Butter and Oils used in soapmaking, bath body and spa products
Vegetable and nut oils as well as some butters are used in soapmaking and spa products, they are also used as additives to hand-milled soaps to produce a superfatted soap, lastly they are used as bases for your soap or carrier oils for Essential and Fragrance oils. We use the oils and butters as they carry and dilute the concentrated essential and fragrance oils making them safe to use on the skin. They inhibit evaporation and act like a fixative, helping the
to be quickly absorbed into the skin, or holding the
on the skin for lasting scent.
Most oils especially those that are liquid at room temperature should be kept in the refrigerator or well below room temperature for the longest shelf life, and refrigeration is always recommended for hemp seed and flax seed oils. If you keep your oils in the fridge and they start to look solid or milky that is fine just bring them to room temperature before you use them. In general saturated fats (solid at room temperature) will last longer than unsaturated oils (liquid at room temperature); the reason for this is that unsaturated oils can mix with the air easier which makes them more prone to rancidity. There are some exceptions to this such as jojoba and macadamia which have long shelf lives. Rancidity is easily detected as your oils will have a noticeable change in odor and color, and your butters and solid fats may develop mold or dark spots.
It is fundamentally important that your oils are protected from air and light which causes rancidity especially in areas of high humidity. When your oils are below two thirds of your container it has been recommended that you rebottle your oils to a smaller container, especially volatile oils or ones that are not used on a daily or weekly basis.
Natural oils vary in their fragrances, thicknesses and general feel. In many of the
, you can substitute the oil for other similar oils, according to your own personal preferences.
Anise Oil: is made by extracting the oil from the anise seeds into a carrier oil. It has a distinct licorice smell and is used in products where the human smell is to be neutralized. This is an unsaturated oil.
Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca): Taken from the large seeds of the apricots. This oil is wonderful for cosmetics. It very nearly matches the weight of sebum, a natural secretion of the sebaceous glands. Your skin will drink up this oil which is rich in vitamins and minerals. This oil is very soothing and nourishing; it is used mainly for young, sensitive, or inflamed skin and can be used for baby products. Apricot Kernel Oil is great for massage oils, bath oils, lip balms, lotions, and soapmaking. If you are going to use this oil in soapmaking it is best to add it at trace for cold process or after cooking if you are doing hot process to preserve its natural properties. Usage rate is typically 3-20% of your total fats and oils. Again if using assign a warning label to your product. This is an unsaturated oil.
Argan Oil (Argania spinosa): This oil is full of fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. This oil is best used in leave on skin products than in soapmaking. It has restorative, nourishing, and emollient properties that are best suited for aging, dry, mature or sun burnt skin. This oil is exclusively produced in Morocco, and is an unsaturated oil.
Avocado Oil (Persea gratissimsa): contains vitamins A, D, and E, amino acids, and lecithin. A popular oil in skin care as it is easily absorbed into the skin so it moisturizes, softens, and increases elasticity without leaving a greasy after-feel, making this oil great for use on aged, mature or impoverished skin. You only need a small amount in your bath body and spa products to get its benefits. For soapmaking you only need to use as small as 5% to get dramatically improved mildness and skin friendliness. The unrefined version has a characteristic scent and is dark green in color, which is fine if you want green soap or spa products. The refined version still has most of its properties except it is golden in color, making it more suitable for soapmaking, cosmetics and spa products. The unrefined version should be kept in a cool, dark place but it has been suggested not to refrigerate it. (I have without any side effects, although it will start to solidify). The refined version I have found best to be refrigerated just below room temperature otherwise it will start to again solidify. This is an unsaturated oil.
Avocado Butter (Persea gratissimsa):is obtained from the fruit of the Avocado tree which grows in sub-tropical regions of the world. The butter is created from the Avocado fruit oil through a unique hydrogenation process which yields a soft, greenish butter with mild odor and excellent melting properties which is suitable for skin care. Avocado butter can be used in all types of soapmaking as well as your bath body and spa products to improve moisture and soften rough, dry skin. Avocado butter has all the same properties as mentioned for avocado oil. For soapmaking use at about 3-6% of your total fats and oils. This is a saturated oil.
Babassu Oil (Orbignya spp.): This is often confused with Brazil nut oil in error. This oil is extracted from a nut of a palm tree native to the Amazon forest. Babassu oil has a similar make up as coconut oil, but is more labor intensive in its extraction making it a very expensive oil and is not normally found in the international markets.
