Where can I buy the ingredients to make soap? One of the most common questions and rightly so as it is a bit of a mine field. It is important that you buy from reputable suppliers so that you know your raw materials are safe and of a cosmetic grade.
The next question is often 'can I use food grade oils from the supermarket?' The answer to that one is easy - yes! In fact I order my all my oils in bulk from a catering wholesaler. If it good enough to eat it is definitely good enough for your soap.
Otherwise, I have a number of suppliers I use or have used in the past and I recommend them all.
My top choices are Just a Soap and The Soap Kitchen as a one stop shops for sodium hydroxide, butters and oils. (Not olive oil - quite honestly, buy that in Lidl or Aldi or any supermarket - the normal oil is fine, it does not need to be virgin olive oil and the lighter in colour the better as it will affect the final colour of your soap.) Both also sell essential oils but they can be a little more pricy than you need to pay.
I also use The Soap Kitchen for botanicals such as dried oranges, flower petals etc which you can use to decorate your soap and also coloured cosmetic clays to colour soap. They are also good for fragrance oils and micas/oxides.
If you order sodium hydroxide online be warned the postage is quite high - this is because it is classed as 'Dangerous Goods' and very few couriers are able to take it.
Which leads me on to Fresh Skin - brilliant for very reasonably priced essential oils. They carry a wide range and postage is free so you can order as little or as much as you like. I highly recommend you use them for these. Fresh Skin also sell fragrance oils and coconut oil which is very reasonably priced - refined coconut oil is perfect for soap making. Unfortunately they do not sell sodium hydroxide, I can only guess it is because of the courier issues.
Other recommended suppliers are The Soapery, a good range of ingredients but sadly no Sodium Hydroxide. Aromantic, as the Soapery but worth a check for slightly more obscure ingredients too. Soaposh , again ingredients but no Sodium Hyxdroxide. The Crafters Shop is also very popular for core soap making ingredients but no Sodium Hydroxide.
Mystic Moments sell the lot including Sodium Hydroxide (hurrah, although more expensive than The Soap Kitchen) they are a fab company and I highly recommend them.
I just want to cover the subject of Sodium Hydroxide very quickly - yes you can buy it on Ebay, Amazon etc but if you do so you must check it is 100%, sometimes it gets mixed with a little of something else and that will throw the chemistry part of the soap making process out. If in doubt don't buy it as a ruined batch of soap is soul destroying.
Want to make soap and this all sounds confusing or you have no idea where to start? I can help with that. Take a look at my Online Soap Making Video Workshops and eBook Bundle I genuinely believe that taking a course before making your own soap is such a worthwhile investment. There are so many things that can go wrong and it may cost you more in the long run in wasted ingredients and your valuable time than the initial outlay of a course. Additionally I have a super friendly students only facebook group where you are welcome to ask questions at any time to help you nail the process and get that first batch made.
I would love to sell my own kits along side the courses but unfortunately the courier aspect is forever thwarting me, that said, if you are near Dorchester in Dorset get in touch and I am more than happy to sell raw materials to you for collection.
I have to apologise for aiming this at UK residents. I know a fair few website visitors are from outside of this area but I can only recommend for those suppliers I have personal experience of.
I hope this has been helpful.
Happy soap making