A newbie question!!

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Debs

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Hi - I am very new to soap making and completed a course on the basics. I want to try and find a base recipe I like and wondered what combinations were the most popular. On the course I used 50% olive oil, 25% coconut oil and 25% palm oil. I am not totally convinced of using even sustainable PO and wondered what others replaced it with or used as there seems to be so many?!! Thanks in advance.
 

cmzaha

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Welcome to the forum and soapmaking. Tallow and Lard are your main replacements for palm oil but, of course do not work in vegan formulas. I happen to love and use palm oil and will not get into the whole anti palm discussion here. I personally will not use olive oil over 25% in any soap other than 100% castille, which I hate. The recipe you listed to me would be just awful. To cleansing and to slimy/sticky. I can always feel the sticky slimy in soap with high olive oil. But that is me and most seem to love olive oil in soap. I much prefer Avocado and High Oleic Sunflower and High Oleic Canola in my soaps.

Hopefully you learned to use soap calc or one of the other calculators. It is just easier than figuring it out manually. Millersoap.com has many tried and true recipes available which are great for beginners. Her listed recipes are very reliable, but remember to run them through a lye calculator. Never depend on a written recipe to be 100% correct. Also, be aware there is a lot of Bad info on the web, facebook and youtube when it comes to soapmaking. There is also a very helpful recipe section here.
 
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Seawolfe

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This board has a pack of lard fanatics, which you need to try at least once in your soap if you can.

A basic recipe we like is something like:
55-60 % lard
20-25 % Olive /almond /avocado (any light oil)
15% Coconut oil
5% castor
5% superfat

I use palm in some of my recipes, but I like lard better :)

Now I like lots of olive oil, so Ill happily use a 100% olive oil castile or a 70% Olive oil / 30 % coconut / 6% superfat bastile soap (well cured of course), and Carolyn will just shake her head at me
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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(((In the voice of David Attenborough ))))

Here we see an example of two members of the species Saponifacious Addicticus and how they handle conflict in the family-style group. Calmly, they decide that neither one is wrong and they carry on smearing the mixture of lard and olive oil in to their fur. One with more olive oil, the other with more lard. So it is with this species - they might not always agree, but there is not often disagreement b
 

IrishLass

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Gent- thank you for my first hearty giggle of the day! lol

Welcome to the forum and soapmaking. Tallow and Palm are your main replacements for palm oil but, of course do not work in vegan formulas.
Carolyn- I think you had too much coffee or not enough. ;) I do believe you meant to say "Tallow and Lard" instead of "Tallow and Palm". :)

Debs said:
I want to try and find a base recipe I like and wondered what combinations were the most popular.
Welcome Debs! :)

As far as base recipes go, much will depend on your skin-type and other factors, such as the type of water with which you wash (hard or soft), or if you like lots of bubbly lather, or if you prefer a more creamy-type lather, etc... In other words, what works for one does not always work for another.

For example- the recipe you tried in class looks horrible to Carolyn, but it actually looks perfectly fine to me. One of my main formulas has 50% olive oil and 28% coconut in it and it works wonderfully with my skin.

Can you tell us what kinds of qualities you like to have in soap or if your skin tends to be more dry rather than oily, and/or vice versa? That will help us to be able to help steer you in the right direction.

As far as replacements for palm go, as the others have said, lard and/or tallow are your best replacements. Other more expensive replacements are butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, kokum butter, etc...


IrishLass :)
 

cmzaha

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Gent- thank you for my first hearty giggle of the day! lol



Carolyn- I think you had too much coffee or not enough. ;) I do believe you meant to say "Tallow and Lard" instead of "Tallow and Palm".

Welcome Debs! :)

As far as base recipes go, much will depend on your skin-type and other factors, such as the type of water with which you wash (hard or soft), or if you like lots of bubbly lather, or if you prefer a more creamy-type lather, etc... In other words, what works for one does not always work for another.

For example- the recipe you tried in class looks horrible to Carolyn, but it actually looks perfectly fine to me. One of my main formulas has 50% olive oil and 28% coconut in it and it works wonderfully with my skin.

Can you tell us what kinds of qualities you like to have in soap or if your skin tends to be more dry rather than oily, and/or vice versa? That will help us to be able to help steer you in the right direction.

As far as replacements for palm go, as the others have said, lard and/or tallow are your best replacements. Other more expensive replacements are butters such as shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, kokum butter, etc...


IrishLass :)
Oops you are correct. I should not answer when it is 40º F in my house and I have not had my half pot of coffee


Although I do use tallow and /or lard with palm!! Makes a nice hard bar!
 

