Really Close Pears Soap Copycat Recipe

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Mar 22, 2024
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Many of you read my post from 2 months ago looking for advice on recreating Sir Andrew Pears very famous 1807 "transparent" soap. Pears is a bit of an obsession, having used it during the 1970's and on as my dad introduced me to it years ago. There have been many posts concerning Pears soap in soapmaking forums and groups across the Internet. It has even been the subject of a few books and magazine articles. One reason is that Unilever purchased the brand years ago and completely re-formulated it in 2009, completely ruining the once great product. Purists like me were apalled. The new formulation uses a ton of artificial and chemical ingredients. Its smell - what made the soap famous in the first place- is completely different. Hence the reason many of us are trying to recreate the original.

Well I'm here to report that, after many, many months of research, scent-testing, dry-runs, ingredient testing, experimentation, and outright guessing, I've come upon a darned close version of the iconic soap. I wanted to post it here in case any of you would like to collaborate to try and get it even closer to the original. It's not perfect...yet. I will add that I used the exact ingredients as specified on a box I unearthed from eBay that dates to the 1970's. It is the original formulation. This is a hot-process soap, and the results are supposed to be an amber-colored bar with an herby faintly-medicinal scent. Again, this is based on the ORIGINAL soap from the 1800's and not the modern Unilever version. It smells nothing like that.

A couple of notes:
1. This is just a 350 g batch. It will make 5 bars of 3.5" x 2.5" x 1" Using a silicone 6-cavity mold. These are not individually cut.
2. This scent is faintly medicinal and herby. It is based on the ingredients listed on the original box. The scent is as close as Ive been able to get after much experimentation. If a scent expert would like to collaborate with me, I'm all ears and ready. PM me. Note the ingredients on the box lid in the accompanying photos. That was the original formulation! No cinnamon, no rosemary, no pear.
3. A key ingredient is pine rosin, not pine tar. Buy powered or granulated pine gum rosin from Amazon or soap supplier
4. There has been much controversy about "pears essence." This refers to the unique scent mix that Unilever used in their soap. Nobody knows what's in it, except for there is ample documentation evidence in the Unilever patents that it does NOT contain pear essential oil (pear like the fruit). The original pears scent ingredients as listed in their documentation, boxes, and early papers were: pine rosin, thyme essential oil, and cedar essential oil. I think there is maybe one or two more ingredients to make it perfect, but I'm at a dead end. I'm sooo close though.
5. This recipe and the techniques I used are based on the book, "TRANSPARENT SOAPMAKING" by Catherine Failor
6. I used a hybrid technique that followed much of Failor's book, but combined that with the "quick transparent soap" technique as posted by Amanda Aaron at

RECIPE - Makes 5 bars (350g batch):

Pig lard or beef tallow- 91g
Coconut oil (76-degree)- 147g
Pine rosin - 70g
Stearic acid- 42g

Distilled water - 112g
Lye (NaOH) - 46.35g

Ethanol alcohol (Pure industrial grade 150 proof)- 140g
Glycerin - 60g
Sugar solution: 35g water + 35g granulated white sugar (pre mix and dissolve, bring to boil, then cool) 70g total

Cedar essential oil - 4.0g
Thyme essential oil - 4.5g

Follow your favorite hot process technique. I didnt use a crock pot, I used a 4 qt stainless steel pot on the lowest flame on the smallest burner of a gas stove. Pre-mix the stearic acid and powdered pine rosin separately, and melt them together to about 160-degrees F. That will liquify them. A double boiler may not get hot enough unless you use a lid. Pur the melted rosin and stearic into the already melted other oils. Then add lye mixture and continue.

Again, if anybody wants to collaborate and perfect this elusive beast of a project, contact me and we can facetime, or zoom or just talk on the phone. Good luck and I hope this helps those of us obsessed with the original Pears soap.


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I made a dupe Pears fragrance wiht EOS of Cedarwood, Rosemary, Pine, Cinnamon and Thyme. I like it - but it is a little strong on the rosemary. I will adjust the percentages next time.
I would love to have this recipe! Would you please share it? I am obssessed with this scent!!
I would love to have this recipe! Would you please share it? I am obssessed with this scent!!

The OP generously provided the recipe already -- re-read the first post.

edit -- I apologize for misinterpreting your question. I realize now you were asking KiwiMoose for their recipe, not the OP.

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