The Science of Saponification: Making Soap with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Soap is a daily necessity in our lives, but have you ever wondered how it’s made? The answer lies in a fascinating process called saponification, where fats and oils are transformed into soap. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind saponification, focusing on the use of extra virgin coconut oil to create a luxurious and skin-friendly soap. Also, if you are looking for a pure ECVO in the market for this purpose, check out Coco Mama’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. This one does not contain any artificial fillers or chemicals, and is made from 100% organic coconuts.

Understanding Saponification

Saponification is the chemical reaction that converts fats and oils (known as triglycerides) into soap and glycerin. This process involves the use of an alkali, typically sodium hydroxide (lye) for solid soap or potassium hydroxide for liquid soap. When these alkalis interact with fats or oils, they break down the triglycerides into soap molecules and glycerin through a process known as hydrolysis.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: A Natural Choice

Extra virgin coconut oil is a popular choice for soap making due to its unique properties. It’s rich in lauric acid, which creates a soap with excellent lathering and cleansing abilities. Additionally, coconut oil lends a pleasant coconut scent to the soap and adds moisturizing benefits, making it suitable for various skin types.

The Soap Making Process

Creating soap with extra virgin coconut oil involves a precise and careful procedure. Here’s a simplified overview:

1. Measuring Ingredients: First, measure the extra virgin coconut oil and lye needed for the recipe accurately. Safety gear, including gloves and goggles, is a must when handling lye due to its caustic nature.

2. Mixing the Lye Solution: Slowly add the lye to water while stirring continuously. Be cautious, as this step generates heat. Allow the lye solution to cool to room temperature.

3. Melting the Coconut Oil: Gently heat the coconut oil until it’s in a liquid state, being careful not to overheat it.

4. Combining Ingredients: Once both the lye solution and coconut oil are at the right temperatures, carefully pour the lye solution into the coconut oil while stirring continuously.

5. Reaching Trace: Continue stirring until you achieve “trace,” a stage where the mixture thickens and leaves a trail when the spoon is lifted. This indicates that saponification is underway.

6. Adding Fragrance and Extras: At this point, you can add fragrance oils, essential oils, herbs, or other additives to customize your soap.

7. Molding and Curing: Pour the soap mixture into molds and let it cure for several weeks. During this time, the soap hardens and the remaining lye becomes neutralized, ensuring the soap is safe for use.

The Final Product

After the curing period, your extra virgin coconut oil soap is ready to use. It will not only cleanse but also moisturize your skin, thanks to the glycerin produced during saponification. The coconut oil in the soap contributes to a rich lather and a delightful tropical aroma.

Organic Coconut Milk: A Creamy Addition

For an extra touch of luxury and skin pampering, consider using organic coconut milk in your soap recipe. Organic coconut milk is rich, creamy, and loaded with skin-loving nutrients. It adds a silky texture to the soap and enhances its moisturizing properties, making it an excellent choice for those with dry or sensitive skin. Plus, it complements the tropical aroma of coconut oil, creating a truly indulgent bathing experience. Just remember to choose organic coconut milk to ensure the highest quality and purity in your soap-making adventure. Similar to Oil, you may check out Coco Mama’s Unsweetened Coconut Milk for the purpose of Making Soaps. This one does not contain any chemicals, preservatives or sugar and is made from 100% organic coconuts.


Saponification is a captivating chemical process that transforms ordinary ingredients like extra virgin coconut oil into a valuable everyday product—soap. By understanding this process and following proper soap-making techniques, you can create your own personalized soap with the skin-loving benefits of coconut oil. So, why not embark on a soap-making adventure and enjoy the satisfaction of crafting your own nourishing, fragrant soap bars?