Carrier Oils Used for Cold Process Soap

Carrier Oils Used for Cold Process Soap

What are carrier oils?


Carrier oils refer to any oils that are made from fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. They are typically referred to as Carrier Oils Or Base Oils in cold process soap making. These carrier oils contain essential fatty acids. This is the reason why they are very beneficial for health, and and why they have many uses. Most carrier oils are also used in cooking, healing and medicine, hair care, skin care, body care, beauty products and cleansing products. One of the most important parts of cold process soap making is the oils and butters that are used to make up the soap. The oils you add affect all of the factors of the soap produced, including the moisturizing properties, the hardness of the soap, as well as the lather and bubbles it products. You can think of the oils you use for your soap as the foundation of a building. This base should be able to support all of the other ingredients used for your soap.


Most common carrier oils used in organic cold process soap making


Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is very lightweight compared to other oils, and has a high rate of linoleic as well as oleic acid. The benefits of this oil is that the skin easily absorbs it, which is the reason why it is also commonly used for massage oils. Using over 20% of this oil in your soap batch would make it soft. It is used in soap for its conditioning properties, sometimes complementing coconut oil. It produces small bubbles and lather. The shelf life for apricot kernel oil is around one year.


Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is extracted from avocados, as the name suggests. Avocado oil is commonly used for hair care and skin care, which is why it is so popular in soap making. It contains a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins E, A, B and D, which contribute to smoothing the skin. It is also used to fight against skin inflammation, itchy and dry skin, acne, and anti-aging. Avocado oil is also able to penetrate deeply into your skin, as opposed to other oils. Therefore, you can see results very quickly after using it on your skin. It keeps the skin soft and moisturized. It is also a natural humectant that enables your skin to remain hydrated. Finally, it acts as a great cleanser, keeping the skin clean and fresh. The shelf life of avocado oil is typically one year. It should be used at less than 20% in soapmaking.


Canola Oil

Canola oil is extracted from the seeds of the Canola plant, which belongs to the Brassica family.Canola oil, other than for cooking, can also be used as part of the ingredients in soapmaking. It is often used because it is an inexpensive alternative to the more expensive olive oil. It has a light color, which makes it suitable for soap the more colorful soap batches. It can be used as a replacement for about 50% of olive oil, and also contains properties that help to treat dry skin and skin infections. It has a shelf life of up to two years.


Castor Oil

Castor oil is extracted from Castor Beans. It is a thick oil with a unique smell. This oil is a natural humectant, which holds on to water to maintain moisturized and hydrated skin. It is commonly used at around 2 to 5% in soap making, as using more than this may result in soft soap. It produces a thick lather and large bubbles, which is why it is an important part of the carrier oils used in soap making. Its shelf life is up to five years.


Cocoa Butter

Cocoa Butter is extracted from cocoa beans of South America, and is also used in soap making at about 20% or less. It is used for its super-moisturizing properties. It is not as common as shea butter or coconut oil, since it has a strong smell which may override other scents used for soap. Cocoa butter is a very healthy fat, and is commonly used for dry and sensitive skin. Its shelf life is up to two years.


Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most common ingredients in soap making. It is typically used at about 20 to 25% of the carrier oils in your soap. It has a very low melting point, and may become solid below this temperature. It either comes with a melting point of 72°F or 92°F. The more common is 72°F in soapmaking. It acts as a very good cleanser, and produces a lather with large bubbles. It helps to retains the skin’s moisture and hydration. It also helps to battle aging, dry skin, and repairs the skin, leaving it glowing and radiant. It has a shelf life of about one to two years.


Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, and is used at less than 20% of your carrier oils in soap making. It has a light green color, and is rich with antioxidants that leave the skin soft and hydrated. It is easily absorbed into the skin, which is why it is commonly used. It is great for treating acne and pimples, saggy skin and wrinkles, dry skin and aging. The only problem is that it has a shelf life of about six months at room temperature.


Hempseed Oil

It is extracted from the seeds of hemp plants, and has a good reputation for providing numerous skin benefits. Hempseed oil is commonly used at less than 20% of your total carrier oils. It is especially effective for skin rashes, pimples and acne, and is a good moisturizer and cleanser. In soap making, it is know to provide a thick lather. It has a shelf life of up to two years.


Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax, extracted from the jojoba plant. It is used for producing a hard, long-lasting bar. This oil complements palm oil or tallow, to harden up your soap. It is used at about less than 10% of your total carrier oils, since it may have an impact on the lather properties of your soap. It does not have a shelf life.


Olive Oil

This is one of the most common types of carrier oils used for making organic soap. It is used for its conditioning and moisturizing properties, and produces a very creamy lather with small bubbles. It can be used as the sole carrier oil in soap to make castile soap. Castile soap is used for those with very sensitive skin, and for babies, attributable to its gentle and moisturizing properties. Using it at over 50%, however, produces a very soft, slimy bar of soap with small bubbles, which will not last very long if used daily. It is typically used at about 30 to 40% of your carrier oils. Any of Pure, Pomace, or Extra Virgin olive oils can be used. The latter contains the most beneficial properties, but is the most expensive. It has a shelf life of up to two years.


Palm Oil

Palm oil or palm kernel oil is used to allow for a harder, long-lasting bar. It is commonly used at 30 to 40% of your carrier oils. Since there is a debate about palm oil and the environmental problems and deforestation it comes with, some people prefer to use beef tallow as an alternative to palm oil for the hardening agent in soap. Using tallow poses a problem for vegans. This is based on personal preference, but using certified sustainable palm oil is another solution. The shelf life for palm oil is up to two years.


Rice Bran Oil

Rice bran oil is extracted from rice grains, and is an inexpensive oil that can be used to replace a part of the olive oil used in your recipe. It is used at about less than 20% of your carrier oils, and is common for its antioxidant properties, and for treating dry skin. Its shelf life is up to two years.


Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds, and is known to be more expensive than typical carrier oils. It is a lightweight oil with a light color. It is rich in antioxidants to detoxify your skin, and in anti-inflammation properties. It also contains a great amount of healthy fatty acids, as well as moisturizing properties. It is used at less than 10% of your carrier oils, and has a shelf life of about a year.


Shea Butter

Shea butter is extracted from the Shea Tree in Africa. This is referred to as a butter and not as an oil because it is solid at room temperature. It is commonly used in body lotions and skin care products due to its ultra moisturizing properties and health benefits for the skin. Unrefined has a distinct smell, and is more beneficial than its refined counterpart. It is used at about less than 10% of your carrier oils in soap making. It comes with an endless amount of skin benefits, including softening, moisturizing and hydrating the skin. It has a shelf life of about one year.


Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is very rich in healthy fatty acids, and is know to have a high amount of vitamin E. It is an inexpensive oil that can be used to replace a part of the olive oil used in your soap recipe. Sunflower oil is known to be moisturizing and conditioning for the skin. It is used at about 20% of your carrier oils. The problem is that it has a shelf life of only three months, and therefore canola oil may be used as an alternative to this.


Sweet Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil, or just almond oil, is more expensive compared to other oils. It is lightweight and is easily absorbed by the skin. It comes with a wide range of skin loving properties to maintain healthy moisturized and radiant, and is rich in healthy fatty acids. It is very common in massage oils and body oils, as well as in soap. It is typically used at less than 10%. Sweet almond oil has a shelf life of about one year.


Saponification Values for Carrier Oils


Saponification is the process whereby vegetable oils (or animal fat such as tallow) and sodium hydroxide (or lye, NaOH) are combined to form soap. Each oil has a certain saponification (SAP) value, or the amount of lye required to saponify one gram of oil or fat. Heavy oils have a higher SAP value for olive oil is 0.134, while for coconut oils it is 0.178. Therefore, it is crucial to determine the precise amount of lye required in order to successfully saponify your oils. This may be calculated based on the weight of each carrier oil you use in your recipe. A recipe with a high amount of coconut oil would require more lye, while a recipe with a high amount of olive oil would require less, since the SAP value of coconut oil is higher than that of olive oil. Lye calculators such as Soap Calc may be used for this. It is also good to superfat your recipe at 1 to 5%, to avoid producing a lye-heavy batch of soap, which may cause skin irritation.


What carrier oils do you use in your recipes?


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