With so many people making soap, many formerly “exotic” oils such as emu and mango butter have become relatively commonplace. There are still, however, many oils that, for various reasons, remain exotic. One of the factors in making this list is price. Another is how new the oil is on the soap-making scene. Another factor is limited-use oils, such as those that have an unpleasant smell but are very useful for specific applications, for example. Here is a selection of the exotic oils available:
Babbasu oil: a rich, penetrating oil that does not clog pores. Use as a superfatting agent or as part of a luxury formula.
Evening primrose oil: quite costly, but reputedly excellent for dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. Supposedly has other healing properties including relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis.
Hemp seed oil: has a reputation as a soothing, healing oil, particularly for dry skin. It contains none of the drug THC, so it hasn't any dangerous properties. Use as a superfatting agent due to the fact that it is prone to rancidity and in large amounts may contribute to spoilage.
Kukui nut oil: from Hawaii, an excellent skin conditioner and reported to have many healing properties. It lubricates without oiliness. Use as a superfatting agent or as part of a luxury soap
Kokum butter: very moisturizing, yet good for dehydrated acne-prone skin because it is lubricating without clogging pores. It contributes hardness in a soap formula as well as non-greasy moisturizing.
Neem oil: said to posses healing properties of such great proportion that soapmakers are willing to overlook the fact that it smells horrible. Use as a base oil for problem skin or as part of a formula for a “healing” bar.
Sal butter: has a long shelf life and makes an excellent superfatting agent. It is lubricating but not greasy.
As you make more and more soap, you may that find one or more of these “exotics” becomes commonplace in your soapmaking. If you find an oil not listed above, go ahead and experiment with it and share your results. Eventually someone will want to know what you have learned!