Palm Oil Soap Making

The popularity of palm oil soap making has just been increasing over time. At first expert soap makers began to use it to add certain properties to their soaps, but soon, beginners found out about the benefits of palm oil soap making as well.

Palm oil is beneficial to soap making because it gives a soap bar the hardness it needs to be held while allowing it to build and maintain a creamy lather when the soap is being used. One must be careful when using it though because too much palm oil can make your soap too dry, especially if you're making soap in small batches. The recommended amounts are to keep it less than 50% of the total amount of oils used for hand bars of soap, and less than 30% for facial bars.

Another great perk of palm oil soap making is that the oil is able to add similar structural properties as tallow to the final soap or the end product. This means it can be a substitute for tallow, making it popular to use for 'vegan' soaps (no animal fat.) This is especially supported by most animal rights groups, and has been a great marketing strategy for palm oil soap making in general.

Be sure to use refined palm oil when making your soap. Using unrefined palm oil will give your soap a yellowish to burnt orange color, depending on the amount you used, and unless you like that color, it's best to stick to refined palm oil. Also, remember to heat the palm oil and shake it before using, making sure it's a liquid. Most palm oils being sold come in solid form since the oil solidifies when it is cooled. Make your soap measurements with liquid palm oil unless your recipe tells you otherwise.

Finally, be aware of palm oil's ability to make your soap achieve trace faster than normal so you have to be ready to move it from your pot quickly because your soap may start to solidify in the pot.

Here is a recipe for bar soap using palm oil:

  • 1 cup of white soap
  • 12 ounces of lye
  • 16 ounces coconut oil
  • 12 ounces of soybean oil
  • 8 ounces of palm oil
  • 42 ounces of tallow
  • 32 ounces of cold distilled water
  • 1 ounce of peppermint oil
  • 2 ounces of cocoa powder

  1. Place a cup of white soap in a bowl that is sitting in hot water.

  2. Pour the lye into the distilled water and stir until it's completely dissolved. Set it aside and let it cool to about 38 degrees Celsius.

  3. Take your oils (except the peppermint oil) and mix the together. Take 2 ounces of the combined oils and set it aside. Next, heat the oils together with the tallow and the cocoa butter. Once you get it to 38 degrees Celsius, slowly pour in the lye. Stir while you pour and continue stirring after you've poured all the lye into the soap. You will be stirring your soap until it achieves trace.

  4. Take the remaining 2 ounces of oil and dissolve the cocoa powder in it.

  5. Pour in your peppermint oil and keep stirring. Next, pour in the cocoa powder dissolved in the oil. Remember to keep stirring.

  6. Pour in the white soap and continue to stir.

  7. Pour the soap into the mold after trace is fully achieved. Wrap the molds in towels for a full day (24 hours) then remove from the molds. Give it 3 weeks to cure.

  8. You have your soap!