This classic gentle soap contains finely ground oatmeal and nourishing honey. Its creamy mildness makes it perfect for everyday use by those with sensitive skin.
Hot Process Oatmeal Honey Soap
Oils, liquid and lye should all be measured by weight. You must use an accurate scale to make soap.
- 17 oz (482 g) olive oil (62%)
- 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (*see note if allergic) (29%)
- 1.5 oz (43 g) sweet almond or sunflower oil* (5%)
- 1 oz (28 g) castor oil* (4%)
- 10 oz (283 g) water
- 3.9 oz (111 g) lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 0.5 oz (14 g) tamanu oil* (rosehip seed oil would work nicely too)
- 1 tablespoon powdered oatmeal (I use gluten free oats, ground with a coffee grinder)
- 1 tablespoon honey mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon lavender essential oil (or more, for more noticeable scent)
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Notes & Substitution Ideas:
*Yield of this soap is almost 42 ounces, or 2 lbs 10 oz. (Yield is calculated by adding weights of oil + liquid + lye).
*If you’re allergic to coconut oil, try using babassu oil instead. You will need to change the lye amount to 3.8 ounces, but otherwise follow the recipe as is.
*If you don’t have castor oil on hand, you can just use more sweet almond or sunflower oil instead. If you can’t use sweet almond oil, try avocado, apricot kernel or even more olive oil instead. It’s such a small amount, it probably won’t change much, if any, but just in case – run your new recipe through a lye calculator and see how much lye they suggest.
*The tamanu oil can be replaced by most any light oil or melted shea/mango/cocoa butter. Its purpose in the recipe is to add extra moisturizing skin benefits. Since the soap is fully cooked when you add this extra oil, you don’t have to adjust the lye amount if you omit or change it up.
This recipe was made in a 4 quart slow cooker/crock pot. (THIS is the model I have.) My crock pot runs a little warm and heats up fast. If you have an older crock pot that’s slow to warm up, you may need to preheat it before adding your oils.
Don’t use aluminum equipment or utensils when working with lye or uncooked soap batter as they’ll react negatively with the lye.
Step 1 – Making the lye solution:
When working with lye, you’ll need to wear a pair of rubber gloves, long sleeves, and safety goggles in case of splashes. Keep children and pets out of the room while you work.
Fill a heat proof plastic or stainless steel container with 10 ounces of water, by weight, and set it down into your sink or on a safe spot on your counter.
Using a digital scale, weigh out 3.9 ounces of sodium hydroxide (lye) in a separate container. (If your lye is lumpy, don’t break up the clumps and use them. This indicates that moisture has gotten into your lye and it probably won’t measure or perform properly in your recipe.)
Pour the lye into the water and stir until completely dissolved. The lye will get extremely hot and give off very strong fumes during this time. Work at arm’s length in a well ventilated room and avoid breathing the fumes in directly.
Set the lye solution aside to cool while you prepare the oils.
Step 2 – Measuring the oils:
Using a digital scale, weigh out 8 ounces of coconut oil (or babassu oil if allergic). Melt the oil in a small saucepan, on low heat.
While the coconut oil melts, weigh out the olive, almond and castor oils and pour them into your slow cooker’s stoneware liner.
Add the melted coconut oil to the other oils.
Step 3 – Combining the lye solution and oils:
Still wearing gloves, goggles, and long sleeves, carefully pour the lye solution into the combined oils.
Stir the mixture using a stick or immersion blender. (THIS ONE is the kind I use.) For best results, alternate stirring for twenty to thirty seconds at a time with the power off, then the power on. If you run the stick blender continuously, you could burn out the motor, cause a false trace, and/or introduce a lot of air bubbles into your soap batter.
Stir until trace is reached. “Trace” means that the mixture has thickened enough so that when you drizzle some of the soap batter across itself, it leaves a visible trail or impression for a few seconds before sinking back in.
This soap is high in olive oil which means it might take a little extra time to reach trace, but it shouldn’t take longer than seven to ten minutes of stirring.
The photo below shows this recipe at trace:
Step 4 – Cooking your soap:
Set the slow cooker liner, filled with soap batter that has reached trace, down into its base.
Turn the heat to low and cover your crock pot with the lid.
Now, cook your soap for one full hour, on low. I like to set a timer to check on mine every fifteen minutes to see how it’s doing. You may need to stir it down, but I usually don’t worry about stirring, until the hour has passed.
Here’s what this recipe looks like after 15 minutes:
After 30 minutes:
After 45 minutes:
And, after 60 minutes:
Step 4.5 – Make your honey & oatmeal mixture while the soap is cooking:
While the soap is cooking, measure out the tamanu oil, honey + water, finely ground oats and lavender essential oil (if using) in small bowls.
Set these aside until needed.
Step 5 – Add the honey & oatmeal mixture to cooked soap:
Once 60 minutes of cook time has passed, stir the soap then let it cool uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Honey tends to scorch when it gets too hot, so this cool down time really helps make that less likely to happen.
Stir in the tamanu oil, lavender essential oil (if using), honey + water mixture, and the ground oats, then stir, stir, stir, stir!
Step 6 – Spoon the soap into a mold:
I like to make this soap in THIS MOLD from Bramble Berry. Notice the rubber bands around it, in the photo near the top of the page. I like to firmly rap my filled molds on the counter to make sure there are no air pockets in the finished soap. While this mold is sturdy and wonderful otherwise, it doesn’t react well to firm rappings unless you pinch the edges firmly and keep rubber bands around it while doing so. (If you don’t, hot soap will leak out EVERYWHERE, including on your hands – ouch!)
You can also use a bread pan, lined with parchment or freezer paper, or even a small (lined) shoe box.
Let the soap sit in the mold for around 24 hours.
Cleanup of your crock pot is easy. Just set it into the sink and fill with warm water. Let it soak for a while and the soap residue will rinse right out.
Step 7 – Slice into bars & enjoy!
Once firm, remove the soap from the mold and slice into bars.
You can use your soap right way, but it will last longer if you let it cure for three or four weeks first.
This recipe makes around 9 soap rounds, but if you use a loaf shaped mold, it will probably be more like 7 or 8 bars.