Creating Your Signature Soap

Creating your own soap formulas; does the very thought appall you or does it excite you?  Perhaps you’re shrugging your shoulders saying, “I do that all the time.”  or “Been there, done that.  I worked and tweaked and found my own formula a long time ago.”  


If you identify with the former, read on.  If it’s the latter, well, read on to see if  you agree.


My opinion is that every soapmaker should eventually develop her own formula(s).  It’s fine to start out with a well-designed, simple formula, but somewhere along the line, she should become curious about other oils and percentages and manipulating them to create a signature soap that she loves.  Yes, some of us get a bit carried away with this concept and never stop tweaking, but that’s another story for another day.


I’ve known soapmakers who enjoy the experimentation part more than any other component of soapmaking.  I’ve also known a few who found a recipe in a magazine twenty years ago and have used that formula since and that one only.  I suppose that isn’t a bad thing as long as it’s a good formula, but you’ll be a more knowledgeable soaper if you step out of your comfort zone and learn more about various oils and methods by doing some research and experimentation.


If you’re a brand new soapmaker, by all means, get a good formula, follow the directions, and make soap (after after putting your formula through a lye calculator).  If your first batch turns out well, it will encourage you to keep going.


Once you become more familiar with making soap, study various oils to learn more about what they have to offer soap.  Some oils produce lather, some harden the bar and others are skin conditioning.  A balanced bar will include good percentage of each.  From there, you’ll probably look for formulas for specialty soaps, such as facial bars and mechanics soap.  That’s where knowing your oils will come in handy and will save you valuable time and supplies in formulating those bars.


After some time and trials, you’ll consider yourself a knowledgeable soapmaker.  You’ll realize how little you knew at the beginning, and even though your soap was good then, you’re just so much smarter now!


Have you created your own formulas yet?  Are you fearful of doing so, or have you enjoyed the process?  Share with us what you’ve learned.


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier


3 Responses to “Creating Your Signature Soap”
  1. Lucia Felty says:

    When I teach soapmaking, I don’t give my students a formula. I give them the information about what oils do what in soap and they have to create their own formula for the soap they make!

  2. Carol says:

    Hi Lucia, I may have the opportunity to teach soapmaking classes, but i am unclear as how to teach cp/hp classes when it comes to working with the lye. Can you give me some pointers? Thanks

  3. john riley says:

    Hey Carol!!!! Just read your comment and I may be able to help some ….as you know safety is very important , and we want to educate our students on the importance of using lye….#1 I always refer to the material safety data sheets to start , and have them read it before they make each batch on their own .. (until they are well versed ) and you , yourself model good behavior.. :) …. #2 get them a copy of the ” Home Soapmakers Pledge ” # Have them purchase lye from a reputable person ….I use the “Lye Guy”….his bottles are sturdy, easy to use and clearly marked …and he is a one man operation …and we should support the local mom and pop operations !!!

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