Our Favorite Oils

Coconut Oil 76

A staple among soap makers, coconut oil is included in almost all recipes. CO makes a hard white bar of soap that produces lots of big bubbles. Rarely do soap makers use more than 20% CO because its cleaning properties will strip skin of oils and leave it dry unless other moisturizing oils are used to balance the recipe.

Olive Oil

Many natural soap bars contain Olive Oil as a base ingredient due to its deeply moisturizing and nourishing properties. Pure olive oil soap, otherwise known as Castile, is considered to be one of the best treatments for dry skin as its moisturizing properties help to soften the skin texture, hold moisture and nourish it without interfering with natural skin function.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is another staple among soapers due to its contribution to a hard bar and dense, creamy lather. Lard and tallow make for good substitutes for those opposed to palm oil. If you are opposed to palm and lard, you are missing out on two of the best soap-making ingredients, but we can customize to your needs.


Many soapers, including me, love using lard for soap making to add a creamy lather, conditioning properties and some hardness to the finished product. Some people will avoid products if they see that lard is used, or any other animal fat. However, don’t underestimate how good lard is in making an excellent bar of soap! And it’s great to be using something that would otherwise be discarded.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is used in most recipes by experienced soapers, although usually in small quantity to stabilize lather created by other oils. Castor oil helps attract and retain skin moisture.


Essential Depot is a good supplier for soap-making oils, essential oils, fragrance oils and equipment. They have the best prices on Shea Butter that I have found.  Their website is here which is an affiliate link for us. Your purchases help support Mission of Soap!

Make sure to join their Greener Life Club for discounts and freebies!

Our Favorite Butters and Waxes

Shea Butter

One of my “go to” butters and fabulous for superfatting soaps to add moisture and nourish the skin. High in unsaponifiables, therefore leaving lots of skin conditioning emollients in a soap. Average usage is 2 – 10% of a total recipe.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is unique in that, unlike most other vegetable oils, it closely resembles sebum, a waxy substance produced by our skin glands, so it can act as a natural skin conditioner. Also, being a wax, it does not have as much of a greasy feel as oils.


Beeswax is often added to soap recipes to make the finished soap harder, last longer and a bit more moisturizing. It typically is never more than 2% of a soap recipe. Our beeswax is harvested locally in Charlotte, NC.


Lanolin is a fat-like substance obtained from sheep’s wool, although it is actually a wax. Known to be effective in softening dry, cracked, chapped skin. It is easily absorbed and lays down a protective barrier therefore holding moisture in. Average usage is never more than 1-2% of total oils.


Sodium Lactate

Sodium lactate is a natural humectant, moisturizer and pH regulator. In cold process soaps, up to 1/2 ounce ism used per lb of fats to harden the finished bar and aid in releasing the soap from its mold.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E oil is found in many creams and lotions, most commonly in sunscreens, anti-aging moisturizers and skin brighteners. Vitamin E is both a nutrient and antioxidant, and the oil in its purest form is extremely versatile. Known as tocopherol, it has a light brown/reddish hue and can be found in many skincare products.

Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide is added to creams and lotions for sun protection. It is the best broad spectrum UVA and UVB reflector approved for use as a sunscreen by the Food and Drug Administration. This is because zinc oxide does not absorb into the skin (non-nano variety) when applied with a lotion. Instead it sits on top of the skin and reflects both UVA and UVB light. Because it isn’t absorbed into the skin, it doesn’t irritate or cause allergic reactions.

Goat’s Milk (powdered)

Goat’s Milk is high in protein and triglyceride making it an excellent all natural moisturizer. Goat’s Milk also contains vitamin A, B6, B12 and E as well as beta-casein which are all known to help hydrate and nourish your skin. It is also an all natural emollient.


Honey adds to the lather, giving you a nice bubbly soap bar.


Whether it’s sea salt or ordinary table salt, this makes an excellent addition to soap. Salt is a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin and it makes the skin silky smooth.  Salt also creates a harder bar, although it does suppress lather.  Coconut oil soap made with 30-50% salt is a favorite of ours.


Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a light green clay, it is highly absorbent and good for oily skin. It gives a slippery silkiness which makes it good in shaving soaps.

French Green Clay

French Green Clay, also known as Montmorillonite or Illite Clay is considered by many as a healing clay widely used for its skin healing properties. When applied to the skin, it essentially absorbs toxins and poisons that get trapped in the skin.

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin clay is a mild, white, fluffy clay. It’s good for light masks or scrubs and gives a silkiness and creaminess to soaps. It’s also thought to aid in scent retention for fragrances.



Oxides and ultramarines are pigments. Pigments are not natural. They are manufactured in labs and have been since the 1970s. Pigments (oxides and ultramarines) used to be mined but the FDA stepped in and demanded some purity as these minerals were full of toxins such as arsenic, mercury and lead to name a few. Since then, these colorants have been manufactured in a lab – same molecular structure just a different way of processing. so the “natural” stuff in this case is NOT preferred!


Micas are actually natural organic products in the earth, however, cosmetic grade micas are not. Natural mica is an extremely expensive silicate mineral of crystalline structure that is easily broken into sheet-like flecks, however, the cost to mine it is outrageous and the natural mica has been reserved for the electronics and electrical industry. Cosmetic grade micas are synthetically produced in a lab, like pigments, and have been since the 1960s. Cosmetic grade micas are the same stuff you see in your lipstick, eye shadow and blush or other mineral makeup.


Our favorite supplier for pigments and micas is Mad Oils. Great people that support our mission and they always give you a surprise gift with orders! Their website is here and FaceBook page here.

Our Favorite Essential Oils

Lavender 40/42

Lavender 40/42 essential oil is the most common choice for applications in glycerin soap, candles, perfume, and cosmetics. The “40/42” refers to the balance of Linalool and Linalyl acetate esters, which is what gives it such a consistent floral scent but also means it is standardized.


Lemongrass Essential Oil has a fresh earthy, citrus scent.

Orange 5 Fold

Orange Five Fold Essential Oil has a sweet, citrus smell much like the orange peels it is derived from, only more intense and concentrated.


Patchouli has a warm, earthy aroma with fresh fruit – like tones.


Peppermint Japanese Essential Oil has a sharp, penetrating mint scent based on its high menthol content.

Tea Tree

Tee Tree Essential Oil has a fresh, antiseptic and medicinal scent. It also has characteristic mint and spice backnotes.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil has an intensely sweet, soft floral-balsamic, slightly spicy scent. There is a creamy rich top-note.

Fragrance Oils

Unlike essential oils, fragrance oils are synthetic and made in the lab. Their benefits are that they can be made specifically for soaps, have less tendency to fade over time and come in unlimited varieties.