Chefmom

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The ratio you mentioned, the 50/25/25 is a classic ratio for a reason. It's a great all purpose formula and a good starting point. Each and every soap maker is going to have different likes and dislikes, not because it necessarily makes "bad" soap, but it just isn't a personal preference. Experimenting and testing difference recipes will be the only way to find what you like, and what you don't. Take good notes from the beginning and you will thank yourself as you go!!

A great first test is simply replace the palm 25% in your formula with lard or tallow, make a small batch, make notes and then make another batch with another change. Once cured use them side by side and see the differences. You might not notice big differences in the beginning, but after different tests you will be able to tell even subtle changes in your formulas.

I agree with the above mentioned millersoap.com it's a site that I went to back in the day, and it's still the same as back then. There are lots of recipes floating around the internet and such, but yes...always run them through a soap calculator (soapcalc.net is my fave) and you can control the size of a batch and the water and superfat very easily as well.

If you don't want to try lard, you can always do a 50% olive, 25% coconut, 15% shea butter and 10% cocoa butter as well. It's more expensive overall, but will help harden your bar and give a good lather (I love cocoa butter myself...)

Good Luck!! Welcome. :)http://www.soapmakingforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

LoveOscar

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I don't have easy access to palm oil, even in the grocery store (I've seen it once!), so I went palm free from the get go. Personally, I don't like ordering my oils online, just because I want to not wait 3 days for my oil to come in and then how ever many days until I have the time and energy to play with a recipe. Generally, OO, CO, and then any combination of butters and other oils does well for me.
 

cmzaha

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I don't have easy access to palm oil, even in the grocery store (I've seen it once!), so I went palm free from the get go. Personally, I don't like ordering my oils online, just because I want to not wait 3 days for my oil to come in and then how ever many days until I have the time and energy to play with a recipe. Generally, OO, CO, and then any combination of butters and other oils does well for me.
I do not know if Walmart carries it in the store, but they have a Spectrum shortening that is 100% palm oil. Several months ago I ran a test of 100% palm oil and 100% palm shortening. They work exactly the same. I buy my palm shortening in 50# blocks from Smart & Final but I do not believe you have those store in Tennessee. What I get is the no stir (homogenized) palm. Walmart also carries a tallow shortening under the Great Value Brand. I think it says beef shortening
 

LoveOscar

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I do not know if Walmart carries it in the store, but they have a Spectrum shortening that is 100% palm oil. Several months ago I ran a test of 100% palm oil and 100% palm shortening. They work exactly the same. I buy my palm shortening in 50# blocks from Smart & Final but I do not believe you have those store in Tennessee. What I get is the no stir (homogenized) palm. Walmart also carries a tallow shortening under the Great Value Brand. I think it says beef shortening
I try my hardest to stay out of Walmart. I know Krogers (grocery store) carries red palm oil in the all natural section, right next to the large containers of coconut oil, but it's not there often. I looked at shortening at one point, but something was off, I think they weren't pure palm. It's been a while since I looked.
 

Debs

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Thank you!

Wow, so much information and advice, thank you. I was shown how to use a lye calculator but thanks for the reminder and weblink. I perhaps should have mentioned in my original post that I am a veggie so I am sorry to say I won't be trying the tallow or lard!!!

Irish lass - you mentioned 50% olive oil and 28% coconut - is that it..no other oils or butters??
I like a good lather and something that feels soft - my skin is quite normal, maturing nicely!! Does the ration have to add up to 100%?

Chefmom I will def try your recipe. It even sounds lovely!!

From all the different advice I guess I simply need to 'play' and research the 'acid content' of the different oils to avoid, over cleansing or being to sticky. It is a lot more scientific than I had ever imagined but I have to say I am loving learning about it.....Thanks again especially for the welcome :)
 

CTAnton

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Carolyn mentioned a hi oleic canola oil in soap making. I checked the container I have from the grocery store and they're all mid oleic. Just wondering if there's a particular brand to look for that is high oleic...
Many thanks!!!
 

dixiedragon

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(((((LARD))))) Yes, I'm in the lard brigade! We need a word for it. Larders? Lardites?

Google "properties of oils in soapmaking" or something similar. It's very helpful to understand what each oil brings to the party as you are building your recipe.

As far as hardness:
There are two meanings to "hardness" in regards to soap. When you use something like SoapCalc, it will give you a number for certain qualities - hardness, conditioning, cleansing, etc. Hardness = long lasting on that calculator. So some oils, such as coconut, will make a bar that is hard to the touch, but not particularly long lasting. Lard, palm and tallow make a bar that is hard in both senses of the word.

