Forsythia Soap

Forsythia Cold Process Soap

Forsythia are those ornamental flowering bushes that you see blooming everywhere this time of year (at least around these parts.)

What some don’t know though, is that forsythia is also considered an edible flower, which is the main qualification I look for when creating new soaps and such. I figure if it’s safe to eat, it’s usually safe to go on my skin too!

Forsythia fruit is also a really great antiviral, especially when combined with honeysuckle, and the flowers and leaves also share many of the valuable phytochemicals as the fruit.

RELATED: See my blog post 11+ Things to Make with Forsythia Flowers for more ways to use forsythia!

forsythia flowers in a jar

To make this soap, first you’ll need to gather up a jar full of forsythia flowers. I pick just the yellow part and leave most of the green stem ends behind, because the blossoms help give the natural color I’m looking for in my soap. Don’t get hung up on precise amounts. If you have a few flowers that’s fine; if you have a bunch to use, that’s great too.

A jar full of forsythia blossoms smells heavenly, almost like a mixture of honeysuckle and jasmine. For this reason, I decided to scent my soap with some Jasmine Absolute that I’d had on hand for a while. It was the perfect choice at the time!

However, Jasmine Absolute is on the very expensive side, especially these days. If it’s too expensive for your budget (and it normally is for mine too – I just happened to have some on hand I hadn’t used for another project) then you can leave this unscented or try adding lemongrass or your favorite essential oil instead. So, don’t feel like you have to break the bank to make this soap. Use what you have.

Split your forsythia blossoms roughly in half. We’ll use part to make a water infusion (tea) and the rest to make an olive oil infusion to go in our soap.

To make the tea: fill a small jar about half way with fresh blossoms. Pour simmering hot water over them until the jar is almost filled. Let cool to room temperature, then cap and store in the refrigerator, overnight. Strain right before using in the recipe.

Forsythia Flower Tea

To make the oil infusion: Spread the rest of your fresh blossoms out on a clean towel or paper towels in a single layer. Let them wilt/dry overnight. They’ll look like this the next day:

dried forsythia flowers

Place those wilted/dried flowers into a small jar and fill it almost to the top with olive oil. Set that jar, uncapped, down into a pan that has a few inches of water in it. This will create a homemade double boiler of sorts. Let the water almost simmer (not boil), for about an hour or two. This indirectly heats the oil and speeds up the infusing process. Remove from heat, strain, and it’s ready to use in your recipe!

infusing forsythia flowers in olive oil

Forsythia Soap – Cold Process Recipe

  • 15 ounces of olive oil (use forsythia infused oil for part or all of it)
  • 8 ounces coconut oil
  • 2 ounces castor oil
  • 1.5 ounces mango butter (or shea butter)
  • 3.5 ounces sunflower oil
  • 4.17 ounces of lye (6% superfat)
  • 10 ounces of water (I used 10 oz of strained forsythia tea)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons jasmine absolute (for a light scent) (or try lemongrass for a cheaper variation)




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Forsythia Soap Recipe Notes

If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before attempting this recipe.

You can find more information in my Soap Making 101 article or check out my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection.

All measurements are by weight, even the liquid.

I didn’t insulate my soap, because I wanted to keep the color light. It starts out a pretty buttery yellow, but fades a bit as it cures.

This batch is sized to fit a roughly 3 pound mold that my husband made for me – inner dimensions are:  8 inch x 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch. It yields 7 or 8 bars.

You can also use a regular glass 9 inch x 5 inch bread loaf pan for soap recipes that have around 30 to 35 ounces (total) of oil in them. Be sure to line either one with parchment or freezer paper (shiny side up) before use.

forsythia cold process soap recipe
bars of soap and bowl of forsythia flowers
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  1. I did not know that forsythia flowers were an edible flower-thanks for that-I shared this on facebook

  2. Yeah, I also didn’t know they were edible! I just started making my own cold process soap so thanks for sharing a recipe!

    1. Hi Connie, I hope you have fun making soap – it’s such a rewarding (and slightly addictive) hobby! :)

  3. I made your basic soap for the first time a month or so ago. It is simply the best recipe (and easiest to follow!) that I’ve found. This recipe sounds lovely, I’m also anxious to try your rose soap recipe!

