Benefits of coconut oil in soap + properties, types, uses

Soap making can be a truly artistic and creative experience. There are many types of soaps you can make with various designs, colours, scents and textures. One of the most common bases for soap is coconut oil. Coconut oil is a well-loved oil in soap making for a variety of reasons. If you want to know the benefits of using coconut oil in soap read on.

Many people are choosing to use natural products over the store-bought variety and many people are choosing to make their own soap. There are countless recipes online on how to make soap with coconut oil. Knowing exactly how it will benefit your skin will make you a more educated soap maker.

Properties of coconut oil

Coconut oil is chocked full of nourishing elements which are great to use not only in soap but in other products as well. These elements include fatty acids, nutrients and antioxidants.

Fatty acids: These include lauric acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and myristic acid to name a few. These acids are antibacterial. They kill off and prevent the growth microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. They also moisturise the skin quite well.

Nutrients: The nutrients found in coconut oil include magnesium, copper, iron, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, potassium and calcium to name a few. These nutrients boost the health and appearance of your skin as you use the soap.

Antioxidants: Coconut oil contains antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your skin from free radical damage.

Benefits of coconut oil in soap


Coconut oil is antimicrobial. It will kill off any bacteria or other organisms on your skin as you use it. The oil also gives a very creamy lather which is lovely to wash with. It also helps to get rid of any dead skin cells on your face and body. The coconut oil soap will do all this without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.


Coconut oil contains various fatty acids. These fatty acids do a great job at moisturising the skin leaving your skin softer and smoother after each wash. These fatty acids allow the coconut oil soap to clean the skin without stripping your skin of moisture


Not only are the fatty acids in your coconut oil soap moisturising but some of the fatty acids in the soap are also anti-inflammatory. The oils that help with inflammation are lauric, capric and caprylic acids.


Because the oil contains antioxidants the soap will help with antiaging. Age markers such as dull skin, fine lines and sun damage are caused by free radicals. The antioxidants in the coconut oil help to fight off these damaging free radicals and this, in turn, helps to improve the appearance of ageing on the skin.

Harder soap:

A harder soap will last longer and will allow you to enjoy the soap for much longer. The fatty acid profile of coconut oil gives the soap the ability to create a harder soap. You can use coconut oil when creating cold process soap or hot process soap. Remember not to use more than 30 percent coconut oil in your recipe. If you have sensitive skin use 15 percent coconut oil.

Acne treating:

Acne is caused by excess sebum, (your skins natural oil) dead skin cells and bacteria combining on the skin and clogging your pores. Because coconut oil is antibacterial it will kill off the acne-causing bacteria on the skin and help to prevent more pimples from forming.


Coconut oil has a plethora of nutrients and vitamins that will deeply nourish the skin. You’ll be giving your skin a rich skin treatment overtime as you clean your skin with coconut oil. This will help you achieve the most beautiful, healthy and glowing skin. The abundance of nutrients also allows coconut oil replenish dull skin.

Is coconut oil soap drying?

Coconut oil can be drying to your skin if you add more than 20-30 percent coconut oil into the soap formulas. Yes coconut oil in itself is moisturising but you need to be careful when using it in soap making.

Coconut oil has long-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids react with the lye during the soap making process. This process of the two reacting to each other is called saponification.

Coconut oil saponifies very well during the soap making process, sometimes too well. If saponification happens too well there will be no oil left in the formula to moisturise your skin. Keep the coconut oil at below 30 percent to avoid this.

Avoid coconut oil soaps with more than 30 percent coconut oil. If you’re making the coconut oil yourself you can add other oils such as sunflower oil, olive oil and shea butter to the formulation.

Different coconut oils used for soap

Coconut oil is not made equal. There are various types of coconut oils you can use in your soap making process. Choosing a certain oil over another will make a difference as to how your soap comes out and works. You need to know the type of oil you’re using when making your soap.

76 degree coconut oil: Coconut oils becomes liquid at different degrees. This coconut oil becomes a liquid at 76 degrees. Many people seem to prefer this type of coconut oil in soap making. This oil produces a soap that is hard and one that lathers up well. 

92 degree coconut oil: This coconut oil needs a higher temperature for it to become liquid, that being 92 degrees. This variety of coconut oil also produces a harder bar. One of the cons of using this coconut oil is that it does not lather up as well as the 76 degree coconut oil does

Virgin coconut oil: You don’t have to use virgin coconut oil to make soap. In fact, you’ll be had pressed to find anyone who uses this type of coconut oil, it is mainly used for cooking. A good soap will still be produced if you decide to use non-virgin coconut oil

Fractionated coconut oil: This is the coconut oil that you can use directly on your skin with no worry of developing blemishes. Unfortunately, the regular everyday coconut oil we use (unfractionated coconut oil) can cause pimples on the skin if you have acne-prone skin and use the pure coconut oil on your skin as a moisturiser. In addition, fractionated coconut oil generally has a longer shelf life and won’t flinch if used on a high heat.

