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

a stack of aloe vera soaps

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.

Some links on this site are affiliate links; I only recommend products I personally use and enjoy. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.




Subscribe to Soap Tip Tuesdays and I’ll send you my quick start digital guide to Using Herbs & Flowers In Soap. Each Tuesday, you’ll receive one of my best natural soapmaking tips, recipes, or printables. 

  • Discover 21 of the top herbs and flowers for making handmade natural soap
  • How to make nourshing oil and tea infusions
  • Benefits & final color that each herb gives soap

By subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to the terms of our privacy policy.

black ipad

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 rosemary antioxidants (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 Handmade Natural Soap Making eBook Collection helpful; it’s filled with guides, handy printables, and tons of natural soap recipes.

  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.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. 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..

    1. 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.

      1. Can’t wait to try this :)

        Would you please tell me what I can substitute the tallow with? Can I put more or the other oils to substitute for the tallow?

        1. Hi Stephanie! Instead of tallow, you can use a butter in its place – such as shea, cocoa, kokum, or mango butter.
          You could also replace the tallow with another oil, though the tallow/butters help make it a harder bar of soap once cured.
          You could use a liquid oil such as rice bran, sweet almond, or more olive instead of tallow, it will just make the soap start out softer, and it will likely benefit from a few extra weeks of cure time.
          If you do that, be sure to check any changes with a lye calculator – I like Soapee.
          Happy soapmaking! :)

          1. Hello instead of olive oil can I use aloe vera oil I make it from an olive oil base. Also, can the coconut oil and castor oil be subsisted for something else or left out all together? Instead, I would like to include honey, for an aloe honey rose shea bar.

            1. Hi Raynique! If you make any changes to the recipe, be sure to run the new amounts through a lye calculator.
              I like Soapee:

              Coconut oil helps harden soap and gives it some lather, while castor oil helps with lather too.
              Here’s how I substitute those two oils, but keep in mind it will change the outcome of your soap (it will be a lot less bubbly):
              Coconut Oil: Use babassu oil or palm kernel oil in equal amount. OR Add 5 to 10% castor oil to the recipe + 10% cocoa or kokum butter + the rest of the amount as sweet almond, rice bran, or olive oil.
              Castor Oil: no oil is a direct substitute, but you can replace with any other liquid oil and add lather boosters such as honey, aloe, milk, sugar.

              The homemade aloe vera olive oil sounds lovely! The only problem with using it in soap is that you won’t know the exact amount of lye needed to turn it into soap.
              For that reason, I’d use the homemade oil in something like lotions or salves, etc, instead of soap.

              Honey is an additive that you can add in small amounts, but it won’t replace an oil. Here’s an article about using honey in soap:
              Happy Soapmaking!

  2. 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

    1. 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. :)

  3. 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.

    1. Hi Mary! Yes, you could include some rosemary essential oil in the recipe, though it will give the soap some added scent. I’ve read some mixed opinions on whether the essential oil is as effective as the ROE, but I feel it couldn’t hurt & could possibly help!

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!!

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

    1. 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.) :)

  8. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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!

    1. 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. :)

  12. 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?

    1. 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). :)

  13. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  15. Pingback: Chamomile "Almost" Castile Soap
  16. 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

    1. 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.)
      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.

        1. Hi Debbie! You want to use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients in ounces, and never measuring cups.
          If you use a measuring cup, the volume amounts for oils and lye are different than the weight, and your soap could end up with too much lye or not enough.

  17. 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.

    1. 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.:)

  18. 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?

    1. Hi Scott! Yes, you can use all aloe in equal place of water if you’d like. You want to use thoroughly chilled aloe, or you could even freeze it in ice trays and treat it like making soap with milk.
      Here’s a post on making soap with frozen milk if you want to try that method: Normally though, I just make sure the aloe is chilled and add the lye in slowly. The lye solution may turn a shade of yellow; that’s normal.

  19. 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?


    1. 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! :)

    1. 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.

    1. Hi Terry! Yes, you sure can. If you double the recipe exactly, without changing any oil types or anything, then the lye amount shouldn’t change. To be 100% safe, it’s always good to run a newly sized recipe through a lye calculator. Majestic Mountain Sage has a very user friendly one and my favorite one is probably Soapee’s:

  20. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  22. 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?

    1. Hi Dayana! Fragrance oil is a different product than sweet almond oil, so it can’t be interchanged. Instead, you would add fragrance oil after mixing the soap together, but before pouring into the mold.
      To find out how much to use, make sure it’s safe for soap (instead of just candles) and check with the supplier you bought the fragrance oil from. They usually have suggested usage rates.
      This article is also a great resource for learning more about fragrance oils: :)

  23. 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.

    1. Hi Renee! You can purchase lye from Amazon (I like Red Crown, ComStar, and Essential Depot brands), but the 6% superfat refers to the amount used in the recipe, not the particular type of lye.
      Check out my Soapmaking 101 post for more information before you start making soap: and the Soap Queen has a great beginner video series on YouTube.
      Happy Soapmaking! :)

  24. 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!!!

    1. 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.

  25. Hi Jan!

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

    Thanks for your time! :)

  26. 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?

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

      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! :)

  27. I normally use sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt instead of sodium lactate. It seems to work to harden the soap.