Borage Seed Oil (Borago Officinalis): Contains Gamma-lanolin acid, which has been recognized as an aid in regulating the body’s metabolism, it also has vitamin F which the body can’t make on its own. This oil is made from extracting the plant essence into a carrier oil. It has calming, soothing, and anti inflammatory properties making it great for dry, disturbed skin. Borage seed oil is usually used in small amounts in lotions, creams, beauty and spa products as it is a rare and expensive oil. When used in soapmaking it is always used in a very small amount up to a maximum of 5% of your total fats and oils, at trace or after cooking. Is an unsaturated oil.
Brazil Nut Oil (Bertholletia excelsa): is used in many South American countries to make handmade soap but is not easily available in other parts of the world. If found may be expensive and other similar oils may be substituted for cost effectiveness.
Canola Oil (Brassica Napus): is usually used as a rapeseed substitute in soapmaking. When used in soapmaking it should be kept below 30% of the total fats and oils, otherwise it will produce a very soft and poor lathering soap that will be prone to rancidity. Canola oil doesn’t really have any valuable qualities to contribute in cosmetic making; I only include it to be thorough. Is an unsaturated oil.
Calendula Oil: Sooths sensitive and irritated skin. It is often used in children’s products. It like borage seed oil is extracted from a plant essence into a carrier oil. It has soothing anti-inflammatory properties. Use with other oils as it is used in small amounts, and is an unsaturated oil.
Caster Oil (Ricinus communis): Comes from the castor bean plant. Caster oil is a pure, natural healing and therapeutic oil with excellent emollient properties; it penetrates the surface layers of the skin making it more pliable and soft. It is an ideal base for bath oils as it readily disperses in the water and won’t leave a ring around your tub. Caster Oil will add richness and mildness to hand milled soaps, and has great conditioning qualities in solid shampoo soap. As for hot or cold soapmaking it should be used at no more than 3-5% of your total fats and oils, it will give a rich, fluffy, long lasting lather, which is crucial to shaving soap and shampoo bars. Some recipes will call for 10-30% caster oil, but they will have very long curing times about 6 months minimum. But I have found that more than 5% will give a soft, stick soap that is very hard to take out of the mold, it can also cause itchiness in very sensitive skin. Caster oil should be added with the bulk of your oils before adding the lye solution. Is an unsaturated oil.
Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao): is a fat from the crushed seeds of the cacao tree. Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature (saturated) but melts at body temperature, making it perfect for solid massage bars, bath melts, body bars, and protective skin care because of the protective film it leaves on the skin; and its emollient and conditioning properties. Cocoa butter improves hand milled soaps by making it creamy and hard. For soapmaking cocoa butter is best used in small quantities no more than 10%. Although it contributes to handmade soaps hardness and lather, it can in larger amounts give you a dry, crumbly bar of soap. Cocoa butter can also be drying for some people.
Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera): is a light textured, odorless white oil that is solid at room temperature (saturated), coconut oil will start to melt at 76F (24.4C) and will be almost totally melted at 83F. it is sometimes referred to as “coconut76”. This oil is great to use as some of your hard oils in lip balms, massage bars, bath melts or in your hand-milled soap products for its moisturizing and lathering qualities in small amounts. For soapmaking it will make a hard and firm bar that is quick to lather with rich luscious bubbles. Although too much of this ingredient in any of your soap or beauty products can be drying to the skin. Also if coconut oil is used in large quantities as your base oil in soap you will find that your bar will melt away rather quickly. For a well balanced soap or other bath and body product limit your use of coconut oil to about 30% of the total amount of fats and oils. If you live in an area that has hard water you may want to use coconut oil in your formulations, as soap made with this oil is known to even lather in cold salty sea water.
Fractionated Coconut Oil(Cocos nucifera): Has all the same properties as regular coconut oil only this will stay liquid at cooler temperatures, but will become solid when cold enough, just heat it up again. It is a heavy oil, you may want to dilute with some other beneficial oils. Although because of its heavy emollient properties some massage therapists like to use it undiluted, as it has great slip. Is an unsaturated oil.
Corn Oil (Zea mays): Extracted from the germ of corn. It contains vitamin E, A, B1, B2 and C and minerals. Corn oil has emollient and skin balancing properties. When used in soapmaking should be kept under 20% of your total fats and oils, as your soap will come to trace very slowly if higher amounts have been used. This result in a very soft bar, if corn oil is used in a well balanced recipe it often improves your overall amount and quality of later. This is an unsaturated oil.
