Whether you’re a seasoned soap-maker or just trying to live a healthier lifestyle, nobody argues that healthy natural soaps bring the most benefits to the skin. Outlined in this article, we clarify which oils and fats are used in soap products and the qualities each brings to the final product.
A common question we get is actually which oil or fat is truly best, so let’s start there.
Which Oil Makes the Best Soap?
The oils that make the best soaps are olive oil and coconut oil due to the number of nutrients they bring to the final products and their ability to saponify (harden when mixed with lye).
However, this does not mean you should only stick to using these 2 oils. There is a number of options that can alter the final bar of soap.
If you care to nerd out with us, please read on to find out our take on all the worthy contenders for soap oils and fats.
1. Olive Oil
While it is rare to find a soap that has been made 100% from olive oil, people tend to want a little bit of olive oil inside of their soap. This is because olive oil is one of the best natural moisturizers.
It will have a very conditioning impact on the skin. If you clean yourself with a soap that has olive oil in it, then you are going to feel refreshed.
2. Coconut Oil
This is an oil that you will find often added to soaps. Coconut oil is a hard oil. This means that it is solid at room temperature. This helps to ensure that the soap that you are using will last for as long as possible.
Coconut oil will provide a tremendous clean. You will need to pair it with something like olive oil, though.
Coconut oil alone can dry out your skin.
3. Tallow or Lard
These are animal fats that are good at cleaning, however, you won’t find them used all that often in our soaps.
Animals that eat anything toxic, including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc., will often be absorbed into fat tissues as a protection mechanism for the animal .
If you’re going to go this route, we recommend grass-fed and organic for the reasons listed above. These are both hard oils. This will add to the life of the soap and is often mixed with other oils.
4. Shea & Cocoa Butter
Both of these provide a good clean and have a nourishing impact on your skin. Both shea and cocoa butter oils will be paired with another oil.
In fact, you will often find them used in soaps with an olive oil base. These options will help to harden up the soap a bit.
Of course, both of these butters can add a nice little scent to the soap. This is perfect if you are looking to purchase a soap without a fragrance added.
5. Avocado Oil
This is a soft oil that will need to be combined with a hard oil. Avocado oil is often used when you want to make a mild soap i.e. if somebody has sensitive skin.
Avocado oil can also help to make the soap lather. It can also aid in the cleanse.
While it is not technically an oil, some people will use avocado butter instead. This would act as a harder base and can help with soap longevity.
6. Argan Oil
Argan oil is packed full of vitamins that are beneficial to your skin.
No soap will be built around Argan Oil alone though.
It will tend to be around 10% of the recipe as it often results in incredibly soft soap.
Ok. So, this also isn’t an oil. However, beeswax will often be used as part of soap.
It functions in much the same way as an oil or fat however. Beeswax will often be used in soaps that have a soft oil.
This is because it helps to harden it up.
8. Castor Oil
This is a soft oil that has a moisturizing effect on the skin.
What Do You Think Is The Best Oil for Soap?
As you can see, there are a lot of potential oils that can be used in soap. No one oil is going to be better than the other on every occasion.
It all depends on the type of skin that you have (dry, oily, etc.) and how sensitive it is.
Some people will experiment with different oil bases to discover what their skin enjoys the most.