Double Butter Soap Recipe with Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter

  • 01 of 07

    Double Butter Luxury Soap Recipe

    shea butter and cocoa butter
    Cocoa butter and shea butter are the luxury oils for this recipe. David Fisher

    It’s a month away from Christmas, so I’ve been spending my Thanksgiving weekend making soap for my Christmas gift baskets. It’s the one time of the year where I recall those good old days when I was making and selling soap online and at craft fairs.

    It’s also the time of year to splurge and make some extra special batches of soap. While I’ve really been in love with my last batch of 100% coconut oil soap, I wanted to make a batch of real luxury soap.

    While just a plain, everyday bar of soap can be...MORE luxurious, most people equate luxury with the luxury oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba, and some of the other liquid oils.

    This recipe, called Double Butter, uses 25% butters. Because butters will dampen the lather of your soap some, I upped the coconut to 35% and balanced the recipe with some lard, olive and castor oils. Recipes with high percentages of butters come to trace quickly.

    Using lard instead of palm oil or tallow as your “hard” oil helps slow things down. But I’ve included a vegetarian version of the recipe for you as well.

    For this recipe, which makes 3 pounds of soap, I used:

    • 4.5 ounces lard (10%)
    • 15.6 ounces coconut oil (35%)
    • 11.2 ounces olive oil (25%)
    • 2.2 ounces castor oil (5%)
    • 5.8 ounces cocoa butter (13%)
    • 5.4 ounces shea butter (12%)
    • 6.3 ounces lye (6% lye discount)
    • 12.6 ounces water
    • 2 ounces of fragrance or essential oil blend, I used my Lavender Dream blend with patchouli, orange and lavender essential oils
    • 1/2 tsp. gold mica
    • 1/2 tsp. brown mica

    Vegetarian/Non-Animal Oil Version

    Substitute the 4.5 ounces of lard for 4.5 ounces of palm oil. The saponification values for the two oils are close enough that the lye amount doesn’t change.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Melting the Oils - Special Technique

    shea butter and cocoa butter
    Cocoa butter partially melted - shea butter added on top. David Fisher

    This is a pretty straightforward batch of soap, and normally I would weigh and melt all of the solid oils into my pitcher at once. However, this much cocoa butter will take a long time to melt so I use a modified technique.

    First, put just the cocoa butter into the bowl/pot alone and start to melt it. In the microwave, I heated the cocoa butter for 3 minutes at 50% power.

    When the cocoa butter is partially melted, add the shea butter, and heat further. Then continue to add the solid oils in the...MORE reverse order of their melting point. Coconut oil next…then the lard.

    Continue heating the solid oils until they are completely melted. Then add the liquid oils to the mixture.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Prepare Your Micas and Fragrance

    Micas with oil to disperse
    Micas with a little oil to disperse. David Fisher

    While you’re heating the oils, prepare your micas. Color is completely optional in this recipe, but I wanted to try an “in the pot” swirl” to give my “Double Butter” soap a rich, warm color. I put 1/2 teaspoon of mica into a ramekin with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir well with a small whisk or chopstick. Measure out your fragrance or essential oil as well, and you’re ready to make some soap!

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Mix to Trace and Add Fragrance

    soap mixture at a very light trace
    Soap mixture at a very light trace. David Fisher

    Mix the oils and lye together and bring the mixture to a very light trace. Add in the fragrance and stir a bit.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    In the Pot Swirl with Micas - Part 1

    pouring the micas
    Pouring the micas into the soap pot. David Fisher

    For the “in the pot” swirl, pour one of the ramekins of mica onto one side of the pot, and the other on the other side.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    In the Pot Swirl - Part 2

    soap swirled in the pot
    Swirled in the Pot. David Fisher

    Then, using the stick blender (not turned on) swirl the color into the rest of the soap. You can leave distinct swirls of color, or, like I did, mix it up a bit for a more subtle color variance.

    Now, you can also take out a cup or two of the soap, add the colorant to it, mix it, and then swirl it back into the pot - like I did in this batch of soap.

    Since I knew this recipe was going to come to trace quickly and was just doing a subtle (more mixed) color swirl, I just used the oil/mica mix...MORE directly into the soap.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Unmold and Enjoy the Double Butter Soap

    finished double butter soap
    Finished "double butter" soap. David Fisher

    Pour the soap into the mold and let it set up overnight. After 24 hours or so, unmold it and let it cure for a few weeks. You can see how the swirl gives a sort of variegated marble-like effect. That effect and the nice clean sides created by this silicone soap mold gave this just the "luxury" look I wanted for my Christmas gift baskets.

    Be sure to save a few bars for yourself!