Making 100% Coconut Oil Soap With 20% Superfat

Coconut soap with a split coconut and coconut oil

Guille Faingold / Stocksy United

Overview
  • Yield: 12 bars (3 pounds total)

There are two long-held soap making rules:

  1. Don’t use more than 30 percent coconut oil in a recipe—it will be too drying.
  2. Don’t superfat more than about 8 percent to 10 percent or the soap will be soft, have poor lather, and will be prone to the dreaded orange spots or spoilage.

This soap recipe, however, breaks both of those rules by using 100 percent coconut oil while increasing the superfat percentage to 20 percent. The pros of coconut oil and superfatting combine to cancel out the cons of using a high amount of coconut and using a high superfat percentage, resulting in a really lovely bar of soap.

Why Does This Work?

Coconut oil is not really “drying”—it’s just super cleansing. It cleans your skin so well that it strips the oils off of your skin, making it feel dry. Coconut oil itself is good for your skin. Having 20 percent extra oil in the soap mitigates the "drying" effect, resulting in a bar that's really mild.

Dreaded orange spots (or DOS) are caused by the free oils in the soap going rancid. In any bar of soap where there is any amount of superfatting, there is going to be a certain percentage of oil left behind. In a standard, balanced soap recipe, you’re going to have a combination of soft, more fragile oils like canola, sunflower, almond, or even olive along with long-lasting hard oils like tallow, palm, or coconut.

Coconut oil is a long-lasting stable oil. Even if left “free” in the soap at a high percentage, it will be sturdy and shelf-stable for one to two years. Add to that stability, and it makes a super lather, demonstrating why a 100 percent coconut oil bar of soap cancels out the lathering and spoilage issues commonly associated with a high superfat percentage.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Soap pot
  • Kitchen scale
  • Glass pitcher
  • Mason jar with lid
  • Plastic pitcher with lid
  • Thermometer
  • Measuring cups
  • Spoons
  • Spatula
  • Stick blender
  • Molds

Materials

  • 33 ounces coconut oil
  • 4 ounces lye
  • 9 ounces water
  • 1 ounces essential oil

Instructions

  1. Start With a Basic Soap Batch

    Follow the directions for making a basic batch of soap to make your lye solution. This coconut-oil batch, while non-traditional, is predictable and reliable when it comes to soap recipes. When you are calculating your recipe in your lye calculator, just use one oil—coconut—and enter 20 percent as the superfat. Coconut oil doesn’t trace super quickly, so you can use a 2:1 ratio of water to lye pretty reliably.

    Set the lye solution aside in a safe place.

  2. Weigh and Melt Oils

    Weigh out your oils and melt them on the stovetop or microwave.

  3. Mix Oils and Lye Solution

    With your oils and lye solution both at about 100 degrees, mix them together.

  4. Prepare Tools and Supplies

    Make sure all of your additives, color, and/or fragrance are ready to go, with all of the spoons, spatulas, and mold ready to go.

  5. Add Lye Solution to Oils

    Slowly add the lye solution to the oils and blend until it is well mixed.

  6. Add Fragrance

    Add in the fragrance or essential oil.

    Try a really crisp, spicy, woodsy blend for this soap, like .5 ounce cedarwood, .4 ounce rosemary, .3 ounce lavender, .3 ounce black pepper.

  7. Reach a Light Trace

    Continue blending until it reaches a light trace and add in any additional additives.

  8. Pour Into Molds

    Pour the mixed soap into the mold.

  9. Let Harden Overnight

    Allow this recipe to harden overnight. Once the solution has been in the molds for about 12 to 18 hours, you can unmold and cut it into bars.