Soapmaking Oil Chart 2017-08-25T10:43:05+00:00

soap making oil chart

 

We’ve updated our soap making oil chart and have added two more charts to help you better formulate soap recipes! Scroll down to see!

Soap Making Oil Chart

Base Oil, Butter or FatSoft, Hard or BrittleProperties in SoapRecommended UsageBreaking the Rules & Other Notes
Coconut Oil - Learn more about coconut oil in soap making. HardAbundant lather, large fluffy bubbles, high cleansing, hard bar, white color15-50%High amounts of coconut oil can be drying, however you can always use a higher superfat to counteract the drying effect. The more un-saponified oils in your soap the more moisturizing it is.
Experiment with a 100% coconut oil soap with a 20% superfat.
Palm OilHardMild stabilizing lather, hard, long lasting bar25-50%Palm oil is great for those that don’t want to use animal fats such as lard or
tallow. I personally do not use palm oil because of the environmental effects of producing it.
Olive Oil - Learn more about olive oil in soap making. SoftLow slippery lather, almost no bubbles, low cleansing25-80%The low cleansing properties of olive oil make it very mild and nourishing. Soap for sensitive skin, elder skin or baby skin should include high amounts of olive (60%). Castile soap is made with 100% olive oil. I classify this
as a soft/hard oil because it makes a very soft bar of soap initially upon unmolding but cures into a rock hard
bar. Soaps high (50%+) in olive oil need longer to cure and unmold.
LardHardMild stabilizing creamy lather, hard, white bar25-50%100% lard soap with no superfat makes great laundry
soap.
Tallow
(beef)
HardMild stabilizing creamy lather, hard, white bar25-50%100% tallow soap with no superfat makes great laundry soap.
Babassu OilBrittleSimilar to coconut oil, large fluffy bubbles, high cleansing but a bit milder than
coconut oil, white color
15-30%Babassu oil is a great oil to use in place of coconut oil for those that have a coconut allergy.
Palm Kernel OilBrittleSimilar to coconut oil, large fluffy bubbles, high cleansing but a bit milder than
coconut oil, white color
15-30%Palm kernel oil is a great sub for coconut oil. You can also use it with
coconut oil to add some hardness to your bar. If you have a recipe that
calls for 20% coconut oil…try using 10% coconut oil and 10% palm kernel
oil.
Cocoa ButterBrittleMild stabilizing lotion-like lather, hard, long lasting bar5-15%You can experiment using cocoa butter and other butters in high amounts –
up to 80%. Try a bar made from 60% cocoa butter and 40% coconut
oil. You might like it!
Shea Butter - Learn more about shea butter in soap making. HardMild stabilizing lotion-like lather, medium hard, long lasting bar5-20%Same as cocoa butter. I typically use 5-15% but occasionally will
experiment with using up to 20%.
Mango Butter - Learn more about mango butter in soap making. HardMango butter helps with the hardness of the soap, and it adds luxurious conditioning and moisturizing values as well.5-20%I typically use 5-15% but occasionally will
experiment with using up to 20%.
Castor OilSoftBoosts lather by making a soap more easily dissolved in water5-10%Some soap makers like to use 15-20% castor oil in their shampoo bars or shaving bars.
Apricot Kernel OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Apricot Kernel is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Avocado Oil - Learn more about avocado oil in soap making. SoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Avocado oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe. It is high in vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals making it a great addition to facial bars or bars for elder skin.
Jojoba OilSoftStabilizes and suspends lather5-8%Jojoba oil, a liquid wax, can kill lather when used in high amounts. Keep below 8%.
Sunflower OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Sunflower oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe. Use high oleic sunflower for a longer shelf life.
Grapeseed OilSoftMedium
lather, mild cleansing
5-12%Grapeseed is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Hazelnut OilSoftMedium
lather, mild cleansing
5%Hazelnut is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Hemp Seed OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5%Hemp Seed is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Safflower OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Safflower oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Soybean OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Soybean oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe. UPDATE: I quit using soybean as it is the only oil that I got rancid soap with.
Rice Bran OilSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing, gives soap a sheen making it look less dull5-12%Rice Bran oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.
Almond Oil, sweetSoftMedium lather, mild cleansing5-12%Sweet Almond oil is a wonderful sub for some of the olive oil in a recipe.


Soft, hard and brittle?  What does that mean?

