How to Make Lavender Soap

Recipe and instructions for how to make lavender soap with essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants

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Over the years I’ve created and shared recipes for various types of lavender soap. Some of them include a blend of essential oils, while others have added exfoliants, flowers, or natural soap colorants. The lavender soap recipe I share in this piece is pure and simple but can be customized if you’d like to add more flair. It uses common soapmaking oils, lavender essential oil, and a dependable purple soap colorant.

Homemade lavender soap recipe with shea butter & lavender essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #soapmaking

That’s the beauty of making handmade soap. Once you have the basic principles and techniques down, you can make as simple and as complex soap as you’d wish. Keep this in mind when you’re making this soap recipe. Stick to the basic ingredients or feel free to use the tips below to add additional ingredients.

Natural Soap Making for Beginners

1. Ingredients
2. Equipment & Safety
3. Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own
4. The Soap Making Process: Make, Mould, and Cure

If you’re new to making handmade soap, you should check out my four-part series on natural soap making. It gives a good introduction to what to expect from ingredients, equipment, recipes, and how to combine everything together to make soap. It’s especially important to be careful when handling lye and part 2 below will tell you what to expect. Lye isn’t something to be scared about using but you should know how to handle it safely.

Recipe and instructions for how to make lavender soap with essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #lavendersoap #essentialoilsoap
Lavender soap recipe with pure lavender essential oil

History of Lavender Soap

There’s no clear reference to say how and when soap was invented. As far as historians can tell, there were various methods of making crude soap-like substances from both the middle east and china. The earliest account is of a recipe written on a clay tablet from Babylon in 2800BC. It used “water, alkali, and cassia oil”. These first soaps were probably unscented since we first hear of fragranced toilet soap in the 9th century.

The production of fragranced soap was first recorded in the 9th century by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi of Persia. A celebrated alchemist, philosopher, and considered the greatest physician of the Muslim world, al-Razi left in his legacy the first soap making recipes. Though I can’t find a reference, I strongly suspect that lavender had a part to play in scenting these very first bars.

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Soap making in the middle east continues with soap factories in Syria around the same time. This Aleppo soap was imported into Europe and was then adapted there to make Castile soap — soap made with olive oil. Though Aleppo soap is traditionally unscented, it’s probable that scented soap was introduced to Europe at the same time.

Types of Lavender Oil

Lavender soap is generally understood to be a soap that smells like lavender. The real deal is always made with lavender essential oil, the distilled oil from lavender flowers. It’s deeply fragrant and has more beneficial properties to the mind and body than I can list here. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits and history of lavender oil, how it’s extracted, and how to grow lavender, I have an in-depth piece that you can read here.

When sourcing your own lavender oil for recipes be aware that there are two main types of essential oil. Lavender flower oil, labeled Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) flower oil, is the more common and it has a density of 0.885 g/ml. The second type is distilled from a similar plant called Lavandula latifolia and has a density of 0.905g/ml. It’s more commonly known as lavender spike oil. The measurements come into play when you’re working out how much to use in your recipes.

There’s another type of lavender oil that you can use in this recipe too. Homemade lavender oil is simply a carrier oil that you infuse with lavender flowers. For this recipe, you could begin by infusing the olive oil and sunflower oils with lavender.

How much Lavender Essential Oil to Use

In wash-off skin products like soap, I use a maximum of 3% lavender essential oil by weight. This guideline is in the cosmetic safety assessment I have for my business and is governed by acceptable limits in the European Union. This limitation is there to protect us against skin reactions. Lavender essential oil, like all essential oils, is a complex mixture of natural phytochemicals including linalool and linalyl acetate. Some people can have severe reactions to these components which is why we shouldn’t exceed this 3% usage.

For a 1 lb (454g) batch, like the one I share below, you should use no more than 13.62g of lavender essential oil. Lavender flower oil has a density of 0.885g/ml so that works out to 15.39 ml of essential oil for a one-pound batch, or about 3 teaspoons (3.12 tsp to be exact).

Lavender spike oil on the other hand has a different density of 0.905g/ml. That means that for a 1 lb recipe you’d need 15.05ml or 3.05 tsp. It’s not a huge difference for small batches which is why I feel comfortable recommending using teaspoons or either type of lavender oil for this recipe.

If you make a whopping big batch of this though, say a 7200g (15.87lb) batch then the difference between the two is clearer.  You’d use 48 tsp of lavender flower oil or 49.5 tsp of lavender spike oil. More information on calculating essential oil amounts for soap recipes.

Naturally Coloring Soap Purple

The natural color of soap is first dependent on the main soaping oils. Extra virgin olive oil will (at least at first) give you a greenish-tinted soap which is why a lot of soap makers will use lighter-colored pomace olive oil. That way they can have more control over tinting soap to the desired color. Just remember that the color of your main soaping oils will affect the final color of your soap. This is regardless of whether you use additional colorants or now.

