Neem, Ghee and Coconut butter (the last 3 soaps I made)

I’ve reached a point in my soaping adventure, where I always try to add something new to my creations, just to keep things interesting. Honestly it isn’t that hard to find new things to add to soap, or new ways of making it – because the possibilities are really endless. I’ve recently been fascinated with Calendula flower in soap and using atypical oils and fats. I thought it would be fun to make a post with the last three soaps I made, for some inspiration!

If you are not familiar with the soap making process you can start by reading How to make natural soapHow to form a soap recipe & Coloring soap naturally to get started.

Neem soap for troubled skin

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Neem oil is known for it’s ability to treat and soothe troubled skin, such as acne, eczema and other skin irritations. I’ve had a complicated relationship with Neem oil in soap making, because it somehow always seems to go wrong when I use it in over 10% of my total oils. Originally I wanted to use Neem oil in higher quantities because it makes a super hard bar, and is a relatively cheap oil. That, besides it’s amazing properties. I was re-inspired to give it another try, after reading another soaper that used it over 20%. So I gave it a try with hot process – and voila, it worked. Therefore I conclude Neem soap should be made by hot process, since it’s more unlikely it will go wrong. The soap batter did actually separate (water and oil seemed to separate, which has often happened to me in the mould when making it by cold process), but after cooking it for half an hour it became the right consistency. Now, Neem does smell quite strong, so I didn’t even gonna try to make it smell great. I just want to make a soap bar for my troubled skin, for which I added Tea Tree oil – one of the most commonly used essential oils, to help treat acne. The recipe was the following:

  • 27% Coconut oil
  • 27% Olive oil (I had some organic olive from Denmark)
  • 19% Neem
  • 9% Castor oil
  • 9% Sesame oil
  • 9% Mango butter

Alternatively: Exchange sesame and mango butter for olive oil – 

Superfat: 7%

Additives: Calendula water (I boiled dried calendula in water for 20 min, and used it for liquid) and Tea Tree essential oil.

Method: Hot process

Ghee soap for dry and irritated skin

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This really happened by accident, because I didn’t have enough oil to complete my recipe and I was walking around my kitchen and then suddenly realised – Ghee is fat! Ended up loving the soap I made so much that I think I will definitely make it again. In this soap I also used Calendula infused Coconut oil, which gives a yellow hue to the soap as well as add soothing and calming properties of Calendula. Ghee is supposed to be a great moisturiser and I’ve heard of women here in India using it directly on the skin.

  • 30% Calendula infused Coconut oil (infused for 3 weeks)
  • 15% Mango butter
  • 10% Castor
  • 10% Sesame
  • 10% Neem
  • 15% Sunflower
  • 10% Ghee

Alternatively: exchange Mango butter, Sesame and Neem with Olive oil – 35%

Superfat: 7%

Additives: Calendula petals and Essential oils of choice

Method: cold or hot process (this one was hot process)

Coconut butter soap to add a little luxury

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I was in Rishikesh over Dussehra (Indian holiday), and found some Coconut butter. Seems it’s really not used much in soap because couldn’t find any soap calculator with the option of coconut butter. After asking on a soap making forum on Facebook, I decided to use the recommendation to put it in place of Cocoa butter. Though if you would like to give it a try,  SAP value for Coconut butter is between 225 to 235, and SAP value for NaOH is 0.164. You can calculate the recipe. To keep the amount of hard oils up, I added 20% Kokum butter, but that could be substituted for Olive oil, or raise the Coconut oil to 37% and superfat 10-15%. Hot process does give the top a much more messy appearance, but I’ve decided to embrace it.

  • 17% Coconut oil
  • 13% Coconut butter
  • 10% Castor
  • 10% Sesame
  • 15% safflower
  • 15% Sunflower
  • 20% Kokum butter

Superfat: 7%

Additives: Calendula infused water and activated charcoal. Citronella, Bergamot and Sweet Orange essential oil.

Method: cold or hot process

I hope this inspired you for some new soap experiments. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or input.

//Louise

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6 thoughts on “Neem, Ghee and Coconut butter (the last 3 soaps I made)”

  1. Hello! Great soaps, I love the look of the black coconut butter soap!
    I was reading about Ghee in soap and some say it stinks because of the butyric acid. Did you have that experience with your 10% ghee in soap? Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much! No not at all. Hm. I often find that I rarely agree with majority of umbrella conclusions on a specific oil or method. I think you have to see everything as a whole. Which other oils are used? Do you add essential oils? Is it refined oils/fats or cold pressed? The Ghee soap turned out great I think! The calendula gives it a sweetish smell not everyone might like, but I loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool ! Thanks for your quick answer! So i will still try it in a small batch. My challenge is to do a local-ingredient shampoo bar ( And my local means Romania haha) . I wanted to avoid using lard, so ghee seemed good for the palmitic acid content. I’m still researching ingredients, will use sunflower oil, poppy seeds oil, hemp, grapeseed… unrefined, even though i imagine the choice of using unrefined oils with high linoleic acid content could lead to a shorter shelf life?

        The sunflower oil will have nettle and chamomile infused in it, the water will be walnut leaf infusion but no essential oils. Any other sugestions are highly welcomed!

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      2. Again something I know people say, that I have never experience – that shelf life is shortened with certain oils. I’ve had all kinds of soaps lying around for years without any issues. They do loose their scent, but that’s about it! Tell me a bit about what kind of oils you have around you? It will be hard to keep all the oils local, since coconut oil is quite essential in soap making. It is possible to make soap without it, but you will need other ‘hard oils’ – otherwise the soap will be very soft and sticky. Could be olive oil. Is there any butters around like kokum butter or otherwise?

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  2. Hello! I will use lard, in the end. And the ghee will be another of the “solids”, if there’ s a chance it won’t stink.

    The rest is high oleic sunflower oil, poppy seed oil, castor, hemp, maybe pumpkin seeds or safflower… anyway, high in linoleic. Poppy is 10 % palmitic according to soap calc so thats pretty high for a liquid oil haha 🙂

    Its a project i am making for somebody who insists on using only local oils. I’m gonna do my best.

    My older soaps are great aswell even after years, but I superfat with shea and almond oil alot, haven’t used the high in linoleic oils so much, i keep them for face oils and other un-saponified products 🙂 Anyway its gonna be a small batch so the lady won’t experience them getting too old 🙂

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