Soap making secrets: The challenges and benefits of working with olive oil

Soap making secrets: The challenges and benefits of olive oil80% olive oil soap

If Castile soap were a high school student, it would be voted “Most Likely to Test a Soap Maker’s Patience.” Castile soap, named for the Castile region in Spain where it originated, was originally defined as soap made with 100% olive oil. Today, you’ll find Castile soap made with other oils, like coconut and palm. As a soap maker, I can understand why this shift took place.

Soap made with olive oil as 100% of the oil in a recipe can be a challenge to work with. After adding lye water to the oils, it can take a very long time for the oil and lye to react and start to turn into soap. This means a soap maker has to spend more time mixing the batter to ensure the full chemical reaction, known as saponification, takes place.

Because olive oil is a liquid oil, there is a lot of moisture that needs to evaporate from the bar. After pouring the soap into the mold, it can take several days before it hardens enough to be removed and it can take up to a year of curing for a bar to reach its full potential. The normal four to six week cure time recommended for most handmade soaps doesn’t work for 100% olive oil soap. A short cure time results in a softer bar of soap that doesn’t lather very well and isn’t as gentle on the skin as it could be.

So, why do I use olive oil in almost all of my recipes? Olive oil is highly moisturizing and it makes skin feel great. Additionally, like rice bran oil, its slow reaction time makes it an excellent oil to use when I want to achieve beautiful swirls and designs in my soap.

I don’t have the patience to wait a year for my soap to cure so I do some things to help it along. I add coconut oil, which helps boost the lather, and palm oil, which helps the bar to harden faster. I’ve experimented with using olive oil at up to 80% of the total oils in a recipe and love the results. The lather is thick and creamy instead of bubbly and my skin feels soft and lovely after using it.

If you are interested in giving olive oil soap a try, you’re in luck!  The Emmet Street Creations Etsy store has one pound bags of unscented 80% olive oil soap on sale for $10. The lack of fragrance makes this soap an awesome choice if you normally have sensitive skin. The low price makes it easy to stock up and save!

Do you have a question about the soap making process? Ask it in the comments or on our Facebook page and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future post. 

Put that umbrella away: Citrus Clouds in the forecast means nothing but pure sunshine

Citrus CloudsDon’t let the name of this soap fool you; when you have Citrus Clouds in your shower, you’ll feel nothing but the warm glow of the sun.

This handmade soap contains all-natural scent and colorant and is full of moisturizing oils (such as coconut, olive and avocado) to calm and nourish your skin. Orange essential oil brings the scent of an orange grove into your shower and invigorates you so you can take on any challenge your day may bring.

Why not treat yourself to Citrus Clouds soap? You’ll find it, and our full line of handcrafted soap products, in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store. Check it out!

Dry skin? Emmet Street Creations has the remedy

Got dry skin? Here's a cure.Has the brutal winter weather left your skin feeling dry, rough and in need of nourishment? Did you know that olive oil contains nourishing vitamins A and E (vitamins that are as good for your skin on the outside as they are for your body on the inside)?

It’s true! For millenia, folks have used olive oil as a skin moisturizer as well as a tasty cooking ingredient.

At Emmet Street Creations, we’ve harnessed the moisturizing power of olive oil in several of our handcrafted soap products. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Unscented Banana – Made with real bananas, this bar is packed full of antioxidants to leave your skin glowing.
  • Cocoa Butter – This soap is full of all natural ingredients–including cocoa powder! You’ll smell as good as your skin feels.
  • Desert Breeze – Don’t let the name of this soap fool you! Loaded with all-natural, moisturizing oils (rice bran, palm, coconut and castor, in addition to olive) this soap will hydrate your skin in no time. You’ll soar toward the heavens after you catch a whiff of the earthy fragrance blend of citrus, rose and sandalwood.

Want to see more of our products that contain olive oil? It’s easy! Visit the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store, type olive oil in the “Search in this shop” field, and click Search. You’ll be taken to a listing of all our handcrafted soap products containing olive oil. The hardest part is choosing your favorite!

While you’re there, don’t forget we’re still having our winter sale in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store, too. You can save 15% when you spend $15 or more now through 2/28 (midnight ET). Simply load up your cart with your favorites and enter code LOVE15 at checkout.

Have friends who battle dry skin (and like saving money)? It’s easy to share our skin-saving products with them! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below.
(Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons.)


I’m walking on sunshine…

Linen Fresh

There are many household chores that I can’t stand—dusting I’m looking at you—but there is one chore that I absolutely adore: folding clothes straight out of the dryer.

I think you know why: the clothes are warm and smell like sunshine.

Emmet Street CreationsLinen Fresh soap smells like my favorite dryer sheet. When I use it, I go to my happy place and the 80% olive oil formula takes my dry skin to a higher state of consciousness, too.

The 12 soaps of Christmas: Day 2

Plain Jane 5

Don’t let the name fool you, our Plain Jane soap is a thing of complex beauty.

The lather this hard-working bar produces will blow you away. Got dry skin? Jane’s your gal. Her formula of pure olive, coconut and palm oil and shea butter will leave your dry, winter skin soft and moisturized.

Because there isn’t any added color or scent, Plain Jane is “man approved” and gentle on sensitive skin, too!