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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Ingredients for Handmade Soap Making

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Handmade soap making is an enjoyable and rewarding craft that allows you to create unique, personalized soaps tailored to your customer's preferences and choices. However, choosing the right ingredients for your handmade soap is crucial for achieving desirable results. This article will provide a detailed guide on selecting the right ingredients to ensure your homemade soap creations' quality, performance, and safety.

1. Soap Base

The soap base forms the primary structure of your soap and determines its characteristics, such as cleansing, lathering, and moisturizing properties. There are majorly two options available:

A) Melt and Pour Soap Base: This premade soap base is ideal for beginners and easy to use. It comes in various varieties, such as glycerine, shea butter, or goat milk. Melt and pour bases are ready to use; all you need to do is melt, customize, and pour them into molds. You can choose from various Vedanum high-quality ultra-premium melt and pour soap bases.

B) Cold Process Soap Base: This soap base is made from scratch using oils, lye, and water. It provides more control over the ingredients and allows you to customize the soap's properties. However, working with lye requires more time, skill, and safety.

2. Base Oils

The foundation of your soap recipe starts from the choice of base oils. Different oils bring varying properties and qualities to the soap, such as cleansing, conditioning, hardness, lather, and moisturizing abilities. Some readily available common base oils include olive, coconut, palm, castor, sweet almond, and shea butter.

A) Olive Oil: Known for its moisturizing and conditioning properties, olive oil produces a mild and gentle soap.

B) Coconut Oil: Pure virgin coconut oil contributes to a rich lather and adds hardness to the soap.

C) Palm Oil: This oil contributes to a firm soap bar and produces a stable lather.

D) Castor Oil: For creating a creamy lather, Castor oil is ideal and adds conditioning properties to the soap.

E) Sweet Almond Oil: Cold-pressed almond oil provides moisturizing benefits and gives the soap a silky feel.

Pro Tip: Coconut oil is best to use as base oil when selecting melt and pour soap base while preparing your handmade soap recipe.

3. Fragrances

Adding fragrance to your soap enhances the sensory experience and is also considered the most vital ingredient for handmade and homemade soap. Essential oils, derived from natural plant sources, and fragrance oils, usually blends, are commonly used to add fragrance. Organic essential oils offer a wide range of natural scents; however, fragrance oils extend a broader selection of aromas with high-quality fragrance notes that are skin-safe and compatible with soap making.

A) Essential Oils: Vedanum organic plant essential oils offer various natural scents derived from plants and plant derivatives. They can provide aromatherapy benefits and have varying usage rates depending on the strength of the smell.

B) Fragrance Oils: My Aroma by Vedanum fragrance oils provide multiple notes of luxurious scents, including complex and unique fragrances not found in nature. Choose only high-quality fragrance oils that are skin-safe and specifically formulated for soap making.

4. Colors and Additives

Colors and additives are essential ingredients for your soap to increase visual appeal and functionality. Natural colorants derived from clays, herbs, spices, and botanical extracts can provide subtle natural hues. Micas or liquid pigments formulated explicitly for soap making can add more vibrant colors depending on their usage.

Additives like sun-dried herbs, roots, oatmeal, honey, aloe vera gel, or silk fibers can benefit your soap, such as exfoliation, moisturizing, or soothing properties.

A) Natural Colorants: These colors are derived from a powdered natural substance. For example, spirulina or green tea powder creates a green color, cocoa powder adds a warm brown tone, and turmeric offers a vibrant yellow-orange shade.

B) Special Pigments: Pixels by Vedanum offer a wide range of micas and liquid pigments specifically formulated for soap-making to provide vibrant and stable shades. They come in a wide range of shades and can be used to achieve bold and eye-catching colors.

C) Additives: If you desire a unique texture or exfoliating properties in your soap, consider incorporating Vedanum sun-dried additives such as lavender buds, sandalwood powder, jasmine flowers, orange peels, ground coffee, or Himalayan pink salt. These additives can enhance the appearance and functionality of your soap, providing gentle exfoliation and a pleasing texture.

Pro Tip: Use Pixels by Vedanum liquid soap-making colors when choosing to melt and pour soap base for your soap-making project. These easy-to-dissolve non-toxic colors will add extra vibrancy to your recipe.

5. Lye and Water

Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is an essential ingredient in cold-process soap making. It is used in a development called saponification, which transforms oils into soap. It's crucial to handle lye with care, wear protective gear, and follow proper safety precautions. Ensure that you purchase 100% pure sodium hydroxide in crystal or bead form.

Water (aqua) is necessary for the saponification process. Use only distilled water to ensure that there are no impurities that could affect the soap's quality or longevity. Avoid using tap water, as it may contain minerals or chemicals that could interfere with the soap-making process.

6. Molds and Accessories

Soap molds are crucial for shaping and giving your soap its desired form. Silicon molds are widely used as they are readily available and cheaper than other mold types. There are various options in the market; let's explore some of them.

A) Silicone Molds: Most popular among soap makers due to their flexibility and ease of use, silicon molds come in various shapes and sizes, including bars, squares, rounds, and intricate designs. Silicone molds are long-lasting and make it easy to unmold your soap without causing damage.

