I love avocados! As food they’re delicious, satisfying and super healthy, and they’re also great to use in cold process soap giving it a decadent rich creamy lather that is delightful.
Avocado oil, shea butter and fresh avocado are the key players for this soap. Fresh avocado fruit as well as avocado oil contains vitamins A, D and E and nourishing omega 3 fatty acids. Both contribute amazing conditioning properties and creamy luxurious lather to the finished soap.
Shea butter has long been known for it’s emollient powers to remedy and heal dry skin. It’s a great moisturizer and adds a certain amount of hardness to a bar of soap. But the secret weapon that shea butter and avocado oil add to soap are unsaponifiables.
What are Unsaponifiables?
Unsaponifiables are beneficial substances in oils and butters that aren’t fatty acids and therefore stay intact throughout the saponification process – they “survive the lye monster” if you will. They’re things like phenols, tocopherols, steroids, sterols and squalene to name a few.
Most oils and butters are fairly low in unsaponifiables, but there are a few that pack a pretty good punch. Exceptionally high in unsaponifiables are shea butter (up to 17%), avocado oil (up to 11%) and jojoba oil (more than 50%; that’s because jojoba is technically a liquid wax and not an oil).
I find that using oils and butters that are high in unsaponifiables in cold process soap positively affects the feel of the lather, making it more gentle and nourishing.
Note: The lather in this soap is somewhat reminiscent of a bastille soap with small bubbles and almost lotion-like feel. If you’re looking for bigger bubbles you might try a recipe with less avocado oil and more coconut oil.
Ready to make some moisturizing avocado and shea butter soap? Great! Let’s get started.
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- Crafter’s Choice loaf mold
- One medium sized container and 2 small ones (not glass)
- Stick blender
- Accurate digital scale
Recipe (makes 42 oz/ 1200g or 7-8 regular sized bars of soap):
This recipe is superfatted at 5% and uses a lye concentration of 45% to accommodate for the added water coming from the avocado.
- Distilled Water: 4.45 oz / 126 g
- Lye: 3.64 oz / 103 g
- Avocado Oil (33%): 9 oz / 254 g
- Shea Butter (30%): 8.15 oz / 231 g
- Coconut Oil (20%): 5.43 oz / 154 g
- Rice Bran Oil (12 %): 3.26 oz / 192 g
- Castor Oil (5%): 1.36 oz / 39 g
- Fresh Avocado Puree: 4.5 oz / 130 g
- Spearmint Essential Oil: 18 g
- Patchouli Essential Oil: 12 g
- Kaolin Clay (optional): 2 Tbsp
- Nettle Leaf Powder: 1 1/2 tsp dispersed in 1 Tbsp of oil
- Gear up for safety: gloves, googles and long sleeves
- Carefully prepare your lye solution in a small container and set aside to cool
- Melt shea butter and coconut oil then add avocado, rice bran and castor oil
- Scrape out a small avocado weigh out 1.5 oz and smash it up with a small fork (see image above)
- Add the smashed avocado to the base oils and stick blend until all of the avocado is evenly blended in. You really want to avoid having any clumps in your mixture (see image above)
- Add essential oils and kaolin clay to the oils and stick blend
- Carefully pour the lye solution into the oils and stick blend to light trace
- Separate out a 1/4 (~ 300g) of the batter into a small container and add 1 1/2 tsp of dispersed nettle leaf powder
- Use a whisk to thoroughly incorporate nettle leaf powder until you see no more clumps
- Take the uncolored batter and fill the mold half way
- Wait until that first layer is thick enough to support another layer
- Then gently pour the green batter over a spatula into the mold, so that it doesn’t break too much into the first layer
- Pour the remainder of the uncolored batter into the mold in the same way
- Give the mold a good tap to release any air bubbles
- Texture the top, I used a small plastic knife to drag midway across (see image above)
- Put the soap in the freezer overnight
- Take it out and let it sit a room temperature for another 24 – 48 hours or until the soap is hard enough to be released from the mold
- Cut into bars and cure for 8 weeks (due to the higher percentage of soft oils this soap benefits from a longer cure)
Looking for more cold process soap recipes? Try:
Until next time. Happy Tinkering!