As a soap-making staple, palm oil has never impressed me. I’ve tried it in a few recipes, but never liked it enough to add it to my permanent list of soaping oils. Those have remained virtually unchanged since I began making soap – olive, coconut, and avocado.
I’m often asked about the hardness of a bar made with olive, coconut, and avocado, and I am honest when I say that those three oils don’t make the hardest bar of soap I’ve ever tried. They do make for a conditioning bar, and for me, this is the most important criteria.
But sometimes a hard bar of soap is essential. Beeswax can help harden a bar, but I’ve never had much success with it. I find it reduces lather and can give the soap a waxy feel. Olive wax is a better alternative, but it can be difficult to find. It’s much easier for me to make couple of quick substitutions with easily obtainable ingredients to produce a very hard bar of soap without the inclusion of palm or even animal fats.
My favourite recipe for hard soap is:
15% Shea Butter
The above make a hard, mild bar that is luxurious and easy to produce. It can be slightly expensive, so I’ll include a recipe that is a bit more cost effective as well:
15% Cocoa Butter
10% Rapeseed (canola)
This bar is not too expensive to produce and is just as hard as any palm oil soap.
If you are looking for a suitable alternative to palm without the use of animal fats, I would encourage you to give these recipes a go. And please let me know what you think!