A question about oils

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Tramacore

New Member
Joined
May 4, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hello everyone. New to the forums but not completely new to soap making. Over the past year or so I've made about 5 HP batches successfully with the utmost basic knowledge I picked up reading what I could and watching a few videos. Since I'm a few bars away from being done with my last batch I figured it's time for a new one. So as I was looking at my basic recipe I was thinking about expanding a bit by substituting some olive oil for either almond or avocado oil. This brought up a question in mind which might be common knowledge to many here but not to me; other than some basic properties that certain oils bring to the final product (hardness, cleansing, creaminess, lather and color), do any of the skin nourishing properties of the oils used actually remain after the saponification process?
I always add about 6% mango or shea butter to my batch after the cook to get the skin-conditioning properties of those oils to be present in the final product and I wanted to get a bit more by introducing some of my favorite oils into the mix but if the oils just turn to soap and only contribute the the properties noted above in parentheses then I assume (we all know what happens when one assumes) that there really is no additional benefit to substituting/adding oils for skin conditioning .
For example, I recently took a friend's recipe that was similar to mine but she substitutes shea butter for some olive oil. when I compared it to my recipe I noticed that the conditioning value (Soapcalc) went down a bit. I noticed the same when I started to substitute my olive oil for avocado and almond oils. The only real difference was the almond oil bumped up the conditioning factor by one.
Ultimately I know that it all basically boils down to what I like as the main soap user but the question is there and no better place to ask than here.
Sorry if this got long and if the answer is fairly elementary.

Thanks!
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,905
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
This is something we debate a lot on here. The general consensus is that soap is a wash-off product, so no, the skin-loving benefits are not left behind. That being said - lots of us do HP and something special at the end so the skin-loving benefits are preserved. It's really not logical, lol.

Really it's all about what your goal is. The label appeal of "fancy" oils like shea butter is a serious factor if you are a seller. My personal choice - I've experimented with fancy oils in soap and I don't really see a benefit. I now save them for lotions, whipped butter, etc.
 

Steve85569

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
2,113
Location
North East Oregon, USA
Welcome to the forum.

Only some ( not much) of the single oil properties remain when they are added at the beginning of the HP process. The way to get a specific oil to be the SF is to add it in after saponification is (mostly) complete. You can do this with HP but it does complicate the process and calculations a little. First you run the numbers first with your SF value and then reduce the sf target value to 0 and adjust the oil you want as the SF till the calculations fit. Add the difference in the amount of that oil after the HP process has saponified.

It should be noted that IMHO the cleansing value is of more importance than the conditioning value. Cleansing removes oils that are not put back by simply pouring oil back on the skin.

DD types faster than I do. Double post.

Steve
 

Tramacore

New Member
Joined
May 4, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Thanks DD and Steve for the very fast replies. I guess I'll just stick with the basic oils for making the soap and save a little money by not using 'fancier' oils.
Steve, I've never calculated anything differently when adding oil (mango and/or shea butter) to the batch after the cook is done. I have been following the same recipe since the start without any issues. I let Soapcalc calculate the lye values using a 2% superfat for safety and only entering the oils to be cooked then, when the cook is done I add the melted butters and FO scents and mix away till it's ready to mold. I was a little nervous with my first batch since I hadn't found this forum at the time and all turned out great. My final batches have always been 54 oz pre-cook and the only variables have been either mango or shea added after the cook at 3 - 4% and, of course, the scents. I hope that's not breaking any cardinal rules of soap making.
Thanks again. All is greatly appreciated!
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
The numbers the soap calculators give you do not take into account your superfat. And as far as I am concerned they really don't mean what they say. They are more a guideline for the % of certain salts of fatty acids from your oils.

I like the way my cp soap feels with avocado oil in it, so I use it. I have made soap without it and I can tell the difference. I would suggest you try few one pound batches each with 1 change from your regular recipe and see what you like.
 

penelopejane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
Messages
5,460
Reaction score
4,250
Location
Sth Coast, NSW, Australia
^^^ I agree almond oil is good too and shea butter. All three are good in soap. I use Shea butter and either almond or avocado oil. It is totally up to you how it feels on your skin. I only make CP soap.
 

RobertBarnett

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2015
Messages
132
Reaction score
56
I believe some of the benefits remain. Otherwise we would all be using canola oil. I can tell a difference in my various soaps and so can others.

Robert
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
9,103
Location
Austria
I believe some of the benefits remain. Otherwise we would all be using canola oil. I can tell a difference in my various soaps and so can others.

Robert


While I do think that something remains, I think that the quoted text is very misleading.

Different oils have different fatty acid profiles, which is a large part of why we aren't all using canola. We use different oils in our soaps because of their profiles, the fatty acids that make them up. Lard and coconut, for example, have a very different make up and are used differently in the soap.

