Making palmless soap: how to replace palm oil in handmade soap

So here is the angle that is closest to our soaper’s hearts: palm oil is NOT NEEDED in handmade soap. Not only it can be “substituted” – it can be avoided altogether, by designing and re-writing soap recipes starting from those oils that are easiest to find and locally available.
This means that the actual formulas would change from country to country, but there are a few general suggestions, which you might find useful:

  1. TALLOW is an improvement on palm oil, if there are no “vegetable only” constraints. And I mean “improvement” also in that it gives better soap than palm oil.
  2. OLIVE OIL gives far superior soaps to palm oil. Olive oil soaps only require sufficient curing times to turn as hard as palm-based soaps, and I have actually found that olive oil soaps have far superior durability and lathering qualities than palm-based soaps. Olive oil bar soap also gives better “melted soaps” for the kitchen and the laundry – “better” both because it has better cleaning power, and because it behaves better in these melted versions.
  3. A number of so called cheap FILLERS (unsaturated vegetable oils) are available for those who want to keep their costs down. It might be worth mentioning again that keeping the cost down with natural handmade soaps is much more a matter of optimising production and avoiding unnecessary waste, than scrimping and saving on the cost of raw materials. And this, of course, with apologies to the few truly ethical and responsible suppliers in the world, such as Rebecca, of Aromatics & More in New Zealand, and Anne of Anne Lee’s in North Carolina.

There are many more suggestions on how and what to substitute for palm oil in the Soap Naturally book, where those who want to know more can especially refer to Chapter 5, Creating your own unique soaps.