Use These Natural Soap Ingredients to Make Cold Process Soap

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This Natural Soap Making for Beginners series begins with an introduction to natural soap ingredients including oils, butters, lye, essential oils, and natural color. Read on to learn more about what natural soap ingredients you need to make soap at home then continue on with the series to learn how to make cold process soap!

You will find many free soap recipes here on Lovely Greens but if you’re a beginner, you should begin here. Cold process soap making is an involved topic and hobby and is as much chemistry as it is artistry. This natural soapmaking series is an introduction to what to expect when you make your first batches of soap. It covers topics ranging from the natural soap ingredients you’ll use to how to make soap safely. You can also use the beginner soap recipes to make handmade soap that will turn out well.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking

We begin the soapmaking series by learning about the ingredients you’ll use. Oils, butters, essential oils, botanicals, and of course lye. The series continues with an introduction to the equipment you need and soap making safety, a few basic recipes, and the full cold-process soapmaking method. This is a free soapmaking series but I also include everything in the series plus a whole lot more in my new 68-page ebook, the Lovely Greens Guide to Natural Soapmaking.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking

Natural Soap Making for Beginners Series

  1. Natural Soap Ingredients
  2. Equipment & Safety
  3. Easy Soap Recipes
  4. Step-by-Step Cold Process Soap Making

Learn to Make Soap at Home

I’m a self-taught soapmaker. Through trial and error, research, and quite a few unsuccessful batches, I now have a successful process and a great range of products. Most of my soap I sell direct on Lovely Greens Handmade. I use some of it at home in the bath and even for homemade dish soap. I now love sharing tips on how to make natural soap and created this series to show you how too. You don’t need to attend an in-person course to learn how to make soap. You really can learn to make it at home!

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Natural soap ingredients include base oils, lye, fragrance, and botanicals

Make Natural Soap With Natural Ingredients

For me, making natural soap means avoiding the use of any ingredients that could be toxic or that could have negative impacts on health or the environment. This means that I don’t use artificial dyes, perfumes, or additives in my soap. My philosophy is that if you’re going to go to the effort of making handmade soap why not make a product that is going to be completely safe for you, your loved ones, and the environment?

Things that a natural soap maker would avoid include fragrance oils, dyes, glitter, and plastic embeds. I’d even go so far as to say plastic packaging for selling soap too. Every ingredient you use comes with an ecological footprint and there are also risks for people with sensitive skin or allergies. That goes for synthetics, but also some natural soap ingredients such as essential oils.

Lovely Greens Guide to Natural Soapmaking
Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Natural soap ingredients that I use include solid and liquid oils, lye, fragrance, botanicals, and natural colorants

Soap is the Result of Saponification

Most people ask me how to make soap. Perhaps the better question to ask is ‘what is soap’? At the heart of all cold process soap recipes are two main ingredients: oil and lye, also known by its chemical name sodium hydroxide. Your soap-making recipe will, through a simple but controlled process, chemically bond these two ingredients into a new compound – soap! You make soap through a process called saponification, a type of natural chemistry.

I’ll go through the process in a later post but let’s first look at your natural soap ingredients. The below natural soap ingredients topics are brief but give you a good introduction. If you’re looking for places to find soap making inspiration you can also sign up for my free newsletter — I send out new ideas and recipes every two weeks.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Lye, in cold-process soap making, is also called sodium hydroxide or caustic soda

Lye / Sodium hydroxide

Right, let’s talk lye. I’d like to start off by stating that you absolutely cannot make your own soap without lye. A lot of people shy away from making soap due to experience with the harsh lye soap they remember a family member making in the past. It could also be because the thought of putting caustic soda into personal care products scares or puts them off. As I shared above, soap making is essentially the chemical reaction between oils and lye, which in cold-process soap making is sodium hydroxide. Together and through the wonder of chemistry, they will form a completely new compound — soap.

If you’d like to make soap but are still feeling a bit unsure about handling Sodium Hydroxide then I’d suggest that you look into purchasing ‘Melt-and-Pour’ soap. It’s pre-made soap that you melt, add extra ingredients and scent, and then pour into molds. Melt and pour soap isn’t natural soap due to some of the ingredients used to make it. Ingredients including synthetic surfactants such as SLS.

Lye solution is made by mixing sodium hydroxide with distilled water

Distilled water

You use distilled water in soap making to activate the lye and disperse it through the oils. Most of this water evaporates out of your bars during the curing process. That means that your finished bars might be slightly smaller than when you first took them out of their molds. You avoid using tap water, or spring water, in soap making as it can have minerals and impurities that impact the quality and shelf-life of your soap.

As a beginner, use the water amount shown in the soap recipe you’re about to use. Each of the natural soap recipes on Lovely Greens includes a 33-38% lye concentration. As you get more experienced you can experiment with other lye concentrations if you wish.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Liquid oils like olive and castor oil are much used in cold-process soap making

Natural Soap Ingredients: Oils & Fats

You can use any oil or fat to make soap. Most soap recipes include 3-6 oils but some have a lot more, or less. Soaps made from a single oil, such as Castile (olive oil) soap are uncommon because very few single oils make good soap. Different oils give different properties to soap including hardness, lather, creaminess, and conditioning.

If you’re a beginner, please stick to using tried and tested recipes, especially ones that you know will be simple and have a high success rate. If you do need to change a soap recipe or if you’d like to understand more about oils, fatty acid profiles, and advanced soap recipe customization, head over here.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Shea butter is a popular super-fatting oil but can also be used as a base oil

