Oil Properties in the Soaps I use
If you ever wonder what a particular oil does in a soap, I've gathered information from different sources and listed them here. As I add more oils and butters to my soaps, I will list their properties here.
Almond Oil - produces stable lather and skin conditioning in handmade soaps. Contains vitamins and minerals. Widely used for soaps, lotion bars, and cosmetics. (Also called Sweet Almond Oil or SAO)
Apricot Kernel Oil - A light, moisturizing oil.
Canola Oil - Canola is also known as lear oil and comes from rapeseed, a member of the mustard family. It has actually been cultivated for over 4000 years and has become popular in the last decade or so for being low in saturated fats. Its oleic acid content is almost that of olive oil.
Castor Oil - acts as a humectant by attracting and retaining moisture to the skin. Also contributes lots of bubbles to soap - a "bubble booster.”
Cocoa Butter - made from the same bean as chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa butter is a byproduct of making chocolate. Contributes to a very hard bar.
Coconut Oil - Coconut is the only oil that will lather in *any* type of water - even seawater. Coconut oil adds lots of fluffy lather.
Grapeseed Oil - light oil commonly used in massage oil preparations. Can be used in soaps, lotions, creams, etc.
Olive Oil - an excellent oil to use in soap as it is a moisturizer that forms a "breathable" layer on the skin, preventing loss of internal moisture. Produces small, silky bubbles and contributes hardness to the bar. Olive oil was used for centuries to make traditional 100% "castile" soap.
Palm Oil - made from the pulp of the fruit from the palm tree. When used in a combination with other oils, it makes a very hard bar of soap. It is very mild and cleans well, but does not offer much in the way of skin conditioning. Its lather is small and stingy if not used with other soaping oils. Palm helps pull other stubborn oils into saponification faster. I use only sustainable palm oil.
Shea Butter - also known as the African karite butter. It is expressed from the pits of the fruit of the African butter tree which grows in Central Africa.