For a traditional lavender soap recipe, you wouldn’t tint the soap at all. The natural color of olive oil soap is understated and beautiful in its simplicity. If you’d like to match the lavender scent of your soap to a color there are various ingredients you can use.

Alkanet and Gromwell root are excellent natural soap colorants. They are both plant roots that you can use to either infuse some or all of your soaping oils. You can also add the powder directly to the soap but it may give your soap a gritty feeling. Infusing whole cannabis plants in a carrier oil and using it in soapmaking can also give a light purple color.

Ultramarine violet is a nature-identical mineral powder that’s probably the easiest of the three to use, though. There is discussion over whether it can be considered natural since it’s recreated in a controlled environment. Most soapmakers consider it nature-identical and I personally have no issue with using oxides and ultramarines in soapmaking.

Homemade lavender soap recipe with shea butter & lavender essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #soapmaking #lovelygreens
To get a deep purple colored soap, use 1/2 tsp Ultramarine Violet powder per pound (454g) of oils in your recipe

Using Lavender Flowers in Soap

There’s one major issue in using lavender flowers and buds in soap — they have a tendency to turn brown. Mix them into your soap before it’s hardened and saponified and they will definitely turn brown. Sprinkle them on top and they’ll probably brown. There are two tricks to stopping this from happening though.

First of all, lightly press lavender stems into your soap about five minutes after you pour it. Make sure that only the bottom edge is actually touching the soap as shown in the photo above. Make sure that you don’t insulate the bars either since heat will brown them.

The other method to stop lavender from turning brown on soap is even more clever. Allow your bars to fully saponify for 48 hours. Then spray the tops with alcohol, sprinkle lavender buds on top and spray them again. The alcohol will make the lavender stick. Over time lavender will naturally brown but it will take weeks or even months. Using these tips will ensure that it’s not instant or overnight browning though.

Homemade lavender soap recipe with shea butter & lavender essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #soapmaking #lovelygreens
Lightly press lavender stems into your soap bars. Recipe for this honey & lavender soap

Natural Exfoliants for Lavender Soap

Another way that you can customize lavender soap is by adding natural exfoliants. Oatmeal, poppy seeds, and fine pumice are all great choices and add visual interest too. Each of these would generally be added at ‘Trace’. The amounts that you can use vary but this is what I’d recommend:

  • Oatmeal: use up to 1 Tablespoon (5.5g) per pound of soaping oils
  • Poppy seeds: use up to 1/2 tsp (1.5g) per pound of soaping oils
  • Fine Pumice: use up to 1/2 tsp (3g) per pound of soaping oils. I recommend that you pre-mix it with a little oil before adding it to avoid clumping
Homemade lavender soap recipe with shea butter & lavender essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #soapmaking #lovelygreens
Add oatmeal to your lavender soap recipe for added interest and light exfoliation
Homemade lavender soap recipe with shea butter & lavender essential oil. Includes tips on using lavender flowers, natural purple colorants, & light exfoliants #soaprecipe #soapmaking

Natural Lavender Soap Recipe

Lovely Greens
Makes a 454g (1 lb) batch with a 5% Superfat. Depending on the mold you use it will create 5-6 bars. This recipe calls for a variety of both solid and liquid oils that are balanced to create a hard bar with plenty of fluffy lather. 
This recipe also calls for the use of sustainable palm oil. I've included it for two reasons — first of all it's an amazing soaping oil. Secondly it's to support the RSPO. You can read more about my stance on palm oil and the danger of boycotting palm altogether over here.
This recipe also uses Ultramarine violet to give it that pretty color. This is a 'nature identical' mineral and completely optional. More on natural colorants.
5 from 2 votes
Author Lovely Greens


Lye water

Liquid oils

Ingredients to add after Trace



  • I always advise to get everything prepared and measured before starting to make soap. Get your equipment set out, measure out all the ingredients — this includes the water into the heat-proof jug, lye into a jar, and solid oils into the pan.
    Your liquid oils should be in a kitchen bowl or jug. Once they’re measured, pour about a Tablespoon out and into a small jar. Into this small amount of oil mix the Ultramarine violet if you’re choosing to use it. One of those mini milk frothers is very helpful but you can use a tiny wisk or fork as well. It’s optional but will give you a lovely lavender shade. Without the mineral your bars will be a creamy and natural colour.
    You should also be wearing closed toe shoes, a long sleeve shirt, hair pulled back, and wearing eye protection and rubber/latex/vinyl gloves.

Mix the Lye Water

  • Soap making is chemistry so this step needs particular care. Double checking that you’re wearing eye protection and rubber gloves, pour the lye crystals into the water in a well ventilated place. Outdoors is best as there will be steam and heat when you mix them together.
    Stir immediately and thoroughly with a silicone spatula until you’re sure all the lye crystals are completely dissolved. Allow to cool outside or place the jug in a basin of water to help it cool down. If I’m cooling lye-water indoors then I fill the sink with an inch of water and put the jug in to cool.

