Aloe Vera Soap Recipe with Neem Oil
This homemade aloe vera soap recipe with neem oil is a cold process soap that uses aloe vera gel for its natural skin care benefits. It makes a great natural soap bar for daily skin care. Discover the benefits of aloe vera for skin, and learn how to incorporate aloe vera gel into cold process soap recipes to make soap with aloe vera.
Homemade Aloe Vera Soap
If you commonly turn to aloe vera to soothe and moisturize your skin, then add this aloe vera soap recipe to your weekend to do list now! Formulated using natural ingredients, my cold process aloe vera soap uses aloe vera gel in place of water for its natural skin care benefits. Not only does this homemade soap cleanse skin, it can also soothe problem skin issues as well as nourish and hydrate dry skin.
Ways to Include Aloe Vera in Soap
There are actually several ways to make soap with aloe vera:
- You can use aloe vera gel in place of the water in a cold process soap recipe to make soap with aloe vera.
- You can also make aloe vera soap without lye. This can be done by incorporating aloe vera leaf powder into either cold process soap or melt and pour soap base as an additive.
- Both aloe vera gel and aloe vera powder can be used in a rebatch or hand-milled soap recipe to make aloe soap balls or bars.
For the purpose of this homemade aloe vera soap recipe, I formulated a cold process soap recipe using aloe vera gel in lieu of the water.
Aloe Vera Skin Care Benefits
If you read my recipe for making aloe vera bath melts, then you’ll recall that in Ayurvedic medicine aloe vera is used to tackle skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, in part due to its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera also helps to promote healing, moisturize and soothe dry skin and can even aid in the prevention of acne.
Here are the ways that aloe vera benefits skin:
- Aloe can help to cool and soothe sunburns or other minor burns.
- It hydrates and moisturizes skin, so it can aid in dry skin relief.
- Aloe vera helps to promote the healing of wounds and minor burns.
- It can help relieve pain associated with damaged skin.
- Aloe may help to relieve skin inflammation and help clear up acne.
- It is used to help alleviate symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, dandruff and seborrhea.
- Making soap with aloe vera can help to soften skin.
Neem Oil Skin Care Benefits
Due to the benefits of aloe in skin care, I also paired this ingredient with neem oil in my homemade aloe vera soap recipe. Neem oil has similar uses when used in natural skin care as aloe vera gel.
Like aloe, neem oil, is also prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. When used in natural skin care products, neem oil can offer relief from skin conditions such as eczema, acne, ringworm, cold sores, psoriasis, warts, infected burn wounds and slow-healing skin ulcers. It has also been shown to help control various skin infections.
While the natural nutty garlic like scent of neem oil is not typically one someone might enjoy, the amount of neem oil used in my aloe vera soap recipe is easily masked with the inclusion of either an essential oil or a fragrance oil in the recipe.
Aloe Vera Soap Ingredients
To make my homemade aloe vera soap, you will need the following ingredients:
- Castor Oil: I used castor oil as 5% of the soap making oils in this aloe soap recipe. In soap, castor oil is used to boost the bubbles in soap. It’s also used for a stable, conditioning lather.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is used for its cleansing skin care properties in soap. I used refined coconut oil at 25% to make this soap with aloe for a fluffy lather and a hard bar. As you are using this oil to make soap, and not food, there’s no need to use the more expensive unrefined version of this ingredient.
- Neem Oil: I used cold pressed, cosmetic neem oil at a usage rate of 10% for its natural skin care benefits. While you can use neem oil at higher percentage, I used a lower amount so as not to irritate sensitive skin.
- Pomace Olive Oil: Olive oil is a common soap making ingredient. I chose to use pomace olive oil at 30% to make my aloe soap recipe. Pomace olive oil is wonderful for making homemade soap. Not only is pomace olive oil less expensive than virgin olive oil, it also makes a somewhat harder bar than its virgin counterpart. In addition, I find that pomace traces somewhat faster. This soap making ingredient is highly conditioning and also helps support a stable lather.
- Safflower Oil: Like olive oil, safflower oil has similar conditioning properties when used in soap. In addition, it also gives the soap a stable lather. I used safflower as 20% of my soap making oils in this cold process soap recipe.
