Gentle Soap Recipe for Delicate Skin

Homemade soap uses natural ingredients that are gentle on delicate skin.
Homemade soap uses natural ingredients that are gentle on delicate skin. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Homemade gentle soaps use all natural ingredients. If you have delicate skin, you probably know that some gentle soaps affect your skin differently from others. It's important to try different types of recipes to determine what's best for you. Below are some of the most common options for gentle soap recipes. If you are unsure, discuss options with your dermatologist to determine what the best gentle soap recipe is for your delicate skin.

Bastille Soap

Bastille soap (so called for its high percentage of olive oil) contains mostly olive oil, buttermilk and coconut oil. These ingredients are often used to make baby soap because they are mild enough to be used on delicate baby skin. The recipe calls for olive oil (27 ounces), coconut oil (5 ounces), buttermilk (7 ounces), carrot baby food composed of just carrots and water (2.5 ounces) and lye (4.3 ounces). Beforehand, freeze the buttermilk to a slushy consistency in ice cube trays to prevent it from bubbling up too much during the cooking process. Add the pureed carrots to the slushy mixture and then mix in the lye. This mixture is the "lye solution." Heat the olive and coconut oils together and add them to the lye solution. Blend until the solution reaches "trace," the point when the ingredients are blended together and no longer separate. Pour the solution into a mold and let it sit for 24 hours before slicing into bars (See Reference 1),

Castile Soap

Castile soap, which relies almost entirely on olive oil, is mild and pure, making it a perfect option for delicate skin. It requires olive oil (100 ounces), lye (12.6 ounces) and water (30 ounces). Mix the ingredients until the mixture reaches trace and the ingredients no longer separate. Pour into a mold and let sit for about eight hours before slicing into bars (See Reference 3). If using 100 percent olive oil makes the soap too slippery, you can find recipes that mix different base oils to balance out the mixture. Experiment to find the best option for your skin.

Glycerin Soap

You can create a safe glycerin soap with a pure vegetable glycerin bar, which can be purchased at an all-natural products store. Melt the glycerin in a double-boiler; melting about 1.5 pounds will create approximately 6 bars of soap. Add essential oils and coloring, if preferred, such as orange oil or lavender (See Reference 7). Add more or less, depending upon how potent a smell you like. An optional step is to add food coloring if you prefer a colored soap. Pour the liquid into a mold and allow it to sit overnight. Because of the glycerin, your soap will be ready to use by the following day.

Liquid Soap

Using the same gentle ingredients as with a bar, you can create an olive oil-based liquid hand soap that is pure and gentle for delicate skin. Depending upon how comfortable you are with making soaps and how much time you have, you can either make your own castile bar soap to use in this recipe or buy two 5-oz. pure castile soap bars, which you can find at any all-natural body product store. You need filtered or distilled water (1 gallon) and, if desired, essential oils or vanilla extract for fragrance. Grate the soap bars into shreds using a cheese grater. Heat the water to a boil, then turn down the heat and stir in the soap until the flakes completely dissolve. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside until it thickens, typically between 12 and 24 hours. Stir occasionally throughout the day, if possible. If you prefer a soap with a scent, once the soap has thickened, feel free to stir in the vanilla extract or essential oils. Pour your finished mixture into containers (See Reference 4).


Bar soap needs to "cure" before use. This means it needs to sit for a few days up to a few weeks (depending upon the recipe) before use. If a soap doesn't cure long enough, it may end up too soft and dissolve in water much faster than usual. If you're a first-time soap maker and are unfamiliar with cure times, as a standard it is best to let soap cure for about three weeks before use. The longer soap sits, the harder it gets and the longer it should last. (See Reference 2). Be sure to check out the resources for additional reading and tips on how to make soaps.


Use caution when making soap with lye. Although it is a valuable component of soap-making, lye is a chemical made up of sodium hydroxide and can have extremely harmful effects if not used properly (See Reference 6). Wear protective glasses and gloves when handling lye, as it can cause chemical burns on skin. Never pour water into lye, and do not store lye around children or pets. Once combined with other ingredients in soap, lye is reasonably safe (See Reference 5). If you don't want to risk it, consider a safer alternative such as glycerin soap.

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