Common Oils and Fats Used in Soap Making

  • You can use babassu oil in place of coconut oil and palm oil in a recipe. It does have a different SAP, so it’s not a direct replacement. It’s used as up to 25% of a soap recipe and helps creates a hard and cleansing soap.
  • Beeswax is vegetarian but not vegan, and will add hardness to your soap and a soft scent. Use only small amounts ( 1-2% of the total base oils) of beeswax in your recipes since it stops soap from lathering when used at larger quantities.
  • Canola (Rapeseed) oil is inexpensive and can make up 40% of the base oils in a soap recipe. It creates decent lather and hardness but is otherwise not particularly remarkable.
  • Castor oil is a thick liquid oil that creates gorgeous lather in soap recipes—typically used at around 5% of soap recipes since more can cause soap to be too soft or sticky.
  • Cocoa butter provides gorgeous moisture and skin protection and also helps to harden your soap. Use in smaller percentages of up to 15% of base oils or as a superfatting oil.
  • Coconut oil is used in most soap recipes and helps create a hard bar with loads of fluffy lather and cleansing power. Recipes tend to include 25% or less of coconut oil (here’s an exception), and unless otherwise stated, you use solid refined coconut oil that melts at 76F. Liquid (fractionated) coconut oil has different properties and a different SAP. Virgin coconut oil, the expensive stuff from the supermarket that tastes and smells so lovely, isn’t used very much in soap making. The coconut scent does not carry through to the bars, and it is also much more expensive. Best to save it for delicious coconut food recipes and other skincare.
  • Grapeseed oil has many of the same properties as sunflower oil in soap. It creates creamy and conditioning lather and can be used as up to 15% of a recipe.
  • Mango butter is used mainly as a superfatting oil but can be used as up to 15% of a recipe. A bit more expensive than the other oils and butters here, mango butter melts quickly and adds non-greasy conditioning properties to your bars.
  • Neem oil is often a thick and pungent green oil used in skincare and soap to help soothe eczema and other skin conditions. It sometimes arrives as a dark liquid oil, though. Use at 5% or less of your recipe as a superfatting oil.
  • Olive oil is also used in most soap recipes and creates sensitive and conditioning bars excellent for all skin types. Many soap makers prefer using olive oil pomace (second-grade olive oil extracted using solvents), opposed to extra virgin (evoo) olive oil. That’s because it’s lighter in color and doesn’t interfere with soap colorants. It also traces much quicker! Extra virgin olive oil is purer but takes longer to come to trace and may add a yellow or greenish-yellow tint to your soap. You can use up to 100% olive oil in your recipes.
  • Palm oil is an inexpensive solid oil that creates good lather and hard bars. It’s used as up to 33% of the base oils in a soap recipe, but is controversial. If you use it, please use sustainable palm oil certified by the RSPO and Rainforest Alliance. Read more about palm oil here.
  • Ricebran oil adds conditioning properties to soap. However, it is only used at 20% or less of the base oils in soap recipes. More than this could lead to soft bars with weak lather.
  • Shea butter is an interesting oil since it saponifies slower than other oils and will often stay in your soap as a superfat oil. In the past, it was commonly melted and added at trace for this very purpose. These days, it’s more common to use up to 15% as a base oil in palm-oil free recipes. It creates hard bars and good lather, and as a superfat, adds conditioning properties to your bars.
  • Sunflower oil is also an inexpensive oil that’s best used at 15% or less of a soap recipe. It creates a lovely conditioning lather in soap and is also easy to find in most regions. Using too much of it can create soft bars that have a shorter shelf-life.
  • Sweet almond oil is used for its light feeling and ability to condition the skin without leaving it feeling greasy. It’s also is the carrier oil used by most massage therapists. Used up to 20% of base oils in soap recipes, it creates a rich and conditioning lather and decent hardness.

Using Antioxidants in Soap Recipes

Most soap recipes have a super-fat. This means adding extra oils to the recipe that won’t interact with lye and that will be free-floating in your bars. These extra oils make the difference between a bar of soap that’s cleansing and a bar of soap that’s cleansing and gentle.

In superfatting your soap, you can either reserve a specific oil to add at trace, or you can incorporate all the oils together with the lye. It doesn’t matter when you add the oil to the recipe, though, and it will have a superfat either way. However, oils added after trace, have a higher chance of not turning into soap. It’s a way for you to choose which oil is the superfat, instead of a part of all the oils used. A better way to control your superfat is to add it after the cook in hot process soap making though.

Adding grapefruit seed extract to a turmeric soap recipe

Using Antioxidants in Soap Recipes

The superfat oil will stay in your bars as a conditioning, free-floating oil. Different oils and fats have varying shelf lives, not because they spoil, but because they oxidize and go rancid. It can cause soap to smell bad or to develop ‘Dreaded Orange Spot.’ These look like orange spots on your soap that can ooze with liquid.

To combat rancidity, and help soap have a longer shelf-life, always use ingredients that are well within their best-by dates. Rancidity can also be caused by using water other than distilled water when making the lye solution.

Soap makers also use two main antioxidants to combat premature rancidity. They’re optional, though. I used them regularly when I first started making soap but stopped some years ago. Soap made with ingredients well within their best-by dates does not usually need antioxidants. The only reason I’d consider it now is if a fragile oil were in the recipe, such as hemp seed oil or rose hip oil.

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) extracted from the seeds and pulp of grapefruit this thick and clear liquid doesn’t add a scent to your soap and is very effective at keeping other oils from spoiling. It is not the same as grapefruit essential oil.
  • Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (ROE) extracted from rosemary leaves and quite a thick and strong-smelling herbal liquid. It is not the same as rosemary essential oil.

Preservatives in Soap Making

You might be wondering about preservatives in soapmaking now. Preservatives are reserved for ‘wet’ products since water creates a habitat where bacteria can grow. Soap does not require preservatives since the water that you use in the recipe will evaporate out. Preservatives would not stop the superfat in soap from going rancid, either.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
There’s a big difference between fragrance oils and essential oils

Fragrancing Soap Recipes with Essential Oil

Some people will choose to let their soap scent speak for itself and leave it to smell like simple, clean, handmade soap. Another idea is to use oils like sesame or beeswax in your recipes since they will impart their own unique and natural fragrances. However, the most common way to scent soap is with either essential oils or cosmetic-grade fragrance oils.

If you want to make natural soap with scent, then you’d use essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated plant and flower extracts with therapeutic properties but also scent. One of my favorites is rose geranium, though it does have a tendency to speed up trace. May chang (litsea cubeba) is my second favorite and a gorgeous and long-lasting citrus essential oil. The downside of using essential oils is their expense and propensity for fading with time. It’s especially problematic for citrus essential oils such as lemon and orange. I exclusively make essential oil soap and don’t use synthetic fragrance in any soap recipes.

Cosmetic Grade Fragrance Oils

Although essential oils are what I recommend, when you begin shopping for soap-making supplies you’ll come across synthetic fragrances called fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are synthetic perfumes for the toiletry and home industry. They’re relatively inexpensive, have a scent that lasts, and have a much more varied range to choose from. If you like baby powder scented soap or a shampoo that smells like coconut then you’ll need to use fragrance oils.

Keep in mind that fragrance oils are both synthetic and patent-protected products though. That means that you’ll never truly know all the ingredients used to make them and that they are definitely not natural. In many cases, they contain petrochemicals and allergens that cause people to sneeze or have skin reactions.

Another thing to be aware of is that not all fragrance oils are skin-safe. Many made for the candle and diffuser industries can cause rashes and burns if used on the skin. If you decide to use fragrance oils, always make sure that it’s safe to use. Look at the bottle and ask the supplier for the MSDS (material safety data sheet) if it’s not clear.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Essential oils are concentrated plant essences including peppermint, lavender, rosemary, and rose-geranium

Scent Fixers to Make Soap Fragrance Last

The scent of essential oils can fade over time but there are ways to help the scent last longer. Sometimes another essential oil can help the others to stick. For other recipes, it’s best to use another additive that works to absorb the essential oils into it. Scent fixatives are completely optional in soapmaking, and not everyone uses them. Here are some of the choices you’ll come across:

  • Arrowroot is an edible white powder for thickening sauces and gravy. Use as little as a teaspoon in 800g (28oz) batches
  • Benzoin is available as both a powder and as an essential oil
  • Corn starch is another food thickener that you use as little as a teaspoon in 800g (28oz) soap batches.
  • Kaolin clay works similarly to cornstarch and in the same amount. You can use up to a teaspoon per 1-lb soap batches, and many soapers mix it with the essential oils the night before. With clay you need to add 3x its amount in distilled water to disperse it just before you add it at trace.
  • Oatmeal is one that I’ve discovered on my own. Using finely blended oatmeal in your soap will add light exfoliation and will absorb and hang onto your essential oils.
  • Orris root powder is the dried and powdered root of the Iris (Iris germanica). It has a woodsy and violet scent of its own.
  • Essential oils – May chang (Litsea cubeba) for citrusy blends. You can also use base note essential oils such as cedarwood, patchouli, and balsams.
Natural Soap Making for Beginners: a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Use clays, mineral powders, and dried plant material to color soap

Natural Soap Ingredients that Add Color

In natural soap making, you have several options for coloring your soap. They include powders you can purchase from specialty suppliers and even flowers and plants that could be growing in your garden right now. Your other option is to choose oils that will impart a natural hue to your soap. These could include clays, plant extracts, or natural soap colorants that will caramelize and give a warm color to the finished product.