- Shea Nut Oil: Shea nut oil is a fractionated version of shea butter. Like fractionated coconut oil, shea nut oil is a liquid rather than a solid. Used at 10%, this carrier oil has similar properties to shea butter in soap. However, it does have a different SAP (saponification) value. It’s used to make a highly conditioning homemade soap. Like aloe vera, this ingredient also helps to soothe and hydrate skin.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Of course, the key ingredient to make soap with aloe is aloe vera gel. I used the aloe vera gel from Mountain Rose Herbs for its quality and purity. This brand of aloe consists of 99.8% aloe from the inner filet of whole leaves. The remainder of the gel is potassium sorbate, ascorbic acid, citric acid, and xanthan gum. These ingredients are used as a natural preservative and thickener. Unlike other brands of aloe gel, you can feel confident that this aloe is as pure as possible, without any unnecessary fillers.
- Lye: Lye or sodium hydroxide is a necessary ingredient used to make cold process soap. Without lye, there is no soap, as soap is formulated using an alkali (lye) and a fat (carrier oils and butters.) There is no lye remaining in the final soap bars, however, after the soap is made as it is used up during the saponification process. In addition, you can adjust the amount of lye in a cold process soap recipe to increase or decrease the superfat, or rather the amount of unsaponified oils left in the soap after it is made. I superfatted the oils in my aloe vera soap recipe at 6%. However, the additional fat from the aloe vera gel is not included in that total.
Optional Ingredients to Make Soap with Aloe Vera
You can also include these optional ingredients when you make soap with aloe vera:
- Fragrance: You can use either a half ounce of essential oil or one ounce of fragrance oil to scent your homemade soap. I used a rose quartz fragrance oil from Brambleberry to scent my aloe soap. This is one of my favorite soap fragrances. Not only does it smells amazing, it covers the natural scent of the neem oil in this recipe. However, you should be aware that it does cause some acceleration in cold process soap.
- Colorant: If desired, you can color your soap so it resembles the color of an aloe plant. I used the apple moss green mica powder from Brambleberry to achieve the green color of my aloe vera soap recipe. However, you can use any cold process soap stable mica powder of your choice based on the color you’d like you soap to be.
Notes on How to Make Cold Process Soap with Aloe Vera
In order to make this cold process soap with aloe vera, there is some additional information you need to know to before you get started. Here are some helpful tips and notes on how to make cold process soap:
- My aloe vera soap recipe is made using the cold process soapmaking method. If you’ve never made cold process soap, you can learn how to make cold process soap here. If you’ve never made cold process soap or worked with lye, I don’t recommend my aloe vera soap recipe as your first recipe. Instead, start with a beginner cold process soap recipe.
- It is important to take to take all necessary safety precautions when working with lye. This includes wearing eye protection and gloves. You may also want to wear a dust mask to help prevent breathing in dry lye dust particles as well as fumes when the lye is mixed.
- You should use only heat safe containers when making soap. In addition, none of your containers or your utensils should be aluminum. When mixed, aluminum and lye create dangerous hydrogen gas. Therefore take care to ensure any metal containers are stainless steel.
- When lye is mixed with a liquid it does emit fumes that can be irritating or harmful to lungs and nasal passages. Therefore, you should mix lye in a well ventilated area. You can mix the lye with the aloe vera either outdoors or inside under a ventilation fan.
- Always pour the lye into the water or other liquid you are using to make cold process soap, never the other way around.
- I recommend mixing the soap batter for this recipe at lower temperatures of around around 90°-95°F. This is especially helpful if you use a fragrance oil or essential oil known to accelerate trace.
- You should chill the aloe vera gel in the refrigerator or freezer before you use aloe vera to make soap. Refrigerate the gel until it is icy cold. It does not need to be frozen into cubes. I weighed out the aloe vera gel for this recipe, before chilling.
- The aloe in this soap recipe was calculated as 33% of the oil weight. You can make this same cold process soap recipe using water or another liquid of your choice. Normally I measure out the liquid I use in fluid ounces as different fluids have different weights. However, I actually weighed out the aloe for this recipe. This results in a minimal difference of liquid and won’t negatively affect the final soap bars.
- As my cold process soap recipe with aloe vera makes a rather hard soap, I recommend using a silicone soap mold with individual cavities rather than a loaf mold. If you choose to use a loaf mold, I recommend cutting the soap bars as soon as possible after unmolding.
Tools for Making Homemade Aloe Soap
In addition to the safety equipment needed, here are the tools you will need to make homemade aloe soap using the cold process soap making method:
- Laser Thermometer: Use a laser thermometer to easily determine the temperature of your soap making ingredients. You want the lye mixture and the soap making oils to be within 10°F of one another before mixing them together.
