Most soap makers have a “go to” recipe that they use over and over again. They do this because they get repeatable good results using it and it contains the oils which produce the results they want out of the soap (conditioning, moisturizing, cleansing, etc).
I was playing with my “go to” recipe in soap calc and noticed a pattern that I thought I would share. With this recipe, you can adjust the “bonus oil” between many different oil options without having to recalculate the recipe (as long as you don’t change the amounts of the oils used in any of the line items).
I recommend that you do not try this with your recipe until you are familiar with the profiles of the oils you use and understand how they affect the overall lye calculation. I list only the specific oils below that I have tested out. You may have different oils. Once you have it worked out for your specific oils, it can be a time saver.
This recipe is very versatile not only in the number of oil options you have, but you can also change it in many different ways by using fragrances, colorants, additives or essential oils. Since it can be slow to trace, you can do complex designs or you can just keep it simple — it’s up to you! Gotta love versatility. This is why it is my “go to” recipe.
Using the below recipe (scroll way down for the recipe), I can change out the last oil listed there (meadowfoam) with any of the following oils:
- Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil, Canola (high oleic), Grapeseed, Hazelnut, Hemp, Meadowfoam, Rice Bran, Safflower (high oleic), Shea Oil, Sunflower oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Avocado Butter.
You can use an herb infused oil in place of any of the oils listed (but replace like for like – for example, you can replace the olive oil in the recipe with herb infused olive oil).
One other thing you can do is either totally swap out the coconut oil for babassu oil, or do half babassu and half coconut. Either way – still 2.0 ounces of lye required.
There may be others that also work with this recipe, but I tested these variations with soapcalc and not every possible oil listed. No matter which of these oils you choose, the lye amount for this recipe is 2.0 ounces.
I did notice that this does not work with all oils, however. Jojoba oil, for example, does change the required lye amount to 1.9 ounces. I assume it is because of the unsaponifiables it contains.
I have not tried scaling the recipe so I don’t know how it scales up or down. But it works for the size recipe listed in the recipe below.
When you calculate the recipe in grams, this formula does not work as well. This is because grams are more accurate than ounces. With ounces, you can have anything from 1.95 to 2.04 ounces and it still rounds out to 2.0 ounces of lye.
The soapcalc.com screenshot is below. The “bonus oil” that can be changed is oil #5, Meadowfoam.
The soap qualities profile for this recipe, is listed below. It contains almost twice as many unsaturated fats than saturated fats, so this recipe can be slow to trace (but trace depends on a lot of factors, not just oil, so your choice of fragrances, colorants, temperature and so forth could affect it).
As this recipe will contain sodium lactate (1 tsp), it will be harder than the hardness number listed (36).
The amount of lye required for this recipe is 2.0 ounces. The amount of water is up to you depending on how you like it.
- If you use a 2:1 ratio with the lye, then 4.0 ounces of water would be used in the recipe. This will come to trace pretty quickly but will be faster to unmold and cure.
- If you use a 2.5:1 ratio, then the water amount is 5.0 ounces. This will trace somewhat slower, but may take longer to release from the mold and to cure.
- If using additives or fragrances that accelerate trace, use a higher amount of water – up to 5.5 ounces, or a 2.8:1 ratio). If using this ratio, you may need to leave the soap in the mold for a few days before it is ready to unmold. It will also take longer to cure.
- Remember that the water to lye ratio should be at least 1.1 to 1 so that the lye will dissolve into a solution.
Universal Small Batch Mild Conditioning Soap
*Safety: Always wear safety gear (goggles, gloves, long sleeves, pants, shoes) and open a window for ventilation when working with lye or raw soap batter.
Superfat – 5%
Weight of Oils: 14.5 ounces
Total volume: 22.0 ounces
Recommended Soap Mold: 4″ / 1# loaf mold
- Coconut Oil – 20% – 2.9 ounces
- Olive Oil – 30% – 4.4 ounces
- Palm Oil – 30% – 4.4 ounces
- Castor Oil – 10% – 1.5 ounces
- Bonus Oil – – 10% – 1.5 ounces
Choose one from any of the following for the bonus oil:
- Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil, Canola (high oleic), Grapeseed, Hazelnut, Hemp, Meadowfoam, Rice Bran, Safflower (high oleic), Shea Oil, or Sunflower oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Avocado Butter, Mango Butter.
- Distilled Water – 5.0 ounces (use anywhere between 4.0 and 5.0 ounces depending on your fragrance choices and how fast they tend to accelerate).
- Sodium Hydroxide (lye) – 2.0 ounces
- Sodium Lactate – 1 teaspoon
- Most fragrance oils use 0.5 ounces per pound of oils, so you can use up to .5 ounces in this recipe (perfect for using up those sample sized fragrances!).
- If using essential oils, you will need to look up the recommended safe usage for each individual oil as it varies depending on the oil you choose.
- Unimportant to this recipe. Use any colorants you like for your soap design.
You can add any that you like. Here are some ideas:
- 1 tsp honey added at trace
- Make the lye solution with milk instead of water (but use a higher percentage of liquid than 2:1 if you do this)
- Add some yogurt at trace. Use 1 oz of yogurt and deduct 1 oz of water from the lye solution liquid.
- Add 1 tsp colloidal oats at trace
- Stir in some jojoba beads for exfoliation
- Add 1 tsp chamomile extract at trace