Cold Pressed Soap Making Notes

I hope everyone enjoyed the soap making workshop :-)


I have put together this page so you have easy access to some information that you might find useful ..........


Equipment needed:

A heatproof plastic container for mixing lye and water.

A large heatproof container for mixing the soap.

A saucepan for heating up the oils, large enough to fit your heatproof container in!

Weighing scales.

A mould for your soap, silicone moulds work best but you can use other specialised soap moulds as long as they are not made from metal.


Hand/sticking blender.

Goggles and rubber gloves.

Safety First

When working with lye/caustic soda; put on protective eyewear and gloves, work in a well ventilated area away from pets and children, make sure it is safely stored in a proper child proof container away from humidity. 

Basic Soap Making Instructions:

Choose your oils/fats/butters and enter them into a lye calculator to find out how much water and lye/caustic soda you need. (I use

Weigh your oils/fats/butters and put them into your heatproof container. 

Place an inch or two of water in your saucepan and put it on the hob on to a medium heat.

Place your heatproof container with the oils in into the saucepan to melt.

While your oils/fats/butters are melting you can get the lye/water mixture ready:

Weight your lye/caustic soda.

Measure your water in a heatproof container and carefully pour the lye into the water (never pour water onto the lye in case it 'volcanoes') Leave away (somewhere safe and ventilated) to cool.

When your oils/fats/butters have melted take them out of your saucepan and leave them to cool to 100 - 120 °F 

When both the oils/fats/butters and the lye/water solution reach between 100 - 120 °F you can mix them together and blend using your blender.

Keep blending, with pauses in between, until the mixture starts to trace (trace is when the mixture thickens enough to hold a drop on top!)

When the mixture 'traces' it is now ready to pour into your soap mould.

After pouring, cover the mould with clingfilm or baking paper and an old towel to keep the heat in.

Leave for 24 - 48 hrs or until solid enough to take out of the mould.

When out of the mould it will now need to air/cure for at least 3 weeks - choose somewhere dry and dust free, a shoe box with holes in works well!

You will be able to use your soap after the curing time is complete.


Commonly used oils and their properties:

Apricot Kernel Oil:

Lightweight and high in linoleic and oleic acids. It's conditioning and easily absorbed into the skin. It produces small bubbles. 15% or less in your recipe is recommended - so the bar isn't too soft and they last longer in the shower.

Argan Oil:

Argan oil feels silky and moisturising and it's packed with vitamins A and E. It can be used in cold process up to 10%.

Avocado Oil:

Avocado oil makes a soft bar of soap and is generally used at 20% or less in cold process recipes. It's rich in vitamins A, B, D and E. The high levels of fatty acids make it great for moisturising.

Avocado Butter:

Avocado butter is solid at room temperature. It's derived from the fruit of the avocado tree and hydrogenated. It has a creamy consistency that makes skin feel smooth and moisturised. You can use up to 12% in your cold process recipes.

Beeswax (white and yellow):

Yellow beeswax is refined and not bleached, while white beeswax is refined and bleached naturally by exposing it in thin layers to air, sunlight and moisture. It can be used up to 8% in cold process recipes to harden the bars. It speeds up trace.

Carrot Seed Oil:

This oil has a silky texture that's hard to beat. It's lightweight and absorbs quickly and it's especially suited for those with sensitive skin. It can be used in cold pressed soap at 5- 15%.

Castor oil:

This thick liquid is extracted from the castor bean plant. It draws moisture to the skin and creates amazing lather in soap. 2 - 5% is recommended but you can use up to 25%, although more than 10% can make the bars soft and sticky.

Cocoa Butter:

This butter is solid and hard at room temperature. It adds a luxurious and moisturising feeling to cold pressed soap. Use cocoa butter at 15% or less in cold pressed soap - any higher can cause cracking in your finial bars.

Coconut Oil:

This is one of the most common raw materials used in the soap and cosmetic industry. Coconut oil is super cleansing and produces large bubbles in cold process. It's so cleansing that it can be drying. It can be used up to 33% but around 15% is recommended if you have sensitive or dry skin.

Useful links: for base ingredients for lye & fragrance/scent calculator