Natural Calendula Soap Recipe

| Crafts & DIY, Health & Beauty

Soap-06-smallNatural Calendula Soap Recipe – This year for Christmas I gave all the ladies in my life handmade bath and beauty products. I really enjoyed making them and it felt good giving items that I knew were all natural and free of harsh chemicals. One product I really enjoyed making was soap but, even though I made the soap from scratch, it came as a kit which was all perfectly measured out and ready to be made – it sort of felt like I was cheating. Luckily I have some pretty amazing, talented and resourceful people in my life including my friend Deborah who has been making her own soap since the late 90’s. She was kind enough to invite me over to her house last week to show me how she made her favorite recipe from scratch. She got this recipe from a basic soap making course she took many years ago. Deborah says that she’s tried many recipes but she always comes back to this one. It’s a simple recipe with only a few ingredients – great for people with skin allergies or sensitivities. In this particular recipe we’ve added dried Calendula. Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical. This beautiful yellow and orange flower is particularly good for cuts, scrapes, bruises, sunburns, irritated skin and acne. Even though Calendula is loaded with powerful skin-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s gentle on most people’s skin.

Soap-01-smallNatural Soap – Excellent Basic Moisturizing Soap Recipe

This recipe needs to be mixed at 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes approximately 3 lbs.

Ingredients: *note – measurements are done by weight and not volume for better accuracy.

  • 12 oz. (350 grams) Coconut Oil
  • 8 oz. (300 grams) Palm Oil (please, if possible, try to use a certified sustainable palm oil)
  • 8 oz. (300 grams) Liquid Vegetable Shortening or Pure Canola Oil
  • 139 grams Lye
  • 4.9 oz. (356 grams) Cold Water (distilled or filtered if possible)
  • 0.8 oz. (25 mL) Essential Oils or Fragrance Oil (EO’s are expensive so I don’t use nearly that much although you need at least 50 drops of EO if you want to smell the scent of the EO in the soap). Also I’d suggest leaving out EO’s or fragrance if the people using it have sensitivities.
  • 1-2 tbsp. Dried Calendula Flowers (optional)

What you’ll need:

  • Pyrex measuring cup
  • Container to measure lye into
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Large mixing spoon
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Kitchen scale
  • Candy thermometer (2 if possible)
  • Blender stick
  • Soap mold (1 quart [1 litre] milk cartons work great if you don’t want to buy a proper mold – that’s what I use)
  • Tea towels
  • Chef’s knife


  1. Weigh cold water and place in a Pyrex measuring cup.
  2. Weigh oils and/or fat into stainless steel pot. Place on stove-top and turn on heat to lowest setting and keep an eye on the temperature with your thermometer.
  3. Put on rubber gloves and safety goggles and carefully measure lye into a container. Pour into water while stirring with spoon – mix carefully and avoid splashing (important – always pour the lye into the water and not the water into the lye – this can cause a mini explosion). Avoid inhaling fumes – stir until lye is completely dissolved. Place thermometer in lye – making sure that it is suspended in the liquid and not resting on the bottom of the container
  4. If you used cold water to mix your lye, it should now be somewhere around 150 degrees Fahrenheit and will be starting to cool. The object is to bring the lye and the oils simultaneously to a temperature in the range of between 110 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as they are both at the same temperature you should have no trouble getting your mixture to “trace”. Tracing refers to the soap mixture’s ability to hold a design on its surface.
  5. Start to mix the oils at a low-speed with the blender stick. Pour the lye into the mixture in a steady stream being careful not to splash. When the lye has been emptied into the pot continue stirring. Test for tracing by turning the blender stick off and lifting out of the mixture and drizzling across the surface of soap. When the lines hold their form momentarily, you are ready to add scent and calendula flowers if you want to. *If adding scent, coloring or inclusions you must work quickly as your soap will begin to set up quickly at this stage and you need to get it into a mold!
  6. Pour mixture into mold then wrap mold in tea towels to keep the soap as warm as possible. Put container in a safe place out of drafts and let it sit for at least 12 hours before checking (This is the hardest part about soap making – no peeking!)
  7. After 24 hours check your soap. It’s ready to remove from the mold when it has cooled and is completely opaque. If after 24 hours it’s solid but still quite soft, place in the freezer until frozen solid. When solid, tear away sides of the carton to reveal your gorgeous creation. Cut into bars using a large chef’s knife and allow to cure for 3 weeks before use (although it can be used before then – it just won’t last as long).

Download the Natural Calendula Soap Recipe HERE.



11 Comments on Natural Calendula Soap Recipe

  1. Kate @ Blitsy
    April 1, 2015 at 10:49 AM (6 years ago)

    I need to make this. I’m not sure where you are based, but the dry Chicago winter has really done a number on my skin! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jamey
      April 1, 2015 at 12:30 PM (6 years ago)

      You’ll love this soap Kate, it’s so great. It’s my “go to” soap now and I use it every day. It has amazing frothy suds and it’s super creamy. Not drying at all. My husband said he could eat it, it’s so great – I wouldn’t suggest doing that 😉
      ~ Jamey

  2. Odalys
    September 2, 2015 at 7:07 AM (6 years ago)

    Thank you for this soap recipe. Total newbie to soapmaking and was wanting to know. . .
    What mold do you use?

    • Jamey
      September 30, 2015 at 10:21 AM (6 years ago)

      Hi Odalys, I use 1 litre milk cartons for my molds and love the way they turn out. They make an easy and cheap mold.

      ~ Jamey

  3. Vernita
    September 9, 2015 at 6:47 PM (6 years ago)

    Beautiful soap! I can’t wait to try it.

  4. Michele
    August 17, 2016 at 5:29 AM (5 years ago)

    When using the one quart milk carton molds – do you pour into several molds to make individual soaps or do you pour it all into the tall mold and then cut into several bars after?

    • Jamey
      August 19, 2016 at 9:48 AM (5 years ago)

      Yes, Michelle. After a couple of days, simply rip off the milk carton, away from the soap log. Then cut slices to your size preference. I cut mine about 3/4″ or so think.


  5. Kristen
    May 30, 2017 at 2:04 PM (4 years ago)

    Hi Jamey,
    I made this soap this past weekend, but of course, I haven’t gotten to try it yet because of the curing time. Anyway, I ran the recipe through a lye calculator (as I’ve read soapers remind people to ALWAYS check a new recipe in the lye calculator), and the calculator suggested twice as much water and less lye. Perhaps you’d like to check this as well? I’m looking forward to using this!

  6. Violet
    June 22, 2017 at 8:43 PM (4 years ago)

    I have a question about the calendula soap recipe. I followed the instructions measuring in ounces as you’ve shown.
    I unmolded less than 24 hours and it was very hard. When I sliced the bars the edges crumbled. I got to looking at the recipe, the water amount didn’t seem right. If the water should be 356 grams, the ounces should be 12.55 not 4.9 as the recipe reads. My question is, will my soap be safe in your opinion to use and do you think it should cure in the normal time even though it has less moisture?
    Should this recipe be mixed at 135 or 115, I see two different temperatures listed.
    Thanks so much, im just trying to get it right and am hhoping my soap will be safe to use.


  7. name
    September 9, 2017 at 1:57 PM (4 years ago)

    where do you purchase the lye????? we are not able to purchase it locally here, do you know of an online source???

  8. wholesale bath and body products
    March 16, 2020 at 5:28 AM (1 year ago)

    Thanks for telling us about the soap making recipe, I will be looking forward to make more natural and amazing soaps. The good thing about making soaps at home, is that there won’t be any side effects and harmful reaction to skin.


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