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Shea Butter Recipes: Bar Soaps

Making bar soaps is an easy way to experiment with shea butter. With a wide range of recipes, it is easy to find one that suits your preferences. To eliminate air bubbles from the soap, lightly spritz each bar with rubbing alcohol.

Please note that some of these recipes call for lye. Lye is a caustic substance that allows cold press soaps to solidify. While lye is easy to use, it must be handled with care, as it can cause damage if it comes in contact with your eyes or skin. When handling lye, please remember to where gloves and protective eyewear. Additionally, any equipment (bowls, utensils) that comes into contact with lye must be neutralized with a mixture of vinegar, dish soap and water. Soaps containing lye generally need to cure for approximately 4 weeks before use.

Fir and Iced Lavandin Soap

As moisturizing as it is festive, this soap the perfect complement to the holiday season. Whether you make a batch to give as a homemade gift, or to keep for use around the house, you are sure to enjoy its beauty and light fragrance. To ensure precision, use your digital kitchen scale for proper measuring.

Ingredients:

  • 8.4 oz Coconut Oil
  • 4.2 oz Shea Butter
  • 2.8 oz Avocado Oil
  • 12.6 oz Olive Oil
  • 7 oz Distilled Water
  • 3.9 oz Lye*
  • 0.13 oz Fir Needle Essential Oil
  • 1.2 oz Lavandin Essential Oil
  • 0.28 oz Sodium Lactate
  • ¼ cup Lavender Buds

Instructions:

  1. In a double boiler, melt coconut oil and shea butter, stirring constantly
  2. Remove from heat and add avocado oil and olive oil
  3. In a separate bowl, add the lye to the water. (Caution: the outside of the bowl will become extremely hot) Stir well and let cool.
  4. Once the lye water has cooled, add the sodium lactate and stir well
  5. Once the lye water has reached room temperature, add it to the oils and blend with an immersion blender until it begins to set
  6. Stir in essential oils
  7. Pour the mixture into soap molds and sprinkle their tops with lavender buds
  8. Cover the molds with plastic wrap and allow the soaps to refrigerate overnight
  9. Once soaps are completely set, remove them from their molds. Allow them to cure for 4 weeks before use.

*Any equipment that the lye comes into contact with needs to be neutralized with a mixture of vinegar, soap and water.

Grapefruit and Lavender Soap

Calm your senses with this aromatic blend of grapefruit and lavender.

This recipe will yield 4 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Shea Butter
  • Zest of 1 Grapefruit
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lavender
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Flakes
  • 15-20 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the shea butter
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the grapefruit zest and lavender
  3. Once the shea butter is completely melted, remove it from heat and stir the dry mixture into the melted shea butter, ensuring that the mixture is well-incorporated
  4. Stir in the essential oil
  5. Distribute the mixture among four soap molds and allow them to cool in the refrigerator
  6. Individually wrap the soap bars in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container

Lemon Poppy Seed Soap

With a clean and refreshing scent, this is the perfect kitchen bar soap.

This recipe yields 4 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Shea Butter
  • 8-12 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 4 drops Yellow Soap Colorant
  • 1 tsp Poppy Seeds

Instructions:

  1. Melt the shea butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly
  2. Add the lemon essential oil, yellow soap colorant and poppy seeds to the shea butter, stirring until fully incorporated
  3. Distribute the mixture among the soap molds
  4. Refrigerate until set
  5. Once the soaps have set, remove them from their molds, wrap them individually in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container

Mint Coconut Soap

This recipe will yield 4 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the shea butter
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the coconut flakes and chopped sage leaves
  3. Once the shea butter has completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the dry mixture
  4. Stir in the essential oil
  5. Distribute the mixture among 4 soap molds and allow them to cool in the refrigerator
  6. Individually wrap the soap bars in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container

soap with stonesChocolate Mint Soap

Not only is it a delicious ice cream flavor, but it makes for delicious-smelling soap, too!

This recipe will yield between 6 and 8 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Shea Butter
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder, plus additional cocoa powder to sprinkle
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Mint, chopped
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Instructions:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the shea butter
  2. Once the shea butter has completely melted, remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients
  3. Pour the mixture into soap molds and sprinkle cocoa powder on top
  4. Allow the soaps to cool and solidify in the refrigerator
  5. Once the soap bars have hardened, remove them from their molds, wrap them individually in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container

Oatmeal and Honey Soap

Soothe, exfoliate and moisturize sensitive skin with this lightly fragranced bar soap. Note: To give the soap a smooth appearance, add all of the oatmeal before pouring the soap into the molds.

