Nana’s Lavender Goatmilk Soap Recipe

This was one of my favorites, and one that always flew off my shelf – I just couldn’t keep it in stock!

This is a lovely, creamy soap that is gentle on all skin types – from baby skin to problem skin such as eczema and psoriasis. If you’d rather try a vegan recipe, try Nana’s Vegan Lavender Soap Recipe – it’s a perfect alternative, no less wonder and gentle.

Lavender essential oil has been known to be soothing to dry, itchy skin; calms the mind and eases stress. Lavender eo has been used to treat various skin disorders because of it’s antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, such as acne, wrinkles, and psoriasis. Adding lavender oil to chamomile helps eczema.

I used a few different base recipes, but my all-time favorite was a very simple one. Momma Muse has several lavender soap recipes – many are, or can be made, vegan friendly.

2 pounds

24 oz. Olive Oil (75)
8 oz. Palm Kernel Oil (25%)

4.38 oz. Lye (6% superfat)
8.8 oz. goat milk *

1.5 oz. lavender essential oil
2 TBSP lavender powder

* This is your lye amount x 2.

Freeze the goat milk in the container used for your lye mixture. Once frozen, very slowly add your lye. Stirring, and slowly adding – this helps prevent the milk from getting hot too fast. I also put my container in a bowl with ice to keep the goat milk and lye mixture as cool as possible.

Once mixed and set to cooling, put aside (in a safe place!).

Measure your Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) and melt (not hot, just melted) – I have used a microwave in the past to do this, just make sure your container is microwave safe. If you are able, a stove top works well.


While your PKO is melting, measure your lavender essential oil and lavender powder into separate containers (I always use glass for my essential and fragrance oils).

Have your mold clean, lined and at the ready.

When your PKO is melted, add the olive oil. Feeling the side of the pot, it should not be hot. A little warm is fine, but generally a the cooler the temperature the better when mixing a goat milk soap (actually, I prefer working with cool temps all the time – more time to mix).

Now, your lye mixture should be cooler to the touch and your oils cooler to the touch… think “luke-warm”.

Have your stick blender (immersion blender) at hand and ready. Slowly add your lye mixture to your oils (note: always add the lye TO the oil). Blending while you pour…

Bring your soap mixture to trace (trace is when your spoon or blender leaves a trail and takes a minute to disappear back into the mixture). Once trace has been reached, add your lavender powder, mixing, then your essential oil, mixing..

Everything should be mixed well, now pour into your mold. I do not insulate my soap, I put it on a shelf for about 24 hours before I unmold and cut. Once cut, I leave on a shelf for another 24 hours before I bevel edges.

Give it a couple weeks before using, though a good month would be best as the soap will harden up nicely over time.

Photo Credit: By kidclaude on flickr


  1. I am always looking for new soap recipes – especially with my favorite essential oil lavender. Great info – can’t wait to try this out.

  2. great recipe I never knew that goat milk could be used to make lavender :)

    • Yep, it’s similar to making goat cheese….

      Funny how easy it is to spot the spam… I deleted the contact info (it was about acne)… but honestly, you can’t use goat milk to make lavender.

  3. I’m going to try this recipe, but can I substitute shea butter for the palm kernel oil?


    Donnas last blog post..The Sauerkraut is Ready!

    • I know some people use high percentages of shea, I just haven’t tried it. I’ve read it’s a comedogenic, so I’m leery of using too much of it… that said, if you want to try it, go for it.. a small batch first and make sure to run through a calculator again to get the correct lye solution. Best thing to do, imo, is give it a try.

  4. Can you use this recipe follow a crock pot hot process? I’m thinking that once you reach cold process trace the goat’s milk is part of the mixture and no longer subject to curdle. I may give it a try. The goat’s milk/olive oil combo makes a fabulous soap!

  5. I made this recipe using the crock pot method on this site and it turned out wonderfully! I didn’t have lavender powder so I just added lavender flowers and it looks great. I tested the recipe and it lathers so nice and feels so good. And my hands are nicely cleaned! Thanks for the wonderful instructions and recipe!

