Don't Miss these Safety Tips and Recipes to Make Olive Oil Soaps

Olive Oil Soap Recipe
Olive oil soaps are great for cleansing and moisturizing the skin. Unlike some commercial soaps, they are gentler on the skin. In this HobbyZeal article, you will find some simple homemade olive oil soap recipes.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Olive oil soaps are great for anyone trying to cut down the use of harsh chemicals on their skin. Commercial soaps contain a great many chemicals that can make the skin dry by removing the essential moisture from it. Olive oil soaps on the other hand, are quite gentle and mild. Homemade soap with olive oil as its main ingredient is usually hard but produces a creamy and mild lather that cleanses the skin effectively without causing dryness.
Recipes for Olive Oil Soap
Recipe #1
The main ingredients of this easy recipe are:
Pure olive oil
Lye (potassium or sodium hydroxide) crystals
The Method: First, pour water in a mixing bowl or heat-proof container, and slowly add the lye crystals to it. While adding the lye crystals, be sure to keep stirring the mixture, so that the crystals are completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool down. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan on a low flame till it reaches a temperature of 98° to 100°F.
Wait for the temperature of the lye solution and the oil to become equal. After that, pour the lye solution slowly into the oil, and keep stirring the mixture while doing so. Do not combine when the temperatures are still high, as it may cause the mixture to erupt. You could use a stick or immersion blender to achieve a faster thickening of the mixture. When it becomes thick, pour it into the soap mold, and cover it with a lid or parchment paper. Cover the mold with a blanket to keep the mixture warm. Let the mixture remain undisturbed for about 18 hours, after which you may remove the blanket. Wait for a few more hours before removing the soap from the mold. Then cut it into different shapes. Now, keep the soap bars in a cool and well-ventilated area for some weeks before using them. For a castile soap (80-100% olive oil) to fully cure, it can take almost one year.
Recipe #2
The basic ingredients of this recipe are:
Olive oil
Palm oil and coconut oil
The Method: The basic procedure for making the soap is the same as described above. First, you need to add lye crystals to the water, and keep stirring the solution until the lye is completely dissolved in water. The next step is to heat olive oil and other ingredients of the recipe, till the mixture attains a temperature of 98° to 100°F. The subsequent steps of making the soap are the same as described in the first recipe.
Things To Know
✦ The recipes here give you an idea of the overall procedure for making olive oil soap. The first recipe uses only olive oil while the second one uses a blend of other oils. To determine the quantities of these soap ingredients, first decide the amounts of olive oil and other oils (if you choose to use any). Then use a lye calculator which takes the oil quantities as inputs and calculates the correct lye quantity for you. The water required would usually be double the quantity of lye.
✦ As the proportions of ingredients are crucial to the soap's quality, it is only right to measure them in ounces or grams. Also, authentic lye calculators would generally ask you to enter amounts in these units only.
✦ You need to be very careful about the proportion of lye, as only the right amount of this ingredient can give you a good-quality soap. Moreover, unusually higher amounts of lye in soap can burn the skin.
✦ Castile may not give a rich lather initially. But if the curing time was long enough, the lather will be richer as also the soap's quality.
✦ During the process of curing, water evaporates. A cured soap has a firm texture and it lasts longer.
Safety Measures
✦ For mixing lye and water, strictly use a plastic or metallic container. Do NOT use a glass bowl as the heat generated while mixing lye and water can damage the glass. Also, do NOT use an aluminum container as sodium hydroxide reacts with this metal producing hydrogen gas. Similarly, potassium hydroxide may react with magnesium, zinc (galvanized), tin, chromium, brass, and bronze. So, if using caustic potash, containers made of these metals should also be avoided.
✦ Lye, if not handled rightly can prove to be very dangerous. Hence, while handling lye, wear hand gloves, protect your eyes with goggles, and wear clothes and shoes such that your skin is not exposed to lye.
✦ The containers or any other equipment used when handling lye should not be used to store or eat food.
✦ The soap-making process should be conducted in a well-ventilated area.
Olive Oil Soap Without Lye
It is not possible to make fat-based soap without lye, as lye is the component that reacts with fats or oil to produce soap. Without lye, the soap cannot harden. If you do not want to use lye crystals for making your olive oil soap, then use the melt and pour soap base. Melt and pour soap bases are usually made from glycerin. To make soap without lye crystals, you will need:
¾ cup melt and pour soap base (olive oil, glycerin, or coconut oil base)
6 teaspoons olive oil
10 to 15 drops essential oil for fragrance (optional)
Dried flower petals or herbs (optional)
The Method: First, melt the soap base in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. Be sure to use a microwave-safe bowl for melting the soap base. Stir the melted soap from time to time, and make sure that you do not overheat the mixture.
When the soap base has melted completely, add olive oil, essential oil, and other ingredients that you want to use, and stir the mixture gently. Now, pour the mixture into the soap mold. Let the mixture cool and harden, after which you can remove it from the mold and cut it into different shapes of your choice.
Benefits of Using Olive Oil Soap
Traditionally, olive oil soap is made only by using pure olive oil with lye and water, which is known as castile soap. Castile is a natural soap excellent for dry skin. It is so mild that even people with a sensitive skin can use it. Along with olive oil, you can include several other ingredients, like palm oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and avocado oil for your homemade castile soap. All these ingredients are known for their moisturizing properties.
Olive oil, as well as coconut oil, jojoba oil, and cocoa butter can moisturize the skin from deep within to make it soft and supple. Olive oil can also nourish the skin for its vitamin E content. It contains a substance, known as 'squalene', which enhances skin regeneration and the moisture-retaining ability of the skin.
Making your own soap can be a really rewarding experience. The basic recipe is simple, as there are only three main ingredients - olive oil, lye (potassium or sodium hydroxide), and water. Soap is formed as a result of a process known as saponification, where lye reacts with oil or fat. Lye is however a very dangerous chemical, which needs to be handled carefully.