  • Oils, fats and butters are generally classified as soft, hard or brittle.  You’ll see that I did so in the soap making oil chart.
  • Soft oils are generally oils that are liquid at room temperature such as olive oil, castor oil, sweet almond, rice bran…etc.  As a general rule, soap made from a high percentage of these oils will be on the softer side.  The only exception to this rule is olive oil.  Soap made from a high percentages of olive oil is soft upon un-molding but will cure to be a really hard bar of soap.
  • Hard oils are oils, fats and butters that are solid but scoopable at room temperature such as palm oil, lard, tallow, coconut oil, mango butter and shea butter.  Hard oils make a hard bar of soap.
  • Brittle oils are oils that are solid at room temperature but require some chipping at or a bit of elbow grease to break them up.  These generally include palm kernel oil and cocoa butter.  Brittle oils make a hard bar of soap.

Here are some general rules when talking about soft, hard and brittle percentages in your recipe.

Hard and Brittle Oils

  • Soap made with higher percentages of hard and brittle oils will be easier and quicker to un-mold.  These soaps set up quickly and harden faster than soaps made with high percentages of soft oils.  Recipes high in hard or brittle oils can be hard to swirl or do advanced designs with that take time as the soap can set up too quickly.
  • Recipes high in hard and brittle oils make un-molding soap easier in single cavity molds.
  • Soap made with higher percentages of hard and brittle oils will require higher temps when mixing.  If you soap at too low of a temperature you can get what is called false trace.  This is when the solid and brittle oils start thickening up/re-solidifying because of the low temperatures.  It looks similar to trace so you might end up pouring your soap before you reach trace.  Keep the oil temps in the range of 100-110 F.

Soft Oils

  • Soap made with high percentages of soft oils tend to be softer and stickier when un-molding.  Simply leave them in the mold a day or two longer before un-molding and cutting.  If you are using single cavity molds, you can try freezing them to harden and hopefully the soap will pop out easier.
  • Soap made with soft oils, especially olive oil, is slower to trace and setup.  This makes them perfect for swirling.  You have more time to color and play with the soap batter.

Below is our Fatty Acid Profile Chart. Knowing your fatty acid profiles can help you better formulate and substitute oils.

Fatty Acid Profiles

Base OilLauricMyristicPalmiticStearicRicinoleicOleicLinoleicLinolenic
Coconut Oil4919930820
Babassu Oil502011401000
Palm Kernel Oil49168201530
Palm Oil01445039100
Castor Oil000090440
Sal Butter0064404020
Kokum Butter0045603610
Shea Butter0054004860
Cocoa Butter00283303530
Mango Butter0074204530
Tallow (Beef)26282203631
Lard (Pig)01281304660
Avocado Oil00202058120
Emu Oil0023904780
Neem Oil022116046120
Rice Bran Oil01223038342
Canola Oil0042061219
Almond Oil, Sweet0070071180
Apricot Kernel Oil0060066270
Olive Oil00143069121
High Oleic Sunflower003408340
Jojoba Oil000001200
Macadamia Nut Oil009505920
High Oleic Safflower Oil0052077150
Soybean Oil00115024508
Cottonseed Oil001313018521
Grapeseed Oil0084020680
Hemp Oil00620125721
Sunflower Oil0074014701
Safflower Oil0070015750

Below is our Fatty Acid Properties Chart.

Fatty Acid Properties in Soap

Fatty AcidShelf LifeCleansingLatherPrimary OilsSecondary Oil
Lauric AcidLongHighAbundant fleeting latherCoconut Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Babassu OilNone
Myristic AcidLongHighAbundant fleeting latherNoneCoconut Oil, Palm Oil, Babassu Oil
Palmitic AcidLongMediumStabilizing, creamyPalm OilTallow, Lard, Avocado Oil, Emu Oil, Neem Oil, Rice Bran Oil
Stearic AcidLongLowLow, creamySal Butter, Kokum ButterShea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter
Ricinoleic AcidLongLowLow, creamy, boost lather because of solvent propertiesCastor OilNone
Oleic AcidMediumLow-MediumConditioning latherShea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Lard, Tallow, Avocado Oil, Emu Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Canola Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Olive Oil, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Nut OilPalm Oil, Soybean Oil, Cotton Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil
Linoleic AcidShortMediumConditioning latherSoybean Oil, Cotton Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower OilRice Bran Oil, Canola Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil
Linolenic AcidShortMediumConditioning latherNoneHemp Seed Oil