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Shea Butter Body + Face Soap Recipe

This is one of my favourite go to base recipes for customizing new designs, scents and varieties. It is a perfectly balanced base that yields a wonderfully solid, sudsy bar with a creamy lather and moisturizing properties. There is a high Shea Butter content in this soap making it great for dry or sensitive skin. It is great for making moisturizing, nourishing, luxurious face and body soap recipes.

If you are new to soap making and would like to learn a bit more about the process, and the equipment and materials needed for this craft, check out my post Everything You Need To Make Your Own Soap At Home

You can also purchase the base oil and butter kit complete with essential oils and herbs in my shop!

Shea Butter Body + Face Soap

With Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Vanilla Specks
Prep Time1 hr
Curing Time28 d
Yield: 10 bars


Lye & Water

  • 304 g Distilled Water
  • 130 g Pure Lye Crystals

Hard Oils

  • 294 g Coconut Oil
  • 175 g Shea Butter

Soft Oils

  • 147 g Olive Oil
  • 92 g Sunflower Oil
  • 92 g Canola Oil
  • 74 g Avocado Oil
  • 46 g Castor Oil

Herbal Additives

  • 5 g Lavender Essential Oil
  • 5 g Eucalyptus Essential Oil


  • Gather all your ingredients and supplies so that they are easily accessible, and put on your gloves
  • Weigh your lye in a container. Set aside.
  • Weigh your distilled water  in a BPA-free heat proof plastic pitcher (or other liquid). Set aside.
  • In a well ventilated area or outside, wearing goggles, mask and gloves, slowly add your lye to your liquid pitcher. Use a stainless steel mixing spoon and stir it slowly. Be careful not to splash any liquid. Continue adding lye little by little and mixing so that all the crystals dissolve. Set aside in a safe ventilated area that pets and children cannot reach, and allow to cool while you move on to the next step. 
  • Weight your hard oils (Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter), place in a saucepan and heat on low
  • Weight your soft oils in a pitcher (Avocado Oil, Canola Oil, Castor Oil, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil), and set aside
  • Take your saucepan of hard oils off the heat once the butter is all melted. Stir in your soft oils, then check the temperature. The ideal soap making temperature is 110 - 130 F, and the oil and lye mix should be no more than 10 degrees difference (Ie, if the lye is at 120, the oil should be somewhere between 110 - 130 F.
  • Check the temperature of your lye. If it’s above 130 F, allow it to cool some more and check it again in 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Continue checking the oil temperature. If the oil cools too quickly, you can set it on the stovetop again for another minute with the thermometer in. Once your lye mix and your oil mix is within 110 - 130 degrees, you can slowly add you lye to the oil *** If you don’t want to mix them together in the saucepan, you can transfer your oil to a large BPA-free heat proof plastic mixing bowl****
  • Pour your lye into your oil slowly, and stir thoroughly with a silicone mixing spatula. Place your emulsion blender into the oil - lye mixture, and give it short bursts, stirring in an 8 movement. Occasionally you will want to use the silicone spatula to scrape along the sides and so some slow stirring. We want to reach trace slowly.
  • Once the soap reaches a light trace (not too thick!) you can start adding your herbs, colorants, essential oils, or doing other steps for customizing your soap. For this recipe, we will add some vanilla specks and essential oils. Add your botanicals/herbs first, stir thoroughly.
  • dd your essential oils, stir thoroughly, and pour into the mold. Use the silicone spatula to scrape the edges of the bowl to get as much soap batter into the mold as possibleYou can shape the top of your soap, or you can leave it flat. If you want a bit of texture, reserve 1/4 of the soap batter in the container, and use the emulsion blender to reach a medium-thick trace. This will make the batter thicker and easier to sculpt. Don’t over mix it, if it gets too thick it can start to seize and become unworkable
  • The soap top can be shaped slanted, in a mountain, rounded, etc. I like the mountain top shape of soap. It makes a really handsome looking bar. You can also top the soap with more herbs if you want. Lavender petals make a really nice soap topper. Poppy seeds, orange peel, flower petals, and other herbs can make really attractive soap toppers
  • Once you're finished decorating the top, spritz the surface with alcohol to avoid soda ash from forming and set it aside to cure for 24 to 72 hours.
  • When soap is hardened enough, loosen the edges of the mold, hold it upside down and apply gentle pressure to the bottom to release the mold
  • Cut the soap with a soap cutter into even bars. This recipe can make 10 - 12 bars. Measure for precise dimensions. Avoid using a knife, the slanted shape will make a straight cut difficult.
  • Allow soap bars to cure for 4 weeks, turning over every week to give each side a chance to cure.
  • After 4 weeks the soap can be packaged and used.


Store soap in paper or cardboard. Avoid wrapping in plastic or airtight containers. Handmade soap should be kept dry and ventilated.