However, when we look at two oils with a very similar profile (Shea and lard) it is then clear that there is a 'something' that makes the difference there. The two are not so similar in soaping that would be suggested by the profile alone.

So is Shea butter in a soap the same as unsaponified she's butter? No. Does nothing at all remain? I think it does
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,148
Reaction score
8,399
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Tramacore, I've also been making bar soap for about a year, but because I make so much of it I have been giving it away. I started giving it to my family after 6 months of soap making, but I & sometimes my husband always use some before I ever consider giving it to anyone else.

I am what most would call a hobbyist soap maker. I enjoy the creative side of soaping, and I do it for the fun of it, basically. So please feel free to take that into account as you read my opinion.

I thoroughly enjoy experimenting with different ingredients in soap, different oils, botanicals, infusions and whatnot. I like the creativity side of it and I like to see what the different items bring to the equation. It's fun. It feeds my artistic side. I feeds my inquisitive and investigative nature. And usually I do like to test things out for myself, although I certainly like to learn from others' experience and knowledge as well. For example, I'm sure glad someone else already learned how to safely handle lye and I didn't have to do a trial and error on that one.:)

But when it comes to the question of which oils are a big waste of time to use in soap, I pretty much like to see how it turns out before discounting a particular one based on another person's dislike or prejudice against that oil (or botanical, or whatnot).

Both my husband and my DIL have told me that they will never go back to regular soap again if they can help it. In fact my DIL swears that she no longer has to use lotion on her skin because of my handmade soaps.

Now is that due to the oils I choose to include in my soaps, or is it because she is no longer using detergents on her skin? Probably a combination of both. I don't use high coconut oil content because it is very drying to the skin by stripping it of the body's natural oils. When I have used high CO content, it made my skin dry and itchy, so that's one reason for my decision.

So my suggestion is to do small test batches as previously suggested to see how you feel about the end product. You may find you really like something that others don't care quite so much about. After all it sounds like this soap is for you to use personally. Why not find that special formula that fits you to a 'T'?
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,420
Location
New York City
Hello everyone. New to the forums but not completely new to soap making. Over the past year or so I've made about 5 HP batches successfully with the utmost basic knowledge I picked up reading what I could and watching a few videos. Since I'm a few bars away from being done with my last batch I figured it's time for a new one. So as I was looking at my basic recipe I was thinking about expanding a bit by substituting some olive oil for either almond or avocado oil. This brought up a question in mind which might be common knowledge to many here but not to me; other than some basic properties that certain oils bring to the final product (hardness, cleansing, creaminess, lather and color), do any of the skin nourishing properties of the oils used actually remain after the saponification process?
I always add about 6% mango or shea butter to my batch after the cook to get the skin-conditioning properties of those oils to be present in the final product and I wanted to get a bit more by introducing some of my favorite oils into the mix but if the oils just turn to soap and only contribute the the properties noted above in parentheses then I assume (we all know what happens when one assumes) that there really is no additional benefit to substituting/adding oils for skin conditioning .
For example, I recently took a friend's recipe that was similar to mine but she substitutes shea butter for some olive oil. when I compared it to my recipe I noticed that the conditioning value (Soapcalc) went down a bit. I noticed the same when I started to substitute my olive oil for avocado and almond oils. The only real difference was the almond oil bumped up the conditioning factor by one.
Ultimately I know that it all basically boils down to what I like as the main soap user but the question is there and no better place to ask than here.
Sorry if this got long and if the answer is fairly elementary.

Thanks!
I think you have enough people weighing in on your central question. For my part, I just want to emphasize that you can safely disregard the "conditioning" quality that Soapcalc suggests. The hardness number is the percentage of saturated fatty acids in the recipe and the conditioning number is the percentage of unsaturated fatty acids. I suppose you could call those numbers hardness and softness, kind of. They don't directly correspond to any properties you could call conditioning. There are lots of ways a high conditioning number could produce a crappier soap. Everything is about balance.

Even cleansing is not an absolute. Some people are almost chasing their tails trying to lower the cleansing number in Soapcalc (less coconut oil and such) because it's supposed to represent the property of stripping oil from your skin, but a higher number can be less stripping than a lower number depending on the overall balance of the recipe. Listen to people but decide for yourself, and don't listen to lye calculator advice because lye calculators are not very smart.

Welcome aboard.
 

rosyrobyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2015
Messages
73
Reaction score
37
Location
Vancouver, BC
Tomh - As a newbie, I've been relying on the soapcalc to give me a balanced soap recipe. Would it be better to use the fatty acid profiles of the oils at specific ranges rather than the soapcalc numbers or would that be the same thing?
 

penelopejane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
Messages
5,460
Reaction score
4,250
Location
Sth Coast, NSW, Australia
DeeAnna has done an excellent post on the "real" characteristics of the various oil numbers as opposed to what soap calc comes up with. It is no doubt in her tutorials and is fantastic.


Still you have to test yourself. My DH and I don't use coconut but I make a 30% CO/Palm/ OO that friends love because it cleans really well (one is a farmer). It all comes down to personal choice and with testing you will discover the answer to your question about what is left after saponification.

This might involve washing 1/2 your body with one soap and 1/2 your body with another soap for a week but that is normal in the world of soap making, for me anyway!


Bottom line - have fun experimenting
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,420
Location
New York City
Tomh - As a newbie, I've been relying on the soapcalc to give me a balanced soap recipe. Would it be better to use the fatty acid profiles of the oils at specific ranges rather than the soapcalc numbers or would that be the same thing?
The properties numbers are a simple (or simple minded?) derivative of the fatty acid profile. Some try to elaborate on the properties numbers to make them even more elaborate and goofy. I disagree with this.

The fatty acid profile is indeed the place to look, and it's best to eventually understand it directly rather than looking at properties numbers. It might take a while to get into, but here's a broad outline...

One category is the palmitic/stearic saturated fatty acids. These are the ones that are best at making your soap hard and long-lasting. They can create creamy lather but are fairly insoluble. They help counteract some of the drying effects of cleansing oils. Generally 20 - 30% might be reasonable for the combination of the two. With some animal fat recipes you can go higher.

(Extra credit might be to experiment with the ratio between palmitic and stearic to see what it does to the skin feel.)

Another category is the lauric/myristic fatty acids. Cleansing oils (coconut and PKO) have a lot. The sum of these can be any amount up to 20%. High numbers make a lot of bubbles but can be more drying unless you're careful. These fatty acids are of medium solubility, so they will not add as much initial hardness and general longevity to your soap as palmitic/stearic.

(Extra credit might be to explore the balance between palmitic/stearic and lauric/myristic to see how it affects lather and skin-drying properties.)

All those saturated fatty acids above are most prevalent in "hard" oils that are not entirely liquid at room temperature. Oleic/linoleic are the unsaturated fatty acids. They make the most soluble soaps with the shortest life. Oleic and linoleic fatty acids are found in "soft" oils that are liquid at room temperature.

Oleic is monounsaturated and is the main unsaturated fatty acid used in soaping. It's typically found in olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and any oil specifically labeled as high oleic. In high proportion it tends to create ropy slime. Linoleic is polyunsaturated and makes mushy soap that's prone to going rancid, so you generally want to avoid linoleic oils.

(Extra credit might be to experiment with small amounts of linoleic oils, like 5 - 10%. They can have interesting effects, but mainly in fairly hard recipes.)

Ricinoleic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid unique to castor oil. Ricinoleic soap has some of the softness properties of other unsaturated soaps, but it also has the unique effect of solubilizing the soap and increasing the bubbly lather of lauric/myristic and the creamy lather of palmitic/stearic. Castor oil in bar soap is typically useful in the ballpark of 5%. More broadly let's say 0 - 10%.

Most other fatty acids are to be avoided.
 

rosyrobyn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2015
Messages
73
Reaction score
37
Location
Vancouver, BC
Thanks for the breakdown. I've been meaning to study the fatty acid profiles of the oils that I'm currently using as well as any other properties. I'm trying for a recipe where each ingredient is chosen purposefully.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,420
Location
New York City
Thanks for the breakdown. I've been meaning to study the fatty acid profiles of the oils that I'm currently using as well as any other properties. I'm trying for a recipe where each ingredient is chosen purposefully.
Sounds good. A quick clarification: In the lauric/myristic part 20% refers to the sum of those fatty acids, not the oils. That would represent up to 30% of the oils.
 

LisaAnne

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
438
Reaction score
400
The properties numbers are a simple (or simple minded?) derivative of the fatty acid profile. Some try to elaborate on the properties numbers to make them even more elaborate and goofy. I disagree with this.

The fatty acid profile is indeed the place to look, and it's best to eventually understand it directly rather than looking at properties numbers. It might take a while to get into, but here's a broad outline...

One category is the palmitic/stearic saturated fatty acids. These are the ones that are best at making your soap hard and long-lasting. They can create creamy lather but are fairly insoluble. They help counteract some of the drying effects of cleansing oils. Generally 20 - 30% might be reasonable for the combination of the two. With some animal fat recipes you can go higher.

(Extra credit might be to experiment with the ratio between palmitic and stearic to see what it does to the skin feel.)

