Plant-Based Fats & Oils in Soaps

Explore our detailed overview of fatty acid profiles for soap-making. Take a closer look at organic cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and sunflower oil’s soap-making properties, including their saponification values.

We’ve compiled the following overviews to help you formulate natural and organic soaps for your customers. For specific questions about individual ingredients, please reach out to our Sales Team: sales@foodcircle.com.

 

Soap-Making Fatty Acid Profiles

Fatty Acid
Type of Fat
Functions in Soaps
Resulting Lather
Plant-Based Oils
Lauric acid 
saturated
hardening, cleansing
big & fluffy
coconut oil, palm kernel oil, babassu oil
Myristic acid
saturated
hardening, cleansing
fluffy
murumuru butter, tucuma seed butter, monoi de tahiti oil, cohune oil
Palmitic acid
saturated
hardening
creamy
coconut butter, palm oil
Stearic acid
saturated
hardening
stable
shea butter, soybean oil, kokum oil, illipe butter, sal fat, mango butter
Oleic acid
unsaturated
conditioning, moisturising
slippery
olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oils
Linoleic acid
unsaturated
conditioning, moisturising
silky
hemp oil
Linolenic acid
unsaturated
conditioning, moisturising
silky
sunflower oil, hemp oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil,  pomegranate seed oil, flax oil
Ricinoleic acid
unsaturated
conditioning, moisturising
slippery
castor oil 

Sources: modernsoapmaking.com, ultimatehpsoap.com

At foodcircle, we take great pride in the quality of our organic ingredients. We’ve compiled the following overview to give you a better feel for the individual soap-making qualities of some of our best-selling plant-based fats. For an overview of all ingredients in our portfolio for soap-making, to request samples or place an order, please sign up or log in to your digital dashboard.

Cocoa Butter 

Our 100% raw organic cocoa butter is available in two variants: natural or deodorised. The deodorised variant is favoured by most soap-makers because it is scent-free. If, however, you would like your soap to carry a chocolatey smell, it is also possible to saponify our natural cocoa butter.

Saturated fats

60%

Unsaturated fats

40%

Main fatty acids

Palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid

Properties in soap

Conditioning, moisturising, hardening

Lather

Rich, stable, lotion-like

Saponification

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide), NaOH: 0.1378

Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide), KOH: 0.1941

Recommended usage in soap 

5% - 15%

Soap bar

Hard and long-lasting 

Nutritional benefits

High levels of vitamin E, antioxidants

Scent

Neutral (deodorised cocoa butter), chocolate scent (natural cocoa butter)

Colour

Creamy white with a hint of yellow

Sources: ve.scielo.org, simplelifemom.com, iamcountryside.com 

Shop wholesale organic cocoa butter for soap-making at foodcircle.

 

Shea Butter

Our organic shea butter is extracted from shea nuts using mechanical pressure and then carefully refined to ensure its exceptionally smooth texture. 

Saturated fats

50%

Unsaturated fats

50%

Main fatty acids

Palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid

Properties in soap

Conditioning, hardening

Lather

Stable

Saponification

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide), NaOH: 0.1296

Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide), KOH: 0.1359

Recommended usage in soap

5% - 20%

Soap bar

Medium-hard and long-lasting 

Nutritional benefits

High levels of vitamin A and E

Scent

Nutty

Colour

Ivory

Sources: verywellfit.com, researchgate.net, simplelifemom.com, iamcountryside.com, lovinsoap.com

Shop wholesale organic shea butter for soap-making at foodcircle.


 

Coconut Oil 

Our wholesale organic coconut oil contains high levels of lauric acid (44.0% - 53.2%). Its natural cleansing and conditioning properties alongside the bubbly lather it creates make it an all-time favourite in soap-makers' books. 

Saturated fats

80-90%

Unsaturated fats

10-20%

Main fatty acids

Lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid

Properties in soap

Cleansing, conditioning, hardening

Lather

High with stable bubbles

Saponification

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide), NaOH: 0.1910 - 0.2321

Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide), KOH: 0.2690 - 0.3269

Recommended usage in soap

15% - 50%

Soap bar

Hard

Nutritional benefits

High levels of vitamin E

Scent

Coconutty (virgin coconut oil), neutral (refined coconut oil)

Colour

Milky-white

Sources: sciencedirect.com, hsph.harvard.edu, simplelifemom.com, iamcountryside.com, lovinsoap.com 

Shop wholesale organic coconut oil for soap-making at foodcircle.


Sunflower Oil 

If you’re looking to produce a mild soap with a silky feel, our organic sunflower oil might just be the key ingredient you’re looking for. Our organic sunflower oil is available on two variants, linoleic sunflower oil and high oleic sunflower oil. High oleic sunflower oil has a longer shelf life in soapmaking than its linoleic counterpart.

Saturated fats

≈11%

Unsaturated fats

≈89%

Main fatty acids

High oleic acid, linoleic acid

Properties in soap

Conditioning

Lather

Low, silky

Saponification

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide), NaOH: 0.1351- 0.1358 

Caustic Potash (Potassium Hydroxide), KOH: 0.1903 - 0.1913

Recommended usage in soap

20 - 35%

Soap bar

Soft

Nutritional benefits

High levels of vitamin E

Scent

Neutral

Colour

Slightly opalescent, light yellow

Sources: healthline.com, iamcountryside.com, soapqueen.com

Shop wholesale organic sunflower oil for soap-making at foodcircle.


What is Saponification?

In soap-making, the term ‘saponification’ refers to the chemical reaction that takes place between fats, such as natural butters or oils, and an alkali solution, such as sodium or potassium hydroxide. This process is a crucial step in the soap-making process. Its resulting effects are influenced by a number of factors, including the levels of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids in the fat which, in turn, impact the final hardness, moisturising abilities, cleansing abilities and lather of the soap. The ‘saponification value’ or ‘saponification number’ thus differs between fats and refers to the amount of alkali (or base) required to saponify the fat.

For a comprehensive list of saponification values visit certified-lye.com.

Imagery: (1) Aurelia Dubois and (2) Daniele Levis Pelusi via unsplash.com, (3 - 6) foodcircle.com

 

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