B) Wooden Molds: These molds offer a traditional and rustic look to your soap and are usually used for bulk soap-making activities. They are typically lined with a removable liner or parchment paper to facilitate easy release. Wooden molds often come with a lid or cover that helps insulate the soap during curing.

C) Individual Molds: These are cavity or soap molds in fun shapes and sizes that are great for creating unique and detailed soap designs. They allow for easy unmoulding and can be used for making guest soaps or decorative embeds for gifting and crafting.

D) Mixing Bowls: Use heat-resistant, non-reactive bowls to mix your soap ingredients. Stainless steel in case of cold process and heat-resistant plastic bowls work well for melt and pour soap base.

E) Stick Blender: A stick blender, also known as an immersion blender, is a handy tool for thoroughly blending your soap mixture. It helps accelerate the saponification process and creates a smooth and evenly mixed soap batter.

F) Thermometer: A thermometer is essential for monitoring the temperature of your oils and lye solution when choosing cold-process soap making. Maintaining the proper temperature is crucial for successful soap-making results.

G) Kitchen Scale: Accurate weighing of your ingredients is essential for consistent and reliable results. A digital scale capable of measuring small increments is highly recommended.

H) Safety Gear: Ensure you have the necessary safety gear, including gloves, goggles, and a long-sleeved apron, to protect yourself when handling lye and working with hot soap.

I) Utensils: Have dedicated utensils such as stainless-steel spoons, spatulas, and whisks for soap making. Avoid using wooden or aluminum utensils, which can react with the ingredients.

Pro Tip: Consider the material, ease of use, durability, and the possibility of achieving the desired design while choosing the soap mold. Remember to thoroughly clean and sanitize your soap-making equipment before and after each use to maintain hygiene and prevent cross-contamination.

Here Are Some Amazing Benefits of Handmade Soap

One of the significant advantages of handmade soap is the use of natural ingredients. Handcrafted soap contains high-quality oils, butter, and essential oils, then commercially available soaps, resulting in a product free from harsh chemicals and synthetic additives. Handmade soap helps maintain the skin's natural balance and reduces the risk of skin irritations or allergies.

Rich in moisturizing properties, handmade soaps contain nourishing oils and butter, such as olive oil, shea butter, or coconut oil, that help hydrate and replenish the skin. Unlike market-available soaps that may shred the skin of its natural oils, handmade soap retains moisture, leaving your skin feeling soft, and moisturized even during summer.

100% natural handmade soaps are a food source of skin-friendly nutrients that treat dead skin and occasional scars. They are milder and gentler on the skin compared to commercially produced soaps. Handmade soaps also incorporate essential oils and fragrances, which offer multiple aromatherapy benefits to help uplift your mood, promote relaxation, or invigorate your senses after every bath.

How Much Does It Cost To Make a Handmade Soap?

Understanding the cost factors involved in ingredients and overall making is crucial if you consider venturing into the handmade soap-making business.

Soap Base: The foundation of any soap, which is also the critical ingredient of a soap recipe, is generally affordable. Melt-and-pour soap bases are slightly cheaper than cold-processed soap base material. The average cost of a good quality melt and pour soap base ranges from INR 150 to INR 250 per KG, whereas a cold process soap base costs around INR 400 to INR 600 per KG.

Checkout Vedanum Ultra-Premium Natural Soap Bases Starting at INR 99 Only

Base Oils: Commonly used base oils like coconut and olive oil are readily available in the price range of INR 600 to INR 1000 per Litre, depending on their quality and purity. Specialty oils like jojoba oil and sweet almond oil cost slightly higher than routinely used edible oils.

Fragrances: The cost of making soap largely depends on the recipe's quality of essential oils and aroma. Usually, the cost of therapeutic-grade pure essential oil ranges from INR 250 to INR 400 per 15 ML. Fragrance oils are highly customizable, and the cost of fragrances depends on their notes and blends of multiple oils. The average price of a good quality fragrance oil ranges from INR 200 to INR 500 per 100 ML in India.

Buy the Best Quality Pure Organic Plant Essential Oils and Fragrances by Vedanum

Colors and Additives: Additives act as specialty ingredients in soap making. The cost of additives depends on their source and usage. The average price of dried herbs ranges from INR 200 to INR 450 per 100 GM, whereas the cost of dry flowers ranges from INR 250 to INR 600 per 100 GM.

Melt-and-pour soap bases are water-soluble and go well with liquid colors that can disperse quickly into the soap recipe. On the other hand, micas are recommended for cold-process soap bases as they are highly oil-soluble pigments. The average cost of liquid colors for soap making starts from INR 150 for 50 ML, and the price of micas starts from INR 100 for 10 GM.


Choosing the right healthy ingredients for handmade soap making is crucial in achieving your soap's desired qualities, scents, and appearance. Carefully research the properties and benefits of each component, such as soap bases, base oils, fragrances, colors, and additives. If you are a beginner, experiment with multiple combinations to find the perfect recipe for your handmade soaps. With the right ingredients and creativity, you can craft beautiful and luxurious soaps that are uniquely yours and a preferred choice for your customers. Happy soap-making!

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