Soaps,  Tips and tricks,  Tutorials and recipes

Three tricks for making a white vegetable-based soap

How to make white soap

Coop Coco reveals our team’s tips and tricks for achieving a white soap.

You’d like to make a white soap but don’t know how? You’ve tried, and despite your best efforts, it never has that pretty light hue you’re looking for? This is normal: many factors need to be taken into account to obtain this particular effect! So if you want to learn how to make a vegetable soap as white as snow, follow this guide!

Why do we specify vegetable soap? In fact, it’s much simpler to make white soap from animal fats. However, this article is focused on soaps made exclusively from vegetable fats.

Tip #1 to make a white vegetable soap: Oils

making white soap with lye
Using white or clear vegetable oils or butters allows you to start off with a paler base that is easier to whiten.

So if you were thinking of using a green olive oil in your recipe, you would be better off replacing it with a paler oil—like sunflower oil, for example. (Olive oil and sunflower oil have similar properties in soap and have the exact same saponification number.)

Here are some examples of pale oils and butters to use in your recipes to make a handmade white soap:

Tip #2 to make your cold-process soap white: Colourants

white soap recipe

To turn your soap the colour of fresh fallen snow, we recommend adding a white colourant, like titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.

These two mineral colourants are used in the manufacture of mineral sunscreens and may be used to whiten soap. Titanium dioxide is a more intense whitener than zinc oxide. They may be used alone or in combination.

You will need 2-4 g of titanium dioxide per kilogram of oil in the recipe or 2-8 g of zinc oxide per kilogram of oil. If you want to make a very white soap, use the maximum amount of one or the other colourant. However, if you are using the colourants in combination, use the average of each colourant (3 g of titanium dioxide and 5 g of zinc oxide per kg of oil).

Be especially sure to mix the colourants into the oil, and not into the overall mixture, before adding the oil to your recipe. If you try to incorporate the colourants directly into the soap paste (for example, at trace), there will be lumps of colourant in your final product. Also make sure to first crush any lumps in the colourants before adding them to the oil; a silicone spatula works well for crushing lumps.

Tip #3 to make a white soap: Scents

It is also important to choose pale essential oils and/or aromatic essences when the time comes to select your scents and add them to your soap. Strongly coloured scents are best avoided. Indeed, some essential oils and aromatic essences can even change the colour of the soap while it’s curing (for example, vanilla). We therefore advise that you first do a few small tests to select the right scents for a white soap!

Here are a few examples of pale essential oils or aromatic essences that should not influence the whiteness of your soap:

There you have it! Now you know all you need to know to make a natural white soap recipe… Doesn’t that open up some new creative possibilities? Don’t hesitate to share your future white soap recipes with us: we can’t wait to hear all about your results and the creations you’ll dream up.

making white soap with lye


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