Benefits of coconut oil in other products

Coconut oil is not only a great addition to your soap recipes, but this oil can also be used all over your body and hair. There has been a craze around coconut oil and it’s warranted. Here are a few of the other uses of coconut oil

Lotions: Coconut oil is incorporated into store-bought lotion formulas, you can also find recipes for homemade coconut oil lotions as well. When coconut oil is added to lotions the oil gets absorbed into your skin quickly and easily. It moisturises the skin but does not leave your skin feeling greasy or oily, rather moisturised and soft.

Haircare: Coconut oil is a great addition to your hair care as well. The oil does well to moisturise your hair strands and gives you softer silkier and shinier hair. If you have frizzy hair then coconut oil can also help to restore it, it is moisturising, it helps to smooth down the cuticle and this get rids of your frizzy hair. It’s also is very helpful in dealing with your dandruff.

Teeth health: Because coconut oil is antibacterial it can be used to clean your teeth as well. Coconut oil can be used against the bacteria that cause tooth decay, gum disease and plaque in your mouth. Oil pull to clean your teeth. This entails swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 10 minutes

In foods: With all the skincare and haircare uses that coconut oil offers you may forget that this is a great addition to your foods as well. Coconut oil can be used to make a healthier form of mayonnaise, make dark chocolate, cakes and much more

Deodorant: If you don’t want to use the regular store-bought deodorant then you don’t have to. You can make a natural deodorant using coconut oil. The antibacterial properties of coconut oil will go a long way in keeping your skin free from undesirable odours.

Can coconut oil be used as soap?

Yes, coconut oil can both be used in soap and as a soap, the process of cleaning yourself with coconut oil is called oil cleansing. Using coconut oil to clean your skin in this way ensures that your skin is never dry.

It keeps the skin blemish-free (assuming that you use the correct type of coconut oil ie: fractionated coconut oil if you have acne-prone skin). You will get all the antibacterial, antioxidant-rich and moisturising benefits of coconut oil if you do the oil cleansing method.

The method is based on the idea that oil dissolves oil. The coconut oil will dissolve any excess sebum on your skin as well as remove dirt, grime and bacteria on your skin.

All you need to clean your face with coconut oil is the oil and a warm washcloth. To do the oil cleansing method you simply need to massage the coconut oil into your skin for one minute. You would then apply the warm damp washcloth on your face and let it sit on your face for 30 seconds. After this, you can use it to wipe the oil off of your skin. Your skin should feel cleaner and moisturised at the same time.

What is a good substitute for coconut oil in soap?

If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to use coconut oil in your recipes then you can use palm kernel oil or babassu oil. Both of these oils will give your soap the hardening and lathering properties that coconut oil can offer you.

Palm oil offers nutrients to your skin as well, the oil contains vitamins and minerals that help to keep your skin protected from the damaging effects of the sun. This oil is also beneficial because it improves the appearance of scars.

Babassu oil is also a great oil to use on your skin because it contains fatty acids and vitamin E, it is also antimicrobial and antibacterial. This oil is also amazing at moisturising the skin, it will remedy your skin of any dryness or flakiness just as coconut oil would.

How do you make homemade coconut oil soap?

  • 9.6 ounces of water
  • 4.8 ounces of lye
  • 33 ounces of coconut oil
  • 1.5 ounces of essential oil

  1. Start off by making your lye solution. When this is ready set it aside for future use
  2. Measure out the amount of oil you want to use for the soap. When everything’s is ready melt all the oils over your stovetop. If you prefer you can melt them in the microwave
  3. Mix in your lye solution to your oil solution. Make sure that both solutions are at 100 degrees when doing so. Remember to add the lye solution to your oil slowly.
  4. Add your fragrances, mix everything up until everything is incorporated.
  5. Keep blending until the solution reaches light trace. Add any additional additives to your mixture.
  6. When everything is fully combined and incorporated pour the mixture into your mould.
  7. Let the mixture set and harden. This mixture will set in 12 to  18 hours

Can you add coconut oil to glycerine soap?

Yes, you can add coconut oil to your glycerine soap. When making glycerine soap you’ll need an oil that makes the soap harder. This is because during the glycerine soap making process you generally use solvents that dissolve some of the soap crystals, this is why glycerine soap is generally softer.

Using coconut oil will give you a soap that is harder and more long-lasting. You can also use olive oil but olive oil forces you to cure the soap for longer. Coconut oil is also a  good oil to use in your glycerine soap because it creates a translucent rather than a cloudy bar of soap, and as with any soap made with coconut oil, this soap will create a bubbly lather.

I hope you enjoyed this article looking at the benefits of coconut oil in soap. If you did please share it.

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