Cottonseed Oil (Gossypium spp): is used in handmade soapmaking as a minority base oil for its conditioning properties. It will also give a quick, rich abundant lather, however large amounts will produce a soft soap prone to rancidity. Due to the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used by the cotton industry the purity of the oil could be affected, also making it less attractive to you the environmentally conscious soapmaker.
Emu Oil: this oil is actually the fat obtained from the emu. This is a precious healing oil, usually used in its raw unrefined form. Emu oil has unsurpassed soothing, restorative and nourishing properties. It has been said to be excellent at relieving pain in the muscles and joints. This oil is great to use in all of your bath body and spa products in virtually any amount. For use in soapmaking, again can be used in any amount but as little as 5% of total fats and oils is usually sufficient. Look for good high quality emu oil and try to avoid the cheapest types as they are usually too old or have been over rendered and contain no valuable nutrients.
Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis): this is an expensive oil so is used only in small quantities; it is also extracted like borage seed oil. Due to its restorative, emollient and healing properties it is used as a soft astringent and to relive skin irritations. It is also used in many bath body and spa products especially massage oil to reduce age spots, and to bring back some softness and suppleness to damaged, dry skin. This oil is not particularly suited for soap. Is usually held in an unsaturated carrier oil.
Flaxseed Oil (Linum usitayissimum): is a light oil rich in vitamins (E, C, B1 and B2) and minerals. This oil is especially suited for sensitive, chafed skin because of its emollient and very mild properties. This oil has a very short shelf life and should be kept in a cool dark place preferably in the refrigerator and should be used in a very short amount of time. I haven’t yet used this oil in any of my bath body and spa products so I can’t tell you what it is best in. Although for soapmaking it is best kept to no more than 5% of your total fats and oils, to avoid rancidity in your soap. This is an unsaturated oil and is sometimes referred to as raw linseed oil.
Grape seed Oil (Vitis vinifera): is a light oil used as a massage oil base, as it has great abilities to glide, soften, and lubricate the skin without leaving a greasy feel behind. For your bath body and spa products it can be used in any amount. Some people like to use this in place of sweet almond oil. In soapmaking it is best to keep this oil under 20% of your total fats and oils, so you don’t get a soft bar that is prone to rancidity. This is an unsaturated oil.
Hazelnut Oil (Corylus Avellana): Great for dry, damaged skin and hair; has a slightly nutty fragrance. This oil is easily absorbed into the skin and has mild astringent properties. This oil should be kept to 5% or less of your total fats and oils for soapmaking, it should also be avoided by people with nut allergies. Place a warning label on products containing this oil. This is an unsaturated oil.
Hemp seed Oil (Cannabis sativa): Hemp seed oil is growing ever more popular among the cosmetic industry. This oil has a high amount of essential fatty acids, and is considered a wonderful healing oil for all skin types. Hemp seed oil is a very emollient, nourishing, balancing and restorative oil; and is good for even the most severe of skin conditions. This oil is wonderful for hair care and has made some of the best shampoo bars. Due to the fact that it is prone to rancidity it should be kept in the refrigerator and used in about 3-6 months from purchase. In soapmaking hemp seed oil should be used at 3-30% of your total fats and oils. IF you plan on using high amounts make sure it is balanced out with harder oils, you should also lower your superfatting amount so you don’t get a soft bar that will go rancid. It has been said that some people are allergic to hemp so a waning may be used as a precaution.
Holly Oil: A wonderful lubricious oil used widely in the Massage and spa industry as it is extremely light and non-staining. Has a pleasant cooling effect on the skin. I have not used this oil in soapmaking.
Illipe Butter (Shorea stenoptera Diptericaroaceae): has been renowned for its skin softening and long-lasting moisturizing properties. Its chemical composition closely resembles that of cocoa butter but with a higher melting point, making it ideal for hard bars of soap and in lip balms, lip sticks and other stick type applications where a higher melting point is desired. The moisturizing element of this butter is said to help prevent drying of the skin which leads to the development of wrinkles. Reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores skins flexibility and elasticity. For soapmaking it should be used at 3-6% of you total fats and oils. This is solid at room temperature.
Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis): Makes an excellent base for perfumes, facials, and skin oils, has excellent anti inflammatory properties, but can be irritating to some people. Jojoba oil is not really an oil but a liquid wax, with a structure very similar to human skins sebum. Jojoba oil is wonderful choice in lotions, lip balms and other leave on skin care applications, and is ideal when mixed with other oils, but is also very effective used by its self. It nourishes, rejuvenates, and repairs damaged skin; it is also used to protect the skin from external irritants. Jojoba oil is often included as a minority oil up to 10% in massage oils. It also has a long shelf life making it ideal for massage oil, bath oils, and is the best carrier oil for natural perfumes. In soapmaking it takes as little as 3% to improve your soap or shampoo bars. It is best kept under 5% of your total fats and oils; as it will speed up trace and my not saponify properly if more is used. Is an unsaturated oil.
Kokum Butter (Garcinia indica): a white, semi- refined butter obtained from the fruit kernels of a tree that grows in India. Kokum butter is the most stable of the hard butters, with an indefinite shelf life. It is an excellent skin softener and emollient, and often used in place of cocoa butter. Kokum butter is used in a wide range of skin and hair care products as well as massage oils and acne products. I haven’t used this butter in my soapmaking yet, but should be kept to about 3-6% no more than 10%of your total fats and oils.
Kukui Nut Oil (Aleurites moluccana): is an expensive oil, rarely used in soapmaking. Although if you want to use it in your body care it is good for dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. As it is moisturizing, soothing and healing to the skin. This is an unsaturated oil.
Lanolin: Lanolin is a protective oil that covers sheep’s fleece. It is valued for its emollient, film forming and protective properties. Is great for leave on applications such as lip balms, lotions, body bars, and body balms. It is also wonderful in hair conditioners. In soapmaking it should be kept to small amounts no more than 3% of your total fats and oils. Lastly it can cause allergic reactions and it is an animal product thus not good for any vegetarian products. This is creamy like thick honey at room temperature.
Linseed Oil (linum usitissimum): although this is extracted form the same plant as the flaxseed, they are not the same. It is extracted using solvents and is used as a drying oil in paints and varnishes; it is not suited and should not be used for human consumption.
Macadamia Nut Oil (Macadamia integrifolia): is taken from the nut of this tree, the best quality coming from Australia. This oil is an unusual nut oil as it very rarely gives an allergic reaction unlike other nut oils. There are two types of macadamia nut oil, there is unrefined often called food grade and refined. Always go for the unrefined type. This oil is great for skin and hair preparations and is wonderful for massage oils. For soapmaking macadamia nut oil can be used in any amount, with large amount your soap will require longer than average curing times before becoming hard enough to use. You will find that the unrefined version of this oil will leave its aroma behind even with long curing times and it of course gets stronger when more is used. This is an unsaturated oil.
Mango Butter (mangifera indica): This butter is similar in its make up and properties as Shea butter. Mango butter is widely used in bath body and spa products to give tone and suppleness to damaged or aged skin. It is great to use in massage bars, bath melts, body butters, body bars, and whipped butters. As for use in soapmaking it is relatively reserved for special beauty bars. You can use mango butter at a rate of 3% to be sufficient and up to 6% of your total fats and oils. This is solid at room temperature.
Mowrah Butter (Madhuca Latifolia Seed Butter): is obtained from the fruit of the Indian tree, from its seed kernels the butter is extracted and further processed and refined to obtain a yellow/white butter. Mowrah butter has a mild, pleasant odor suitable for use in cosmetics and toiletries as it has properties to prevent drying of the skin and may hinder the development of wrinkles it is also said to reduce degeneration of skin cells and restores skin flexibility. Mowrah butter is a soft, solid at room temperature butter and melts immediately upon contact with the skin, thus making it great for bath melts, massage bars, whipped butters, and body bars. Use from 3% to 100% pure to make a butter like balms. I haven’t used this butter in soapmaking yet, but should be kept between 3-6% of your total fats and oils, I hope to try this butter in soapmaking soon. This is solid at room temperature.
Meadow foam Oil (Limnanthes alba): this versatile oil is now a highly valued emollient for cosmetic use. It has a low odor, minimal color, is non-staining, and has a high tolerance for heat. Meadow foam oil is an excellent moisturizer for hair and skin. It is used in creams, lotions, soaps, lip balms, lipsticks, body oils, shampoos, scalp treatment products, cuticle oils and much more. I haven’t used this oil in soap making yet, start with a small amount and go up from there. Keep detailed notes and you will end up fining out the best amount to use. This is an unsaturated oil.
