Basic Cold Process Soap Recipes

four natural handmade soaps over wooden table with lavender flowers

Cold process is probably the soap maker’s favorite process for handmade soaps. It is very versatile, allowing to create textures, shapes, designs with different colors. The soap product you get is professional grade. And you are in full and complete control of the ingredients you use. In this post, you will find a list of all cold process soap recipes tested and tried in this blog.

Table Of Contents

What is Cold Process Afterall?

Handmade soap is produced by mixing a mixture of oils with lye water. Cold process is based on this principle, where soap is made with no heat source during saponification, using room temperatures, and the heat released by the chemical reaction itself. The temperature at which the oils and lye water are mixed together needs to be controlled to ensure the produced soap has no issues. However, the only heating necessary is the one to melt solid oils.

Cold process soap creates hard soap bars, whose properties are mostly given by the oils used in the mixture: conditioning, foamy, bubbly, cleansing, mild.

To know about this process step-by-step check out Making Cold Process Soap.

Please, explain about “Trace” and “Gel phase”…

Terms such as “trace” and “gel phase” are always mentioned when speaking about cold process. “Trace” means that all the oils have been emulsified with the lye water – however, saponification is only partially done by now.  “Gel phase” happens afterwards “trace”, when the soap batter has been poured into molds and saponification continues. The rest of the saponification reaction releases heat, and when this heat is high enough, we say that the soap reached “gel phase” – soap looks brilliant, gelatinous, like gel.

Reaching gel phase makes the soap less opaque and with brighter colors, therefore, many soapmakers make sure the “gel pahse” takes place.

… And “Soda Ash”? What Is It? How to avoid it?

Soda ash is a white powder that forms on the surface of soap, it looks a bit like white ash powder. It is the product of unsaponified lye reacting with carbon dioxide present in the air, during the saponification. The powder is completely harmless, but may be a nuissance for your pretty colors and designs.

Using less water (water discount, or a bigger lye concentration) and gel phase (you need to thermically isolate your soap mold) are means to avoid soda ash. Other ways to avoid it: sprinkle your soap with alcohol or leave your soap in soap molds for a few days after the soap solidifies (only possible if you are using individual soap molds). 

Herbal/Floral Soap Recipes

Homemade Rosemary Soap
Try this wonderful rosemary soap bar at home. With rosemary-infused oils, castor oil and d-panthenol, this soap has the right ingredients for a good hair washing and treatment and lots of foam! A great soap for a travel/all-purpose soap. Natural colorant is orange juice!
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 500g (17,63 oz)
Lye Concentration: 30%
Superfat: 5%
Check out this recipe
Heart Shaped Soap
A recipe about a romantic heart shaped rose soap for a special occasion, like Valentine's day. With shea butter for extra hydration, geranium rose essential oil for a special scent – I've also added a natural a rose fragrance, but it's optional – and coloured with pink clay.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g
Lye Concentration: 35%
Superfat: 5%
Check out this recipe
Peppermint Soap
This is a recipe for a castile soap (100% olive oil) with peppermint and rosemary essential oils. The result is a pretty, refreshing and very moisturizing soap.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 900g (31,68 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 35,8%
Check out this recipe
three bars of light blue peppermint soap with presentation
Rosemary and Lavender Soap Recipe
A wonderful recipe of a homemade exfoliant herbal soap with rosemary, lavender and poppy seeds! Poppy seeds are used in soap making to make mild exfoliant soaps.
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Weight: 454g (16 oz)
Check out this recipe
Rosemary and lavender soap bar with poppy seeds
Homemade Rosemary and Eucalyptus Soap Recipe
Recipe of a natural herbal soap, made with rosemary and eucalyptus. Both plants contribute with very pleasant herbal camphor aromas, and very useful medicinal characteristics, to obtain a very refreshing and invigorating soap.
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Weight: 1 kg (35,20 oz)
Superfat: 6%
Lye Concentration: 28%
Check out this recipe
Three green soap bars scented with rosemary and eucalyptus
Homemade Lavender Soap Recipe
This time, it's another classical soap recipe – a natural homemade lavender soap! A very foamy, creamy and lightly scented soap with lavender and floral notes like orange blossom and rose. Try it out and enjoy your soaps!
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 1 kg (35.20 oz)
Lye concentration: 35%
Superfat: 6%
Check out this recipe
Violet lavender soap bar with presentation
Pink Clay Soap Recipe
This olive oil recipe uses french pink clay and a fabulous rose geranium essential oil, for a very classical and romantic rose soap. Try this recipe and enjoy your soap!
Dificulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,84 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 36%
Check out this recipe
homemade rose soap bar with presentation

