How to Make Fresh Aloe Vera Soap + Aloe Vera Facial Soap Recipe

Learn how to make aloe vera soap with fresh aloe; also includes a cold process recipe for aloe vera facial soap bars.

Do you want to make your own aloe vera soap using fresh aloe?

If so, then this tutorial is just for you!

I’ve also included a gentle aloe vera facial soap recipe, along with a variety of ingredient substitution ideas.

With a little bit of preparation, fresh aloe can be used to replace part (or all) of the water amount in almost any cold process soap recipe.

(Don’t have an aloe plant growing nearby? Check the produce section of local grocery stores – I buy mine at Kroger.)

 

how to extract fresh aloe for aloe vera soap recipe

How to extract fresh aloe for soapmaking

  1. Cut the aloe leaf into several sections.
  2. Use a sharp knife to run along the inside edges of each section, separating the inner gel from the outer skin.
  3. Use your fingers or a spoon and press the aloe gel from the leaf.
  4. Place in a small food processor or blender.
  5. Process until smooth. (It will get fluffy, almost like egg whites.)
  6. Store in the refrigerator if you’ll be making soap within a few days, or freeze in ice trays for longer storage.

bars of aloe vera soap with slices of fresh aloe

Aloe vera facial soap

This soap was designed to be extra gentle and is suitable for use as both a facial and body soap.

It’s a small batch size that exactly fills 5 of the 6 cavities in the oval silicone mold by Bramble Berry. (You could also double the recipe to fit in a loaf mold like THIS Crafter’s Choice one.)

If you don’t have fresh aloe, look for bottled aloe vera liquid which you can use in place of water in any soap recipe.

 

Ingredients for aloe vera soap

  • 2.5 oz (71 g) distilled water
  • 1.92 oz (55 g) lye (sodium hydroxide) – 6% superfat
  • 2 oz (57 g) fresh aloe gel
  • 6 oz (170 g) olive oil
  • 3 oz (85 g) coconut oil*
  • 2 oz (57 g) sunflower oil (or sweet almond or apricot kernel)
  • 2 oz (57 g) tallow (or shea, mango or cocoa butter)
  • 1 oz (28 g) castor oil

Optional colorants: 1/2 tsp chlorella powder + 1 tsp French green clay added to hot lye solution.

Optional add-ins: 10 drops ROE (rosemary oleoresin extract) to extend shelf life + 1/2 tsp sodium lactate to harden soap.

*If you’re allergic to coconut oil or have extra sensitive skin, try using babassu oil instead. The lye amount will change slightly to 1.9 oz (54 g).

 

fresh aloe soap batter in oval silicone mold

Directions to make aloe vera soap

If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to read over my Soap Making 101 tutorial before proceeding.

You may also find my Natural Soap Making Ebook Collection helpful; it’s filled with guides, handy printables, tons of natural soap recipes, plus a private Facebook support group where you can directly ask me any questions you run into.

  1. Put on goggles and gloves.
  2. Weigh the water into a stainless steel or heavy duty plastic container.
  3. Weigh the lye into a small cup.
  4. Sprinkle the lye into the water and stir well.
  5. If using, stir in the green clay and chlorella powder.
  6. Cool the lye solution in a safe spot for 30 – 40 minutes, or until about 100 to 115 degrees F.
  7. Stir in the sodium lactate, if using.
  8. Melt the tallow (or butter) and coconut oil, then combine with the remaining oils.
  9. Add the rosemary oleoresin extract (ROE) to the oils, if using.
  10. Use an immersion blender to thoroughly blend the fresh aloe gel into the oils.
  11. Pour the cooled lye solution into the warm oils/aloe mixture.
  12. Use a combination of hand stirring and brief short bursts of the immersion blender to mix until soap reaches trace.
  13. Pour soap into molds.
  14. Cover lightly with a sheet of wax paper, then a towel or blanket to insulate.
  15. Keep the soap in the mold for 1 to 2 days or until easy to remove.
  16. Cure the soap on sheets of wax paper in the open air for 4+ weeks before using.