Melt the Solid oils

  • Just after you mix the lye water, place the pan of oils on low heat. Stir while it’s melting to speed things up. When there are just a few small pieces that are unmelted, take the pan off the heat and continue stirring on the side.
    When fully melted, pour the liquid oils into the pan — meaning the sunflower oil and olive oil. Save the essential oil for later.
    Also add the coloured oil. Pour it through the sieve and into the pan. Ultramarine violet has a tendency to clump in my opinion so that sieve will catch any lumps. If they make it into your soap you’ll have lumps of colour in your bars.

Melt the shea butter

  • Before you head to the next step you need to melt the shea butter. It’s added at ‘Trace’ so that it stays in your soap as rich butter rather than being transformed into soap. You can melt it either in a microwave on short bursts or using a double-boiler.

Taking the temperature

  • When making this recipe, you want to aim for getting your pan of oil and lye water to around 120°F / 49°C. They don’t need to be bang on but should be around that mark and both the oils and the lye water should be within ten degrees of one another.


  • When the temperatures are just right, pour the lye water into the pan of oils through a sieve. It will catch any bits of undissolved lye. 
    Now stick blend. I’ve included a video in this piece for another soap recipe (my lemongrass soap) and it shows my technique for stick blending. Have a watch to see what to look for and what ‘Trace’ means. It’s basically when the mixture begins to thicken up and has the consistency of custard.

Essential oils & molding

  • When you’ve hit the right consistency, add the melted shea butter and essential oil. Stir quickly but thoroughly since it may firm up fast. Next pour the batter into the molds, using that spatula to get every last drizzle of soap.


  • Leave it in the mould for 48 hours. After that point saponification is mostly complete and you can pop them out. Let the soap dry out for four weeks before using. This process is called ‘Curing’ and I have a great piece on what to do over here.
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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi there! I’m thinking about adding taro powder or puree (I haven’t decided yet) as a colorant, do you think it would have any bad effects since it has starch?

    PS. thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Julia, an interesting question! I’ve not used taro in soapmaking before so can’t say what your bars would come out looking like. I suspect that the powder would need to be reconstituted and if you used purple taro, the bars would come out brown though. As for starch — in small amounts (like you’d use with taro) starch can create silky feeling bars and lather.

  2. Sorry I forgot to ask, why do you add the shea butter at trace.

    1. It’s optional to add it at trace, but the idea is to add it to the mix so that it’s not emulsified with the lye. Oils and fats that are emulsified will (most likely) turn into soap first, leaving the fats added after trace to (mostly) survive in the bars as the superfat.

  3. How can I replace the palm oil? It isn’t available in my country 😞

  4. how can I prevent the turning of colors though? I purchased clear glycerin and goats milk but I want the pretty colors of the flowers to appear so I can re sell= Is there any way to keep that color?

    1. Because of the pH of soap, lavender buds will turn brown if you mix them into your soap bars. I would not suggest doing this for soap you hope to sell — brown lavender buds look suspiciously like mouse droppings!

  5. How do you determine when to use GSE?

    1. You can use it in every soap recipe or opt not to use it — it’s an optional ingredient that can help prolong the soap’s life. It’s not a preservative but helps free-floating oils from going rancid too quickly. Ideal for superfats that can spoil quickly.

  6. Hi Today its been my second time attempting this recipe and I’ve broken my blender while I was trying to get a thick consistency but in my opinion it was too watery but everything else was absolutely fine. What did I do wrong?

    1. So many things and all simple human error. You could be using the wrong ingredients, mixing at the wrong time, not stick-blending properly, etc. PS — if you’re using an ordinary blender, then there’s where you’re going wrong.

  7. Hi, I’m thinking of making this soap for a student sustainability club at my university. Because of this, I can’t use palm oil nor animal products for ethical reasons. Can I omit the palm oil altogether and replace it with olive oil? If not, what would you suggest? Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    If you have any questions on how to make this natural lavender soap, please ask :)

    1. Susan Menzmer says:

      The Amazon product linked to for the Ultramarine Violet color is currently out of stock. ? I know it is an optional ingredient, but I am trying to find a similar product on Amazon. I see mica powders—are these the same thing?
      Thank you!

    2. Hi. I have lavender infused olive oil and would like to make a pure castile pastel red and green soap. Will the infused oil affect the colour of the soap?

  9. Gail Roper says:

    hi can I just double the lavender soap receipe or would I have to adjust the lye /water amounts.

    1. Feel free to double/triple/quadruple… it to your heart’s content. Just remember that larger batches of soap can heat up quicker and retain it for longer. If you pour all of it into a large loaf mould then temperature should be adjusted or you could get a partial gel. Not a big deal but it can affect the colour of your soap