  6. Could rose eo and rose powder be substituted for the lavender and still be safe for the face? I’ve been wondering about that and your recipe seems to be the nicest I’ve seen so far. Also, even though the rose powder would tint the soap, what about a couple of drops of soap dye or food coloring? Thanks so much.

    • Absolutely! This is one of my favorite soaps, and I’d completely forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder!

      What I’d suggest is using rose (pink) clay. It’s good mixed with water and aloe as a face mask too. But use in your soap for the skin properties as well as to achieve a lovely pink soap.

      To scent, rose eo would be nice – though, sadly, it is very cost prohibitive. You’d want to use around a 1/2 ounce per pound of soap otherwise it won’t do much… and depending on what type of essential oil you purchase, you could be looking at around $100 – $300+ per half ounce. That’d be a seriously expensive bar of soap!

      So if you can add all the other best of ingredients, and use a light amount of fragrance oil, it’d be much more cost effective. You could use rose water, but I don’t think the rose scent would carry through the saponification process.

      Do some searching on it – maybe you can find the essential oils a little cheaper than what I’ve found. Oh, and if you try it, let me know how it turns out! I’d love to see it!

  7. Thank you, Judi, for the very quick response! I’m new to soap making and wanted to make some of both rose and lavender since both are my favorite scents. I have fo, but wanted to try eo. I found 1/3 oz. pure for $45, but don’t know if I want to put it into soap or not. I also have a large bottle of fo. I’m going to try a batch of each without the powder, just soap dye, and a batch of each with the powder and send all 4 pics to you and let you know how they turn out! I have a beautiful rose bud opening mold that would look gorgeous with the rose soap (and maybe the lavender, too!!).

  8. Hi,
    I’m relatively new to soap making. On the Lavender Goat Milk Recipe what does 8.8 oz goat milk*
    *this is your lye amount x 2 mean?
    Don’t mean to sound ignorant. Just wanted to know so that I don’t mess up another batch.

    Thanks so much

    • Gloria – hi.. sorry it sounds confusing. If you look, the lye amount you need for this specific recipe amount is 4.38 ounces. To determine how much goat milk I need to use, I have doubled the lye amount and just rounded up for ease. 4.38 x 2 = 8.76… or 8.8 ounces.

      This was the usual way to figure lye to water ratio when I learned how to make soap. Lye x 2 = liquid needed

      As I got more use to my recipes, how the fragrance or liquid (in this case goat milk) reacts to the lye, I was able to reduce how much liquid I used… thus reducing the cure time a bit. But when using goat milk, or other liquids aside from water, you want to use the (lye x 2) method until you are used to things too. If you don’t use enough liquid, your soap can “seize” on you.. meaning it gets almost instantly hard, and you can mix things well enough for it to be safe. Not good.

      Also, with goat milk, it’s recommended to freeze it, and then add the lye to the milk.. I usually freeze it to a little more frozen than “slushy”.. the lye added to the frozen milk will still heat up as it mixes.. so adding it to just cold milk can end up kind of gross – or bubbling up and over-flowing.

      Thanks for asking this question. I think I’ve had other ask it too, and I never really explained. I hope this helped. If not, do feel free to message back and I’ll try to explain better or differently. :) Good luck.. and.. don’t worry over the messed up batches. We’ve all had them… they happen, and we learn from them. And kick ourselves for wasting the oil, fragrance, time, haha.

  9. What about substituting coconut oil for PKO? It’s a lot easier for me to find.

    • You can use coconut oil, but you don’t really want to use more than 15 or 20% – even at 20% it can be drying. Regardless, whatever you do to substitute, make sure you run the recipe back through a lye calculator. Each oil is different and requires a different amount of lye to make soap – soap that won’t burn 😉 .

  10. MY friend and I just made your soap, but we used coconut oil instead of PKO b/c we couldn’t find PKO. Now the soap seems really soft, and I can’t get it out of the molds. Will it harden up over time? In the meantime, how do I unmold it? Do you think putting it in the freezer would harden it enough that I could get it out of the mold, then leave it somewhere to cure for a few weeks?

    • A few important questions…
      How long has it been since you made the soap?
      – Ideally, you want to let it set up in the mold around 24 hours. That said, I sometimes un-molded mine at 12 hours.. but yes, it will be softer.. just handle it gently.

