Castor Oil Profile

Castor berry
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You may remember being forced to gulp a tablespoon of castor oil as a kid - and have a bit of dislike of the idea of it - but it's actually a wonderful oil to include in your soap recipes. It, used in combination with coconut and palm kernel oil, imparts extra lather to your soap. It's more of a creamy lather than a bubbly lather (like coconut will give you) so it's good to use both.

Basic Information about Castor Oil:

Does it add hardness to the bar?

No...castor alone makes a mushy bar - though used in higher percentages, can make a nice shampoo bar.

Does it create a fluffy lather?

No...not really - use coconut oil for that, although it does increase the lather

Does it create a stable lather?

YES! It helps increase lather quite a bit - a low, dense, creamy lather

Does it add moisturizing qualities?

Yes - though thick and sticky straight out of the bottle, it is easily absorbed by the skin.

Other qualities of Castor Oil:

Because of its unique fatty acid make-up, there's truly no other oil quite like it. You only need to use about 4-6% in your recipe to see a difference. Be warned, castor oil will speed up your trace. You may want to leave it out of recipes where you want extended time to swirl like a column swirl or even just a multi-layered soap.

Basic recipes using castor oil:

Basic 4 Oil Soap Recipe

I've made hundreds of batches of this recipe - it's a reliable and wonderful basic soap recipe. 

  • 6.5 oz. palm oil
  • 6.5 oz. coconut oil
  • 7.5 oz. olive oil
  • 1.3 oz. castor oil
  • 8 oz. water
  • 3.1 oz. lye
  • 1 oz. of fragrance oil or essential oil blend

Grocery Store Soap Recipe

You should be able to find all of these ingredients in your supermarket. The lard is sometimes in the hispanic foods section and the castor oil is often near the pharmacy.

  • 30% Olive Oil
  • 30% Lard
  • 25% Coconut Oil
  • 10% Sunflower Oil
  • 5% Castor Oil

Old Fashioned Hard White Soap

Another great, basic recipe, as long as your olive oil is on the light side (use light or extra virgin olive oil if you can) it will give you a nice white bar of soap.

  • 35% Olive Oil
  • 30% Palm Oil
  • 30% Coconut Oil
  • 5% Castor Oil

Basic, Mild, Shampoo Bar Recipe

Most bar soap recipes only use about 4-5% castor oil in them, but shampoo bars take advantage of castor oil's properties and use a much higher percentage. It helps create a bar that's more gentle on your hair.

  • 25% coconut oil
  • 25% olive oil
  • 20% castor oil
  • 15% canola oil
  • 15% palm oil

Luxury shampoo recipe

  • 25% coconut oil
  • 20% olive oil
  • 20% castor oil
  • 10% canola oil
  • 10% avocado oil
  • 10% palm oil
  • 5% jojoba