  • Some of your base oils, such as olive oil, will impart a more yellow or creamy color. White and/or light-colored oils will create white soap.
  • For a beautiful effect, you can naturally color soap with clay. Clay comes in a range of shades, including blue, brown, yellow, green, and pink. Here are some to try.
  • Sugars: milk, sugar, and honey will caramelize if you add them to your batch before trace. They’ll do the same thing if your soaping temperature is warm enough — over 105F in my experience.
  • Herbs, flowers, & roots: nature creates all types of wonderful colors useful in soap making. Use calendula petals for golden orange, alkanet root for purples, and madder root for pink.
  • Mineral pigments are available in a wide range of colors. However, they are considered ‘nature identical’ rather than ‘natural’. These are the same colors used in mineral make-up but are created in a controlled environment rather than mined from the earth.
  • Micas are similar to mineral pigments as they are created in a lab. They’re even less natural, some are made with nature-identical colors and others with dyes. Many micas misbehave in cold-process soap making, too and can end up coloring your soap an unexpected color.

Natural Soap Ingredients to Use as Decoration

Botanicals simply mean natural fruit, flower, leaf, and roots used as soap additives. They are natural soap ingredients that impart either color, visual interest, or exfoliation to your bars. There is some conjecture as to how much of the original properties found in these ingredients survive the soap-making process. However, many soap making botanicals are useful in adding color, texture, and decoration.

  • Botanical oils work best in the super-fatting phase and may include rose-hip oil, neem oil, and borage seed oil
  • Dried fruit & whole spices. Including lemon and orange slices, peppercorns, and cinnamon. These are just some of the items you can add to your soap to create holiday or scent-themed designs.
  • Powdered spices, such as turmeric powder, can also provide vibrant natural color.
  • Exfoliants such as rolled oats, ground almonds, and poppyseeds create scrubby soap.
  • Use some herbs and flowers to decorate and color your soap. Use infusions of flowers and herbs in place of some or all of the water content. You can also use dried flowers on both the tops and interiors of your soap.
  • Various roots with medicinal value are used in soap making. However, the effectiveness of the active ingredients can be questionable in your final product. For example, alkanet and madder root only add natural color to your batches.
Natural Soap Making for Beginners -- a four part series on how to make handmade soap using all natural ingredients. The parts include Ingredients, Equipment & Safety, Basic Soap Recipes, and the full cold-process soap making method #lovelygreens #soap #soapmaking #howtomakesoap #naturalsoapmaking
Use dried alkanet root to naturally tint soap purple

Where to Purchase Natural Soap Ingredients

First of all, I encourage you to pop into your local bulk foods wholesaler or cash-and-carry. See what they have on offer since you can often get a much better deal than with specialty soap and beauty suppliers. Always make sure to check the best by date of the oils you’re purchasing. Often times the oil in supermarkets can be close to its expiration date. Using old oil in soap making can lead to a lot of issues from dreaded orange spots to a short shelf-life.

I’d like to emphasize is that it’s easy to spend a small fortune when starting out making your own soap. You don’t need much to get started making soap. A good tried and tested recipe, simple natural soap ingredients, and the basic instructions to make cold process soap. Try to resist splurging on expensive ingredients, at least until you’ve made a few batches and know better what you want. For more ideas on where to get natural soap ingredients head over here.

You can continue on to the next three parts of this series through the links below. Watch the below video to see how to make a simple batch of soap.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners Series

  1. Natural Soap Ingredients
  2. Equipment & Safety
  3. Easy Soap Recipes
  4. Step-by-Step Cold Process Soap Making
YouTube video

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172 Comments

  1. Catherine says:

    Hi,
    thank you for all your wonderful information. A question if I can, I am using clays for colour, and you mentioned you can use the clay also as a fixative for the essential oils, do I add the oils to any of my clays the night before? then add it at trace? You also mentioned adding water to the clay, is that if you not adding the essential oils to the clay in advance?
    thanks
    Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine and yes, you can add the essential oils to the clay the night before. After a few hours (or overnight) the clay will absorb some of the essential oil but not all so it should still be a kind of slurry. If so, you can mix and add this slurry at a very light trace. If it looks dry, it’s best to add a little distilled water so that the clay is at least a sloppy paste-like consistency and any lumps are worked out before adding it to the soap batter. Hope this helps :)

      1. Catherine says:

        yes, thank you,
        Catherine

  2. Ankit kumar says:

    Hii mam
    I am watching your video from India. Mam i want to manufacture this product for commercial. Because all people want natural products not want to use any camical product. So, mam please give me a right suggation.

  3. I am loving your site. Thank you! Would you recommend using Calendula macerated oil (sunflower or olive oil infused in dried calendula flowers) as a superfatting oil? Calendula has strong healing properties.
    Thank you!
    Silvia

    1. Please remember that soap is a wash-off product. That means that nearly all of what you use will wash down the drain rather than staying on your skin. Calendula can be an excellent natural soap colorant, but if you’re looking to harness its healing properties, I’d recommend using macerated oil to make calendula skin cream or healing salve.

    2. Hi
      Can I use normal shop bought caustic soda
      Thanks
      Karen

      1. I always recommend food-grade lye. The type sold as drain cleaner contains quite a lot of impurities including metals. They’re not only not good for your skin but can cause DOS and reduce the shelf-life of your soap.

      2. TALATU JOSHUA says:

        Very educative, pls what I add to the caustic soda and the oils to make my soap medicated bathing soap? Thank. I am Talatu J.

  4. Leena Philip says:

    Hi Tanya,
    I need your help! I was making a soap that called for clay, which I thought I had but didn’t, so I put 1 tsp of oxide. I realize now that I put way too much! Will that totally ruin the soap or make it bad to use?
    Thanks!
    Leena

    1. Leena, yup, way too much! It probably won’t hurt you to use it, but the extra residue could tint your shower and bathtub. As a beginner soapmaker, please do not substitute ANY ingredient if you do not have it. It can lead sometimes to unsafe soap.

  5. very wonderful blog and very natural process of soap making is very good thought very useful blog thanks for posting.

