Carrier Oils


Before listing the oils, lets discuss a term know as superfatting. Superfatting means that you have used less than the amount of lye needed to turn all of the oils into soap, leaving unsaponified oils throughout your bar to aid in moisturizing the skin. Some soap makers do this while formulating their recipe; others add a luxury oil towards the end of the soap making process. Adding the oil in at the end helps to ensure that the oil you have selected is the one that is actually the “extra oil”.
Of course, soap is not the only thing that carrier oils are used for. They are a major ingredients in body scrubs, butters, balms, salves, lip balms, massage oil and are often used to dilute essential oils for use in aromatherapy. You will find many of these oils throughout this website in a variety of recipes.

Sweet Almond Oil is often used for superfatting soaps. It is a great moisturizer, makes a stable lather and helps condition the skin. Add 1 ounce per pound of fats to your soap batch at trace.

Apricot Kernel Oil is often used for superfatting. It is also a good moisturizer and helps condition the skin. Use one or two ounces in every pound of fat at trace.

Avocado Oil is a great moisturizer and is often used for superfatting soaps. Avocado oil contains vi-tamins A, D, and E, which makes it healing as well as moisturizing. Try it in a gentle baby soap. Use up to 30% as base oil.

Canola Oil is a good moisturizer but is less satu-rated than other fats, so it can be slow to saponify. Use it in place of more expensive oils like olive. Mix with other saturated fats to speed up saponification. Use as a base oil up to 50%.

Castor Oil is often used to superfat. It attracts and holds moisture in the skin. Use it in combination with other vegetable oils to produce a nice hard bar of soap. You can add a bit at trace for superfatting or add it to other oils at a rate of no more than 30% in the beginning of the soap making process.

Cocoa butter is used to make soaps harder. When used in soap as a superfatting oil it acts to lay down a protective layer that holds the moisture to the skin, so it is an excellent skin softener. It has a natural chocolate scent but it is also available in unscented versions. You can use about 1 ounce to a pound at trace, or as much as 15% of your total base oils, de-pending on your preference.

Coconut Oil makes soaps lather beautifully but can be drying when it makes up a large portion of your soaps’ fats. It will make a very hard, white bar of soap with abundant lather. It even lathers in very hard
water, even seawater). Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Use it at a percentage of no more than 20-30% in your base oils.

Grapeseed Oil is a lightweight oil that absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving a heavy greasy feeling. Used in soaps as a superfatting oil. Use one ounce per pound at trace.

Hazelnut Oil is an excellent moisturizer for soaps. It is low in saturated fatty acids, so use other more saturated fats to lessen your trace time and yield a harder bar. Recommended maximum usage – 20% of total oils.

Jojoba helps to promote a stable lather and is good at conditioning skin. Because of its expense, it is usu-ally used to superfat soap batches or in shampoo bars. It is an excellent emollient for skin conditions like psoriasis, because it has a chemical composition very close to the skin’s own sebum. It is suitable for all skin types, beneficial for spotty and acne conditions, and good for sensitive and oily skin. When using Jojoba in soap, limit its usage to one or two ounces per pound at trace. Jojoba naturally accelerates tracing in soap recipes. Used as a Superfatting oil.

Kukui Nut Oil is native to Hawaii and is high in linoleic acid. It is quickly absorbed into the skin. Ex-cellent for skin conditioning after sun exposure, as well as for acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It offers just the right amount of lubrication without leaving a greasy feeling. For soap making, use 2 tablespoons added to 5 lbs of soap at trace just before incorporat-ing the essential oils to add richness to the soap.

Lard is made from pig fat much like bacon fat. Its advantages are that it is cheap, easily obtainable, and makes a nice lathery, white bar of soap. This fat should be combined with vegetable oils such as coco-nut or palm to compensate for the lard’s shortcomings. Without other oils, it can tend to be soft and not work very well in cold water. Use it as a base oil. Recommended at 70% maximum of total oils.

Macadamia is a luxurious and slightly expensive oil, best used for superfatting. It has a long shelf life so it can be purchased in quantity for a good price. Use 1 ounce per pound at trace.

Mango butter is extracted from the mango fruit. It is a yellowish oil and has almost no scent. It is a great moisturizer and should be used to superfat batches. Can be used at up to 15% of base or as a su-perfatting agent at 5% at trace.

Olive Oil is excellent as a base oil in soaps, either in whole (Castile soap) or in part. Avoid extra virgin olive oil. It is great for cooking but not for soap mak-ing. The lower the grades are best. If you are making an especially mild soap or baby soap, use Olive oil. Use as a base oil up to 100%

Palm Oil makes a hard bar that cleans well and is also mild. It is a good substitute for tallow in all-vegetable soaps. The quality of Palm oil is far superior to other vegetable oils that are filler oils. Palm oil is universal and used in many expensive luxury soaps. Use is as a Base oil at 20 – 30%.

Palm Kernel Oil makes a soap that is very hard and lathers well. It has most of the same qualities as palm oil. Use it as a Base oil at 20-30%

Safflower Oil is an unsaturated oil and should be used in combination with palm, coconut, or a similar oil. It is valuable for its moisturizing properties. Use it as Base oil up to 60%. 20% of total is more highly recommended.

Shea butter is a wonderful superfatting agent and contains a large percentage of ingredients that do not react with the lye thus remaining in the soap to nour-ish your skin. Use it with your base at up to 20% of your total oils or as a superfatting agent at 1 2/3 ta-blespoons per 5 pounds of oils added at trace.

Vegetable shortening is normally made out of soybean oil. It is cheap, readily available and produces a mild, stable lather. Use it in combination with other exotic or moisturizing oils. Use this as half of your fats to keep costs down. It is a good filler. It makes a very hard white bar when used alone or when mixed with other oils. Use vegetable shortening as a base oil or combine it with other, harder oils for better results. Recommend use as base up to 50% of total oils.

Sunflower Oil is a less expensive alternative to olive oil. It contains Vitamin E, so it naturally resists going rancid (Vitamin E is a preservative). Try to avoid using more than about 15-20% sunflower oil. It can make your soaps take longer to trace and to harden. Use as a Base oil up to 20%