Another option for hardness is beeswax. A lot of folks here don't recommend it for newbies, but in my experience it's not that difficult. You do have to soap it pretty warm so the beeswax stays melted. I use 5% when I am doing cold process and recently I did a hot process batch with 10%.

Cocoa butter - nice in soap, but it speeds trace very badly. That's why the main three - lard, tallow and palm - are so popular. Because they make a hard bar without speeding trace and causing seizing. Lard actually slows trace a bit.
 

Steve85569

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The GV brand you want for palm tallow is the all vegetable one. The other one is made with whatever fell in the pot.

I understand trying to stay out of WM. We do as much as we can even though my youngest is a Walmartian ( employee). We tend to "target shop" there. Like the all veggie shortening, 4 cup measuring cups ($0.77) found stacking curing racks there and stuff we forgot elsewhere.
 

Seawolfe

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Wow, so much information and advice, thank you. I was shown how to use a lye calculator but thanks for the reminder and weblink. I perhaps should have mentioned in my original post that I am a veggie so I am sorry to say I won't be trying the tallow or lard!!!

Irish lass - you mentioned 50% olive oil and 28% coconut - is that it..no other oils or butters??
I like a good lather and something that feels soft - my skin is quite normal, maturing nicely!! Does the ration have to add up to 100%?

Chefmom I will def try your recipe. It even sounds lovely!!

From all the different advice I guess I simply need to 'play' and research the 'acid content' of the different oils to avoid, over cleansing or being to sticky. It is a lot more scientific than I had ever imagined but I have to say I am loving learning about it.....Thanks again especially for the welcome :)
Yeah it has to add to 100% :)

One of my first recipes was 70% Olive oil and 30% coconut, and at 6 % superfat its not a bad soap with a nice long cure.

Ok a veggie who doesn't want to use palm? That leads us to sort of unusual soaps that don't have palm or lard or tallow in them. Of course there is always 100% olive oil - make a batch now and let it cure for 8 months ore more. Then theres coconut oil - you can do a 100% coconut oil with 20% superfat. Some people like those, but I always add salt to mine, I do love a good salt bar. 80% coconut, 15% olive, 5% castor, 20% superfat, 80% salt.
Maybe not a good first bar.

The only other non lard / non palm soap I've made was nice, but a bit goofy in ingredients, and it relied on cocoa butter and beeswax to get the hardness up - but then the trick is to get a soap that lathers well and isnt waxy.
 

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Rice Bran Oil seems to be a low allergenic alternative to palm oil. Like you I don't want to use lard.

Rb is cheap here but I am not sure about in the US.
Shea butter is another good cheap ingredient.

It's also worthwhile scrolling back 10 pages on this and the lye forum and reading. Unfortunately finding the perfect recipe really is a personal choice depending on you philosophy, location (how much things cost), your skin and your skin's preferences.
 
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dixiedragon

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Rice Bran Oil seems to be a low allergenic alternative to palm oil. Like you I don't want to use lard.

Rb is cheap here but I am not sure about in the US.
Shea butter is another good cheap ingredient.
I've seen rice bran recommended as a partial olive oils substitute, but not palm. I don't think it's going to give you the hard bar that palm will. Also, in the US, most folks have to mail order their RBO.

Shea butter - Not a cheap ingredient here in the US. It's about $3 a pound, if you order 25 lbs from Soaper's Choice. Palm is $1.50/lb if you buy a 7 lb bottle.
 

IrishLass

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Irish lass - you mentioned 50% olive oil and 28% coconut - is that it..no other oils or butters??
I like a good lather and something that feels soft - my skin is quite normal, maturing nicely!! Does the ration have to add up to 100%?
The olive and the coconut are only a part of my formula. I only mentioned those particular 2 amounts in order to contrast it with Carolyn's comments about the 50% olive oil and 25% coconut amounts in your soap as being something she would not consider as being good amounts in her own soap. My formula also contains cocoa butter, rice bran oil, and castor oil. The percentages all add to 100%. For what it's worth, my cocoa butter amount is only 8% and it lends a nice hardness to my soap.


penelopejane said:
Rice Bran Oil seems to be a low allergenic alternative to palm oil.
Unfortunately, rice bran oil has totally different properties than palm oil and won't make a very good 1:1 comparable soap.


IrishLass :)
 

soapswirl

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I don't think rice bran oil gives similar properties to palm oil I'm afraid, I use it quite a bit - it is more similar to olive oil. All the palm free vegan recipes I have seen involve a combination of butters as a replacement for the palm, which certainly will put the price up unfortunately. If I remember correctly there are quite a few palm free vegan recipes on modernsoapmaking website - I haven't tried them personally but it may be a good place for a look!
 
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