It's hard to believe that in more than seven years of blogging we have never shared a cold processed soap recipe on The Natural Beauty Workshop. We have some really incredible soap makers buying supplies from us and reading our blog so I guess I felt a little bit intimidated when it came to making soap. This year I decided to finally dive in to the topic of soaping, and I'm so glad that I did. It's been a lot of fun working on my own recipes, and so rewarding to see my soap shelf filling up with handmade bars.
This recipe includes Coconut Oil which provides hardness, and plenty of cleansing power, Sweet Almond Oil for its moisturizing benefit, and Castor Oil to boost the soap's lather. These three Oils produce a bar with a medium hardness, and a mild moisturizing lather. I also included some Almond Meal which adds a nice touch of exfoliating texture to the bars. I scented the soap with our Pina Colada Plant-Based Fraggrance Oil, but you can certainly leave it unscented, if you like, or add a different Fragrance Oil or skin-safe Essential Oil instead.
My Coconut Almond Soap Recipe is superfatted with Almond Oil. What's superfatting? I'm glad you asked! (Wink.) Most recipes, including this recipe, use additional oil beyond what's needed in the bare-bones soap making ratio. The "extra" oil not only helps makes soap moisturizing, it also helps act as a buffer, protecting your formula from failure due to the tiny variations in measurements that occur between scales. As a general rule, making soap without superfatting should only be attempted by experienced soap makers. This recipe is superfatted at 5% which is a pretty standard percentage to use. That means that it includes an extra 5% of Oil beyond what is necessary to create soap.
Soap Making Tip: When you are purchasing ingredients, pay close attention to whether the ingredient is being sold by weight or by volume. The measurements for this recipe are given by weight, and may not be equal to the volume measurement of the same number. For example, eight ounces of carrier oil by volume (1 cup) may weigh less than 8 ounces on a scale. If you are purchasing ingredients by volume, order a little more than what the recipe calls for in weight.
Coconut Almond Soap Recipe
Makes 2 pounds
Ingredients (measured by weight)
- 6.4 ounces and 1.6 ounces Sweet Almond Oil, divided
- 1.6 ounces Castor Oil
- 16 ounces Coconut Oil (76 Degree)
- 8 ounces Olive Oil
- 5 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH/Lye)
- 11.5 ounces water
- 1.5 ounces Pina Colada Plant-Based Fragrance Oil (optional)
- 4 tablespoons Almond Flour
- Start by double-checking this recipe in our Soapulator or in another soap calculator that you know and trust.
- Prepare yourself by making sure you are suitably dressed in clothes and shoes that cover your arms, legs, and feet completely. Gather your equipment, ingredients, and safety gear in a clean, secluded workspace where noone will be coming in and out. Keep children and pets out of your workspace at all times.
- Line your soap mold with wax paper and set it aside.
- Put on your goggles and safety mask, then carefully measure and divide all of your ingredients using an accurate scale.
- Add the water to a deep, heat-proof container with high walls. Next add the lye and allow it to dissolve. Be careful not to breath in the fumes as the chemical mixes with the water. Set the mixture aside in a safe place, then move on to the next step.
- Melt the Coconut Oil until it reaches about 100 - 110F degrees. Add Castor Oil, Olive Oil, and 6.4 ounces of the Sweet Almond Oil to the pot and remove it from heat.
- Measure the temperature of the lye mixture. When it comes down below 110F check the oils temperature again. When both the lye mixture and the oils mixture fall between 90 - 110F they can be mixed.
- Add the lye mixture into the melted oils and then begin stirring. Using an immersion blender (also called a stick blender) will speed this process up quite a bit. The mixture will need to be stirred until it thickens to a point called "trace". Trace is when the mixture is thick enough to drizzle a trail across its surface, similar in consistency to a pudding or custard.
- When the soap reaches trace add the remaining 1.6 ounces of Sweet Almond Oil and the Pina Colada Plant-Based Fragrance Oil. Stir again for about one minute to make sure the ingredients are well combined. Stir the Almond Flour in next using a spoon or spatula instead of the blender.
- Pour the soap into your soap mold, tapping it gently to make sure it distributes evenly. Cover the top with plastic wrap, and if the mold has a top, put the top on. Wrap the mold in a towel or a blanket and allow it to harden for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours the soap should have hardened enough for the soap to me un-molded. If it still seems soft give the soap another 24-48 hours before trying again. Gently tap or turn the soap loaf from your mold then slice it into bars. Set the bars on a cooling/drying rack somewhere cool and dry.
- The soap will be finished curing in four to six weeks. Leaving the soap to cure for the full six weeks will result in a soap that is harder and more mild.
For more detailed instructions on making Cold Processed Soap please check out our first Soap School Post, How to Make Cold Processed Soap.
This was our second post in our new Soap School series. During 2015 we'll be sharing many more posts on soap making, including recipes, technique tutorials, and more. You can join in the fun by sharing your own soap making photos on social media using the hashtag #NBWSoapSchool. You can also email us your photos at email@example.com or share them to our Facebook or G+ pages. Let us know what you are working on and what you would like to see in future Soap School posts. Have a soap making question? We'd love to tackle it for you!