Nana’s Vegan Lavender Soap Recipe

This lavender soap recipe was created for vegan friends and family. It contains no animal bi-products, and is gentle and soothing to sensitive skin. [Updated recipes at bottom of post to include no palm or pko and another for just a castile.]

If you’re not vegan, you can try Nana’s Lavender Goat Milk Soap, a creamy soap that is also gentle on all skin types.

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.

2 pounds

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

4.38 oz. Lye (6% superfat)
8.8 oz. lavender tea *

1.5 oz. lavender essential oil
2 TBSP lavender powder

* This is your liquid and it determined by your lye amount x 2.

[See bottom of post for information regarding PKO not being considered Vegan – and an alternate, simple recipe.]

To make lavender tea, heat water amount (plus extra a little extra) to boiling. Pour over lavender buds and let infuse for 10 minutes or more. I usually do this the night before and leave to infuse the whole time. Once done, filter out the lavender buds and chill the tea.

When the tea is sufficiently chilled, add your lye (remember, add your lye TO the tea, not the other way around). I put my lye mixture container into a bowl a cold water to cool – (sometimes adding ice, depending on how quickly I’m wanting to get things going).

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. I prefer working with all the ingredients at a luke-warm temperature. It allows for more time.

Now, your lye mixture should be cooler to the touch and your oils cooler to the touch… again, 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.


In a recent comment, Lisa informs me that PKO, palm kernel oil, is not considered vegan.  I am unable find any information to support that it is not vegan – however there is a lot of information regarding palm oil and the destruction from it’s harvesting.  I have, on the other hand, found sites where people do consider PKO vegan.  Whether you consider it vegan or not, the choice to use it is up to the soap maker.

I prefer really simple recipes – it’s not only easier on the pocket book, but it’s easier to make – and then I can add my extra goodies to spice it up.  Here is a recipe using coconut instead of PKO – coconut is derived from the Coconut Palm (not the same plant that palm or pko come from).

2 pounds – No PKO

25.5 oz. Olive Oil (~80%)
6.5 oz. Coconut Oil (~20%)

4.37 oz. Lye (6% superfat)
8.8 oz. lavender tea *

1.5 oz. lavender essential oil
2 TBSP lavender powder

* This is your liquid and it determined by your lye amount x 2.


If you want a true Castile Soap, use only Olive Oil:

2 pounds Castile Soap

32 oz. Olive Oil (100%)

4.07 oz. Lye (6% superfat)

8.2 oz. lavender tea *

1.5 oz. lavender essential oil
2 TBSP lavender powder

* This is your liquid and it determined by your lye amount x 2.

Castile takes longer to cure, but makes a very hard, long lasting bar of soap.




  1. This will be my very first attempt at making soap. I love lavender and grow lots of it in our garden. Do you think this recipe is a good choice for my first time? What is lavender powder?

    Many thanks,


  2. Hi Cheri,

    This is a super easy recipe for soap. It makes a nice hard bar with good lather too. Might take a few weeks (or more if you have the time) to “cure” (this will make it harder too).

    Lavender powder is just super finely ground lavender buds. If you use the actual buds of the lavender flower, they tend to turn brown and look very similar to mouse poops (ick).. so you could either get some powder, or sprinkle the buds on top after you’ve poured it into the mold (they’ll likely stay prettier that way).

    Any additives you use that aren’t *very* finely ground will be a bit scratchy when you use it – you can even feel the finely ground, to a degree.

    Experiment with small batches and have fun.

  3. That’s interesting that you use lavender tea in the soap. I guess maybe that is normal I’ve just never looked into how to make soap. :) Looks like a fun recipe to try.

  4. How much lavender buds do you use? This sounds like a great recipe!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Disorganized Creativity

    The only thing that let me perplexed is the use of lye. Do you think it would work well with this craftylittlegnome .blogspot .com/2011/08/homemade-bleach.html?

    • I’m not really clear on what is perplexing to you? Are you asking if the homemade bleach on that link (or any other bleach) is interchangeable with lye? If so, the answer is a definite, absolute NO.

      To make real soap, from scratch, lye is an essential ingredient. There is no alternative ingredient to use in place of lye. If you want to make soap without using lye, there is glycerin soap or you can purchase pre-made ‘real’ soap and melt it down (the name of this process escapes me at the moment) ~ but understand neither of these processes are considered “making soap” or “handmade soap”.

      Glycerin soap is made from the same process of mixing lye with oils to create saponification (or soap) – except you don’t make it yourself, someone else does. Then they [basically] remove the glycerin and provide it for people who want to make ornamental soaps – they are not as good for your skin.

      If you are looking to make real soap, from scratch, I suggest doing a bit more research on it so you understand the process, the benefits and learn respect for the lye and the soap making process. It is definitely rewarding, fun, creative.. but not something to “play” at.

      Again, that homemade bleach recipe and my recipe (or other recipes) for handmade soap are completely NOT related in any way.

  6. I have made lye soap in the past (maybe 10 times). I am about to make a couple of batches to send out for Christmas gifts. I have looked at several recipes on-line for new ideas. Yours looks great! I’ve never thought about or seen tea or powder as ingredients. I LOVE lavender so much. I am hoping the results produce super duper lavender bars. In the past, I’ve just used essential oil. I am excited to find the results out! I am getting started today… so I will let you know how it turns out! YEAH!!! p.s. Thank you for taking the time to post this recipe. I really appreciate when people share great ideas to help others. This is the kind of world I love living in. :)

    • Yay! Have fun Jessica! Keep in mind, if you use the actual lavender flower buds IN the soap, they may end up looking a little (or a lot) like mouse poop ~ ick. So.. use powder, tea, whatever you want in the soap and save the pretty flowers to decorate the top.

