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Making homemade soaps is a such as rewarding craft. While there are plenty of online tutorials and videos to show you how to make DIY soap from scratch, sometimes you want a physical copy of a great guide to soap making you can keep on your bookshelf. We’ve rounded up 10 best soap making books from beginners to advanced soapers.
Don’t waste your hard-earned money on subpar books. We’ve scoured through many soap making books and these came out on top!
We’ve organized the following books into categories: best for beginners; great for all levels; intermediate; and advanced soap making.
Best soap making books for beginners
When you’re new to the world of soap crafting, all the new soap making terms and instructions can feel overwhelming. There’s so much new information to digest and sort through.
Luckily, these great books for complete beginners lay out basic techniques and in-depth information and arm you with the knowledge (and inspiration) to forge ahead!
Length: 220 pages
Here’s a great beginner soap making guide. Like so many others, if you’re drawn to homemade soap making because you want to cut down the use of chemicals and use natural ingredients, this book is for you. With plenty of full-color photos throughout, author Kelly Cable (from Simple Life Mom) lays out the basic soap making process and shares her vast knowledge of natural ingredients.
You’ll get a solid knowledge base of working with natural colorants, herbs, soap making clays, salts, and essential oils. This comprehensive guide strikes a good balance between explaining the science behind soap making and the creative side. She lays out SAP values in a way that’s easy to comprehend, and offers over 55 cold process soap recipes to choose from for absolute beginners to more seasoned soapers.
Length: 176 pages
This book is a bit underrated, in my opinion. The book’s title says it’s a photo guide, and that’s exactly what this book delivers. The old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, applies here. If you’re looking for a step-by-step tutorial to making natural soap, you won’t be disappointed.
Fisher delves into more detail than many other soap books in certain areas, such as how exactly to work with additives and what each additive contributes to the finished soap. He also touches on how to store and package handmade soap.
This is a good reference book you’ll find yourself coming back to.
Length: 288 pages
This book is one of the first soap making books I read, and one that I still refer to from time to time. It’s a comprehensive book that covers many topics newbie soapers want to know: common soap making terms, lye discount/superfatting, and basic recipes you can adapt to make your own. There’s also a handy table of essential oils and their properties.
Just a head’s up—the book is mainly text. So, if you’re looking for a soap book heavy on the photos, this isn’t it. Still, I highly recommend this book as Grosso goes over the ins-and-outs of everything from hot process, cold process, melt and pour, and hand-milled soap making. Plus, she also touches on where to sell soaps.
Length: 128 pages
When you want to make a batch of soap, but don’t want to handle lye, then the melt and pour method is a great place to start. Simply melt a soap base, add your favorite additives and pour into soap molds. This book focuses on using natural materials that are plant-derived and eco-friendly (this means no petroleum based, or synthetic ingredients).
With plenty of full-color photos to inspire you, this book has easy-to-follow tutorials for 45 recipes. Ittner goes over natural additives, colorants, and scents that can spice up your melt and pour soap recipes. She also organizes soap recipes by their finished properties: cleansing, exfoliating, soft or smooth, and luxurious soap.
Best soap making books for all stages
Whether you’re a complete novice, or a seasoned pro, these books offer something for everyone.
Length: 192 pages
Jan Berry (aka the Nerdy Farmwife), explains everything you need to know about soap safety, oils and fats, and provides plenty of recipes for the true beginner, to the more advanced. This book strikes a good balance between full-color photos and in-depth information.
There are 50 natural soap and shampoo bars recipes. I love this book and how it’s organized into categories such as “Soaps from the Apiary” or “Soaps from the Herb Garden” and “Soaps from the Farm.” If you’re looking for palm-free recipes, she has a few.
You’ll also find good tips on making herbal infusions. Towards the end, she goes into more advanced soap making techniques. A standout is the natural colorant guide she compiles of all colors of nature.
My only complaint is that I found the font smaller and a bit hard to read (but maybe that’s just me!).
Length: 294 pages
From LovinSoap, Aaron has compiled 65 all-natural soap making recipes with easy-to-follow instructions and accompanying photos. She also has an excellent selection of vegan soap recipes too! This book covers all the main soap making processes and also includes liquid soap recipes too.
You’ll find everything from simple recipes for bath soaps to more complicated recipes and techniques for the advanced soap maker.
Best intermediate soap making books
These books are best for those who have a few batches of soap under their belt.
Length: 144 pages
Making transparent soap using cold process or hot process is a bit more complicated than the average recipe, which is why this book isn’t recommended for beginners. Alcohol is the key to making see-through soaps in your own kitchen. Failor explains the science behind soap making and provides easy-to-follow instructions.
Be warned that the recipes in this book make for large batches. So remember to break out your calculator if you want to make adjustments. Bonus—this book includes a blueprint for making your own wooden soap mold for all you handy types.
Length: 141 pages
If you’ve ever made milk-enriched soap, you know it can be a tricky ingredient to work with. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the nourishing qualities of milk soap for dry or sensitive skin.
More than just a recipe book, Barrett provides an in-depth guide to different types of milk from their history, their benefits, fat content, and how to incorporate them into your soap bar. You’ll also find other milk-based body care products. It’s an ode to milk soaps!
Best books for advanced soap makers
There’s always more to learn! Even experienced soap makers will discover something new in these books.
Length: 174 pages
If you’re looking to up your cold process soap making game by learning more advanced techniques, or hoping to formulate your own soap recipes, this book has you covered. Learn to blend natural scents and calculate the correct soap batch size to fit any mold. Read up on exotic butters and oils.
There’s a handy glossary at the back plus a resource guide on the best places to stock up on soap making supplies and packaging. While there’s a lot of good information in this book, I feel it could be better with more pictures.
Length: 432 pages
Kevin Dunn is a chemistry professor who happens to love soap making and all the science behind it. If you want to take a deep-dive into the whys and hows of saponification and try a few science experiments yourself, this is one of the best soap making books for those with a curious mind.
Not for the faint-of-heart, this 432-page technical tome will provide a very thorough understanding of the entire soap making process. Armed with this much knowledge, your next batches of soap are sure to be great!
New to making soap? 🧼❓
We have a fantastic overview on the whole soapmaking process here 👉 Read our Timeless Guide To Soapmaking
If you would like to see our soapmaking posts organized by topic type 👉 See our Soapmaking Main Page