    1. Hi Linda! Salt is a wonderful additive to use instead of sodium lactate, and also easier for most people to obtain! :)

    1. Hi Angela! I don’t believe so – I recall reading that the problem with liquid lye is that there’s not a way to know the exact percentage of lye and the exact percentage of water contained in the bottle. I might be wrong though, but that’s my understanding to date. :)

  28. I am Basha from Ethiopia. I am much admirer of the nature. From these aleaveta is not resource in my locality. It is just a bush.. I want to use this resource. But I don’t know how to make a soap. I want your adivice.b

  29. Hi Jan

    Love your site ? I was thinking of colouring with spirulina instead of clay, that won’t be too scary colourwise would it for a facial soap?

    Thank you

    Ginge ?

    1. Hi Ginge! Yes, spirulina would be a great addition to the soap and would also add a lovely green color. For colorants such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, etc – I recommend curing the soaps in a very dark area so the color lasts as long as possible! Happy soapmaking! :)

  30. The Henn blue spongeware pasta/harvest bowl caught my eye, but the instructions for the aloe soap sound great !

      1. Hi Jan,
        I have a question if I want to use 100% alovrea juice in place of water do I need to change the amount of other ingredients or just use alovera in place of water amount.

        1. Hi Himani! Yes, pure aloe vera juice can be used in place of water, it will be lovely to use in soap.
          What I would do is use it in place of the water and the aloe.

          So instead of:

          2.5 oz (71 g) distilled water
          1.92 oz (55 g) lye (sodium hydroxide) – 6% superfat
          2 oz (57 g) fresh aloe gel

          I would use:

          4.5 oz (128 g) pure aloe vera juice
          1.92 oz (55 g) lye

          You do not need to change the amount of the oils or lye.
          Happy Soapmaking! :)

  31. If you splash or spill lye onto your skin … do not rinse it with water. The neutraliser is vinegar and do not rub.
    Thanks for great recipes and information. I love soap making and have learned that while it’s a science there is room for error that can be recovered.

    1. Hi Sandy! I’m so happy you like the recipes and information! ❤
      The safety sheet for lye normally recommends flushing exposed skin with copious amounts of cool water, though some soapers do like to pour a little vinegar over the area first, then rinse well with water.
      Happy soapmaking!

    1. Hi Ruby! The rosemary oleoresin is your best bet for extending shelf life in soap, but you could add vitamin E for enrichment!
      I don’t always add rosemary oleoresin to soap – it’s not strictly necessary, just a nice addition – so you could also leave it out.
      The soap scientist, Dr Kevin Dunn, ran some tests & found that the rosemary works better than vitamin E in preventing rancidity in soap, which is why I use it. :)

  32. This is such a cool recipe! ? I love the idea of using fresh aloe, but I also like the idea of replacing the water with aloe juice too! How do you think using both would work in your recipe? Or would that be too much and unnecessary?

    1. Hi Tuni! I think that would probably make a very lovely soap! ?
      Aloe adds such a nice silky lather, I don’t think it would be too much at all.

  33. Hi so I am allergic to coconut oil is there another oil I can use to substitute it like grape seed oil?

    1. Hi Rebecca! Coconut oil adds a lot of lather and hardness, while grapeseed oil can make a very soft soap with little lather.
      So that wouldn’t be a good option to substitute.
      Here are my tips when substituting coconut oil in a recipe: ?
      Use Babassu Oil or Palm Kernel Oil in equal amount.
      OR Add 5 to 10% Castor Oil to the recipe + 10% Cocoa or Kokum Butter + the rest of the amount as Sweet Almond, Rice Bran, or Olive Oil.
      If you need help recalculating the recipe, just let us know! The best way is via email:

  34. Hi Jan,
    First time trying to make my own soap and chose your recipe for it!
    Unfortunately, my attempt was not too successful and after a couple of days, the final product was split with the liquid oils at the top, and the solid base below :(
    Do you know what could have caused this? Also, can I still use the solid phase or is it too rough for the skin?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Maelle, I’m so sorry to hear that happened! My first batches of soap did the same thing – I know that can feel very frustrating! <3
      It sounds like you may have gotten a false trace.
      This happens when you stir just enough so that it looks like the soap has reached trace, but it really hasn’t yet.
      Or another idea is if you used a misbehaving fragrance oil – some types just don’t behave well in soap & can cause problems.
      And just to double check – did you use a scale to weigh all of the ingredients? (Using volume or measuring cups can give incorrect amounts which can cause soap problems too.)
      I have a whole troubleshooting article that explains more about false trace & other soapmaking problems that might be helpful:
      The solid part of your soap likely has a higher concentration of lye, so I would not use it.
      However, you can save your soap by rebatching in a crockpot (slow cooker) or your oven! Then it should be usable again.
      Here’s an article that tells how to do that:

  35. Hi Jan
    I purchased one of your books , some great recipes. I am still new to CP soaps and prefer to use aloe vera liquid instead of water. You mentioned that one can substitute water for aloe in almost all recipes. I am wondering what the exception to that is and How can I learn more about using aloe instead of water? I purchased the simple and natural soapmaking book. Can I do the water substitute with those recipes?

    1. Hi Grace! I think using aloe vera instead of water in your soaps is a wonderful idea. I love how aloe feels in soap!
      I can’t really think of an exception, but I usually write “almost all recipes” just to cover my bases, since soapmaking is a never-ending journey of new ideas and discoveries, so I may not have yet met the situation where aloe wouldn’t work. Until that day though, I say – go for it! All of my soap book recipes should work fine with aloe instead of water. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *