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My Handcraft Cosmetics Books!

Smart Soapmaking
The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably

Milk Soapmaking
The Smart and Simple Guide to Making Lovely Milk Soap From Any Animal or Plant Milk

Smart Lotionmaking
The Simple Guide to Making Luxurious Lotions

Castile Soapmaking
The Smart and Simple Guide to Making Lovely Castile Soap

Cool Soapmaking
The Smart and Simple Guide to Low-Temp Tricks for Making Soap with Special Ingredients



Egg Soap


Designing Soap Types: Bath, Hand, Facial, Scrub

Analyzing and Fixing Problems

Projects, Experiments, and Investigations

(and a couple of small mysteries)


For soapmaking directions, if needed, please see one of my books, Smart Soapmaking or Milk Soapmaking. Or use another reputable source of soapmaking directions. The recipes make a 30 ounce batch.



Egg Soap--Why?

Egg Yolk Soap

Swedish Egg White Soap

Whole Eggs in Soap

Cool Egg Soap

Egg White Soap Variation

Does Egg Soap Spoil Quickly?

Designing Soap Types: Bath, Hand, Facial, Scrub

Help! What Went Wrong? Analyzing and Fixing Problems

Soaps from the Past: Additives in Soap

Egg Soap--Why?

Egg yolks and egg whites have completely different properties, and are used differently in soapmaking

Egg yolks are treated as another fat in soapmaking. They produce a rich, thick lather. An egg yolk contains about five grams of fat. Mix with the liquid fats before adding the melted solid fats.



According to the US National Research Council, the fatty acids in egg yolk are typically:


Role in Soapmaking (Courtesy of SoapCalc web site)

Oleic acid, 47% Bubbly lather, creamy lather, conditioning
Linoleic acid, 16% Conditioning
Palmitoleic acid, 5% Bubbly lather, creamy lather, conditioning  
Linolenic acid, 2% Conditioning
Palmitic acid, 23% Hardness, creamy lather  
Stearic acid, 4% Hardness, creamy lather  
Myristic acid, 1% Hardness, cleansing, bubbly lather  
Egg Whites contain no fat. The protein in egg white has an astringent effect on the skin. Commercial egg white soaps are made with rose water, which may add to that effect.


Egg Yolk Soap

12 ounces (340 grams) palm kernel flakes
15 ounces (425 grams) olive oil
1.5 ounces (43 grams) castor oil
1.5 ounces (43 grams) refined wheat germ oil
2 egg yolks
9 ounces (255 grams) water
4.3 ounces (122 grams) lye

Melt the palm kernel flakes. Combine the liquid fats with the egg yolks, blend thoroughly. Slowly blend in the melted palm kernel oil.

Add lye solution and blend to trace.

Thick, rich later. No eggy smell.


Swedish Egg White Soap

I didn't have a recipe for traditional Swedish egg white soap, if there is such a thing. What I did have was a small bar of it, and I noticed several things about the ingredients list on the box it was packaged in. One was that the soap was made, at least partly, with rosewater. The other was that there was not a lot of egg white in it.

So I formulated a recipe with all this in mind.

3 ounces (8 grams) rosewater
1 teaspoon dehydrated egg white

4.5 ounces (128 grams) palm kernel oil flakes
3 ounces (85 grams) shea butter
10.5 ounces (298 grams) coconut oil
9 ounces (255 grams) olive oil
3 ounces (85 grams) refined wheat germ oil

9 ounces (255 grams) water
4.4 ounces (126 grams) lye

Combine the rosewater and egg white. Blend thoroughly. Set aside

Dissolve lye in water

Melt the solid fats, add to the liquid fats. Add the lye solution and blend to light trace. Add the rosewater mixture and continue blending. It will be stringy at first, but will smooth out.

My purchased egg white soap was pale pink and smelled strongly of roses. I believe it would be necessary to use a fragrance or essential oil to get this level of scent. It's possible that having the entire liquid quantity be rosewater might do it. A good natural colorant to produce a pale pink would be alkanet root.

The soap I made from this recipe had great lather. It was not nearly as astringent as the purchased product. No eggy smell.

Whole Eggs in Soap

I read quite a few complaints that egg soaps turned out to have a bad smell. While this wasn't my experience with egg yolk soap, I decided to design one recipe using Cool Technique, so the lye would not react very much with the egg.

Cool Egg Soap

4.9 ounces (138 grams) avocado butter
15 ounces (425 grams) coconut oil
8.3 ounces (234 grams) olive oil
1.8 ounces (53 grams) castor oil
2 beaten eggs
9 ounces (255 grams) frozen milk or cream
4.5 ounces (128 grams) lye

Melt the solid fats and allow to cool slightly. Add to the liquid fats. Add the eggs and blend to mix thoroughly.

Dissolve the lye in the frozen milk and add to the oil mixture. Stick blend to trace.

Treat as any Cool Technique milk soap. You may want to give this one a short time in the freezer before unmolding.

Excellent lather. There's no eggy smell in the finished soap.


Egg White Soap Variation: Make this with two egg whites rather than two whole eggs. This would make a soap similar to early egg white soaps that were made with cream.

Different Egg Soaps
The rectangles are egg white soap, rounds are whole egg soap, and ovals (seen side view) are egg yolk soap


Does Egg Soap Spoil Quickly?

According to people who make and use it, the belief that egg soap spoils quickly is a myth.

Designing Soap Types: Bath, Hand, Facial, Scrub

When we design a soap, it's good to go beyond simple chemistry. If possible, design for use.

Desirable Qualities

Bath Soap

Good hardness, since these soaps may spend more time in water than most.

Medium cleansing and conditioning (This would vary with the user's needs)

Good bubbly lather

Hand Soap

Good cleansing and conditioning. Need for cleansing varies, but for general use hand soap, I'd expect medium to high values in both.

Good bubbly lather, medium creamy lather

Facial Soap

Design for skin type--higher conditioning value for dry skin, higher cleansing value for oily.

Avoid comedogenic oils, even in dry skin soaps.

Scrub Soap

Scrub soaps may be hand soaps with some kind of abrasive in them. Abrasives vary in "scrubbiness," and it's important to choose one that's right for the job. A gardener or mechanic may want something fairly coarse, such as coffee grounds, coarse orange peel, or even sand.

An exfoliating facial soap, on the other hand, would use something gentler, like oat flour or pulverized orange or cucumber peel.

The amount of scrub will vary not only with the additive, but with how much of it is used. And to some extent, with how long the soap is in use and whether it dries out between uses. Some additives such as minced citrus peel, may become considerably harder and scratchier as the soap ages.


Help! What Went Wrong? Analyzing and Fixing Problems

I get questions from people with soap problems--fortunately, they're almost never with my books or recipes. But the soap gremlins can make a lot of problems for people. Here are some of the common questions, and my best trouble-shooting advice.

I've made soap before with no problems, but now it suddenly has stopped working.

What changed? New ingredients, new equipment? Bigger batch? Different vendors? New technique? Isolate what is different, and most of the time, you'll put your finger on what went wrong. I can't emphasize this enough. If you can identify what changed, you usually have the solution to the problem. This is the main thing I ask about when a previously-successful reader contacts me with a failure.

Or, if it's the reader's first batch, I ask how they deviated from the directions. Years ago, a reader wrote to me to say she was annoyed that my Shea Supreme soap had not worked. And the only change she'd made was to add a whole banana.

My soap won't set.

Assuming you had a decent recipe to begin with (check your recipe), and that you didn't make a measuring error, it may have cooled too fast. This is especially likely with Cool Technique soaps. Put it in a warm place, like on a heat pad set on "low" for a couple of hours. That often works. Careful not to overheat--this can produce ugly textures. Works best with a block or log mold--hard to keep individual bars from overheating.