Design Soap Recipes

Homemade Soap Gift
This soap recipe was created as a holiday soap gift for family and friends. Instead of using green and red, the holiday color, I thought of making a more wintery/twilight soap, with blue and violet colors. It's the first layered soap recipe I am presenting in this blog.
Difficulty: Medium
Weight: 1 kg (35,20 oz)
Superfat: 6%
Lye Concentration: 30%
Check out this recipe
Blue and violet lavender scented soap bars
Patchouli Soap Recipe
This is the first recipe with layers that I present in my blog. It was also my first successful layered soap! The result was a pretty red and cream layered soap, scented with patchouli and rose fragrance oil. The scent is pleasant but it doesn't resemble roses, therefore, as simple as that, it became a patchouli soap.
Difficulty: Medium /Advanced
Weight: 800g
Lye Concentration: 35,8%
Superfat: 5%
Check out this recipe
Heart Shaped Soap
A recipe about a romantic heart shaped rose soap for a special occasion, like Valentine's day. With shea butter for extra hydration, geranium rose essential oil for a special scent – I've also added a natural a rose fragrance, but it's optional – and coloured with pink clay.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g
Lye Concentration: 35%
Superfat: 5%
Check out this recipe

Food/Spices Soap Recipes

Carrot Soap Recipe
This carrot soap recipe contains olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and shea butter, which makes a wonderful creamy soap. Scented with May Chang, a lemony aroma. It is colored by a 100% natural ingredient: carrots! Try this recipe and enjoy!
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,84 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 30% (considering water and carrot pureΓ© together)
Check out this recipe
Carrot soap bars with presentation and a carrot
How To Make Turmeric Soap
This is a recipe for a deliciously fragrant and fun cinnamon soap enriched with shea butter and colored with turmeric. Be aware that, when containing spices, the soap might turn skin irritant to very sensitive skins. Please, make a skin test with this soap before using it.
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Weight: 1 Kg (35,20 oz)
Lye Concentration: 28%
Superfat: 5%
Check out this recipe
Turmeric soap bars with presentation
Homemade Lard Soap Recipe
This is another easy one-fat homemade soap recipe, this time made with an animal fat: lard. Lard soap is very moisturizing, makes a good hard bar, and has light foam.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,8 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 30%
Check out this recipe
White-creamy lard soap bar

Castile Soap Recipes

Olive Oil Soap Recipe
Basic recipe for a natural olive oil soap, one of the most well-known ingredients for handmade soap. In the end, you will have a very moisturizing, silky and smooth bar of soap.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,8 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye concentration: 36%
Check out this recipe
Castile soap bar with presentation
Peppermint Soap
This is a recipe for a castile soap (100% olive oil) with peppermint and rosemary essential oils. The result is a pretty, refreshing and very moisturizing soap.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 900g (31,68 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 35,8%
Check out this recipe
three bars of light blue peppermint soap with presentation
French Green Clay Soap Recipe
Recipe of handmade natural olive oil soap with green clay and essential oil of lemongrass. This essential oil, used to cleanse oily skin, combined with green clay and the softness of olive oil, will create a natural handmade soap ideal for purifying and cleaning any type of skin. Try this basic recipe at home and enjoy!
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450 g (15,84 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 36%
Check out this recipe
Pink Clay Soap Recipe
This olive oil recipe uses french pink clay and a fabulous rose geranium essential oil, for a very classical and romantic rose soap. Try this recipe and enjoy your soap!
Dificulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,84 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 36%
Check out this recipe
homemade rose soap bar with presentation