  6. M. Ghasemi says:

    hello dear,
    I tried to make soap especially from tallow with hot and cold methods but it didn’t work!!
    The soap became hard and soap particles didn’t stick the together and didn’t make bobble,
    Please help me.

  7. helal basho says:

    Is it possible to make soap from candle wax ?
    I have plenty of candle wax ,
    kindly advice .
    Best Regards
    Helal Basho

    1. Sorry Helal, but no. You need pure vegetable-based oils and fats, not paraffin wax. Even beeswax and other natural waxes only partially saponify in soap, and even so, their usage rate is very low (under 5% of a recipe)

      1. helal basho says:

        Thanks a lot
        best regards

      2. Khaled elhawary says:

        hello . can i use stearic acid in my soap?

        1. In most cases, the oils in soap recipes should naturally contain the stearic acid necessary for the soap. If it doesn’t then change the recipe using the amounts of stearic acid in different oils. Soy wax is very high in stearic acid, and others high in it are cocoa butter, shea butter, and tallow.

  8. şehirler arası kurye says:

    What percentage of benzoin oil is recommended for anchoring the scent of essential oils? Are we mixing it with the EOs before adding to the soap batter? Please chime in anyone and thanks in advance.

  9. Hello dear Tanya
    Can I use another oil instead of coconut oil ?
    Thanks a million for your answer.

    1. Palm kernel oil (not palm oil) also has very similar properties to coconut oil for hardness, bubbles, and cleansing.

      1. Thank you for your thorough videos and explanations. I would like to put an impression or dried herb/flower on the flat side of the bars. At what point in the process can that be done? Would it be better to use individual bar molds?

        1. It could be very tricky to do what you’re thinking. Unless the plant material is thick, it won’t leave much of an impression. If it’s too thick, the soap will swirl around it and it may be difficult to pull it out of the soap. It might be better for you to get a silicone mat made with the impression of flowers and leaves.

  10. Hello Tanya,
    Thanks for the information! I am getting ready to make my first batch and I would like to try the lemon grass soap. The recipe includes grapefruit seed extract which I am having difficulty in finding. Rather, I find grapefruit essential oil.
    Do you think that would do as well?
    Thanks again!

    1. You can make the recipe without the grapefruit seed oil. Don’t bother with the other product — essential oil is not the same.

  11. Whenever I visit your website I enjoy reading your content because of the good articles. Thanks by the way.

  12. Tracy Stevens says:

    Hi, I would love to start my own business. When looking into assessments most companies offer one with a base soap recipe then you can add 8 variants to keep the costs down, so I’m looking for a good soap recipe that I can use as a Base, but then add essential oils and herbs/flowers etc .
    Many Thanks :)

  13. Hi Tanya, apologies if this has already been asked and answered – I tried reading through all the comments but there are too many! My question is – you list ‘distilled water’ in your recipes but you don’t talk about it in your piece about ingredients. Is it important to have distilled as opposed to spring or filtered water? I live in Bulgaria and don’t think I can buy it so what do you recommend? Thank you, Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline, the issue is that tap water often contains minerals that can affect the soap’s lather and increase soap scum. Distilled is best but rainwater and bottled water can be good options too.

  14. Trevelyn Smith says:

    I wanted to ask you – i have unrefined shea butter which is quite pungent (i haven’t yet managed to source refined shea butter here in SA) – can i still use this, will the smell affect my final product or will it not be so bad :-(

  15. Hi Tanya

    I have been browsing and watching endless youtube videos, but this is the most helpful and informative site i have come across. Thank you so much :-) As a newbie to soapmaking, i obviously want to just jump in head first and just go crazy but your advice has been very thoughtful and much appreciated.

    1. You’re so welcome, and I hope the ideas and information help you on your soap making journey :)

  16. Helen Pearce says:

    Hi Tanya
    I’m really happy with my soap making now but I’m struggling getting fragrances to hold. Not a problem for me but my relatives who I gift them to would prefer a smellier soap. What do you recommend particularly for citrus?

    1. I would say to avoid citrus essential oils, with the exceptions of litsea cubeba (may chang), bergamot, grapefruit, and lemongrass. Those are the only ones I work with and aside from May Chang, the others can be temperamental too.

  17. Aleksandra says:

    Hello ,

    When buying a ”ready Soap compound ” after I melt it can I still add oils, butters etc or just fregrance an some dry flowers?

    Alex

    1. If you’re using melt-and-pour soap you can add a little oil or melted butters to it (about a teaspoon-ish). Too much and the soap will ooze oil and have low lathering.

  18. Hello, in aiming for a fixer to hold the scent of essential oil in my soap which is recommended grapefruit seed extract oil or arrowroot powder? I’m a lover of natural colouring and scent in my soap scrub and balms.

    1. Grapefruit seed extract doesn’t fix scent — it’s used as an antioxidant. As for fixing scent, you only need to try this if your batches are losing scent quickly. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Though I mention fixers in this piece I’d actually recommend revising the scents in a recipe. It’s far easier and there are many essential oils that are suitable for soap making, even citrus oils.

  19. Hi,
    I’m just beginning to learn about making my own soaps and I am so happy I found your page. What great information! I’m just about ready to dive in but gathering the equipment I need feels a bit intimidating. Do you have any recommendations for where to purchase materials or know of any good starter setups? Thank you!

    1. Check out the next piece in this series on equipment and safety. There are tips for finding what you need there — there are links in this piece to redirect you to it.

  20. I ran across your site from Pinterest.
    I have 2 daughters, 3 and 7. The three year old LOVES making stuff with me.
    Are there any ways to make soap naturally that are safe to let the three year old do as well?
    I make candles and cant let her join due to having to boil water and how hot the melted wax gets. I’m not wanting her to get burned.
    My kids love soap. I’d use no scents (7 year old has a bit of an Eczema problem and has done well with most products, including bath bombs and soap we made from kid kits and I bought off Etsy, but broke out when I bought a cheaply made bomb from Walmart)
    I’m interested in the one made from beeswax. Should I stick with kits or are there home made ways to let my 3 year old join in without worrying about her burning herself?

    1. Unfortunately bath bombs aren’t great for skin prone to eczema — avoid all of them, purchased or handmade. The bicarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid in them strip the skin’s protective mantle and can cause irritation. As for soap making, your outlook in getting your kids involved will set the tone. I was sewing, using knives, and up to all sorts by age 5 but was taught to handle everything with respect. Make candles with your kids if you’d like, or try melt-and-pour soap. If they get a slight burn from hot water, which is unlikely with your supervision, then teach them that it’s a learning experience.

  21. I really love the properties of coconut oil and the scent of coconut. Could you recommend a recipe for a coconut soap?