 

For more natural soap recipes, tutorials and inspiration, along with access to my private Facebook support group, be sure to check out my Natural Soap Making Ebook Collection:

Natural Soapmaking Ebook Collection

 

If you enjoyed this article, let’s keep in touch!

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Jan
 

Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of three print books: 101 Easy Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • Donna says:

    I noticed you are using large leaves from the aloe plant but am curious if it is ok to use the common small plants? Thanks so much..

    • Hi Donna! Yes, you sure can use the gel from smaller plants. What I usually do in that case is blend the entire small leaf (or a few of them) with some distilled water & then strain & use the resulting juice instead of water in a soap recipe.

  • Ellen Desrosiers says:

    I am new to all of this but have loved viewing your recipes i brought 1 of your books and love it do you also have lotion books not ebooks

    • Hi Ellen! Thank you for buying the book & I’m so happy you’re enjoying it & the recipes! I don’t currently have a lotion book made, though I plan on one in the future. It will be an ebook though, since I can only make print books through my publisher. :)

  • Mary Bergey says:

    Hello, I’m looking forward to making this recipe. I was wondering if rosemary eo can be used in place of the ROE? Thanks for your help.

  • Audrey BINNS says:

    Hi I like the idea of making my own soap. Thanks for the recipe but where do you get these ingredients to buy?

  • Susan says:

    Hi.. I noticed that you use both water and aloe gel. But I wonder if I can replace all the water with the aloe gel instead.

  • Marteena says:

    Thanks Jan for your wonderfully clear and concise instructions. I bought your e-book as an absolute beginner a few years ago and your new print book arrived here in Australia this week. I’m enjoying it immensely. Thanks!!

  • Melody says:

    This recipe looks great. do you have a spare recipe that uses non-comedogenic oils, or at least very low pore clogging oils?

    • Hi Melody! I’ve been working on some new facial soap recipes, including some for oily skin – so stay tuned for those! :) However, with soap, the comedogenic ratings aren’t quite as relevant as if you were making something like a lotion. When the oils react with lye, they transform in all kinds of ways. For example, coconut oil may help someone with super dry skin when applied directly, but when turned into soap, it becomes very cleansing and drying. Still, you might want to use babassu oil to replace coconut oil in soap recipes – it works in a similar way, but is non or low-comedogenic (depending on who you ask.) :)

  • sakina says:

    hi I m new to soap making so was just curious to know during ‘molding’ when u mention room temperature for 4 weeks plus around how much should the temperature be? I m from a tropical country and temperatures here are really high like 35 C .. will that affect the soap?

    • Hi Sakina! When curing soap, high temperature isn’t as much of a problem as high humidity which can sometimes cause sweating, which may negatively affect shelf life in the long run. That is a pretty high temperature too though! If it’s possible, keep the soaps in the shadiest, coolest spot you can and if you have one, run a fan over them so that air is circulating around really well.

  • sakina says:

    also i wanted to ask if we can completely replace water with aloevera gel and add lye directly to it?

  • Diana~Marie says:

    Hey Jan, I just bought a bunch of fresh aloe!!! I have a question about color options, what about using the green (extra virgin) Olive oil? How do you think that would look?

  • Laurie says:

    Wonderful recipe! Love adding fresh aloe vera gel! What a beautiful consistency soap. I used mango butter instead of tallow. I can’t wait for 4-6 weeks to pass. Thank you!

  • Heather says:

    does this make for a hard, long lasting bar?

    • Hi Heather! If you use tallow or cocoa butter, it will be harder than if you use shea or mango butter.
      The longer you let the soap cure, the harder it becomes too, but without a high ratio of “hard” oils (like palm, extra tallow/butters) it won’t be quite as hard as other soaps with those ingredients.
      However, a recipe with a higher amount of “soft oils” tends to be more gentle on your skin, so it’s a tradeoff I make especially for facial soaps. :)

  • Miss. T. says:

    Love your recipe I wanted to know if I can tweak it a little using Avocado oil in place of one of the oils and Matcha as an colorant?

