The Best Soap Recipe without Coconut Oil

There can be many reasons to want to make a coconut-oil-free soap. But finding that perfect balance in your recipe to get the same result with coconut oil can be challenging. But why would you want to go through all this trouble when you can have us do it for you?

Making a soap recipe without coconut oil requires more work and time than using the same ingredients with coconut oil. Finding the perfect balance of other oils and additives can take some experimenting. In the end, it may leave you frustrated and finally may even lead you to give up on the idea. 

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Before we jump in, I think it’s essential to understand how coconut oil acts in soap compared to other oils and why it may be hard for some soap makers to find that perfect substitute to have similar results. 

What does coconut oil do in soap?

Coconut oil is valued for its unique and outstanding properties. Its chemical composition makes it an ideal choice for soap making. 

It is considered as one of the best types of oil that gives firmness to a soap bar is without a doubt. Even though it has an excellent cleansing ability, you should still be careful using an excessive amount of coconut oil in a soap formulation; you might end up with a too dry soap for your skin.

Coconut oil is one of the most commonly used oils in soapmaking. It provides cleansing, firming, and many other skin benefits. Coconut oil is abundantly used in many additional bath and beauty products such as lip balm, scrubs, hair care, and more. It is famous as a skin and hair moisturizer. 

With its ability to get absorbed in the skin, coconut oil provides a number of health benefits, including its richness in nutrients such as vitamin E and K. 

Lastly, many people don’t really know this, but coconut oil also has excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil soap will effectively remove germs and other environmental pollutants from the surface of your skin. It also helps in restoring the natural pH of the skin. 

Why would you want to substitute coconut oil?

One of the main reasons people substitute coconut oil is primarily due to an allergic reaction. However, surprisingly, most people don’t really think about being allergic to coconut oil but instead, think they messed up the formulation. 

If you often have allergic symptoms, you should write down all the products you are using while you experience allergies. New beauty treatment may actually be the real culprit, instead of your coconut oil-based soap. 

The symptoms of coconut oil-induced allergic reaction include constant itching, red bumps, hives, eczema, and persistent rash. In this case, it is essential to stop the use of all products containing coconut oil. If the symptoms persist, then you should contact your dermatologist. 

What can I substitute for coconut oil in soap?

You can substitute coconut oil with babassu and palm kern oil. Both offer the same benefits of coconut in firmness, lathering ability but with a slight difference in cleansing power when it comes to babassu.

Before you start making soaps, knowing the value of hard oils and soothing oils is important. Remember that all hard oils and butter are solid at room temperature. The most commonly used hard oils in soap making are palm oil and coconut oil. 

Palm oil is not an ideal substitute for coconut oil as both have different properties. However, the properties of palm kernel oil are quite similar to that of coconut oil. Replacing coconut oil with palm oil in a soap formulation and achieving the same result is really difficult. 

Palm kernel flakes can help in a formulation if adding coconut oil is not an option. You can use up to 15% palm kernel flakes in your soap recipe. 

Babassu is also a good alternative for coconut oil and is even slightly more cleansing than Palm kernel. Similar to coconut oil, It can be used up to 33%.

What is the best substitute for coconut oil in soap?

The best substitute for coconut oil is, without a doubt, babassu oil. It offers the same benefits but excels with its cleansing abilities. You may want to lessen the quantity in your soap formulation by 2 to 3% in case you want a less solid soap as babassu oil-based soaps tend to get really firm. 

Palm Kernel oil is a lauric type, and it is quite similar to coconut oil in its physical and chemical properties. It also produces hard soaps that lather well. Soaps containing palm kernel oil are hard white, and they lather beautifully. 

Adding tallow instead of coconut oil in a recipe will contribute to the desired hardening and firmness of the soap. However, the cleansing ability of the tallow is lesser than that of the coconut oil. 

Leaving Babassu oil and also the big winner among the three. Babassu oil has almost identical properties to coconut oil. In fact, it may even be slightly better when it comes to its cleansing abilities. You can use it similarly to coconut oil up to 33%, which means you don’t need to add any other ingredient to help for firmness. But most people tend to lessen the quantity because they feel that the soap is too firm. 

Note: When substituting coconut oil for any other oil, it’s strongly advised to run your recipe through a lye calculator to get an accurate measure of your lye amount. 

How do you make soap without coconut oil?

Here is a sample recipe proportions for coconut oil-free soap. The babassu oil and shea butter will provide the required hardness. Here the castor oil and cocoa butter are added to keep the skin moist and hydrated. 

  • Canola oil (38%)
  • Babassu oil (30%)
  • Shea Butter (20%)
  • Cocoa Butter (7%)
  • Castor oil (5%)
  • Distilled water 
  • Lye

You can also make a castile soap by using olive oil as the main ingredient in your soap. 

Final Verdict

Coconut oil is a common ingredient found in soaps. If you are allergic to coconut or coconut oil, using such soaps will irritate your skin. In this case, you must check the ingredients list before buying soaps or any other skincare products. 

You can easily make coconut oil-free soaps at home for yourself or your customers. Babassu oil and palm kernel oil provide nearly the same hardness as coconut oil.

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