      What did you use to line the mold?
      – If nothing, then… ouch.. it may be difficult to get it out. Assuming you lined the mold, I’d take a butter knife and slide it around all accessible sides of the mold, then, I’d slowly try working it out.
      – If it isn’t lined, then, I’d consider grabbing a couple melon ballers and make a lot of soap balls. 😉 And it’d be best to do that while it’s still semi-soft.

      Since you change the posted recipe, did you remember to run it through a soap/lye calculator?
      – If not, then it may not have enough of the lye solution to allow it to harden up. It is *very*extremely* (made up stress word) important to run all recipes through a lye calculator. Even one that is posted (what if *I* made a mistake in copying my recipe to the post?) and even more so if you change a recipe. The lye amount is determined by each individual oil property – and all oils have different, even if similar, properties.
      – So.. if you didn’t check the recipe before, and now you have soft soap.. go ahead and check it now. If the amount of lye isn’t correct, then it may not harden up even given time. :(

      I saw your second comment and wanted to let you know, it’s not a bad batch, even if you did use a lot of coconut oil. Coconut oil IS good. And it makes for a great soap. But if there is too much in your soap, it might cause drying to your skin. You can try it, see what happens.. it might be ok. But if you find it’s too drying, then you could use it in my laundry soap recipe. Or you can re-batch it (I can’t remember what the proper term for it is) where you shred the soap, water it down, cook it on the stove – you’d have to search for it for specifics, but my understanding is it makes a nice gentle soap. Or another option is to shred it/slice it, and add to new batches of soap for ‘design’.. like white chunks in a darker soap.. uh.. like if the batch is scented vanilla, add shreds or chunks to a chocolate soap, and giving it a creative name, Chocolate Marshmallow – for a simple example.

      If none of these ideas or suggestions help, feel free to email me.. and we can try to hash out a solution together. :)

  11. Oops – wish I’d seen the comment above mine before using coconut oil!

  12. Here is my experience with substituting PKO with coconut oil:

    When I made this soap I used 75% olive oil, 20% coconumt oil, and 5% lard. I ran this recipe through a lye calculator and used the suggested amount of lye to produce a 6% superfat. The resulting soap was very hard and very beautiful. Next time, however, I will not use so must coconut oil as it is slightly drying.

  13. I am also new to soap making and was wondering if if could substitute eucalyptus for the lavender oil? If I did this what could I substitute for the powder.

    • Deb – you don’t have to use the powder at all. Just leave it out. It won’t make any major changes. Mostly it’s for exfoliation properties. So, if you wanted to add it, or another powder (I also use orange powder), it’s fine. I can’t think of anything specific off the top of my head to use with eucalyptus, but I’m sure there would be something fun. When I make eucalyptus soap, I usually just make it creamy with colored swirls – like color the soap white (titanium dioxide, or leave it natural color) and swirl in blues and/or greens. But you may come up with something more creative.

  14. I’d like to try this reciepe…is there a website you’d recommend to buy the lavender items from that arent too pricey? Thanks

  15. I have molds that make 8 lbs of soap. Can you tell me how much lye and frozen goat mild I would need? Also do I take all the other ingredients and multiply by 4 to equal 8 lbs? Thank you so much!

    • You would need to run the recipe back through a lye calculator – *any time* you change a recipe, increase, decrease or change oils, you need to run it through a calculator. I have a list of them on my site.. should be easy to find in a search if it’s not showing up in or below the post. :)

  16. I have lavender buds. Can I use that instead of the powder?

    • Sure – but lavender buds, when put in soap, tend to look like mouse poop.. o.O If it were me, I’d either crush the buds in a mortar & pestle or wait until the soap is in the mold and sprinkle on the tops.

  17. I made the soap, and it is good. I wish it were harder and longer lasting. What do you think about adding a percentage of palm oil for hardness?

  18. I tried making the soap with 22% palm and 16% palm kernal oil and all other skin conditioning oils. I just turned it out 2 days ago and took a small sliver to test the lather. I can tell it is harder allready and the lather is still very good!

  19. I’m in the process of buying the ingredients for my very first batch of soap. I think this lavender soap recipe sounds wonderful. I’m wondering though…can I use lavender flowers and just grind them up in a coffee grinder to make the lavender powder it calls for?

