My soaping adventure has taken me through a number of different experiments with soap, but till date one of my favourites is to make pure Coconut soap. In this post I will go through three different recipes of pure Coconut soap, using the same method (cold process), but creating soap bars for three different uses:
- As a Shampoo bar
- As a Face & Body bar
- As a Clothes Washing bar (for hand wash and machine wash)
If you are new to soap making, you can start by reading How to make natural soap to understand the basics of Cold Process soap making and Coloring soap naturally to learn how you use natural colourants in soap.
Why Coconut Soap?
I originally started making Coconut Soap because I was struggling to find a combination of oils in my soaps, that reached my four criteria 1) they should be Indian sourced 2) They should be Organic 3) They shouldn’t be too expensive 4) They should make a hard, cleansing and moisturising bar of soap. Three oils in particular are known to make very hard, balanced and moisturising soap bars – namely Olive oil, Palm oil and Coconut oil. Since Olive oil can’t be sourced from India, and Palm oil isn’t available from Organic and sustainable sources, I was left to find other alternatives. Even though I found many different combinations, I couldn’t really get the soap bars as hard as I wanted them, without doubling the price of my materials. Then one day I came across a post on making pure Coconut soap bars, something I had never even thought about. Today I have probably made more pure Coconut soap, than of other recipes, and I’ve found a number of up benefits and a few downsides to it:
- It makes a super hard bar of soap that doesn’t get soft after use
- It has great thick creamy lather
- It is super cleansing and moisturising (if superfatted properly)
- Its versatile – can be used for hair, body and clothes
- It has a beautiful white colour if no colour is added, and gets a very rustic look if it is added
- Its naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial
- Its relatively cost effective since Coconut oil is a medium priced oil (here in India)
- It does have a very rustic look, and leaves a white coating on top of the soap that hides the colorant used – and is thereby not very suitable for making soaps with colours, patterns and swirls
- It does disappear relatively fast, maybe because of its great lathering
All in all I think the upsides outweigh the downsides.
3 Coconut soaps – for hair, body and clothes
Because Coconut Soap is very cleansing, making a bar without superfatting it will make it very drying. Though by controlling the superfat % you can also modify it to serve the purpose you have in mind.
Superfat is the amount of oil left in the soap that isn’t saponified. It’s calculated in percentage, and will in most soaps vary from 5 to 7 percentage.
0% Superfat for a Clothes Washing bar
Pure Coconut soap without any superfat makes the perfect clothes washing bar, because it is very cleansing. Make your soap like you normally would, with or without essential oils. You can cut them as bars to use for hand washing, or follow this Washing powder recipe for Machine wash:
What you need:
- A bar of Coconut soap
- 1/2 Washing Soda
- Essential oil of choice (apply by drops until it smells like you want it to
How to make it:
- Shred the Coconut soap with a normal kitchen shredder
- Mix the soap shreds with the Washing Soda
- Drop your essential oils until it has the desired smell
- Optional: mix with a few power turns in a mixer grinder.
10% Superfat for Shampoo bar (12% for dry hair)
Coconut soap makes for a great shampoo bar because it lathers a lot, giving you the same feeling as using regular shampoo. When making you’re recipe superfat by 10% for normal hair, and 12% if you’re hair is dry. Make your soap like you normally would and add your favourite essential oils to leave your hair smelling fantastic. You can also add softening or cleansing powders such as Amla, Shikakai, Soapnut or Arappu. Make sure to cure the bars (leave them to rest) for minimum 6 weeks after making them. Only use additives that will help soften or clean the hair – such as Soap nut, Amla, Hibiscus, Shikakai etc.
20% Superfat for a Face and body bar
For face and body you need some extra moisturising to make sure it doesn’t dry out the skin. Superfat by 20% and otherwise customise the soap according to your wishes. There’s is mostly not much difference between a face and a body bar, unless you’re trying to solve an issue you’re having on a specific part of your body – like acne, dryness etc. When superfatted this much it will take the soap a little longer to harden in the mould, but since Coconut already hardens pretty fast it won’t take very long (1 day max).
I hope this was useful. Do let me know if you give it a try, or have more know more ways of making or using Coconut soap.