Shea Butter Olive Oil Soap

Shea butter and olive oil soap

This gentle soap made with sensitive skin in mind, is extra moisturizing, palm free and mild enough to use on your pets.  Not only does it leave my skin feeling soft and smooth, it also leave my hair silky and shiny!  This soap is perfect for anyone with an allergy to coconut oil as well!!

Making soap is a chemical process

Before you begin, there are a few things you should know;

  1. Making soap involves a chemical process that is dangerous, caution should always be taken during this process.
  2. Soap making involves Lye which is a strong alkaline solution of either sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hrdyoxide(KOH), which is toxic and will burn your eyes and skin upon contact.
  3. Always wear protective gloves and goggles when using and working with or around Lye.
  4. Any equipment used with Lye can NEVER be used for food!!!
  5. Keep the Lye far from the reach of children or pets.


19 oz Olive oil
11 oz Shea butter
2 oz Castor oil

12 oz Distilled water
3.99 oz Lye


Protective Gear – Goggles and Rubber or Latex Gloves
A double boiler or glass bowl/large jar and a pot with about 2″ of water for heating oils
Crock Pot (that is NOT used for food) – this is used in the hot process method
Heat Proof Measuring Cup
Wooden or Silicon Mixing Spoon (NOT used for food)
Digital Scale
2 Instant Read Thermometers
Immersion Blender
Soap Molds


While wearing safety goggles and gloves, pour 12 oz of distilled water into the heat proof measuring cup and set aside.  Measure out the lye using a digital scale, for accuracy, and an old, thoroughly cleaned and dried small plastic tub.  Combine solid lye and liquid, stir well. Place the instant read thermometer into the solution and set aside and allow to cool (100° F to 125° F). This is best done, outside, while you are standing upwind.

Always add solid Lye to Liquid, NEVER the other way around.

Heating OilsIn the large glass bowl/jar combine the olive oil, castor oil and Shea butter.  Place the bowl/jar in a pot with about 2″ of water, forming a double boiler, and heat over low-medium until the Shea butter is melted.  Stirring, can speed up the melting process.

Pour the combined oil into the crock pot and turn the setting to warm, take the temperature of the oil mixture with the second instant read thermometer.  If the temperature of the oils and the temperature of the lye solution are within 10° F of each other, they are ready to be combined.  If not just what a bit longer until the lye solution cools a bit more, while monitoring the temperature of the oil solution.


Thick TraceSlowly pour the lye solution into the oil, stirring consistently, taking care not to splash the Lye.  Stir for a full 5 minutes with your wooden or silicon spoon.  After 5 minutes you can switch to using the immersion blender.  Blend in short burst, taking care not to make too many bubbles or splash the liquid.  I usually use the blender in short burst, stirring in between.  Continue stirring until a thick trace occurs.

A thick trace resembles creamy mashed potatoes.


Cover your crock pot and leave the setting on low.  Allow your soap solution to cook undistributed for 1 hour.  During this time prepare your molds.  You can use Silicon baking molds (although you wouldn’t use them for baking after making soap), Loaf pans or wooden soap molds.  It’s a good idea to line non-silicon molds with parchment paper, this makes it much easier to free the soap from the mold later.  This recipe fills a 3lb mold, I used a 3″ diameter round PVC mold.  I use modeling clay to secure and seal the plug at the bottom.

2" and 3" diameter round PVC moldsClay secured and sealed end of 3" diameter mold3" diameter pvc mold lined with parchment paper

Once the hour has passed, turn off the crock pot, and thoroughly stir the soap, then spoon the mixture into your mold.  Set your mold(s) in a dry place, with the top uncovered, to open air dry 12 hours.

Soap curing on my soap tableAfter 12 hrs has passed, remove the soap from the mold leaving he parchment paper for it to rest on and allow it to open air dry for an additional 12 to 24 hrs.  At this point your soap should have hardened enough to cut.  If you find that it is still soft, allow another 12hrs of drying time.

Hot Process soap can be used as soon it has hardened enough to cut.

However if you allow it to continue to cure for about 2 to 3 weeks, it will be that much better!