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Customizing a Plain Soap Recipe

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

herbs from your garden
Herbs in soapmaking

The point I would like to make in this Soap Making Blog is that you need not stick to a plain recipe but you can alter it easily to make it something more special. Don't be afraid to change things around a bit, get creative and come up with different ideas. I will show you how customizing a plain soap recipe can turn a boring bar into the most luxurious bar.

Start with a good basic recipe i.e. the one below and then switch it up.

164g x Coconut Oil

164g x Olive Oil

140g x Shea Butter

125g x Water

64g x Sodium Hydroxide

To make the soap go to the Basic Soap Making Blog

The above recipe becomes your 'base recipe' now to switch things up abit.

Replace the water for a herbal infusion

Collect or buy several different herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon balm, lemon verbena, majoram etc.

Cover the herbs with boiling water and leave to stand for several minutes.

Strain off the herbs and weigh out 125g of herbal liquid - allow this to go cold and use.

Replace the water for a plant based milk

For this variation you can choose from a variety of plant based milk i.e almond, coconut, rice, soy etc.

Replace the water for a vegetable or fruit puree

Several different ingredients could be used here. You can either replace all the water or use half water and half puree. Choose ingredients like cucumber, carrots, melon, water melon, apple etc. Place the ingredient into a blender and blitz well until pureed.

Replace the water with sea water

Salt products have become very popular and by using sea water or making up your own salt solution you can make your own salt soap. Salt also has great therapeutic qualaties.

Replace water with an alcohol

I would prefer to drink it but you can use red wine, white or beer. Boil until no alcohol is present and the weigh out 125g and use.

aromatherapy oils for skincare
Essential oils

Use Essential Oils to Make a Healing Bar

Add esential oils like :

Tea Tree



Lemon Balm


Use Superfatting

The 'basic recipe' does not include superfatting so adding another oil for the superfatting can switch up your plain recipe.

Superfatting is adding extra oil to your recipe that will not be saponified i.e. your 'basic recipe' contains sufficient sodium hydroxide to saponify all the oils/butters. So adding another oil after you have saponified your soap can change the equation a bit.

To make a more luxurious soap perhaps add 25-50g of avocado oil, castor oil, rosehip oil, sea buckthorne oil or sunflower oil.

Using Botanicals

Adding dried botanicals can not only look pretty they can in fact help therapeutically.

As well as using lavender essential oils for relaxation you can also add the dried flowers into your soap mixture or create a pattern on the top of your soap.

Calendula flowers can be added to your soap mixture or on top as well as adding calendula oil for healing properties.

A dried herb mixture can be stirred into yor soap mixture for added benefits.

I'm sure you can think of many more.

Using clays

Not only do clays make a great soap they have wonderful benefits on the skin so adding them to your soaps can be very beneficial as they are full of minerals.

Rose Clay - helps with acne and sun damaged skin and increases circulation.

Kaoline Clay - great for oily skin.

Betonite Clay - great for oily skin. Makes a great shaving soap as it helps the razor glide across the skin.

Useful ingredients

A plain bar of soap can easily be turned into an exfolient by adding simple ingredients like oatmeal, sea salt, jojoba seeds, poppyseeds etc.

Seaweed/kelp contains great minerals and therapeutic properties so ideal for soap, you can even combine this with your salt water.

I hope I have given you several ideas on how to change a simple recipe into several different bars of soap by making easy changes but still keeping it simple.

Happy soaping x

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