw that it's important to keep air from getting in….I was hoping that could be reduced but submerging the beaters in the liquid before turning them on and not raising and lowering them above the mixture. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. Honey incorporates into soap just fine providing you don't use too much and that it's well mixed in. Saying that, if you do have too much, it's no bad thing for the honey to be on the soap. In fact, your skin will benefit from it :)

  19. Hi Tanya,

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe.
    I was wondering if there is anything else I could use instead of the grapefruit seed extract as a preservative? I know you've mentioned the use of Vitamin E as a substitute but would that be enough to preserve the soap in the same way?

    Thanks,
    Liz

    1. Grapefruit Seed Extract isn't a preservative…rather, it's an antioxidant. It helps free floating oils in the soap to not go rancid. Another choice other than GSE or VITe is Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (ROE).

  20. This looks like such lovely soap. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful tutorials, they are so very helpful and informative. I have 1 question: Is the honey in this recipe what you are superfatting with? I just read your tutorial (I wish I had read it before I made my first batch, it's so much better than anything I had read before) Make, Mould, and cure and it mentioned putting the superfat oil in at trace. This tutorial didn't mention any oils at trace. I just want to make sure I understand.
    Thank you

    1. Good eye! This soap is superfatted but instead of adding the extra oils at the end, all the oils are added at the same time. That way it works out that some of all the different types of oils are leftover to 'superfat' the bars. It's more imprecise than adding it at the end but when you're using beeswax in recipes you'll find that you'll hit trace a lot quicker and it can sometimes be difficult to mix in superfatting oils and extras. Especially for a beginner.

    1. Just enter in all the ingredients and their measurements from this recipe into the SoapCalc. Hit the button 'Calculate Recipe'. Next, click the radio button next to the ingredients' quantities so that it's on % rather than measurement. Go then to section two where the batch weight is listed and change it to 5lbs. Hit 'Calculate Recipe' again and you'll have the amounts you need.

  21. Hi, what size soap mould does this fit? I would like to try this but have a 2kg mould. How much will I need to increase the recipe by? Thanks, Lauren :)

    1. Thanks Tanya. I was also wondering what the recommended curing time is? Is curing time different for different types of soap or a standard set of weeks?

  22. What would your recommended substitution be for the palm oil?? I really want to try this recipe. Haven't started making soaps yet, but am in the process of collecting some recipes that I really like first :)

  23. Just curious as to what can be substituted for the palm oil as it is not a product I will use as it's production is the main cause of the murder of orangutans?

  24. So, I am really interested in making this soap. My concern is, I'm not quite sure how to change the measuring system from grams to using measuring cups and spoons? Do you have any suggestions on how to do this?

    1. With soap making Jodi you should always weight your ingredients. Using cups/tsp is fine for cooking but too inaccurate for science :) Soap making is a science and involves the chemical reaction between fats and alkaline.

      What I'd suggest is investing in a digital kitchen scale. You'll find that all proper soap recipes will be in grams in Europe and in oz's/lbs in the US so it will make your life easier and ensure that you're making good quality soap (opposed to the infamous 'Lye Soap' of our grandmothers' time).

    2. I see. Thank you for explaining it to me. I didn't realize the importance of weighing out the ingredients.
      I did make the soap and it was a success. The only concern I had was that after the 24 hours of letting it sit it was still a little soft…not as firm as I thought it would be. But when I used it I loved how it makes my skin feel afterwards. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
      I do have one more question, is there anyway dilute it…to make it into a liquid soap?

  25. Thanks Mo and glad to help :) And just want to reassure that as long as the stick blender is completely submerged and very little air is trapped under it there won't be much splashing. That said, I do have a tiny spot on my goggles from where a drop of lye must have splashed up on it and eaten the top layer off – so be careful and always wear protective gear!

  26. Great post, Tanya! You explain it so well and it has certainly been helpful to me. I like that you explain how hot the lye solution gets, and it's good to see how you use a stick blender – I was scared of splashing everywhere :)
    Your soap looks wonderful.

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