Adding Honey to Handmade Soap (and Recipe)
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I get a lot of questions about adding honey to handmade soap. A lot of soap makers recognize the benefits of honey in soap, but want to know when to add it and how much to add.
Why Add Honey?
- Antimicrobial – prevents the growth of certain bacteria
- Humectant or Hygroscopic – absorbs moisture from the air. Humectants are used in cosmetic products to help moisturize and smooth the skin. Honey does that naturally.
- Antioxidant – by destroying free radicals, antioxidants on the skin will help protect the skin from sun damage and help it look younger longer.
- Dry or Damaged Skin – because of its antioxidant and humectant properties, honey soap is great for dry or damaged skin.
- Acne – because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, raw honey helps kill bacteria that may cause acne and will help skin heal faster.
- Soap Benefits: Honey adds to the lather, giving you a nice bubbly soap bar.
How Much Do I Add?
A general guideline is to add 1 Tablespoon of Honey per pound of Soap you are making.
What Kind of Honey?
Please use raw honey. Honey you buy at the grocery store has been found to have more corn sugars in it than raw honey. It also has the pollen removed, removing most of the benefits that you would obtain from using or consuming honey.
How to Prepare the Honey:
Example: If you are making a 2lb batch of soap you may use 2 Tbsp of honey. If your recipe calls for 11 oz of water, remove 1-2 of those ounces to use in the honey. This will make it thinner and easier to incorporate. You do not want a chunk of honey sitting on the bottom of your soap. So, dilute it with a little bit of water (that you have weighed) and remove that amount from your total water amount in the recipe.
When do I add the Honey?
Just as with adding milk to soap, there are various methods of adding honey and when. I have done it in two ways and both turned out great.
- Add at very light trace – dilute with some of the water from your recipe and add at very light trace.
- Add to Oils – without diluting it with water, add your honey to the oils and blend well.
- Make sure you blend it very well or it WILL be at the bottom of your soap when you go to cut it.
- Honey can make your soap go to trace faster, so watch it carefully!
- The sugars in Honey, just like the sugars in milk, will cause your soap to darken slightly.
Handmade Honey Soap Recipe (4lbs)
This recipe makes 4lbs and has a superfat content of 5%.
- 15 oz olive oil
- 10 oz coconut oil
- 10 oz tallow
- 5 oz shea butter
- 2 oz castor oil
- 3 Tbsp raw honey
- 16 oz water (remove 2 oz to mix with honey)
- 5.8 oz lye
- 1-1/2 to 2 oz essential oils of choice (citrus scents go well with honey, as well as cinnamon leaf)
- Combine olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, shea, and castor oil in large pot and heat until all is melted. Turn off the burner and cool to 100 degrees F.
- Combine 4 Tbsp raw honey and 2 ounces of water until combined.
- Add 9oz lye slowly to 23oz water (never water to lye) outside - even in the winter. Never combine in your house! Do not breathe fumes! Cool to 100 degrees F.
- Add lye water to oils and mix with a hand or stick mixer until it begins to thicken (on 5min. off 5 -10 min.).
- Add Raw Honey and essential oils and mix. Watch carefully. It may go to trace quickly.
- Pour into mold and incubate for at least 24 hours.
For more detailed instructions on how to make cold processed soap, see:
You can also find a number of Natural Soap in my Shop
Linked to some of these great blogs.