  22. Khair Muhammad says:

    I have tried myself soap making, although i was successful in making good and hard soap bars but not foaming and no smell i used Caustic soda, distilled water, single vegetable oil, and lemon, sugar, salt as additives,Can you help with those problem? I need some good advices
    Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Hi Khair — the reason that your soap isn’t bubbly is because pure vegetable oil (if it’s canola, sunflower) doesn’t create a good lathering soap. As a beginner I’d highly recommend that you use tried and tested soap recipes until you become more experienced. There are a lot of factors that go into creating a recipe that you might not have learned yet. I have tons of soap recipes that you can check out over here: https://lovelygreens.com/category/beauty/soap/

  23. Khair Muhammad says:

    I have tried myself soap making, although i was successful in making good and hard soap bars but not foaming and no smell i used Caustic soda, distilled water, single vegetable oil, and lemon, sugar, salt as additives,Can you help with those problem?
    Thanks in advance!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I have a weird attraction of soap fragrances and textures. Wish I could start making my own herbal soaps. I have bookmarked your post. Have you also written to make bath bombs??

  25. i love this. thank you a lot for the information

  26. angelica montoya says:

    I am SO happy to have found your page! Your posts, blogs are very informational and you truly explain things so well. Thank you!

    My question is about coconut milk, or any plant based milk. Powder or liquid? How would either be used?
    I feel like you probable already answered this question so I feel bad asking it again!
    I really really would like to add coconut milk to my soaps. Any information is appreciated!

    1. Hi Angelica and happy to help :) Coconut milk can be used to replace part of the water content of most recipes — 1/3 of the water content or less is best. You’d add the liquid coconut milk at ‘Trace’. Powdered coconut milk can also be added at Trace but I’d pre-mix it in a little water beforehand. Just to make sure it doesn’t cause any lumps in your recipe.

      1. Hi, I love your soaps! So beautiful and perfect. May I ask which mold you use as your soaps are soooo perfect, love them. Thank you!

      2. Chondra Stark says:

        I am looking for a melt and pour recipe using Tallow and other essential oils for scent and therapeutic values…do you have any suggestions?

  27. Roseann Norod says:

    Hello, I am new to soapmaking and I am enjoying your page. Learning a lot. So anxious to make my first soap! Question about coconut oil. We buy organic, virgin, cold pressed unrefined for cooking. For soap can it be the refined type since flavor doesn’t matter? OR do we need the same one we eat. Also, I bought some wonderful lavender soap that had some type of needles or plant things in it, so it is a little exfoliate. I don’t think it was lavender flowers, but maybe? Thoughts on what to use? I am also wondering about the sodium lactate. I saw some on Amazon that appears to be a powder. How would that be used..would the diluted water have to be counted in the total mixture , and how much water is needed to dilute /mix it? Thank you for the awesome resources!

    1. Hi Roseann! Use the refined coconut oil for soap making — it’s cheaper, unscented, and the cold-pressed lovely stuff is far better used in cooking. As for the lavender soap, it might have had rosemary pieces in it? Sodium lactate generally comes as a powder and you stir it into your cooled lye water before it’s added to the oils. The amount of water you use in your recipes is generally recommended to be 38% of the total amount of oils used in the recipe. As a beginner, just stick with other people’s recipes for now though — too much can go wrong if you try formulating your own. Hope this helps :)

  28. Sovichet Tep says:

    Nice tutorial with great information about soapmaking. I would love to try it someday.

  29. Natural and no harmful. Very useful. Can you pls share the homemade conditioner?

  30. This is going to be great! My first soap recipe. Wish me luck!

  31. Can’t wait to try this! I love homemade soap and have been looking for good detailed site to use. I will let you know how it turns out?

    1. Brilliant :) Hope this gets you started making loads of your own natural soap

  32. Thank you for this post! my daughter and I are interested in starting this as a hobby together and you explain everything perfectly!

  33. Hi Tanya. I am fro Ukraine. Thank you for your site it really is, as inspiration and edification. I’m new in the manufacture of soaps and want to ask about the ingredients in the soap coloring. I care about the issue if you use natural ingredients such as spices, carrot juice, beet, turmeric powder and other substances not be painted with soap if their detergent power, namely, the color of the foam or whether they painted hands and face after washing. Thank you. Lyudmila

    1. Hi Tanya. I am fro Ukraine. Thank you for your site it really is, as inspiration and edification. I’m new in the manufacture of soaps and want to ask about the ingredients in the soap coloring. I care about the issue if you use natural ingredients such as spices, carrot juice, beet, turmeric powder and other substances not be painted with soap if their detergent power, namely, the color of the foam or whether they painted hands and face after washing. Thank you. Lyudmila

  34. Autographs says:

    I really want to do this. I currently buy tree tea oil soap but it only lasts about a week and costs me £2. Making my own I would like to use tree oil and aloe vera as I have a lot of this in the house.

    Would you recommend buying a kit to start off?

  35. Hi Tanya. I tried making the honey and oats soap recipe of yours. There was a problem though. Because of the monsoon season and lots of rain this year my soap doesnt harden even after 48 hrs in the mold.And also it sweats. Please give sme solution. Thanks.

    1. Hi Arefa — even with Monsoon weather your soap should have hardened. Try again and make sure that all of your ingredients are weighed properly — it sounds like you have too much oil in the soap you’ve made.

  36. Hi Tanya. I really appreciate your article. Its was really complete and knowledgeable. I learn a lot and i took notes… It is about two weeks that I am searching for a reliable source for my questions about soaping and ingredients and finally your site was the best fully encouraged one. Thanks a bunch dear

  37. Nice article , would like your advice on what could I substitute sls powder with for pedicure bath bombs since it’s a main ingredient to form bubbles.SLSA is not available here . I would like to keep the ingredients as natural as possible but soap bombs are more popular for the effects. Thanks in advance .
    Meera

    1. Hi Meera, I’m not aware of any natural ingredients that you can use to create bubbles like SLS. Neither SLSA or SLES are natural either.

  38. Thank you for the lecture. I love making soap but I want to really study about soap making before venturing. Please is their any materials you can recommend I read. Thanks

    1. All you really need to get started is in this soap making series. Just make some :)

  39. wubshet bekele says:

    Great post, thank you for sharing this great tip, I am very grateful to have clarified all my doubts and it was of great help for me to continue to move in my learning process.
    i need to make a soap by my own so i learn more from your post its so nice thank you
    but i need some steps to make it i you can you email me and help me

  40. Great post, thank you for sharing this great tip, I am very grateful to have clarified all my doubts and it was of great help for me to continue to move in my learning process.

  41. Hallo Tanya.I leave in south Africa.we have a lot of aloe vera plant.l do bodyscrubs and add it to aguas cream.I would really appreciate if you can help me with a soap recipe please.

  42. Hi Tanya,
    I have really found your articles very useful and simple to understand. However, I am having difficulty finding lye in the UK, is there a specific website you can please direct me to apart from the US site?

  43. Sheba Bako says:

    Hi, I am interested to learn, how to make soap, can you help me with the list of all the ingredients that matters in making soap, then the quantity as a first beginner please.

  44. This is fantastic congratulations from the bottom of my mama heart that likes to do everything at home with love and nature’s gifts

  45. Theresa 'Lux-U says:

    I found this information on pinInterest and it is very useful. Im a beginner to soapmaking and the information your presented on oils, additives and curing is encouraging. Thanks again and I look forward to your newsletters.

