Soap is made with fats, liquid and lye, and each oil/fat has specific saponification values. We also know that oils have long and short chain fatty acids which react with the lye in a chemical reaction to create soap. This chemical reaction is called saponification and some oils saponify at different points along the fatty acid chains. Olive oil soap is very moisturising as it contains oils that will not saponify, and so are left free in your soap to moisturise your skin. On the other hand, Coconut Oil is so efficient at saponifying that there are no free oils left in the soap to moisturise your skin. Having said that, coconut oil helps to make a fantastic, cleansing and sudsy bar of soap when used at up to 30% in your soap. Any more than 20-30% Coconut Oil tends to be drying on the skin.
Many shoppers when looking for a natural bar of soap will purchase a 100% Coconut Oil soap thinking that it is good for their skin...they do not realise that even though Coconut Oil is fantastic in its natural state, it is not so great as a 100% soap. So don't be fooled by lovely eco-friendly looking packaging, emotive words such as natural, pure, vegan etc...Read the ingredients!!
Having said this, I love to use coconut oil in my soaps as it helps to create a hard, sudsy bar with a lovely sheen, and it has excellent cleansing properties. I like to combine my Coconut Oil with other skin loving oils such as: Extra Virgin Olive oil, Rice Bran Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil, and Soybean Oil. This ensures that the soap is moisturising, nourishing, mild and great for the skin!