For most soap recipes, you have to have a mix of several different oils to achieve a good soap that is moisturizing, cleansing, and hard a nice hardness. However, with coconut oil, there is a way to get around having such a complicated soap recipe, and that is by superfatting.
“Superfatting” is adding more than 20% of oil than the lye can convert to soap, and coconut oil works wonderfully with this trick. Coconut oil is naturally very cleansing as well as moisturizing, making it my favorite bath & body oil so I like to use it as often as possible.
For my soaps, I like to use CandleScience‘s body-friendly fragrance oils at about 1 ounce per pound because I like them extra fragrant. However you can add a bit more coconut oil and use a little less fragrance oil if you like in this recipe.
For this batch of soap, I opted for a the tropical plumeria scent – but you can exchange that with any body-safe fragrance you like.
Safety note: make sure the lye does not touch your skin directly throughout this process – it will burn if it does! Always wear safety gloves and goggles when using lye, and do not breathe in the fumes.
- 30 ounces pure coconut oil (the kind with a 76 degree F melting point – the packaging will usually tell this)
- 4 ounces lye
- 12 ounces water
- 2 ounces fragrance oil
- Wearing plastic gloves and goggles, measure the lye in a Pyrex bowl and set aside
- Measure the water in another Pyrex bowl and set aside.
- Still wearing protective gear, slowly add the lye to the water while stirring. Never pour the water into the lye! It will cause a caustic lye volcano.
- Let the water/lye mixture cool for about 15 minutes.
- Melt the coconut oil and place in a mixing bowl. I like to use a KitchenAid for my soap mixing.
- Start mixing the coconut oil and slowly pour the lye in the oil while mixing.
- Add the fragrance oil and keep mixing.
- Mix until it forms a nice trace. A good soap “trace” means that the oil and lye have successfully mixed and the mixture will look like pudding with no evidence of separation. In the KitchenAid, this takes about 45 minutes for me.
- Pour the mixture into a soap mold. I love using a silicone soap mold because the soap comes out easily after it has hardened.
- Somewhere between 12 and 24 hours, check the soap to see if it is cool enough and hard enough to cut. You don’t want to wait too long or it will be too hard to cut, yet you don’t want to cut it too early while it is still soft. This part is tricky as cutting times can vary based on how the soap turned out and on the humidity and temperature of your house.
- If it appears to be ready, go ahead and cut your soap. My favorite tool for cutting is the Multi-Bar Cutter from Bramble Berry. It is a bit expensive, though, so if you don’t make soaps all the time like I do, then a smaller cutter works just fine.
- Let your soap sit for about a week to let it harden.
You can now wrap your soap or use immediately! I love the cleansing and moisturizing properties of this soap – it feels so good!