This recipe makes 4 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Shea Butter
  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp Buttermilk Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essential Oil
  • 1 tbsp Hot Water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your soap molds by lightly spraying them with vegetable spray
  2. Using a food processor or large knife, chop the oatmeal flakes until they are half their original size
  3. Sprinkle 1 tsp of oatmeal into the bottom of each soap mold (see note)
  4. Melt the shea butter in a double broiler, covering with a lid
  5. Meanwhile, mix the buttermilk powder with the hot water. If necessary, strain the mixture to remove clumps
  6. Once the shea butter has melted completely, gently incorporate the buttermilk mixture
  7. Stir in the remaining oatmeal, ensuring that it is evenly distributed
  8. Stir in the essential oil
  9. To easily pour the soap, transfer the mixture to a glass measuring cup
  10. Carefully distribute the soap mixture among the molds
  11. Allow the soap bars to cool completely in the refrigerator
  12. Once cooled and completely hardened, remove the soaps from their molds, wrap in wax paper, and store at room temperature

Shea Butter and Coconut Milk Soap

This luxurious soap provides sensitive skin with a rich, creamy lather that will leave you moisturized and refreshed. This recipe yields 10-12 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup Shea Butter
  • ¾ cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp Castor Oil
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp Distilled Water
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup Lye*
  • 1 tsp Calendula Petals, finely ground

Instructions:

  1. In a double boiler, melt and combine the shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil
  2. Meanwhile, put the water into a large bowl and slowly incorporate the lye (Caution: the outside of the bowl will become extremely hot)
  3. Once the shea butter mixture has melted, slowly pour in the coconut milk
  4. Slowly pour the lye mixture into the soap base
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients for 3-5 minutes
  6. Pour ¾ of the soap mixture into the soap mold
  7. Spread the calendula petals on top of the poured soap mixture
  8. Pour the remaining soap mixture into the mold and use a knife to swirl the soap into a marble pattern
  9. Allow the soap to cool in the refrigerator overnight
  10. Once the soap has completely set, remove from the mold and wrap in wax paper. Store at room temperature and allow the soap to cure for 4 weeks before use.

*Any equipment that the lye comes into contact with needs to be neutralized with a mixture of vinegar, soap and water.

Sweet Almond Poppy Seed Soap

Cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize your hands with this lightly-fragranced, easily-made bar soap. Plastic and silicone soap molds are easily found and craft stores.

This recipe yields 4 bars of soap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Shea Butter
  • 8-12 drops Almond Essential Oil
  • 1 tsp Poppy Seeds

Instructions:

  1. Melt the shea butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly
  2. Add the almond essential oil and poppy seeds to the shea butter, stirring until fully incorporated
  3. Distribute the mixture among the soap molds
  4. Refrigerate until set

Once the soaps have set, remove them from their molds, wrap them individually in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container

Traditional African Black Soap

This malleable, rough-looking soap is handmade by several West African tribes. Also known as Alata Simena, Ose Dudu and Anago Soap, it has been used for hundreds of years to treat skin conditions such as acne, blemishes, eczema and rashes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping cup Shea Butter
  • 1/3 cup Palm Kernel Oil
  • 1/3 cup Palm Oil
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tsp Lye Powder (NaOH)*
  • ¾ cup Water
  • 2 tsp 100% Pure African Black Soap, powder form

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the shea butter, palm kernel oil, palm oil and coconut oil, stirring over a low heat until the mixture is completely melted and well-incorporated
  2. Combine the lye powder and water, stirring until completely dissolved (Caution: the outside of the bowl will become extremely hot)
  3. Pour the lye water into the butter and oil mixture and stir
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until it is uniform in color and texture; about 2 minutes
  5. Add the African black soap to the mixture, using an immersion blender to fully incorporate
  6. Pour the mixture into a large soap mold and allow it to refrigerate until it has solidified
  7. Once the soap has set, remove it from its mold, cut it into slices, individually wrap each slice in wax paper, and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Allow the soap to cure for 4 weeks before use.

*Any equipment that the lye comes into contact with needs to be neutralized with a mixture of vinegar, soap and water.

 

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