  46. Hi Tanya,

    Thanks a lot for the great info! That is really helpful.

    About the scent fixers, did you tried all that you listed? Which ones work best? Do you use more than one together?

    1. I’ve tried them all (not together though) and my favourite is Orris Root Powder. I make a lot of floral essential oil soaps though and the scent works well with them.

      1. I read great things about kaolin clay. Did you use it? How does it compare with Orris Root Powder? How much do you use it of Orris? Thank a lot again!

        1. I don’t use Kaolin but yes, it should also be on the list. The rule for usage is 1 Tablespoon of Kaolin per pound (454g) of oil.

          1. And how much of Orris do you use?

  47. Thank you all the information you released about Soap making, am a new starter in soap making, this information will help alot. Thank you and God bless you.

  48. Thanks so much for your information on making soap. I just begun this adventure and your information was very helpful. I made my first batch yesterday!

  49. Sanjay Arora says:

    Tanya, Thanks for valuable information, Tanya i would like to start soap making for business purpose, As this is my first attempt, so i would like to ask a few queries, Because you are very talented and very much experienced..

    Tanya, At initial stage what would be safe to use Lye or Melt pour soap base, If you are going to suggest Melt pour soap base, then please let us know can we add Olive oil, coconut oil or any essential oil to this soap base…, Should we add essential oils, if yes then let us know Proper %ge of oils.

    If you are going to suggest Lye, then also we need proper formulation to make a good soap.

    Respected Tanya, I know it would be tough for you to explain formulation due to your busy schedule, But this is my request to share a few perfect recipes with us, At initial stage we need your kind support and co operation, Without this we cant get success.

  50. Marianne Kuiper Milks says:

    Hi. I think I found what I have been looking for! The ‘problem’ is that I don’t have the time to begin by playing with all these magical options. Somewhere in this wonderful post I read that you also offer classes. I think that’s exactly what I am looking for. I can explain my ‘rush’ later. Good story.
    I live in the USA, my daughter lives near Eastbourne, UK. I would love to come and have fun with this. Please send me more information, and thank you for your excellently designed and written article!
    Marianne

  51. Adrian N Kappel says:

    I’ve made quite a few batches of soap now! It’s been very fun learning so much as I go! I do have one question. I am putting oats and all of my soap however I’m still seen the scent fade. In your opinion, which is the best scent fixer you have used?

  52. Tanya, I have a soap-making question for you. I have made several batches (both hot and cold approaches) and the end product is usable; however the texture tends to be gritty, a bit dry, and it crumbles easily. Do you have any thoughts about what I can do to improve the end product? Thanks so much!!

    1. Would you send me the recipe you’re using? It might also be that you’re using sugars in your soap – either milk, honey, or something else? Too much sugar can mean crumbly soap.

      1. Tanya, I have never used sugars in my soap (only EVOO and coconut oil). I have used this recipe for both hot and cold processes as well. Most recently I added some extra water at the end of the process (hot process), which helped (but only a little). Thanks again for your thoughts.

        1. Hi Glenn and thanks for passing on the recipe. It’s all based on volume measurements and not weight so I’d never use it personally. Not unless I weighed it all out and put it into the SoapCalc to make sure it’s ok.

          1. Ok, Tanya I will simply try your approach and let you know how it goes. Thanks again!!

          2. Also, one question: Why is it that volume measurements aren’t as good? I’m not sure I understand this point you have made. Thanks.

            1. They’re just too inexact – soapmaking is more chemistry than cooking and precise measurements are required.

  53. Hi Tanya
    I want to use calendula powder in my soap recipe 1kg, how much powder should I use? I have used petals infused in oil but this has not produced a colour no matter how long I leave them infusing.
    Thank you for all the information on your website, very interesting. My first soap batch was your daffodil recipe, it was very successful. Thank you.

    1. Hi Lesley and really pleased my soap making tips are helping you out :) First of all, there are several shades of Calendula ranging from yellow to bright orange. You need the vibrant orange ones to provide colour in your infused oil. If you’re going to use the powder then keep it down to roughly 1-3% of your recipe. For a 1kg batch that would be 10-30g. Just note that using powder or chopped petals will likely leave orangey specks in your soap.

  54. Hi there – this is such a fab read, Thank you. Quick question – how would you determine the shelf life of soap and hand made cosmetic products whether that’s just for yourself or for selling?

    1. Hi Helen! For products with water content it’s very specific to how long the preservative lasts. After that, bacteria can begin to grow and no one wants that! For soap, balms, and bath fizzies (and any other product without a water content) it’s the closest expiry date of the ingredients you used. If you use coconut oil that’s best by next month then commercially that’s your use-by date. As for making products for yourself, you can be more flexible with non-water based products.

  55. Thank you so much for posting this detailed article! I have been wanting to make soap for such a long time, but have been intimidated by the lack of information and know how. After reading, I think I’m finally ready to five it a shot!

  56. Bridget shabangu says:

    I would like to have yo contact details , am interested to know learn about making soap

  57. A variety of online and retail shops here in Britain – the USA has far more places to buy them though!

  58. Amazingly thorough article. I’ve always wanted to try soap making, but never found the time. Maybe it’s time I give it a try. Are there any oils or ingredients you’d recommend to prevent dry skin / help with Eczema?

    1. Shea butter and Cocoa butter added as superfatting oils would be very beneficial!

  59. Ataşehir Kurye says:

    What percentage of benzoin oil is recommended for anchoring the scent of essential oils? Are we mixing it with the EOs before adding to the soap batter? Please chime in anyone and thanks in advance.

    1. I prefer using Orris Root Powder personally – if you do head down the route of Benzoin oil then yes, add it with the other essential oils and use just a small percentage – less than <1% of your entire recipe.

  60. Hi!! I am a soap making newbie and have found your posts so very helpful!! Where do you buy your lye?

    1. Through an online retailer. For the small scale soap maker, I’d recommend you check out reputable sellers on Ebay or google a cosmetic supplier in your area. They’ll most likely have it on offer too.

  61. Hi Tanya,
    You have a lovely website and a wealth of information on soap making..thank you for taking the time to share your passion! I’ve only just recently ventured into soap making myself and I have been really enjoying it.
    Like you, I too would like to keep my soaps as natural as possible, by sticking to herbs and roots for colour and essential oils for fragrance, but I was wondering about the benefits of using cold-pressed oils vs refined oils in soap making. I have actually been searching online for more information but I’ve come up with information that goes both ways, so I thought I’d ask you–what are your thoughts on it? I’m inclined to use cold-pressed oils in my soaps as well as that’s what I use in my food and I feel that there must be some effect of the chemicals used in refining on the end product, even if the oils are converted to soap at the end. Am I wrong? Would love to hear what you think. Thanks!
    Ammu

    1. I lean towards the idea that cold-pressed oils should be used in skincare products and home cuisine that don’t require heat to make. You see, when you make a batch of soap the oils can reach such high temperatures both before you mix the oils into the lye and then afterwards when they’re in the mould that many of the benefits of cold-pressed oil are lost. An exception would be in adding them into your batch at the very end as a ‘Superfatting oil’ and then not insulating the soap when it’s moulded. These steps could help keep the integrity of the oils more intact.

