Common soap making oils and their usage rates - helpful to beginner and experienced soapers alike.

There are many oils available for making soap on the market these days.  Oils with a short shelf life or are prone to rancidity are not recommended as they will also shorten the life of your soap.  Here are some that will give you an idea what you are looking for when creating your recipe.

Apricot Kernel Oil – a great lightweight oil to add to soap recipes.  It is high in linoleic and oleic acids and will produce conditioning, small bubble lather.  It is known to soothe and nourish the skin with its rich collection of vitamins and minerals.                                                                               Use at 7-12% 

Argan Oil - Argan oil imparts a gorgeous skin feel, creating silky, moisturising bubbles.                                                                                Use up to 10%                                                                                                             
Avocado Oil – a fantastic luxury oil packed with vitamins and minerals with the added bonus of colouring soaps a gentle green colour (when unrefined oil is used).  This oil creates mildness within the soap that can make it gentle on all skin types. A good conditioner that makes a reasonably hard bar with stable lather.  Too much will cause a soft bar of soap.                    Use up to 20%

Beeswax - Beeswax will contribute hardness to your bar, but too much will cause reduced lather and “drag” in your creation.          Keep input under 3%

 Borage Oil - Rich in gamma-linolenic acid, borage oil is helpful to hydrate and nourish the skin.  Wonderful for those with dry or mature skin.  Use up to 30%

Castor oil – renown for its lather producing qualities castor oil is a great addition to any recipe.  Good conditioning qualities with fluffy, stable lather.  Keep amounts low to enable soap to be easily removed from the mould without extreme sticking.                                                                         Use up to 5%

 Cocoa Butter – This ingredient assists making soaps hard and bubbly with great emollient capabilities.  Exceeding 10% of this ingredient is not recommended to avoid excessively crumbly soap.                     Use up to 10%

 Coconut oil RBD or Virgin– one of the most commonly used oils as having it in  a recipe allows the soap to produce wonderful big bubble lather.  Too much coconut oil can, however, cause the soap to be consumed rapidly even though it is quite hard, and be quite drying to many skin types.  Keeping levels at or below 30% will keep this ingredient well balanced. Considered a hard oil when used for soap making.                                                                                Use up to 30%

Evening Primrose - a gorgeous oil that is better left for leave on products due to its high antioxidant components and revitalising effects on the skin. If you must use some in soap....                                                            Use up to 10%                                   
Fractionated Coconut oil - fractionated coconut oil has had the components that make it solid removed, so it is liquid all year round.  If used in soap it is considered a liquid oil with too much causing your soap to be quite soft.  It has a lightweight feel and does not produce the lovely lather of a full bodied coconut oil, nor does it clean as well.                                                       Use up to 25%

Grapeseed Oil - the shorter life expectancy of grapeseed oil means it is not one to be used if keeping qualities are important to you.                   Use up to 10%     
Hemp Seed Oil  - Extra virgin hemp seed oil is a deep dark green colour that contains all the goodies, but will impact the finished colour of your soap.  Choose refined if colour is important to you, or go with the colour contribution for the wonderful fatty acid input and amazing lather.                      Use up to 10%

Jojoba Oil -  technically a liquid wax, this wonderful oil will contribute to a hard, stable and long lasting bar.  Keep to under 10% to keep your gorgeous lather                                                                                                          Use up to 10%

Macadamia Nut Oil –  a fantastic oil for soaping given its emollient qualities and richness. Great conditioning qualities Use no more than 50% of a recipe to keep cure times to a minimum, or more if you are prepared to wait.   Use up to 50%         
Mango Butter – rich and  moisturizing with great conditioning capabilities, this fantastic ingredient needs only be used in tiny amounts to be noticed.                                                                                                                      Use 2-10%

Meadowfoam Oil - wonderfully moisturising and conditioning with a fine lather.                                                                                                      Use up to 15%

Neem Oil - often used in pet soaps to take advantage of the insecticidal properties that neem oil has to offer, but amazingly rich and moisturising when used on human skin as well.                                                       Use 2-7%

Olive oil – this is a wonderful oil that will form a hard bar over time and has marvelous conditioning and emollient properties. The grade is not terribly important for soap making.  Extra virgin olive oil is great for eating, but a terrible waste of good oil when used for soap, although there is no reason not to.  A “light”olive oil  will make a whiter soap, pure olive can often give a green tinge to the soap,  and pomace grade is an economical option that may or may not colour your soap.  All make wonderful soap with a small creamy lather rather than the big bubbles of other ingredients.  Including it in a soap blend can cover easily for this lack if you need bubbles in your life.  It is, however, one of the few oils that can make a gorgeous soap without the addition of any other fats or oils.                                                                                                 Use up to 100%

 Palm oil –this is a conditioning oil that helps to make the bar harder in “all vegetable” soap recipes.  White palm oil is the normal variety available, but red palm oil is available from some Ethnic food stores.                 Use up to 35%                                                                                   
Peanut oil - peanut oil is a lovely oil that can be used in soap that will offer a stable lather and great conditioning qualities to your soap, but makes a soft bar that will harden with a long cure.  In this day and age of peanut allergies be sure to label well if using this oil so it may be avoided by those who may have adverse reactions to it.                                                             Use up to 20%

Rice Bran Oil – Contributes to great lathering in soap as well as adding emolliency to a soap that will have great conditioning capabilities.  Best kept below 25% of a recipe as more can lead to difficult unmoulding of soft soaps.  Being rich in natural vitamin E may assist deterring rancidity in soaps so prone.                                                                                                      Use up to 25%

 Rosehip Oil -  an amazing oil for mature and dry skin with fabulous Vitamin A and C content.  Rosehip oil can be refined (a straw coloured oil) or unrefined (orange/pink colour) which may impact the colour of your finished product depending on the amount you have used.                                 Use up to 10%

Shea Butter – a great ingredient to add moisturizing and conditioning qualities, as well as a great feel to the soap.  Shea butter will help add hardness to the finished product. Shea butter is available in refined or unrefined versions.  Either is fine to use in soap depending on your preference. More than 5% can cause an increase in trace time, so be prepared if you exceed this.     Use up to 15%                       
Sodium Lactate - While this ingredient is not necessary to make a successful bar of soap it does add to the hardness of the bar and easier release from the moulds.                                                                                       Use 1-3% 

Soy Bean Oil – A good conditioning oil with a creamy, stable lather..  Amounts should be kept below 20% as this oil can cause soft soap which washes away readily.                                                                                        Use up to 20%

Stearic Acid – An ingredient that will add to the hardness of soap.  Soaping needs to be done at higher temperatures if stearic acid is used so it does not reform to granules as it cools.  Use in small amounts only.       Use 1.5-3%                                                                                                
Sweet Almond Oil – use in a blend with other oils to maintain a hard bar, but this oil has great emolliency and moisturizing capabilities.        Use up to 20%                                                          
Tallow – this is an excellent fat for making a hard, white, conditioning bar of soap.  “Dripping” sold in supermarkets can be used in recipes calling for this ingredient.  Can be used up to 100% especially for laundry soaps, but works best in blends.                                                                            Use up to 100%

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