How to make Cold Process Soap? – Basic 50/50 Soap Recipe

50/50 Basic Soap Recipe

A 50/50 soap recipe is one of the first soap recipes we teach to our beginner soap makers in our soap workshops. Its also the most asked question of how to make a basic cold process soap.

This soap recipe is a quick and easy recipe to follow and the bar is a hard and bubbly bar with good cleansing properties.

This basic soap contains no fragrance nor essential oil however adding it is recommended as the olive oil can have a desired scent that you may want to mask.

Because its such a basic recipe it can be modified to also add color or other additives such as oatmeal or even charcoal or turmeric. As the name implies this cold process soap making recipe calls for two oils. Coconut Oil and Olive oil at even amounts for a loaf mold.

Cold Process Soap Making

Cold process soap making is easier than many may think. It can be a bit nerve wrecking especially when it comes to handling lye. This corrosive chemical reacts with water and begins to heat up drastically.

It is good to make safety procedures standard and a habit when it comes to making cold process soap. Many soap makers have stated that after making soap for a while it becomes easier and less scary once they stick to safety protocols.

Cold Process Soap Making Safety

The one key point that is stressed as we teach and we will stress here on this article is the importance of safety in soap making.

You will be working with super heated materials with the potential to cause major skin burns. You must be sure that you are properly prepared. The main ingredient in soap making is sodium hydroxide also known as lye.

The usage of lye in soap making is absolutely needed and has been a subject of debate. How can a handmade soap be natural if a chemical is used?

Sodium Hydroxide – Lye

Sodium hydroxide cold process soap

Sodium hydroxide is an inorganic compound used to emulsify the fats of oils into soap. When used properly in soap there will be no lye left over in the soap as its chemical makeup changes to create the actual soap.

When handling lye be sure to protect your exposed skin. Here are a few items we recommend you have.

  • Gloves
  • Long sleve shirt
  • Long pants
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Safety Goggles

These items will ensure if there are any accidents such as splashes you will keep your skin safe from the burning sensation of lye.


  • Use an appropriate container to hold your lye and to mix your lye water. Heat tempered glass works very well or hard plastic containers.
  • When making your lye water remember to add the LYE to the WATER and never the other way around.
  • Mix you lye solution in a well ventilated area. The fumes that will arise from mixing water and lye can become noxious to some persons while its chemical scent can burn your nose and make your eyes water.
  • Ensure that you are wearing your safety glasses, rubber gloves, long sleeve shirt and pants and close toe shoes. This is to avoid any splashes getting on your skin. Another reason is that if you use a container that cannot handle the heat created by the lye water solution it could break and the entire solution can get on your body.


oil for soap making

In some recopies and depending on where in the world you live you may have to pre heat your oils. Oils can also burn the skin when heated hence ensuring that you are safe from splashes or spills is very important.

A few options will be listed below.

This recipe uses Olive and Coconut Oil ONLY

Basic Cold Process Soap Making Ingredients

  • 16 oz – Olive Oil
  • 16 oz – Coconut Oil
  • 10 oz – Distilled water (preferable)
  • 4.6 oz – lye (NaOH)
  • 1.4 oz – fragrance or essential oil (optional)
  • 2 tsp – color (optional)

Purchase Ingredients

Tools Needed for Cold Process Soap Making

  • 2 qt Glass Mixing Bowl
  • 16 oz glass measuring cups (TWO)
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Stick Blender
  • Infrared Thermometer
  • Steel Whisk (optional)
  • 1 tsp measuring spoon
  • 42 oz Loaf Mold
  • Food grade scale (ounces)


1 – Lye water

Remember to observe the safety protocol for handling sodium hydroxide. Add lye to water (never the other way around) slowly mix until dissolved.

When mixing you can use your silicone spatula or steel whisk. To ensure an even harder bar and to make it easier to remove from the mold add sodium Lactate to the lye water mix.

Because lye water gets super heated to sometimes over 200 degrees its best to let cool to 80-100deg. (Can put in freezer to speed cooling). Preparing your lye water first will give it time to cool as you prepare other portions of the soap making process.

2 – Oils

coconut oil olive oil for soap making

Add all of your oils in together in 2 qt large bowl. Depending on where you live your coconut oil may solidify due to cooler weather, if this happens warm to a point where oils are clear and blended

Take note to keep the temperature below 120 deg. 100-110 degrees is good however its good to note that the coconut oil sold by Bahamas Candle and Soap melts at 76 degrees.

3 – Add Essential or Fragrance Oils (optional)

Essential Oil and Fragrance oil for soap making

Measure out oils in a glass container. (do not use plastic container for essential oils) When measuring use wax paper on top of your scale to avoid the oil spilling on the plastic of the scale. Essential oil eats at plastic and will destroy your scale

4-  Mixture

  • Add your color to oils and mix with stick blender until well blended
  • Your Fragrance or Essential Oil comes next to add to the base oils and blend together
  • Pour your lye water into your Oil mixture along stick blender to prevent bubbles Add around 100 deg for oil and lye water
  • Depending on your essential or fragrance oil, trace may accelerate be sure to work quickly and blend to light trace.
  • Pour mixture into loaf mold, design the top as needed
  • Depending on ambient temperature Cover with cardboard or wax paper over top then put to bed with towels to go through trace. If in a room at 75deg or more leave open and exposed. If in a cooler room cover the soap to let its own heat help take it to gel phase for brighter colors.
  • Let you soap sit for 24 hours before removing from the mold. Check by pressing lightly on the top of the soap. It should be hard to the touch.
  • Remove the soap from the silicone mold and cut in to bars.
  • Let your soap bars sit in a cool dry place for 4-6 weeks to cure.
  • Curing removes the excess water from the soap, this causes the soap to last longer.

5 – Soap Cutting

Cutting your soap is completely up to you. You can cut as thick or as thin as you like. The most standard thickness is often at 1 inch. For a typical soap loaf this will yield 10 bars of soap.

The best time to cut a 50/50 soap is the next day, typically 24 hours. With the amount of coconut oil in the soap means that the overall soap will get harder faster than normal. usually by the first week of curing it becomes harder to cut such a soap.

Another popular way to cut soap for gifts is to cut at one inch thick and then take each bar and cut in half. This way you have 20 small gift size bars of soap.

Tools to cut soap can be a semi sharp knife such as the hard plastic type. A common cutter is the soap cutter. Soap cutters are hard metal devices with a wooden handle to push through a soap to make bars.

The last type of cutter are apparatus made with a wire that allows an easy, even and clean cut on each bar of soap.

Make your Cold Process Soap

Congratulations you have made you first basic soap. Be sure to practice a few more times to ensure you get the technique down pat. We also carry soap making kits that are great to get started with if this is your first time making cold process soap.

Bahamas Soap Maker

Rashad has been making soaps since the inception of Bahamas Candle and Soap in 2008. Since this time he has taught a number of students how make homemade soap using the melt and pour process or the cold process of soap making. His preference is cold process soap making because of the versatility you have in designing not only the ingredients but the aesthetics of the soap. Soap making became more than a hobby for Rashad and he loves trying new techniques and teaching others how they too can make their own soap at home.

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