Love, and some other stuff
Making soap from scratch is a mix of science and cooking. On the one hand it is predictable and precise; on the other, it is creative and magical. I guess that's one of the reasons I enjoy making soap.
I find using olive oil makes the best quality soap. It makes a robust and firm bar, and is free from association with cruel or unethical practices, as is the case with lard or palm oil. In a way, the ready availability of olive oil in Australia I also consider to be a celebration of the success of post-war immigration to Australia, but in any event, olive oil makes great soap.
Olive oil has one, somewhat minor, drawback. It doesn't do bubbles. It's not the end of the world, but my preference is for soap to have a creamy lather. Adding coconut oil helps with the lather. A lovely oil to work with in its own right, and one with benefits for the skin, coconut oil loves to bubble. Too much, however, can be a tad drying as it likes to do its job as an excellent cleanser enthusiastically! I like to strike a balance with keeping a high olive oil content and managing a luxurious lather.
With a basic soap blend, I add a number of different oils, depending on the type of soap. All of the oils I use have benefits for the skin and give the different soap types varying personalities. Do you like your soap to feel like a satin pillowcase? Try Velvet Cream, North of Havana or When in Rome. Prefer a super rich lather? Try South Pacific, Madame X... or Spring Sherbert. Something extra mild? Try Winterfield or Smokey Joe.
With about 20 soaps in the stable, I shouldn't really be creating opportunity for more indecision, but I love choice and experimentation, so I hope you do too!