Palm Free Swirling – Recipe 1

I’ve decided to go palm free so need to figure out a good swirling recipe to use that doesn’t contain palm oil.  Tonite I tried out a recipe and worked really well.  It gave me plenty of time to color each individual color and get the swirling done. 

The recipe I used was:

Palm Free Swirling Recipe:
Olive oil – 18 oz
Coconut oil – 10 oz
Shea butter – 4 oz
Water – 9 oz
Lye – 4.5 oz

I always do a bit of a water discount especially with recipes high in olive oil because I don’t want to wait forever for the soap to set up to be unmolded and cut. 

Melted oils ready for the lye solution

Colors ready to go in individual cups

I just did a sort of free form swirl. As you can see I just poured the soap randomly.

And then I took a spoon handle and swirled. I muddied it up a bit…but it turned out okay.

This recipe worked well. The shea butter sped things up a bit but I still had time to swirl. I think tonite I’m going to just try a olive, coconut and something…maybe avocado, sweet almond or apricot kernel.


By |2017-02-01T15:33:36+00:00July 3rd, 2012|Cold Process Soap Recipes, Soapmaking Tutorials|22 Comments

About the Author:

I am a soapmaker, author and blogger! I started blogging in 2008, sharing soap recipes, design tutorials and publishing articles on various topics of soapmaking.


  1. Manjulah March 1, 2018 at 4:59 am - Reply

    how long does it take to trace. i have beating for 1 hour

  2. zoe March 19, 2015 at 11:11 am - Reply

    How many pounds did this make???

  3. Ann January 25, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

    For anyone who uses palm oil please research where your palm oil is sourced. If you have no idea then I suggest that you read this as a starting point:

    No one should ever use palm oil sourced from the destruction of the rainforest and cruel maiming of animals from the means that palm oil is farmed. I’m shocked how many people still use it in their soaps who have no idea. Soap crafting is a skill and an art and where soap makers take pride in knowing what goes in their products. It is inexcusable that they use palm oil without knowing where it is sourced.

  4. hazel April 5, 2013 at 2:36 am - Reply

    found your soap brilliant can you tell me a basic method of making soap so I can try please

  5. Jen October 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Beautiful swirls 🙂 How did you like the feel of this soap once it was cured? The only palm free soaps I make are Castille, and a Bastille.

  6. Rhonda Piatt July 19, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe Amanda! I will try in my next swirl. I was actually here looking up your info on ‘water discount” – you made it SO easy to understand! I did my first major discount of 40% today – woa! Talk about a learning curve! Then I found your info (I don’t know why I didn’t think to look before). I’ll try the easy peasy 33% here in a minute. And on the Palm issue. I’ve been thinking about going Palm free – probably will not purchase more after what I have is gone. But, I’m having a hard time not wanting to use PKO. I do like locally sourced, pasture fed tallow tho for non vegan soaps and those who don’t mind. Seems like such a waste not to use it. Regardless, thanks for sharing your recipes and giving us alternatives. Best Wishes!

  7. Vanessa W. July 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been playing around with swirls lately too but I find that when I use shea butter it accelerates trace and I barely have time to play around with swirls… does that happen to you too? It accelerates before I even add the color or fragrance. :o/

    • Amanda July 16, 2012 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Hi Vanessa – shea butter can make things move a bit quicker depending on a couple of things. Temps – if your temps are too low then you’ll start getting a thick trace with is actually a combo of trace and the shea butter thickening as it cools a bit. And the amount of shea makes a big difference in a recipe. This swirling recipe with shea definately moved faster than my old swirling recipe with palm, coconut and olive. Water amounts also make a difference. If you want your soap to stay looser longer, don’t water discount that much.

  8. Lisa P July 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! I Love the swirl and colours! I too have some palm oil free soaps in my range for consumers who choose to not use any palm oil at all. I also find that the palm oil free soaps much quicker to make, as I am not waiting for the palm oil to melt. I soap at almost room temperature and rice bran oil as the main oil and yes, I have to move fast before it sets up.

  9. Pat Allen July 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    At what temperature do you start pouring your soaps? Mine tend to get hard before I’m through. What am I doing wrong?

    • Amanda July 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Pat – it could depend on a number of things. I don’t temp but I would imagine that I’m around 110…maybe a bit cooler. What kind of olive oil do you use? Pomace olive oil can spead things up a bit also.

  10. Ewenique July 4, 2012 at 9:36 am - Reply

    What a fun swirl!

    (Marlene, Pink Sugar fragrance oil often turns brown due to the high vanilla content, but it does smell yummy!)

  11. Marlene July 4, 2012 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Love your soaps and techniques. I am so inspired. I recently made a couple batches of shampoo bars…the soaps turn out great, except I have the hardest time knowing what my color is going to turn out like. Used nothing but pink in a Pink Sugar soap and it turned out orange then brown…I use micas and oxides and even soap safe colors. Hope to keep watching for tips on coloring soaps too.

    • Amanda July 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm - Reply

      Yes, pink sugar is one of those fragrances that is always going to turn brown. Oxides are pretty easy to use as they are pretty stable. I’ll see what I can do about some coloring posts. Thanks for the idea!

  12. Patti K July 4, 2012 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Amanda, Thank you SO MUCH for the water discount info! I made a palm free recipe using Avocado, Olive & coconut oils along with Shea Butter and it turned out great! I waited forever (well… forever for me anyway) for it to harden. It was so worth the wait! Fabulous creamy lather! I love it! Now I will use the water discount so I don’t have to wait as long for the result! Thanks again!

    • Amanda July 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Great! Let me know how using the water discount works for you!

  13. BRONYA MUNN July 4, 2012 at 3:46 am - Reply

    Why Palm free???

    • Amanda July 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Bronya – I’ve decided to go palm free because of the destruction the palm oil industry is causing to rain forests and to orangutans. I know some other soapers have also, so I’m just wanting to try out new recipes and share them with my blog readers.

  14. Kimberly Hicks July 4, 2012 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Very pretty. Cant wait to see the cut bars 🙂

  15. Michelle July 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Your new soap looks great. I make a variety of palm free soaps as well and really enjoy them. The only tricky thing I find tricky is getting EO’s to stick with a palm free soap especially citrus and floral scents.

  16. Patti K July 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    How do you figure an accurate water discount?

    • Amanda July 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Hi Patti – you can use a lye calc if you want. I don’t use lye calcs to figure water. I usually do about 2 times my lye amount.

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