    • Hi Miss T, Yes, you sure can! I would replace the sunflower with avocado oil. I’ve experimented with matcha tea in soap & it starts off a lovely green, but turns brown before cure time, so you might want to combine the matcha with a backup colorant (like chlorella, spirulina, French green clay, etc). :)

  • Sherryl Griffith says:

    Hi Jan
    Hi like your recipes. I have just started making home-made soaps.I would like to know if your books are also in paper back form and if so from where can I order them?

  • Maria says:

    Is there something else that I can replace with the rosemary oleoresin extract?

  • Michelle says:

    What is the shelf life?

    • Hi Michelle! Shelf life depends on many factors such as quality & freshness of oils used, plus how the bars are stored (you want to keep out of humid, hot and/or sunny areas), but usually most soapers give a 1 year shelf life estimate for handmade soap. It won’t mold or anything, but the oils will eventually turn rancid and make the bars smell like old oil. At that point, it’s considered expired.

  • Heather Ryon says:

    Hi Jan, Love your recipes and appreciate you sharing your knowledge! Just wondering, could this be used as a hot process recipe?

  • […] Fresh Aloe Soap | Sage & Vinegar Soap | Sunflower Soap […]

  • Deb C says:

    So excited to try this soap, I have a large aloe plant that needs to be utilized!!! I want to double the recipe because I don’t have any small molds. I used the calculator from Branble Berry and I didn’t see anywhere to add the aloe in? Is that necessary? And with the calculator the key and distilled water amounts more than doubled, is that normal? Thank you

    • Hi Deb! So happy you like the recipe! :)
      The aloe counts as part of the water amount, so it’s not included in the oils.
      If you add the aloe amount and the water weights together, you should get a closer amount to what Bramble Berry says.
      I also reduce the water amount in my recipes an extra bit, because that helps them firm up faster and makes them easier to unmold.
      To double the recipe, you’d use:
      5 oz distilled water
      3.84 oz lye (sodium hydroxide) – 6% superfat
      4 oz fresh aloe gel
      (So a total of 9 ounces liquid in the recipe.)
      12 oz olive oil
      6 oz coconut oil
      4 oz sunflower (or sweet almond or apricot kernel)
      4 oz tallow (or shea, mango or cocoa butter)
      2 oz castor oil
      (I just double checked this with the Soapee calculator & it works out to about a 32% water as percent of oils amount.)
      http://soapee.com/calculator
      I’ve heard that Bramble Berry’s calculator assumes a lye purity of 97%, which their lye is, but since I use a lye that’s 99% purity, I like using Soapee or the calculator at Majestic Mountain Sage instead.

  • Cassandra says:

    I chose this recipe for my first soap. It may be my mold cavity making a thick soap bar. It seems firm enough to unmold but it’s still soft on the bottom, been almost a week in the mold. I’m afraid that if I take them all out I’ll have soap with thumb indents in them.

    • Hi Cassandra! Sorry to hear about that! A deep mold could definitely be a factor, especially if it’s silicone, which tends to hold in moisture. For future batches in that mold, you could use sodium lactate (1 tsp per pound of oil in the recipe, added to cooled lye solution) or salt (1/2 teaspoon per pound of oil added to water before stirring in lye) to help the soap firm up quicker & unmold more easily. For this batch, you can try putting the mold in the freezer for several hours, just enough to solidify the soaps so they can be popped out. They’ll develop some condensation as they return to room temperature, so I often place them on paper towels and leave undisturbed for a couple of days while they dry and harden in the open air.:)

  • Scott says:

    So you can replace the water with the aloe gel, one ounce of aloe gel replaces one ounce of water in the recipe? Do you have to worry about the aloe gel getting burned by the lye?

