Soap Making Supplies

I am going to talk about where one could find the supplies needed to make soap.

One primarily needs oil/butter, lye, essential oil, molds, butter paper, non reactive utensils, a hand-mixer, weighing scale, hand gloves and thermometer.

Olive, Coconut, Castor, Palm, Almond : Any grocery store
Jojoba, Neem, Avocado, Linseed : Special stores. I buy it from Falcon Essential Oils, Bangalore – they deliver supplies home.
Shea butter(unrefined), Mango butter: Falcon Essential Oils again. There are a few other industries that do deal with this.

Lye is caustic soda (NaOH). Available in flake form.
One may buy lye from a chemical industry in one’s own locality. Just google map for “Chemicals” to find a few. Make sure the lye is 99% pure and white without impurities. The seller would/should warn on how dangerous it can be! CAUTION: lye is dangerous and should not be handled without gloves.

Essential Oils
Find them in stores like Health & Glow, that stock from the company called Aroma Magic (15ml bottles). Alternatively, buy them online – for brands like Khadi, Soulflower, Aroma Magic and a few others. I ordered all of mine from Falcon Essential Oils.

Molds & Utensils
Molds: Use non-reactive molds. Use wood, silicone or stainless steel. Tin/Aluminium or other metals might react with lye, hence pay attention. Use PVC pipes as molds to get circular soaps. As a simpler option, use simple card board box or biscuit carton (mentioned in butter-paper section below).


1. A cup to hold lye flakes.

2. Another cup for water/liquid.

3. A heat resistant vessel for oils.

4. Spoons for mixing.

Don’t use your cooking vessels for soap making. Go for stainless steel, porcelain, good quality glass or  thick plastic mugs. Non-stick vessels not to be used. I use porcelain cups for holding lye flakes and liquid, do the mixing in porcelain with plastic spoon,  heat oils with a stainless steel bowl and transfer them to a thick plastic mug. Do this your way as far as it is safe.

If you are thinking an ordinary hand-mixer with a low wattage is just sufficient, then hold-on. My suggestion is to  go for a high power mixer. Do not go for blenders.

Why molds? if one could just use a cardboard box, a shampoo carton, a biscuit paper box or any such. All one needs to do is line the box with butter-paper and pour in the soap mixture.

Kitchen weighing scale/machine
This one is a MUST. Go for the machine that shows weight in grams (good if there is oz option). It would be wonderful to have a reset to zero option. That way one could work with containers, with ease.

Hand gloves
MUST have. Get this in the cleaning supply section of a super market or a medical store. For really sturdy & safe ones, ask your lye supplier.


I really don’t use a thermometer and my soaps turn out to be good enough. Bio/body-thermometers don’t work for beyond 100+/-3 F. Invest in a food thermometer.

Wheatgerm, Oats, Aloe & Honey

Coconut Milk & Geranium

Carrier Oil: Almond, Coconut, Olive

Liquid: Aloe water.

At trace: Honey, Oats & Wheat germ

Essential Oils : Orange, Tea tree, Clove.


  • The final soap is brown with dark brown spots. It does look beautiful.
  • I used fresh aloe from the aloe plant of my mini-garden. Aloe cools and soothes the skin.
  • This is still curing. I presume it will be a great scrub owing to wheat germ and oats.
  • I seem to add Orange EO in most of my soaps. I love the color it adds and could I deny the soothing effect it has on skin. Tea tree and Clove need to be used in very small quantities as they can irritate the skin.

Natural Soap Colors

Here is my list of natural additives in soap for beautiful colors. I don’t believe in using mica and other colorants. Unfortunately food colorants are not safe to use either. Why not use 100% organic additives that also add great value to the soap?

↓Look below.

Kasthuri Turmeric (Cucurma aromatica) : Yellow. Not cooking turmeric (cucurma longa).

Red Sanders powder: Maroon

Sandalwood powder: Beige

Carrot/Tomato paste: Orange-Yellow

Spinach/Coriander paste: Light green

Beet paste: Maroon

Spirullina/Algae/Seaweed : Green

Orange EO: light shade of orange

Cocoa powder/Chocolate: Brown

Vetiver powder: Beige

Fenugreek seed powder: Light brown (speckled)

…more to come…..

Chemistry of soap

Fat = oil/lard/butter

Base: NaOH

Saponification (Fat + Base) = Glycerol + Salt (Soap)

Refer to for a good explanation on this.

In very simple words, this is what soap does to remove dirt.

  1. Soap molecules have one side hydrophobic (water unfriendly), and another side hydrophilic (water friendly).


  1. The water unfriendly end dissolves dirt/oil on shirt or skin and usually get attracted to all the other such dissolved particles. 
  2. The water friendly end dissolves water.
  3. The attraction between such oil dissolving ends cause the water molecules to


    remain outside and dirt in the inside. This is called micelle. Just think of it as a water bubble with water molecules on the outside with oil and dirt mixed at the center. Look at image to understand how micelle looks. 

For a simpler explanation, refer to     000003.htm


1. What is pH level?

pH level is measure of alkalinity or acidity of a solution. Water is neutral is at pH 7. Here is a picture from Wikipedia. NaoH is pH 14!

2. How much pH is handmade soap?

It is safe to have pH in the range 7 – 10. Soaps available commercially can have a lot more pH, hence harmful.

Coconut milk & Geranium soap recipe!

Coconut Milk & Geranium

“Coconut Milk & Geranium Soap”


  1. Coconut Oil : 25 g
  2. Olive Oil: 100 g
  3. Lye (calculated using Brambleberry) : 16.96 g
  4. Water: 20 ml
  5. Coconut Milk: 22 ml
  6. Geranium: 3 ml
  7. Patchouli: 1 ml
  8. Vetiver: 1 ml


  • Traced really soon and took long to harden.
  • Final product smells rosy! Feels as smooth as silk.


Coconut milk & Geranium do magic on skin!

Soap embeds

Soap embeds are rich ingredients in their complete form added into handmade soaps.

There are many kinds of embeds : Oatmeal, Wheat germ, Salts, Spices, Coconut shavings, Real flowers & fruits, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Red sandalwood, Coffee powder

I personally love Vetiver root: Vetiver is a popular grass native to India. It is mainly used in cosmetology and aromatherapy.  Vetiver is great for all things muscular – rheumatism, sprains and arthritis. It has a great aroma and is quite therapeutic. Vetiver comes from the Tamil word – “hatchet-ed up root”


The Vetiver Root Scrub (with added vetiver essential oils), I made: