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Basic Cold Process Soap Recipe

Before we get to the recipe for our basic Cold Process Soap let's start with a more fundamental question:

What Is Cold Process Soap?

With Melt and Pour Soap making, the core (the block of soap) comes already made leaving you to melt it down and add your special touch. But if what you want is to made soap from it's bare essentially then Cold Process Soap making is what you're looking to do.

Cold Process Soap making involves the mixing of fixed oils (that is, a nonvolatile oil - generally from a plant) with an alkali (generally lye as we've used in the recipe below). Without getting too technical, the mixing of the two results in saponification - the process that produces soap.

Why Make Cold Process Soap?

For many the reason for making Cold Process Soap vs Melt and Pour Soap is simply the enjoyment of making something from scratch. It can be likened to making a cake from the flour up vs making it with a cake mix. Others enjoy knowing every single ingredient in the soap. Whatever you're reason it can be an interesting and enjoyable process. So let's begin ...

The Cold Soap Making Recipe

Below the image of the basic Cold Process Soap recipe, which you can save and print as you like, are the written instructions if you'd rather copy and paste them to your favorite word processor.

Basic lip balm recipe.

Basic Cold Process Soap Recipe

Basic Cold Process Soap Recipe created by Tammy Tivis on March 26, 2015

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Total time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Varies depending on mold size.

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz Coconut Oil
  • 3 oz Safflower or Olive Oil
  • 6 oz Palm Oil
  • 2 oz Cocoa butter or Shea
  • Fragrance .7 – 1 oz per lb = 4 -6% or Essential Oils at a reduced rate depending on the oil (Optional)
  • 6 oz water
  • 2.3 oz lye
  • Colorant, Micas or Oxides (Optional)

Supply List

  • Goggles
  • Face shield
  • Gloves
  • Stovetop
  • Thermometer
  • Stainless steel spoons
  • Plastic spatulas
  • 1 pitcher for lye
  • 1 pitcher for water
  • 1 stainless steel pot
  • Soap Molds
  • Immersion/Stick Blender

Directions:

Mixing Lye Solution

  1. Measure COLD water into plastic container. (hot water will volcano)
  2. Measure lye into separate container. Then, carefully pour lye into water.
  3. Stir with rubber (nylon, silicone) or stainless steel spatula until lye is dissolved. Make sure to stir well. Okay to do multiple batches of lye at once & stir all at the same time. Let lye solution cool until it is below 120 degrees. (cooled lye solution with “scum” on top is normal & no problem). To cool quickly, place outside, in cool bath or fridge or freezer. Make a day or 2 ahead if possible.

Heating Oils & Butters

  1. Weigh the oils and butters into stainless steel pot (no enamel because there will be problems if it chips). Heat between 120 and 140 degrees F.
  2. Add cooled lye solution slowly into oils and stir with a stainless steel, slotted spoon for 2 minutes.
  3. Add Fragrance or Essential Oils, Colorant, Micas or Oxides, etc. if desired.
  4. Blend with a stick blender for about 1 minute.
  5. Alternate the spoon stirring with the stick blender, until the mix is “trace” (like runny pudding).
  6. Pour soap into prepared molds & leave open in a room with a temperature of 60 - 80F for 24 hours or until saponified. (If cold, it can take days to saponify).

Note:

  • Overbeating soap causes tiny pinholes in it. No big deal.
  • Under-beating causes the soap to go cold in the mold & it won’t saponify. The beating of the raw soap forces the lye water and oils to deal with each other. If you don’t beat it enough, there isn’t enough contact to keep the chemical reaction going and you get some soap with a lot of oils and water that resembles mush. The soap will have super high ph, huge holes in it that look like spider webs and will be full of caustic liquid (or just be brittle on the bottom & mush on top).