      And just fyi, there are lots and lots of things you can use in soap – spices (for colorants in particular), milks, teas… get creative and have fun. :)

  7. Do you HAVE to use the lavender powder or is it optional? Will there be a significant change in the quality of the soap?

    • Robyn – No, you do not *have* to use the lavender powder. The quality will remain the same. The only difference is the powder does add a very fine exfoliating factor. Without it, it will be very smooth and creamy.. so.. very yummmy 😉 …

      Think of the additives as being extras. If you change the oils, or the ratio of the oils, then you change the recipe and you *must* run it through a soap / lye calculator to ensure you are using the correct (and safe) amount of lye. Essential oils add their own properties, but you can change the amount, or the blend, to suit your needs. And then the powders, flowers, colorants and/or spices you add are extras.

      I am sure I’ve said this before, but do make note that if you use the lavender buds IN the soap, they will end up looking closely like mouse poop… not appealing.. so I recommend, if using the flower buds, to consider adding them to the top of the curing soap.

      Have fun!

  8. I am currently doing research in preperation for my first soap making attempt. I was excited to stumble across a vegan recipe. But on reading through your ingredient list i was surprised to see palm kernel oil.
    While its great that this recipe does not use animal derived ingredients, palm oil is one of the most environmentaly devasting types of farming leading to the destruction of the habitat of orangutans and sumatran tigers among many other beautiful creatures.
    Palm Oil is absolutely devastating and definately not animal friendly/vegan.

    • Hi Gina – thanks your comment. I only recently came across information regarding vegetable palm oil. And quite honestly, never even thought about this recipe.. it was originally posted a long time ago.

      I suggest using this Oatmeal milk and honey soap recipe instead and not using the milk or honey.

      My favorite recipe is 80% olive oil and 20% palm kernel oil.. just use the additives you prefer.

  9. Hi,
    so is the lavender powder you talk about ground up buds that you ground up yourself or where can you get this? Look forward to making your soap recipe
    Thanks, Beth

    • Lavender powder is much finer than I could grind it up at home… well, maybe a pestle and mortar will work. The difference is the less fine it is, the more course it will be in your soap. Even the finest lavender powder I’ve found is still noticeable in the soap.. like a fine grit sandpaper. I just got it from an herb shop online. Maybe google “Lavender powder bulk”.

  10. hi there, Is the lye you use animal fat free? And can u please explain what “superfat” is? If it is vegan lye, do you know/can u please pass on a recipe. Thanks! wonderful idea with the lavender! :)

    • Lye is a chemical compound. It has nothing to do with fat or animals – therefore there is nothing such as ‘vegan lye’.

      You cannot make soap without lye. However, you can make soap with oils that are not derived from animals.

      What happens in soap making is the lye attaches to the oils, creating a soap. When you ‘super fat’ you are adding a bit more oil than what is needed for the process, so you have a soap that is gentle to use on your hands/body/face. If you don’t have extra oils, your soap will be more harsh and drying (but done correctly will work for laundry soap).

      As for a recipe, the post you commented on *is* a recipe… and there are others throughout MommaMuse. I do highly recommend doing some more research on the soap process. My recipes are based on the assumption that users will have at least a basic understanding of how soap making works, both the process and the safety guards one must take when making soap. I also suggest reading other comments on the different soap posts here on MM.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Perhaps you miss understood my questions. I was wondering if you had known of a recipe for lye. Rather than buying caustic soda. All I could find online was recipes that used; wood ash, water and animal fat. Hence my use of the words ‘vegan lye’…. This recipe makes up the chemical compound potassium Hydroxide. Caustic soda is sodium hydroxide. They are both know as lye. Both are caustic. And both can be used in soap. Yesterday I found a recipe for lye that only uses wood ash and water. I have a fire burning now to collect the ash and test it out :)

    • No, I don’t know any recipes for making lye. My understanding is homemade lye isn’t very reliable in measuring and it’s much easier to cause hot soap.

      I think I may be confused at your comment about “vegan lye”.. For something to be vegan it would not have any animal products/bi-products.. so I would guess that all lye is ‘vegan’ by that definition. Hope your trials with the ash work out. If you think about it, I’d love to hear more about it (or maybe i could talk you into a guest post on

  12. Palm Kernel Oil is not considered vegan and most vegans will not use products containing any palm derivative. As is, it is vegetarian but not vegan. Online vegan stores do not sell vegan soap with any kind of palm oil it is a no-no. See –

    Perhaps something else can be substituted. Anyone know?

    • Thanks for that info Lisa. I would suggest using coconut oil in place of the PKO – but I would also changed the amounts a bit.. I’ll update the post with a recipe that doesn’t use Palm or PKO.

  13. Thanks for the recipe I made a batch the other night using 1 oz lavender oil and .5 oz peppermint oil and it smells great! I was wondering if I were to make the recipe again if I could use only 1 oz of essential oil and it would still work the same? Thanks!

    • Yes it should be fine. The base oils are the main ones to be concerned when changing things up. Just make a habit of running your recipe through lye calculator, so you know your lye amount is always correct. :)

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