Allergic to nuts/coconuts

by Melissa
(Boise, Idaho)

I'm interested in making my own soap and shampoo bars, but my young son is allergic to all nuts and possibly to coconut. Is there a recipe I can use or something that I can substitute it with. My research shows that castile oil contains coconut too, so I'm truly at a loss. :-(


Answer:

A true Castile soap is soap made from 100% olive oil and should not cause any issues for your son as long as he is not allergic to olive oil. I'm not sure what you came across in your research as I've not heard of 'castile oil'. Perhaps a variation of castile soap that contains coconut oil? This is quite common as plain olive oil soaps lather can feel a little slimy to some people. Other oils are sometimes added in small quantities to make a nicer feeling lather.

Take a look at my soap making oils page to see what oils are available and how to combine them.

From there you should be able to formulate a soap your son can use by picking the oils that he is not allergic to.

If your son is allergic to coconut oil, you will likely need to avoid palm kernel oil and babassu oil as well since they all share the same properties. The 'Bring on the Bubbles' section will most likely have to be skipped in your recipe.

Be sure to research each oil carefully to be sure they are not produced from nuts...ie. shea butter comes from the shea nut. The names can be misleading.

I would start with the castile oil soap (100% olive oil) and see how that works for your family.

When you make the next batch, try a recipe that incorporates one other oil that your son can use and compare it to the castile batch. For example, if your son can use lard, tallow or cocoa butter, make a recipe that contains one of those oils.

On your third batch try adding in 5% castor oil if he can use that. With each addition you can evaluate how the soap works and how your son reacts to it.

Keep doing this until you have a soap that you really like. You could try something like the following using oils your son is not allergic to.

Batch 1 - 100% Olive oil.
Batch 2 - 80% Olive oil, 20% lard, tallow or cocoa butter.
Batch 3 - 75% Olive oil, 20% lard, tallow or cocoa butter and 5% Castor oil.
Batch 4 - 55% Olive oil, 20% lard, tallow or cocoa butter, 5% Castor oil and 20% Avocado oil.

Good luck,
Cathy

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