  62. Hello. Do you have a source for buying Palm oil that is certified sustainable?

  63. Hi Tanya. Do you use the same amount of orris root powder as you’ve mentioned for the other fixers: 1tsp/800g? Thanks :)

  64. I am thinking of giving soap making a go and wonder if you have ever tried using Emu Oil in your process? When going through radiation treatment, emu oil was wonderful for my “burned” skin and I thought it might work well in a soap. What are your thoughts?

    1. It’s not something I’ve used and honestly, I don’t plan on using it because it’s animal fat – most people prefer their skincare to be cruelty-free. Though I’ll not deny any help it provided to your irritated skin, you’ll probably find that plant based oils like shea butter will be just as good or better :)

  65. diosdado velasco says:

    what is soap ingredient to remove the irritation from the skin ?

  66. diosdado velasco says:

    what is soap ingredient to remove the irritation from new soap …

    1. There isn’t such a thing…you have to cure the soap for about a month before the PH is safe enough to use on your skin.

  67. I use cooking oil and KOH to cook detergent. It is easier than looking around for safe detergent for garden veg irrigation. If you use hard water for washing, you can add 15 – 45 % mono potassium phosphate as hard water softener (also a PH buffer). To make it a shampoo just add a bit more olive oil to tip over a bit the PH. I never put anything unnecessary into my detergent, not even natural fragrance or colour, because whatever I add in will finally get into my garden soil, get into my veg then get into my stomach. I like washing cloths by stamping in a basin, it is quicker and cleaner and not hurting the fabric. Also I recommend using sea water for cooking seasoning instead of salt, you need all elements in the ocean (what is the proportion? The element proportion in your body are nearly the same as they are in the environment as scientist found) but not only sodium. Make your own drinking water by breaking lava rock and sediment rock and soak them in collected rain water. When your urine stinks, your blood PH is no good, when your body fluid PH is good, your urine will not smelly. Keeping your mouth fresh and odourless by using tooth pick to scrape your teeth, never use tooth paste (it wear out your teeth surface layer and unbalance the microbes that make your mouth stink). Natural and healthy teeth are ivory coloured but not white. Never use mouth rinsing water which will cause your mouth smelly worse only, bacteria would not make your mouth stink, but unbalanced bacteria make your mouth stink. I use 2 natural gas fermenter as septic tank which is a closed system never leak out into environment, when one is filling the other is maturing. Gas for cooking, the matured sediment for fertiliser in garden. The important thing is never let any unhealthy and unnatural stuff gets into your septic system in the first place. As a general principle, get rid of all your household chemical products. Air deodorant, disinfectant, bleach, hair dye, insecticide, etc. they are all unnecessary waste of natural resources and harmful pollutants to a home and the environment. The so called modern life style makes us sick, makes environment sick, the rat race of making money and getting rich is fundamentally contradictory to sustainability. Use as little as possible natural resources but contribute as much as possible effective information that is my understanding of a good Earth villager. That is the only way to reach future. Green life is good life. It is a real civilised life. Want to hear other’s opinions.

  68. topkapı kurye says:

    thanks for the interesting and informative article. I'm considering soap-making as a future project. I look forward to reading the rest of the series

  69. Tanya,
    I love your passion for making your own products and wiliness to teach it to others. You are a woman after my own heart!

  70. I have been searching for tips about making natural soap, I must say that this is a very very clear explanation of all the ingredients and their "functions" in the soap.
    Thank you for sharing! :)

  71. Anonymous says:

    The round soaps with the swirls that are in the photo are lovely. May I ask where you got the mold? Thanks in advance.

  72. If soaping with oils that have a short shelf life, will ROE/GE help? What percentage is used? if the oil has a shelf life of say 3 months, how much more shelf life will it increase?

  73. What percentage of benzoin oil is recommended for anchoring the scent of essential oils? Are we mixing it with the EOs before adding to the soap batter? Please chime in anyone and thanks in advance.

  74. Hi!
    I'd just like to add that Voyageur Soap and Candle is another online soap supply company in Canada. They have an excellent selection :D

  75. Dear Tanya,
    Thank you very much for such clear information. I like it that for each ingredient you have explained Why we use it and the alternatives.
    My son has a very very sensitive skin and the other day I was checking in the shops to see if I could find a soap for his skin. The lady in the shop told me that she too has a sensitive skin and she uses soap that does not have bubbles because it is for sensitive skin.
    Now, I have made soap before (5 years ago), my eldest son picked making soap (the cold method) as his science project. I remember we read somewhere that it was the oils that gave the bubbles. So as the lady was talking I decided at the back on my mind that I will just make soap for him.
    I needed a place to do reviews before proceeding with the actual making of the soap. Your blog has just provided that, thank you.

    1. Hi Pauline :) The problem with the 'bubbles' probably has more to do with using SLS (sodium laurel/laureth sulfate) in soaps rather than bubbles produced by natural soap. If you steer clear of products with SLS/SLES then I think your son should be fine. These artificial ingredients are added to increase lather and bubbles but many people are sensitive to them.

      Good luck with making your own soap and please drop by again if you have any questions :)

  76. You have some great soap making info on here for us beginners, thank you for sharing! You say here that one must be prepared for dried botanicals to go black and I have experienced this already….the ones you show here though are like so many I do see though – they do have petals on them. I see them on Ebay and really would love to be able to do the same. Is there a secret to successful using of them ?

    1. The secret to using botanicals like lavender, rose petals, chamomile, and other flowers is to sprinkle them on top rather than incorporate them into your soap. On top, they will brown a little where they touch the soap but the untouched parts will generally remain colourful.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting the Canadian site. I have been looking for one.

  78. Tonya, thanks so much for all this advice and help. Do you have any advice on how to get tea scents to come out of soaps?

  79. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone help…I have tried beats for a red/pink color it looked lovely but my soap did not come out colored is thre a time or temperature problem?

    1. Unfortunately, the lovely red color from beets does not stay red in the soap for long. It turns a kind of yellowy-brown colour over time so I'd recommend sticking to some of the other natural colours available. I have a list of natural soap colorants you can check out too.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the interesting and informative article. I'm considering soap-making as a future project. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

  81. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for posting this!
    I've been looking to eliminate harsh chemicals from my personal care products for a while and I was just wondering if this same process would produce something that would work as a shampoo as well as soap. I'm certainly going to try it anyways, but if I can clean my hair with the result- bonus!

  82. Hi Tanya, at long last I have found some time to sit down at the computer and catch up with the blogs I usually love to read on a regular basis. You hedgerow jelly looked lovely and is definitely a recipe to note for next year. I was really sorry to hear about Miracel. xx

    Exciting to see you extracting your first batch of honey, how did you enjoy it? Hopefully I will be doing this next year!! Did you get your hive that was being aggressive sorted out??