  20. I am a new sopa maker interested in trying this recipe for goat milk soap. I saw the asterisk in the recipe stating to double the amount of lye.
    Do the amounts of other ingredients remain the same? Some recipes call for distilled water. Why/

    • Kay, you are misunderstanding the meaning of the asterisk. It is next to the goat milk amount – this means, the goatmilk is twice the amount of the lye. I noted this because for some soapers, they may want a slightly higher amount (like 2.2) or a slightly lower amount (I don’t recommend this with goat milk, even if it’s frozen, unless you are a very experienced soaper).

      Any liquid can be used, distilled water, milk (goat, butter, soy), coffee, pureed fruits/veggies (like cucumbers),even beer. The amount of liquid will depend on your recipe, your goal for the soap, and your experience. It is recommended for new soapers to use a higher amount of liquid – this gives you a bit more ‘play’ time to mix in additives, colors, etc after the lye mixture has been added to the oils. A lower amount of liquid speeds the process of trace, sometimes very quickly (can result in a ‘seize’ where the mixture solidifies before you can mix well) – so soapers need to be prepared and work fast.

      I highly recommend doing some more research before you jump in to make a batch of soap – you really need to understand the process, the how and why of the process. Visit some of the lye soap calculators I’ve got listed on my site and get a feel for how different oils change the lye amount, and how different oils bring different properties to the soap (creamy, sudsy, etc).

  21. I have never made soap before. What do I line my molds with? I ordered one that makes 10 small circular bars of soap and since those circles are so small, I am wondering how I could line them with anything like parchment paper since that seems like it would be bulky. Thanks so much for the recipe! I am looking forward to trying it out!

    • If you’re making lye soap and you’ve ordered the thin clear molds intended for melt and pour soaps, your mold may not last very long. Lye soap gets very hot. Not just when you heat the oils, or the lye mixture, but the process after it’s mixed together is called ‘saponification’ – and this gets very, very hot.

      To line molds, I have used plastic trash bags, and freezer paper, but my favorite it to get sheets of mylar used for quilt making. Look for the high heat mylar – that’s what you’ll want… anything less and it will warp.

  22. I just had my first bath with this bar of soap. 😀 It’s wonderful, lathers beautifully, feels sooo good and moisturizing on the skin. Thank you so much for sharing! I ground lavender buds and oats and mixed them into a top layer. I’m so encouraged, it was my first attempt at soapmaking.

  23. If using canned goat milk should it be diluted and then frozen? Thanks,Pats

  24. Are the Lye and Goat’s Milk measurements in fluid ounces or by weight?

    • Whenever you are making soap with lye, you are going by weight. Otherwise, you don’t get as accurate as you need to be and you will have a recipe fail.

    • When making soap, it is *always* by weight … ok.. well, not always, when you use additives, like powder or honey or any extra goodies, that can be done with just a measuring spoon or similar.

  25. Hi. I have run your recepy through the calculator and 4.38 lye showed as 0 fat range. 6 / should be at 4.12 according to it. I tried it with 20 oz olive oil, 4 iz Shea and 8 palm with 4.10 lye and about 8.8 milk and I could hardly cut it after about 10 hours. It was so hard I had to push with my whole body on my soap cutter. It also looks more light yellowish brown rather than what you have.
    Do you know what went wrong? I think your soap looks great and I would love to get it right.
    Thank you

    • Any time you are going to make lye soap, you need to check the recipe in a lye calculator. But when you change the ingredients of the recipe, the lye, liquid and superfat values will likely change. My recipe didn’t have shea butter or palm, so it stands to reason your lye needs will come out differently. Even still, you should run my recipe through a calculator if you’re going to use it. I know it’s correct for when I used it, but it’s possible some values have changed in the different calculators (as a matter of fact, sometimes run it through a couple calculators, just to check them too, lol).

  26. I don’t have a stick blender yet & am anxious to get started making soap…is there anything I can substitute for the stick blender until I get into a town that sells them???

  27. Can you substitue another oil like coconut oil or shea butter for the palm kernal oil…I’m not finding palm kernal oil anywhere other than online. I’d prefer to buy locally if possible.

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