  • Anneke says:

    Hi, I would like to try this recipe this weekend but I don’t have a Aloe plant but bought gel in the soap store, would that work too or does it has to be fresh from the plant instead of store bought?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Anneke! Yes, you can use gel in this recipe. Some aloe gels have thickeners added, so if yours looks like it has a long list of ingredients, you may want to dilute it equally with water first, just to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems in the soap. Happy soapmaking! :)

  • Rookmin says:

    Don’t have enough olive oil. Could I substitute some other oil

    • Hi Rookmin! Yes, you sure can. Do you have any rice bran oil? That makes a great replacement for some of the olive. Another option is canola oil. I would use as much olive as I have, and then fill in the remainder with one of those oils. If you don’t have rice bran or canola, let me know what you do have and we can brainstorm other ideas.

  • Terry Totten says:

    Can I double the recipe?

  • Glenda says:

    Hi. Thanks for sharing this recipe! :) I would like to try this on my next soap making project. May I know the shelf-life of the finished product since you use a fresh aloe gel? Did you strain it before storage?

    • Hi Glenda! I’m happy you like the recipe! :) The soap will have a normal shelf life since the high pH helps preserve it. (This is also why milk soap, carrot soap, cucumber soap, etc also has a nice long shelf life of at least 1 year, depending on the recipe & how well it’s stored.) If I have any leftover aloe gel, I freeze it in ice trays for future use, but I don’t strain it first.

  • Dayana says:

    For how many soaps would this recipe be for? Or how many rectangle soaps can I do from this recipe.

  • Dayana says:

    Hi, I am trying this for my baby shower favors and I would like to know if is okay to add fragrance oil or replace the sweet almond oil with the fragrance oil?

  • Renee says:

    I’m just starting out making soap. Will be making my first batch soon. I’m in the process of purchasing my ingredients. Where can i purchase lye (sodium hydroxide) 6% superfat? Thanks much.

  • Noemy says:

    Hello!Thank you for sharing your recipe :) by sunflower do you mean sunflower oil or..?

  • Gai says:

    Hello. I have made this soap thrice. It’s extremely Moisturising for the skin and lathers very well. I made the third batch just today, and realised only after pouring it into the mould that I’ve forgotten to add sodium lactate to it. Is this going to make the soap squishy? What an utter waste that would be!!!
    :(

  • Sade says:

    Hello!

    How long does the soap last?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Sade! Shelf life of handmade soap varies, but a good general guideline is around one year. Soap shouldn’t mold or anything like that, but the oils in it will eventually start turning rancid as the soap ages and it will start to develop the scent of old oil, and might get spots (called DOS – or dreaded orange spots) which indicate the soap is going rancid. This depends a lot of the freshness and type of your oils, the recipe, other ingredients, how the soap is stored, etc. so it’s difficult to predict an exact date. I’ve had some bars stay in great shape for years, while on the other hand, one summer I had a noticeable streak of soaps go bad within weeks of curing and it was traced to some shea butter that was on the verge of rancidity.

  • Crystal says:

    Hi Jan!

    I’m excited to try this recipe – are there any essential oils that you’d recommend?

    Thanks for your time! :)

  • Karen says:

    Hi,Jan I,made this soap and doubled recipe ended up with white spots throughout soap. When I ran through soap calc as the ingredients listed water came out to be 150.52 grams and the water listed on the recipe says 71g. Is this a mistake? Or were you counting the 57 g as water?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Karen! The white spots could be stearic acid spots:

      https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/troubleshooting-cold-process-soap-problems/#section23

      The water and the aloe are added together to get the total amount of liquid for the recipe.

      2.5 oz/71 g water + 2 oz/57 g aloe vera gel = 4.5 oz/128 g total liquid

      If using the full amount of water given by a lye calculator, you would need 5.32 oz/151 grams of liquid.

      However, I use a water discount in my soaps to help them firm up in the mold faster. (This is especially helpful for palm-free soaps.)

      If you adjust the water amount on the lye calculator to water:lye ratio of 2.35:1 (or in this recipe’s case it’s also close to 32% water as percent of oils – instead of the default 38% water as percent of oils setting) then you should hit right at, or close to, 4.5 oz/128 grams total liquid (water + aloe amount).

      Water amount in a recipe is super flexible and reducing it helps with firming up soap faster, soda ash, and more! :)

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