Beginners Recipes – 1-Oil Soap Recipe

Olive Oil Soap Recipe
Basic recipe for a natural olive oil soap, one of the most well-known ingredients for handmade soap. In the end, you will have a very moisturizing, silky and smooth bar of soap.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,8 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye concentration: 36%
Check out this recipe
Castile soap bar with presentation
How To Make Coconut Soap
Homemade basic recipe of a natural soap with a wonderful ingredient: coconut oil, resulting in a super cleansing, smooth and skin-friendly soap.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,8 oz)
Superfat: 20%
Lye Concentration: 33%
Check out this recipe
pretty white coconut oil soap bars
Homemade Lard Soap Recipe
This is another easy one-fat homemade soap recipe, this time made with an animal fat: lard. Lard soap is very moisturizing, makes a good hard bar, and has light foam.
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450g (15,8 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 30%
Check out this recipe
White-creamy lard soap bar

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4 Comments

  1. What a great niche and fantastic description of how to make soap! It made me want to try this out for my self. I have always believed that I needed to do some “cooking” to make soap, but how wrong I have been. 

    I remember my grandmother making soap when I was a kid. I was fascinated with the process of it, an dit has somewhat stuck to my mind.

    Your description of the process of cold process soap making is very clear,a nd doesn´t seem to be very difficult. A good bonus is all the recipes you have provided. I would have loved to try the Castile Soap Recipe. It is classic and it contains olive oil which very good for us.

    Thank you for sharing,

    Roy

    1. Hello Roy and thank you for your nice comment!

      Although, like any art, it has its tricks and specific knowledge, making soap is FAR from our idea of big plants, big automated containers, huge amount of weird chemicals, an automated process of making soap… I mean it can be like that, but just as baking a cake, or making bread, you can industrialize the process with big machines… or you can make it at home!!

      I tried to make the tutorials as detailed and simple as possible, but it’s not easy πŸ™‚ Please, check out https://herbalcochete.com/how-… I hope it’s a simple start that helps you decide what is your best process: melt and pour where the base is already made, and you just deal with shape, scent and color; or making soap from scratch, where you actually deal with the chemical process (again like baking a cake, there IS chemical change there :D).

      Castile soap is the best to start, as olive oil is easy to find. Then, you just need lye and water !! The essential oil blend is for scent and it’s totally optional. And you will get a very mild and conditioning soap. It doesn’t make a lot of lather, and we are so used to so many cleaning products making a foam-fest that it might be disappointing.

      Two words on that:

      – It’s such fun to look at olive oil and lye, and then at your homemade soap that you don’t care about the low lather. It’s your soap!! You made it from scratch!

      – Soaps with coconut oil make loads of lather!! You can try that instead if you wish: https://herbalcochete.com/home… 

      Give it a try, it will be loads of fun and very fulfilling to make your own soap!

      Cheers,

      Sofia

  2. Hello. Good day. Thanks for this wonderful article on cold process soap recipes. This is an avenue for those who wants to go into soap making. This is a very productive entrepreneur business. A good creative idea. Soap is a very important goods needed in our community and places. Having the idea to make soap with different natural products is not just wonderful but it’s cool also. Thanks a lot.

    1. Hello BobKay and thanks for your comment.

      This post is meant to be a door to cold process soapmaking indeed, as most people interested in it are actually looking for recipes and not how-to-make-soap tutorials πŸ™‚ It is indeed a good creative idea, not so sure about a good idea for a business: read Nathaniell’s post about it. I corroborate his ideas with what I see in Portugal.

      I see soapmaking more as an alternative to hygiene products, something you can even make it on your own (as natural soaps are somehow expensive due to using natural ingredients), is healthier and an option to hygiene products from the supermarket. 

      There are many people with skin conditions that heal or at least get better by removing completely commercial products (even hypoallergenic and from a pharmacy) and using only natural soaps. 

      Above all, I want to empower people with this information. 

      For me, and I guess for many, it’s also a superfun hobby!! πŸ˜€

      Cheers,

      Sofia

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