Monoi Oil (cocos nucifera): this oil is also known as Monoi de Tahiti, it is a virgin coconut oil, and has a low melting point. It will melt at bout 20°C. This oil is very rarely used in soapmaking and is best reserved for luxury bath body and spa products.
Neem Oil (Azadirachta indica): Cold pressed from whole Neem Tree Nuts. It is used all over the world in cosmetic skin care preparations, soaps, etc. for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. Mix a little with a natural liquid soap base to spray on plants as it has great anti-parasitic properties. In soapmaking it is known to seize the soap, meaning it speeds up the trace process makeing your soap solidify too quickly. Due to this and its offensive smell which last after curing, it is best used in small quantities no more than 5% of your total fats and oil. This is an unsaturated oil.
Olive Oil (Olea europaea): is a great healing and soothing oil when blended with other base oils, it is also an exceptional oil as it still lets the skin breath and maintain its natural moisture levels while protecting it. Olive oil brings emollient and conditioning qualities to hand milled soaps, solid shampoo bars, and handmade soap; is used as a base for suspending other ingredients. It is used in lotions, lip balms, bath products, and on skin and hair as an emollient, when combined with vitamin e is said to be beneficial in healing skin burns.
In soapmaking it is considered the king of all oils as it can be used in any amount. The lowest grade of olive oil called Pomace is excellent for handmade soaps; the higher grades, Extra virgin, Virgin, and Pure are also suitable but their high costs don’t necessarily mean better soap. Even though Pomace olive oil is extracted by solvents it is run through extensive manufacturing and quality controls, and the acceptable amount of solvents left, if any at all, is so small that no negative effects can come from using correctly processed Pomace oil. Olive oil is considered “a hard” oil when it comes to soapmaking, meaning olive oil doesn’t take long to trace, even though it is a liquid oil. You will get a variety of color in your soap depending on the batch, it can range from ivory white to pale yellow to pale green and after a long curing time, typically 8 weeks at the minimum you will be left with a hard, long lasting bar of soap. Olive oil soap doesn’t have very good lather, it is usually small bubbles that will quickly turn into a slippery film, although will have excellent cleaning power which is really noticeable as a laundry soap. If you are aiming for a quality skin friendly soap then Olive oil is a fundamental ingredient that has not been equaled, and has no real substitutes, and its shortcomings are out weighed by its enduring qualities. This is an unsaturated oil.
Ostrich Oil: has similar properties as emu oil, it has soothing, restorative, and nourishing properties. Ostrich oil can be used in any amount in you lotions, balms, body oils, and bath products. In soapmaking using as little as 5% of your fats and oils is sufficient, to add its qualities to your soap.
Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis guineensis): is appreciated in soap making because of it’s hardening and lathering abilities, although can be irritating and drying to the skin, so when used in soap keep to 20% of your overall fats and oils. If you are going to use this oil with coconut oil keep the total of these two oils to a maximum of 30% of the total batch. Palm Kernal Oil has been used in the cosmetic industry for years, especially in make-up. Is an unsaturated oil.
Palm Oil (Elaeis guineensis):is extracted from the fruit pulp of an oil palm tree. It is a white, hard and brittle oil at room temperature (saturated). It really doesn’t have any real enduring qualities as a cosmetic ingredient, but is used for its ability to contribute body and hardness to soap. Soap made from palm oil will harden in a very short time and will have good cleaning power. Unlike Coconut and Palm Kernel Oil can be used in large amounts with out drying the skin.
Peanut Oil (Arachis ipogaea): has moderate emollient properties and contains a high amount of vitamin E so has a reasonable shelf life. If you are going to use this oil in soapmaking it should be kept to 30% if not less of the total fat and oils, it should also be rounded off with harder oils otherwise you will end up with a soft poor lathering soap that is prone to rancidity. Peanut oil is and has been used as cheaper alternative to olive oil. Due to the amount of people allergic to peanuts should not be used in products meant for resale, unless a warning label is going to accompany the product. Is an unsaturated oil.
Pistachio Oil (Pistacia vera): is extracted from the pods. This oil is better used in your bath body and spa products than soapmaking. It has wonderful nourishing, restorative and stimulating properties. This is an unsaturated oil.
Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita pepo): is rich in vitamin s A, E, C, and K. In bath body and spa products it is used for its restorative, soothing, scar healing properties. In soapmaking it is best used in small quantities no more than 3% of your total fats and oils is best. When combined with hemp seed oil it makes a wonderful hygiene soap. This is an unsaturated oil.
Rice Bran Oil (Oryza sativa): is an uncommon, nourishing, and wholesome oil abundant in vitamin E. This oil has its own natural SPF, and has anti oxidant properties. Rice bran oil is used mainly in products for dry and mature aging skin, it is also great for general hair care products like shampoo bars. You can use this oil in basically any amount in you skin care preparations without any negative effects except soap. Rice bran oil is wonderful in massage oils due to its soothing, skin softening and emollient properties. When using this oil in soap making don’t use more than 20% preferably less, for your total oils and fats. Otherwise it will cause your soap to go through a hotter than normal gel phase, making your soap sticky and very difficult to get out of the mold. Rice bran oil will add to the emollient and lathering properties of your soap when used in the 20% range or less. This is a very hypoallergenic, and an unsaturated oil.
Rose Hip Oil (Rosa aff. Rubiginosa): is a rare and precious body and skin care oil. It is particularly used for its abilities to restore, and reduce scars, stretch marks, wrinkles and age spots. Due to these abilities it is best used in lotions, facial creams, and nourishing oils for mature and aging skin, but it is not recommended for acne prone skin. In soapmaking this oil is best kept to about 5% or less of your total oils and fats, and is best added at trace and after cooking to protect its healing qualities. This is an unsaturated oil.
Safflower Oil (Charthamus tinctorius): is used frequently in massage products, as it has a nice weight to it. This oil resembles sunflower oil in its make up except it has a shorter shelf life because it doesn’t have as much vitamin E. You can add vitamin E to this oil (or any of your oils) to extend its shelf life. Safflower is widely used in all cosmetics, but in soapmaking should be kept to no more than 5% or less because of its short shelf life. Is an unsaturated oil.
Sal Butter (Shorea robusta): Semi-refined exotic butter from India similar to cocoa butter and mango butter. Similar properties to cocoa butter due to its 45% stearic acid content. Excellent emollient properties like mango butter and has an Indefinite shelf life. Sal butter is used in soap, hair products and cosmetics including lotions. I haven’t used this butter yet in my soapmaking so I can’t tell you what kind for bar it will give you, but it should be kept to about 3-6% no more than 10% of your total fats and oils. This is solid at room temperature.
Sea Buckthorn Oil (Hippophae rhamnoides): is nourishing, revitalizing and restorative for the skin. It can be used for acne, dermatitis, irritated, dry, itching skin, eczema, and more. It is a high natural source of Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, K, P & E, carotenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and phytosterols, which are all important for the maintenance of healthy skin. Sea Buckthorn Oil is excellent for creams, lotions, salves, balms, and more. I haven’t yet used this oil in soapmaking, but start with a small amount and go from there, keep a log and you will figure out what the best amount to add is. It is an unsaturated oil.
Sesame Oil (Sesamum indicum): is a nourishing, emollient, and has natural SPF. It is often combined with other light oils when used for massage oils, bath oils, and for after sun and hair care. In soapmaking it us best used in small amount typically between 3-10% of your total fats and oils, it should be added at trace or after cooking. Also it can cause allergic reactions place a warning label on you products. Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii): has been the top healing ingredient in top market specialty creams for years. It is known for its ability to give tone and suppleness to damaged and aged skin, it also helps with wrinkles. Shea butter is wonderful to use in lotions, solid perfume, lip balms, body butters, whipped butters, and body balms. I like to use it whenever I can. In soapmaking it is usually reserved for specialty soaps and shampoo bars, but 5% of your total fats and oils will be enough to improve the overall quality of your soap.
Shea Oil (Butyrospermum parkii): is a liquid that is fractionated from Shea nut butter and has the same properties as the butter. It is one of the most stable and hardiest of the vegetable fats. It can be used in many skin care products such as cleansing emulsions, creams, milks, lip balms, and products for damaged hair at any amount. It should be stored away from heat and light. In soapmaking it will add the same qualities as Shea butter. This is unsaturated oil.
Soya Bean Oil (Glycine soja): is a very cheap to purchase oil it is usually used as a cheap filler oil. This oil adds very little to soapmaking and should be kept to 20% or less of your total fats and oils, as a higher amount will produce a soft bar that is prone to rancidity. Soya Bean Oil is a great oil for use in massage, skin, bath and personal care products except soap. Soya is naturally rich in Vitamin E, and is an unsaturated oil.
