Testing Fragrance In Cold Process Soap

Testing a fragrance for compatibility with cold process soap is a necessary before investing the time and effort to make a big batch. Nothing is worse than prepping a large batch of expensive oils, just to have it seize up because of the fragrance. For you soap newbies that have yet to experience it, seizing is what happens when a soap hardens abnormally fast and sets grainy as it cools.

What follows are some tips on testing your fragrance oils, experience we’ve gained from testing the many fragrances Essentials by Catalina has in stock for your to try. We are also sharing our continually growing list of fragrances we have tested and verified as either OK or Not OK to use in Cold Process Soaps. But remember, these are the results we got using the recipe at the bottom.

Testing Fragrance In Cold Process Soap

  • Making one pound batches is a great way to start. And, if you are able to work quickly, you can test two half pound batches. But the key is to work quickly!
  • It is very important to take notes! Record every reaction that the soap has, paying close attention to color changes and the time it takes to set and become unworkable. Remember, soap can change drastically within minutes or maybe hours later. For example our Strawberries fragrance accelerated the trace, but I was still able to work with the batter and get it into my mold. Then, after 30 minutes in the mold, it gelled and darkened. Taking proper notes will help you keep track of the individual quirks some fragrances and soap batches have.
  • Not all is lost when discoloration occurs. For example, our Black Code Type Fragrance Oil turned the soap batter Neon Yellow. The trace, however, was good enough to mold nicely. The soap stayed Neon Yellow for a day. After about 24 hours, the color changed to a nice soft off white.
  • Try using the soap in different recipes, we use this olive oil based recipe for testing our fragrances.

Fragrances Tested to Work in Cold Process Soap

We have begun to systematically test each of our fragrances for their compatibility with Cold Process Soap. We receive many requests for this type of information and so we have decided to document each of our Fragrances. With over 500 Fragrances Oils in stock, that is no small task! It is an even bigger challenge when you consider that we have to monitor these test batches for months, or even longer, to fully ensure that we know how a fragrance will react.


  • .Blue Sage & Lemon
  • Armani Black Code Type
  • East Indian Sandalwood
  • Spring Rain
  • Coconut Lime Verbena
  • Bergamot Pear
  • Pumpkin Cupcake
  • Oatmeal Rasin Cookie
  • Green Tea
  • Sugared Cranberry
  • Caramel Corn
  • Apple
  • Blue Volcano



Did Not Work in Cold Process Soap

  • Bed of Roses: Soap seized
  • Pua Melia: Soap seized
  • Aqua Di Gio Type: Gelled and seized
  • Flowerbomb Type: Gelled and seized
  • Jasmine: Soap seized
  • French Lavender & Honey Type: Soap seized
  • Strawberries: Accelerated, gelled, then drastically changed colors.
  • Pineapple: Seized
  • White Chocolate Sandalwood: Seized
  • Lavender Chamomile: Accelerated and Gelled
  • Blackberry Vanilla: Seized
Testing Fragrance In Cold Process Soap
Example: Our “Strawberries” fragrance accelerated the soaping reaction and discolored soap to a deep brown.

Other Tips

Remember, if a fragrance doesn’t work with a certain recipe, not all hope is lost. Try them on your other go-to recipes.

Pre-mix all of the oils together in a bucket, then measure out the percentages of oils whenever you need it. For example, the recipe below needs 67% of oils. Simply measure out the amount of oil mixture you need. Then just add the lye solution into the 33

Mixing the lye solution into the oils at a low temperature (100 F) may give you a little extra time before the soap starts setting.

Test in 1lb small batches, here is a link for a silicone 6 cavity mold we like to use when testing new fragrances in soap. Each bar comes out to about 4 to 6 ounces. Which is perfect for testing. If a fragrance doesen’t work, then not too many raw materials are wasted.

Example: A well behaved fragrance used in the soap recipe used below.

Testing fragrance in cold process soap: Recipe we used

Here is a simplified step by step on how to make cold process soap. however you can easily use the recipe provided above.

Sources: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Soap-with-the-Cold-Process

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