    It looks like you have had bountiful harvests from your allotment his year!!

    Your latest show photos were great, I think it's great how these things are still so well attended on your little island, I wish my village would learn a thing or two from you, community spirit is seriously lacking in my neck of the woods these days!!

    1. So good to hear from you Tanya! Things are humming along on the Isle of Man and hopefully you'll have some events to go to yourself around Christmas time? Have you thought about organising a community seed swap or the like? Hope all is well on your allotment :)

  83. Finally! Soap Making guidelines from a reliable source. Thanks so much.

  84. Such a grate post, I really enjoy reading it! I am really glad that you will continue publishing additional ones related to soapmaking. Best Regards, Gordana

    1. You're very welcome Gordana :) Drop in next week for part two – Equipment. The posts after that will be on 3. Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own
      4. The Soap Making Process: Make, Mould, and Cure

  85. Thanks Tanya.

    The recipe I have takes over an hour of stirring to get to trace. Although I love making my own soap, knowing that my batch is going to take 1.5 – 2 hours is sometimes daunting…

    I use a combination of coconut, olive (pomace) and canola oil.

    1. I'll go over mixing the lye and oils together in the fourth post in this series but I'll let you in on a teaser…mixing with a spoon is not the the quickest or efficient way to reach trace :)

    2. Tanya – I've tried with two different hand whisks, an electric mixer and a stick blender. Nada! All that happens is the electric motors start smelling as thouogh they are gping to burn out…

  86. Tanya's soap is wonderful, it really smelled good and I used it and guess what, it lathers up nicely and cleans your hands, it was a luxury for me!

    I had trouble getting lye a while back because the meth labs bought it up as apparently it is used to make the illegal drug. They used to make lye from wood ashes but I have never tried that though I have buckets of them in the winter.

    1. Thanks so much Sunnybrook – am pleased you liked the Gardener's Hand Soap :)

      Sodium Hydroxide can be purchased online if you have trouble locating it in your area. Creating your own from wood ashes isn't really recommended since you can't accurately gauge the strength of the liquid (which btw is Potassium Hydroxide rather than Sodium Hydroxide). Going down this route could lead to some pretty harsh soap!

      1. I learned a lot from your site. It is great feeling now I can play my liquid soap making. I use cooking oil and KOH to cook detergent. It is easier than looking around for safe detergent for garden veg irrigation (you have no control what they put in). If you use hard water for washing, you can add mono potassium phosphate as a PH buffer (similar use and amount as borax, used here as a substitute of borax). Add a little bit of milk seems help to emulsify the paste especially when you use some olive oil. To make it a shampoo just adds a bit more milk. There is nothing can be wasted in the game of soap making. The worst scenario is you made the paste water hating wax (I did it by adding way too much mono potassium phosphate); but even that can be rescued by putting a couple of table spoon of KOH IN 1 kg of soft water and heat it up then add the wax bit by bit into the solution and mix them up. Add a bit of (1 %) milk seems help it emulsify. Fine tuning the paste (by adding the wax bit by bit) until the PH reaches 8 to 8.5. Done. Good as new. The separated water solution I keep it as fertiliser for garden). I never put anything unnecessary into my detergent. I like washing cloths by stamping in a basin, it is quicker (15 minutes) and cleaner and not hurting the fabric. Also I recommend using sea water for cooking seasoning instead of salt, you need all elements in the ocean (what is the proportion? The element proportion in your body are nearly the same as they are in the environment as scientist found. We are not only made of star dust but also the proportion of the star dust) but not only sodium (don’t call it table salt, call it poison). Make your own drinking water by breaking lava rock and sediment rock and soak them in collected rain water. The main source of minerals you take in is by drinking water but not by food. When your urine stinks, your blood PH is no good, when your body fluid PH is good, your urine will not smelly. Keeping your mouth fresh and odourless by using tooth pick to scrape your teeth, never use tooth paste (it wear out your teeth surface layer and unbalance the microbes that make your mouth stink). Natural and healthy teeth are ivory coloured but not white. Teeth grow layer by layer from outside just like clam grow its shell or pearl). Leave it natural (and do not drink “drinks”), your teeth can heal small damages by itself just like a clam will do to its shells. Never use mouth rinsing water which will cause your mouth smell worse only, bacteria would not make your mouth stink, but unbalanced bacteria make your mouth stink. Naturally secreted oil on your skin and hair are the first line of defence, if just dust and sweat, rinse it with rain water it will be shine and smooth. What ruin your skin and hair is those tap water, shampoo and conditioners. I use 2 natural gas fermenter (imported poly gas fermenter tank for $ 500 each) as septic tank which is a closed system never leak out into environment, when one is filling the other is maturing. Gas for cooking, the matured sediment and liquid for fertiliser in garden. The important thing is never let any unhealthy and unnatural stuff gets into your septic system in the first place. As a general principle, get rid of all your household chemical products. Air deodorant, disinfectant, bleach, hair dye, insecticide, etc. they are all unnecessary waste of natural resources and harmful pollutants to a home and the environment. The so called modern life style makes us sick, makes environment sick, the rat race of making money and getting rich is fundamentally contradictory to sustainability. Use as little as possible natural resources but contribute as much as possible effective information that is my understanding of a good Earth villager. That is the only way to reach future. Green life is good life. It is a real civilised life. Want to hear other’s opinions.
        Regards
        Jackluny

        1. Great Information, yes ; I will give it all a try, and yes; I agree totally about your thoughts and comments on a greener, healthier, and more sustainable environment ( village, suburb or community)…

        2. Shawn Michelle says:

          Wow- Your efforts are truly impressive. I’m going to print your post and hang it above my desktop for future reference. A good number of individuals strive to be thatconnected to the environment, nature and natural elements. How on earth did you discover so many environmentally friendly habits? I applaud you 100%, fantastic job! I need to find a collection bin for rainwater! CIAO

      2. @lovely greens

        thanks for such an informative article. however , i have some queries regarding soap sweating how can we prevent it . can essential oils or ingridents such as honey or shea butter cures sweating in soap. can the chemicals such as sodium benzoate, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide helps to cure this issue. please, reply as early as possible.

        thanks
        SMIT

        1. Hi SMIT, sweating in soap happens mainly because of humidity. If you’re making soap in a hot and humid climate then it’s bound to happen and there’s really not much you can do to fix your current soaps. You could try re-batching them? As for future batches, think about investing in a dehumidifier for your soaping area.

    2. Anonymous says:

      great advice, i might try it. well described and thorough, and in easy does it kind of way

    3. Andrea Neil says:

      I am having a ball making my own soap and other spa products using www-dot-MakeYourSpa-dot-info …. I’m making all sorts of things for friends! It’s great for learning how to make luxurious spa products at home immediately and it’s easy :) I save a lot of money not going to the spa and the products are exactly the same, if not better. I have used my friends and family to try out the products I’ve made and they have been absolutely delighted! I’m thoroughly enjoying working my way through the recipes and then adjusting them to my own design. I really wish I had started this years ago.