  4. Jan, I am new to soap making. I followed three of your soap recipes and they have turned out beautifully! I have loads of spring violets and now have made soaps and balms using them! My forsythia are finished blooming but love your palm free recipe and can’t wait to experiment with this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to share!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that the recipes did well for you! I hope you have lots of fun making pretty things with your flowers!

  5. Hi Jan,

    Are any of your items available for purchase anymore? I went to your etsy shop and there were only 2 of your ebooks listed.


    1. Hi Linda! Right now, I have the shop closed while I focus my main energy on wrapping up our homeschool and year-end testing over the next month or two. :)

  6. Just curious. when you use the flower buds for the infusion, does this make it’s own fragrance oil? what part does the infused flower play in the bar of soap? if you make extra to use later, how long with this infusion last? Thanks. new to making soaps and just curious.

    1. Hi Robin! Some people feel that the beneficial properties of flowers and herbs added to soap won’t last through the lye process, while others think they do and make the bar better. For me, it’s more of a matter of creativity – turning flowers from your yard into soap is a really cool thing to do! Plus, it helps you create a unique item with label appeal for gifting and selling. Sometimes the color (and a tiny bit of scent) of a flower or herb carries through – such as when you use chamomile for infusing the water and oil. Most of the time, it doesn’t. The forsythia oil doesn’t make its own fragrance oil, the scent is really light and will fade, which is why I add jasmine absolute to the soap to help replace the fragrance in a way. Oil infusions should stay fresh for 9 months to a year when stored in a cool, dark place and water infusions (teas) will stay good in your refrigerator for about two days. You can also freeze water infusions for 6 to 9 months, if you’d like to make the soap later in the year.

  7. Hi Jan,
    Your Forsythia soap sounds wonderful. I am still gathering supplies to start cp soap so I have been reading all I can before starting. I was wondering if you could infuse honeysuckle in oil along with the Forsythia? I have both plants and thought it would make a nice fresh smelling spring soap.

    1. Hi Verna! You sure can infuse the oil with honeysuckle too. Sadly though, the wonderful smell of most flowers won’t carry through the entire soap making process, which is why I add some essential oils to help make up for the loss. (About the only one I know that keeps a faint scent is chamomile.) Good luck on your CP Soap Making adventures!

  8. Hi jan,
    I wanted to know if citric acid was all natural. Also I would like to know why Palm oil is not used in your recipes. Thank you!!!! :)

    1. Hi Sue! You could use more olive oil or perhaps another light oil such as avocado or maybe sweet almond oil. Just run the changes through a lye calculator. (Or if you need help with that, just comment back here and I’ll help you figure the new amount of lye.) :)

  9. Hello just wondering what I could sub yhe jasmine absolute with? Just starting to make soap,

    1. Hi Shelia, Thanks for the question! It reminded me to pop over and update the post. I know jasmine can be crazy expensive so you definitely want to save that for when you’ve perfected soap making. For a variation you can try lemongrass essential oil (it will be lemony instead of flowery smelling, but still very nice!) Good luck with your new soap making adventures!

  10. I stumbled upon your blog and WOW! It sure is amazing. MY girls and I made the calendula lotion bars and I am going to work on the Forsythia soap hopefully tonight. I do have a question though, can I follow the directions but do this in a hot process way? Thanks for your time.

    1. Hi Sally! Yes, you can make this soap hot process. Just add the essential oil (if using) after cook time. So happy that you are enjoying the blog and had fun with your girls making lotion bars! :)

  11. I had no idea that you could make soap from these flowers!! I can’t wait to try and make some this week!

  12. We have a huge forsythia bush or shrub, whatever they’re called, right outside our back door. We never have smelled any fragrance from it. I picked and dried the forsythia blooms, open the jar and take a big sniff and still nothing. Do you have a different bush than I do? We have honeysuckle vines and smell them, but the Forsythia in April? Nope.

    1. Hi Joy! There are quite a few varieties of forsythia out there – I know they’re all the same color (mostly), but not sure on scent.
      Our bushes have blooms that have a very subtle fragrance, so you can’t smell it as a casual passerby, but if you gather a handful of fresh flowers and take a big sniff – you can definitely smell the hint of honeysuckle/jasmine.
      Once they’re dried, they no longer hold the scent though.
      That’s interesting to know that yours doesn’t have scent! I’m going to have to go around sniffing everyone I know’s forsythia bushes next spring to compare with mine. :)

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