St. Johns Wort Oil: Contains vitamin E and is great in blends for sunburns and ordinary burns. Used in soapmaking in small amounts and should be added at trace or after cooking.
Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annuus): this is a light and pleasant oil with good emollient properties, it has some natural odor. It is a good substitute for sweet almond oil. This oil naturally contains a large amount of vitamin E which extends its shelf life. This oil can be used instead of almond oil as a base for massage oils as Sunflower oil is light and has a good slip or “glide”, although it is recommended that you use this oil as a filler oil when blended with higher quality oils such as almond, olive or coconut. For soapmaking Sunflower oil should be kept under 20% of the overall total of the fats and oils, as higher amounts will cause the soap to reach its trace point very slowly and result in a very soft bar of soap. Is a unsaturated oil.
Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis): is pressed from the nuts of the almond tree, is the finest and best all purpose carrier oil. It is a neutral and unscented oil, it is easily absorbed into the skin where it nourishes and moisturizes. Sweet almond oil can be used in any amount. Because of its emollient, soothing and healing properties it is most extensively used in massage oils. Due to the softness of this oil it is great for baby’s skin as well as ours. For soap making this oil should be kept under 30% of the total oils and balanced with some harder oils to ensure that your soap will be hard enough to use and long lasting. This oil is great for all bath and skin care formulations for its emollient, soothing, and healing qualities. Sweet almond oil is wonderful in massage oils, bath oils, lotions, balms and body butters. Should not be used by people that have nut allergies a warning label should accompany any products given or for sale. Is an unsaturated oil.
Tallow, Lard, Animal Fats: All animal fats, from beef to goose fat even fish oil, can be used in making soap, in theory. Although as you can guess, some give a much better soap than others and there are some very good reasons not to use animal fats in your soaps, such as vegetarian issues just to name one.
Lard is a saturated fat; it comes from pork and used to be, in the past one of the main ingredients in soapmaking. Tallow is also a saturated fat but comes from beef, goats, sheep, bear and dear. Saturated animal fats make very good homemade soap, producing very hard rock like bars that are long lasting, with a very short curing time, and have unsurpassed cleaning power. There are some exceptions like emu, ostrich and mink oils that are unsaturated oils. Also animal fats in general don’t add any real skin friendly qualities to soap again there are some exceptions especially in the case of emu and ostrich oils.
It also hasn’t been proven either scientifically or statistically that animal fats “clog pores” or is “bad for acne”. From what I can tell it is just one of those myths in soapmaking caused by the industrial soapmaking companies that wanted to make their vegetable oil based soaps appear better than animal fat based soaps. Although with that said our mothers and grandmothers used fat based homemade soap and pore clogged or acne prone skin was not the norm like it is now. Environmental issues and junk food also cause a factor.
If you are going to use animal fats in your soap high amounts will give you white, hard, long lasting soaps with excellent creamy lather. The soap may carry the scent from the animal fats that you used even after long curing times, with carefully balanced recipes of animal fats and other oils; you can get some of the best bars of soap around that don’t have much of a smell. Animal based soaps are the best for laundry soap.
Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera): has a very low melting point about 20°C, this oil is very expensive and is hardly if ever used in soapmaking. It is usually reserved, your luxury creams, lotions, and other luxury bath body and spa products.
Walnut Oil (Juglans regia): This is a very nourishing oil, but due to its very short life span should be used in very small amounts. It is also and allergen, if you are going to use this oil make sure you have a warning label on your products.
Wheat germ Oil (Triticum vulgaris): is high in lecithin, vitamins E, F, and V, and anti oxidants. It helps to preserve oil blends if used at about 15-20% of total blend. It is good for dry skin, and protecting it from free radicals. Wheat germ oil helps to reinforce you skins natural protection against external irritants, such as strong winds and extreme weather conditions. This oil is good in massage oils, lotions, creams, and lip balms. It does however have a bit of an odor. In soapmaking should be kept to no more than 5% of your total fats and oils. Wheat germ oil will improve the mildness and conditioning properties of your soap.
With all these beneficial oils, I am sure that with your creativity along with the step by step instructions and other ingredients you will be able to make infinite amounts of wonderfully wholesome handmade soap, and bath body and spa products.
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