Have you ever thought that one day you’d be making your own soap bars? Making soap is just one of the ways to customize your skincare routine. Following this simple recipe using lard and olive oil, you can make a soap bar with a smooth lather for moisturizing and cleansing skin.
What is Lard Made of?
Lard is the animal fat from pork. It is rendered or melted from the fatty tissues by melting the fat over low heat for several hours until the “crackle” rises to the top, and the liquid fat on the bottom is clear.
For centuries, lard has been used primarily as a cooking fat but could also be found in medicinal poultices, salves, soaps, lotions, and other beauty products.
Lard for Soap Making
Lard can be found in most grocery stores, either in the cooking oil aisle or the meat section. The lard used for cooking or baking is no different than lard for making soap bars.
Now, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try making lard! Use a dutch oven on the stovetop to render the pork fat. Strain the fat off the top, and you’ll be left with your very own lard to use for soap or cooking!
Does Lard Soap Smell?
If you have never worked with lard, you are probably wondering if it will make your soap bar smell bad. I mean, it does come from the fat of a pig, so I totally understand the concern!
If rendered properly, your lard should be pure white and practically odorless. Believe it or not, lard has a very mild scent that is considered quite pleasant.
When making soap with lard, you can add in essential oils to give it whatever scent you prefer, or you can leave it unscented. Either way, the lard soap bar will be perfect for cleaning and hydrating your skin.
Lard Soap Recipe
For this soap bar, I am keeping it very simple. As with all soap bars, if you decide to change any of the oils or fats in the recipe, you will need to use a soap calculator to adjust the measurements.
For this recipe, I am using lard and olive oil. Olive oil makes a beautiful soap bar by itself, and with the added lard, this is one of my favorite soap bars I have made to date.
To make any cold-process soap bar, you will also need Lye and water. When mixed with the fats, Lye causes a chemical reaction called saponification, which turns the fats and oils into soap.
Soap making isn’t as hard as you might think and you don’t need much to do it. In just a few hours, a lot of which is waiting for ingredients to melt and cool, you can whip up several luxurious soap bars.
All soap, (with the exception of hot process bars), have to fully dry, then cure for several weeks to several months, as is the case with some bars, so you won’t be able to enjoy your soap immediately, but it is well worth the wait!
What you Need
- Soap mold
- Immersion Blender
- Digital scale
- Heat resistant container (capable of rapid temperature increase)
- Safety goggles
- Rubber gloves
- Olive oil
Lard Soap Recipe
- Water-6.08 oz
- Lye-2.11 oz
- Lard-10 oz
- Olive Oil-6 oz
- Essential oils, optional
How to Make Lard Soap
Do not deviate even the slightest from these measurements! If you do want to alter the measurements or substitute ingredients, you must use a soap calculator.
- Use a digital scale to measure out the water. Then, add it into the heat-resistant container.
- Measure out the Lye and add it to the water slowly. Stir the Lye into the water slowly until dissolved. Note, the chemical reaction will cause it to heat up quickly. Set aside to cool.
- Finally, measure out the lard and olive oil, then add to a small saucepan. Melt over medium-low heat
- Once the oils are melted, remove them from heat.
- Allow the oils to cool to about 100°F and the lye water to cool to about 120-130°, or at least close to those temperatures.
- When the ingredients have cooled to the desired temperatures, transfer the melted fat and oil to a metal mixing bowl. Add the lye water a little at a time. Mix with an immersion blender, add more and continue mixing between each round.
- This will take a couple of minutes till the soap comes to trace. To check the “trace,” hold the immersion blender over the bowl; if the soap that drips from the blender to the soap in the bowl pools up on top, it’s at the correct trace.
- At this point, add in essential oils and give a quick stir with the blender.
- Pour the soap directly into the silicone soap molds. I like to use silicone molds over any other molds since they do not require any prep work. If you do use a different type of mold, see instructions on prepping them. Most require parchment paper.
- Allow the soap to harden in the molds for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days.
- Remove the soap from the molds and allow it to cure for 3-6 weeks before using.
How to Cure Homemade Soap Bars
Curing soap bars is the process of allowing them to dry and harden completely. Letting the soap cure for weeks will enable all the water to evaporate, allowing the soap bar to last a lot longer and not melt in the shower.
You can purchase fancy curing racks, but I have found a 9 by 13 pan to work just as well. Be sure to let the soap bars fully harden before removing them from the molds.
Simply line the bars, sitting on their sides, inside of the 9 by 13 pan. Make sure they are not touching each other. Place the pan in a dry, cool place until fully cured, about 3-6 weeks.
Lard Soap Benefits
Lard has been used to make soap for many centuries and can be found in many conventional beauty products at the store. So using animal fat soap is definitely not a new thing.
Lard has a number of wonderful benefits for your skin.
- Rich in vitamins A and E
- Loaded with fatty acids
- Helps with acne and skin imperfections
- May lighten the appearance of scars
- Helps with skin wounds and burns
- Moisturizes dry skin
- Hydrates damaged skin
- Cleanses and purifies
- Makes a very mild soap
- Conditions skin
- Promotes healthy skin
- Improves skin tone
Does Lard Soap Lather?
Lard will make a firm soap bar that is white in color with a very mild scent. Lard alone doesn’t make a soap bar that lathers super well, but adding in another oil will help with that.
Pairing lard with a little olive oil will make a perfectly firm soap bar that lathers well. If you want to make a bar of soap with just lard, you most certainly can; however, it may not lather like a traditional soap bar you are used to.
What is Lard used for?
Lard is most often used for cooking and baking, but it’s also not unheard of to find lard in soap bars and other beauty products.
Other ways to use lard: it can be used for frying, baking, grilling, or seasoning cast iron skillets. Bakers like to use lard in pie crusts, biscuits, and even fried chicken.
Lard Vs Tallow
Lard and tallow are both animal fats that are rendered from the meat of an animal. The most obvious difference is the animal from which the fat comes.
Lard is pork fat and tallow is beef fat. Both fats have similar benefits for the skin and can be used to make soap bars, lotions, or used for cooking.
- Water 6.08 oz
- Lye 2.11 oz
- Lard 10 oz
- Olive Oil 6 oz
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- Use a digital scale to measure out the water. Then, add it to the heat-resistant container.
- Slowly add the lye to the water. Stir the lye into the water until dissolved. Note, the chemical reaction will cause it to heat up quickly. Set aside to cool to about 120-130°F
- Melt the lard and olive oil in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat.
- Once melted, set aside to cool.
- Add the melted fat and oil to a metal mixing bowl.
- Pour the lye in with the melted fat and oil a little at a time and mix with an immersion blender.
- Continue adding the lye and mixing between each round.
- Steps 6 and 7 will take a minute to get the soap to come to trace. To check the "trace," hold the immersion blender over the bowl; if the soap drips and pools up on the top, its come to the correct trace.
- Stir in lavender essential oil.
- Pour the soap into the silicone molds and let dry for 24 hours up to 3 days.
- Remove from molds and allow them to cure for 3-6 weeks before enjoying.