- Silicone Soap Mold: I used this rectangle silicone mold to make my homemade aloe soap bars. This mold yields six soap bars and fits my aloe soap recipe perfectly .You can increase this cold process soap recipe, if needed, using a soap calculator. (Learn how to resize a cold process soap recipe here.)
- Heat Safe Plastic Container: A heat safe plastic container is recommended for mixing the lye with the aloe in this recipe. While I have previously used tempered glass, it’s know been discovered that the lye can etch the glass over time. As a result, some soapmakers have had glass Pyrex containers shatter when mixing their ingredients. Therefore, I now recommend not using glass to mix lye with any liquid. Instead, use a heat safe plastic or non-aluminum metal container for this purpose.
- Stainless Steel Pot: I use a stainless steel pot to melt and heat my soap making oils and butter on the stovetop. While you can use heat safe glass to melt and heat these ingredients in the microwave at reduced power, it is recommend you mix the soap batter in a pot for the same reason you should not mix lye-water in glass.
- Digital Scale: You need a digital scale to make cold process soap. The scale is used to weigh out the lye as well as the oils and fragrance used in this homemade soap recipe.
- Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoons: You will need a teaspoon measuring spoon is needed to measure out the mica powder. You can also use a measuring cup to measure out the aloe vera gel called for in the cold process soap recipe as you would water or another liquid. I actually weighed the aloe for this recipe, however, as previously stated.
- Immersion Blender: While you can mix soap by hand it can take forever. (Remember those stories about your grandmother or great grandmother mixing soap on the stove for hours?) While mixing cold process soap by hand won’t take hours, it does take some time and it’s really inefficient. An immersion blender will make quick work to bring your soap batter to trace. Generally it takes about five to ten minutes, depending on the recipe. However, in some instances, it may be a faster process.
How to Make Aloe Vera Soap
Here’s how to make aloe vera soap:
- Using a digital scale, weigh out the aloe vera gel into a heat safe container. (I recommend starting with chilled aloe vera gel.) Then, in a separate container, weigh out the lye. Pour the lye into the aloe vera gel and mix well. Keep mixing until all of the lye has dissolved, then set aside to cool.
- Next, weigh out the soapmaking oils and combine in a stainless steel pot or heat safe container. Heat on the stove top or at reduced power in a microwave or crock pot until melted. Remove from heat, then set aside to cool. When both the aloe-lye mixture and the soapmaking oils have cooled to around 90°-95°F, you’re ready to make soap! (You can use a laser thermometer to easily determine the temperature of your soap making ingredients.)
- If you are using mica powder to color your soap, measure out the mica powder and mix into the cooled oils using an immersion blender. Then weigh the essential or fragrance oil and stir into the oils as well. (As the fragrance oil I used accelerates trace, I chose to add the fragrance oil prior to adding the aloe-lye mixture. However, you can add your chosen fragrance or essential oil at light trace if desired.)
- Now pour the aloe-lye into the soapmaking oils and mix with an immersion blender until you reach trace.
- Once your soap has traced, pour the soap batter into the cavities of your silicone mold. Cover the mold with plastic cling wrap if desired, then set aside in a safe location where it won’t be disturbed.
- Your aloe soap bars should be ready to unmold the next day. If not, give them another day before unmolding.
- Once you’ve unmolded your soap bars, set them aside in a dry location for a minimum of four weeks to cure. Then wrap and label as desired for personal use or gifting.
Natural Aloe Vera Skin Care Recipes
If you love my aloe vera soap recipe then you may also enjoy these other natural aloe vera skin care recipes:
- Bath Melts Recipe with Aloe Vera
- Aloe Vera After Sun Lotion Bar
- Hand-Milled Aloe Soap Balls
- Aloe Vera Shaving Cream Recipe
You can discover more homemade soap and skin care recipes for natural skin care products by following my boards on Pinterest.
How Do I Label Homemade Soaps for Sale?
If you’d like to sell your homemade soaps, you need to follow certain regulations when making and labeling your products.
First off you need to follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) when making your homemade soaps and other skin care products that you plan to sell. The book, Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap and Cosmetic Handcrafters by Marie Gale, is a valuable resource if you’re just getting started making homemade soaps, skin care products and cosmetics that you plan to sell.
In addition to GMP, you also need to follow FDA guidelines for labeling your homemade soap and other skin care products. If you’re unsure about the rules and regulations regarding labeling cosmetics, the book, Soap and Cosmetic Labeling: How to Follow the Rules and Regs Explained in Plain English by Marie Gale, spells out everything you need to know to legally label your homemade soaps and other skin care products.
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