I'm using individual bar plastic molds, and the soap won't unmold

Ask the manufacturer of the mold or check their web site. Here's one helpful link:


There are quite a few others--Search on: release soap plastic molds

My soap has white stuff on it.

Where? If it's on the outside, it's probably soda ash. Check this writeup of the soda ash problem. If it's veins on the inside, it may well be lye pockets. Test with pH paper to see if the white material has a high pH. If it does, about the only hope is to rebatch it. You might also decide to simply toss it.

My soap is set, but it has something shiny on top, oil or liquid, or something

Test with a pH paper. If the pH paper reads very high (13 or 14), you'll have to rebatch or discard the soap. If it doesn't, wait a while. Sometimes fragrance or essential oil will appear on the top of the soap mold for a short while, then it will be absorbed.

My soap has a pH of 10-11, and it's not decreasing any more. What did I do wrong?

Nothing. Your soap is probably fine. pH papers are not all that accurate for soap. All they can really do is alert you to a disaster--that would be a pH of 13 or 14. They don't give you an accurate pH. If your soap's pH is reading 10-11, and it's pleasant to use, don't worry about it.

My soap has orange spots. What did I do wrong?

"Dreaded orange spots," or DOS, are the soapmaker's despair. There's no lack of theories about them, but as far as I know, no one has come up with anything that will guarantee you won't get them. For the latest thinking, do an Internet search on the term.

When I sliced my soap, it had a darker core at the center.Will it go away?

This is caused by overheating after the soap is poured. You'll almost always get this if you put soap make with fragile ingredients such as milk into a block mold. I've never known a "bullseye," as this is called, to go away.

I used (milk, yogurt, vegetable juice, fruit juice, egg. etc.) in my soap, and I got a rancid, burned smell

Use Cool Technique with fragile ingredients. I go into a lot of detail about this in my milk soap book. Briefly, what you do is freeze the liquid and trickle the lye onto it. Working this cold prevents burning.

My soap has a serious problem. Can I rebatch it?

Rebatching is much easier if you know exactly what went wrong--for instance if you left out an ingredient. But rebatch soap is never top quality, in my experience. The soaps feel waxy. Bars may crack and warp. If you really want to rebatch, I suggest making soap balls.


While it's rare for soap to have problems, there are many possible problems and questions. One good approach is to put the term "soap making" into your browser, along with your problem. You're likely to get dozens of possible good solutions.


Soaps from the Past: Additives in Soap

I'm fascinated by soap history and soap advertising. When I began paying attention to Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century soap ads. Some of the additives are intended to treat skin conditions and irritations. Others are purely cosmetic. Laundry soaps, as today, typically had additives to boost cleaning power or deodorize.

Most of these cards date from 1880-1920. As legal requirements for additives changed, many were no longer used.

Quinine and sulfur in a baby soap? According to the back of the card, it "gives relief," but they don't say from what. Diaper rash? Sulfur is very drying. Quinine must be, too--quinine soap is recommended for acne in some publications.
According to the back of this trade card, you can have white hands, smooth skin, and clear complexion by using Cornell's Benzoin Cosmetic Soap. Benzoin is used today as a fragrance stabilizer and is known to irritate sensitive skin.
This card advertises "ozone soap," probably referring to ozonated olive oil. This is an old treatment to rejuvenate skin, now coming back into fashion. I could find no objective clinical information about this product.
A whole menu of medicinal soaps from a specialty supplier.
Another supplier of medicinal soaps
Wrapper from "Lettuce Heart Soap," which was supposed to whiten skin.
"Coal Oil Johnny's Petroleum Soap" may have been an early detergent bar. The card mentions that the soap is transparent. Supposedly, it's purer, but I doubt whether coal oil soap would be popular today.

Front and back sides of a trade card for borax soap. The poem is fun! And who could resist those kittens?

Clearly, this soap was for laundry.

Carbolic disinfecting soap. A mild disinfectant and deodorant, now little used except in disaster relief areas.


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