Two Questions: Why is my soap not "moisturizing" and water substitution

by Peter


I recently started making hot-process soap and every batch I've made has been very successful. Initially I tried just a regular soap recipe of:

40% olive oil
30% coconut oil
30% palm oil

The soap was excellent as far as cleaning ability and hardness, but it was pretty drying on my skin, and even though it was hot-process I still allowed it a week to cure. Now I've developed a much more "conditioning recipe" which is as follows:

34% olive oil
28% palm oil
18% coconut oil
12% castor oil
8% grape-seed oil

According to SoapCalc this should give a conditioning of 62% and a hardness of 35%, but I'm still finding the soap not to be very moisturizing or gentle. I've even tried super-fating to 7%. This soap is obviously better than the first one, but I don't know if I should add more "conditioning oils" in fear that the bar will become too soft. Any suggestions?

And to go along with this question, can I substitute my water for aloe-vera juice or glycerin to make the soap more moisturizing so I don't have to lose hardness? Or will I need to add/subtract more lye when changing the water for something else?

I appreciate any help,
Thank you.


My first suggestion is to let the soap cure for a minimum 4 weeks before using it. Many people believe that you can use hot process soap right away but I still believe it will become gentler on the skin as it cures.

Your recipe is quite high in castor oil which can be sensitizing to some can coconut and palm oil. Perhaps you should do a skin test with these oils to see if they are suitable for your skin.

If your skin is fine with these oils you might want to try something like the following:

Coconut 15 - 20%
Shea Butter and/or Palm Oil 15 - 20%
Soft moisturizing oils 60 - 70%
Perhaps Castor oil at 5%

As for using aloe...absolutely. You will have to reduce the amount of the water but no changes are needed to the lye for that.

There's no need to add glycerin since the chemical reaction that creates soap will also create glycerin. Handmade soap is full of it.

Good luck,

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Reducing water if using aloe juice
by: Brett

Cathy -

For my education, why would you need to reduce the amount of water intended to be sized with the lye if you substitute Aloe Vera Juice for the water?


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