First Soap Recipe Questions

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Jun 8, 2022
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Hello! I am new to soapmaking and have formulated a liquid soap recipe, but I'm unsure if it will result in a good product. My intention is to make a thick liquid, like gel, made with pumice, cherry essential oil, and red mica powder. I intend to use #0-1/2 grade pumice, if this information is of any help. I will repeat this further on.

My recipe right now is formulated to create a small amount so if the recipe fails, I don't waste a bunch of ingredients and time.

Name: Mechanic Soap
Superfat: 5%
Water Discount: 10%

Lye - 0.96 oz
Water - 1.92 oz

Babassu Oil - 15% (0.666 oz)
Castor Oil - 7% (0.31 oz)
Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 38% (1.688 oz)
Raw Unrefined Shea Butter - 10% (0.44 oz)
Virgin Coconut Oil - 30% (1.33 oz)

Pumice Powder #0-1/2: Unknown Amount
Cherry Essential Oil - 0.09 oz (2.5g)
Red Mica Powder - 0.09 oz (2.5g)

I want this soap to create a thick liquid, like gel, with plenty of lather. I don't know the amount of pumice I need to create enough exfoliation for a gardener/mechanic soap and would appreciate some recommendations. I got the amount of essential oil and mica powder from brambleberry and further research. If this amount seems incorrect, please tell me.

Overall, I am looking for any input on my recipe, whether I mentioned it in this post or not. Thank you for taking the time to read this and a further thanks if you provide feedback!
Hi, and welcome! It's late, and I'm headed to bed, but I'll mention a few things to consider:

1. A superfat of 5% is too high for LS unless you understand advanced techniques and ingredients. Otherwise, your superfat should be at 2% or less, or you will have cloudy soap and/or unsaponified oils floating on top.

2. Most handcrafted LS is fairly watery. It will not be a thick gel unless you use a very low dilution rate, or some type of thickener, which is an advanced technique.

3. The pumice and mica powder will sink to the bottom of LS, unless you use advanced ingredients to keep them suspended. Some folks use a drop of red food coloring to color their LS, but that can stain so be careful.

4. Extra virgin olive oil will give your soap a green tint. Since you were hoping to use red mica, I'm guessing that green was not your target color. ;) Regular light olive oil would be much less expensive, much lighter in color, and will work just the same in the soap as extra virgin (which should be saved for food, imo).

5. Shea butter has unsaponifiables that may settle out on the bottom after a few days. It may also make your soap cloudy. You will need to know how to test your soap to determine whether the cloudiness is from the shea, or from unsaponified oils (potentially lye heavy soap).

Also, please remember to check the purity of your KOH, and put the correct number in the soap calculator. Most calculators assume a 90% purity, but yours may be more or less. Since you will be working with such a low superfat, it's important to get this right to avoid soap that is either lye heavy or overly super-fatted.

I'm sure others will come along and have some great input regarding your recipe, and some tips to achieving your goals. :) In the meantime, you might check out Irish Lass' thread on Creamy Coco-Shea LS. It's a fantastic tutorial for making a wonderful, thick, pearly soap. It's a bit complex for someone who is new to LS, but if you have the ingredients and follow the directions, it's awesome. Good luck!

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