Another category is the lauric/myristic fatty acids. Cleansing oils (coconut and PKO) have a lot. The sum of these can be any amount up to 20%. High numbers make a lot of bubbles but can be more drying unless you're careful. These fatty acids are of medium solubility, so they will not add as much initial hardness and general longevity to your soap as palmitic/stearic.

(Extra credit might be to explore the balance between palmitic/stearic and lauric/myristic to see how it affects lather and skin-drying properties.)

All those saturated fatty acids above are most prevalent in "hard" oils that are not entirely liquid at room temperature. Oleic/linoleic are the unsaturated fatty acids. They make the most soluble soaps with the shortest life. Oleic and linoleic fatty acids are found in "soft" oils that are liquid at room temperature.

Oleic is monounsaturated and is the main unsaturated fatty acid used in soaping. It's typically found in olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and any oil specifically labeled as high oleic. In high proportion it tends to create ropy slime. Linoleic is polyunsaturated and makes mushy soap that's prone to going rancid, so you generally want to avoid linoleic oils.

(Extra credit might be to experiment with small amounts of linoleic oils, like 5 - 10%. They can have interesting effects, but mainly in fairly hard recipes.)

Ricinoleic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid unique to castor oil. Ricinoleic soap has some of the softness properties of other unsaturated soaps, but it also has the unique effect of solubilizing the soap and increasing the bubbly lather of lauric/myristic and the creamy lather of palmitic/stearic. Castor oil in bar soap is typically useful in the ballpark of 5%. More broadly let's say 0 - 10%.

Most other fatty acids are to be avoided.
Absolutely the best explanation of fatty acid profiles I have ever read and I have read many good ones.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,420
Location
New York City
Absolutely the best explanation of fatty acid profiles I have ever read and I have read many good ones.
Good, glad if it's helpful. Since we are talking about fatty acids...

Oils and Fatty Acids 101

As you read this post, look at the fatty acid numbers in Soapcalc for the various oils, so you can see what I'm talking about.

Oils tend to be composed of several fatty acids, but they can also be broadly classified as being a good source of a specific fatty acid. If you are aiming at a certain fatty acid profile, you will tend to turn to these oils:

Palmitic Oils
Palm oil (duh), lard and tallow.

Stearic Oils
Tallow, high melting point soy wax and tropical nut butters (shea, cocoa, etc.).

Lauric Oils
Coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel flakes, babassu.

Oleic Oils
Olive oil (duh), olive oil, olive oil, and olive oil.
Also specially-bred versions of certain oils such as high-oleic sunflower oil and high-oleic safflower oil. Also some specialty oils like avocado and sweet almond.

Linoleic Oils
Soy oil, regular sunflower oil, regular safflower oil and various others that have similar fatty acid profiles if you look in Soapcalc.

Ricinoleic Oils
Castor oil.

Some random notes:

There is no such thing as "sunfloweriness". Linoleic sunflower oil and high-oleic sunflower oil have completely different fatty acid profiles and bring completely different properties to soap. When you talk about or purchase one of the oils that is available in different versions like sunflower or safflower, you have to be clear about which one you're thinking of. They are different oils even if they are both produced by the same plant species.

As a point of interest, olive oil, palm oil and lard are more similar than they seem. Palm and lard can be solid because they have a greater amount of palmitic acid (saturated, so it tends to solidify the oil), but they also have a lot of oleic acid. Olive is an oleic oil (monounsaturated, which tends to make oil liquid), but it has a bigger helping of palmitic acid than most other oleic oils. If you put it in the fridge, it will partly solidify. This inner hardness quality helps olive make an acceptable single-oil soap (castile). It contributes a little more hardness to any recipe compared to other oleic oils.

Some people like to use rice bran oil and some consider it a substitute for olive oil. RBO is an unusual oil and not so classifiable. It has significant amounts of palmitic and oleic acid, but it also has a large helping of linoleic acid. The palmitic gives it that inner hardness like olive oil, but the linoleic acid limits how much you can use, so it's not entirely an OO substitute.
 

LisaAnne

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
438
Reaction score
400
Good, glad if it's helpful. Since we are talking about fatty acids...

Oils and Fatty Acids 101

As you read this post, look at the fatty acid numbers in Soapcalc for the various oils, so you can see what I'm talking about.

Oils tend to be composed of several fatty acids, but they can also be broadly classified as being a good source of a specific fatty acid. If you are aiming at a certain fatty acid profile, you will tend to turn to these oils:

Palmitic Oils
Palm oil (duh), lard and tallow.

Stearic Oils
Tallow, high melting point soy wax and tropical nut butters (shea, cocoa, etc.).

Lauric Oils
Coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel flakes, babassu.

Oleic Oils
Olive oil (duh), olive oil, olive oil, and olive oil.
Also specially-bred versions of certain oils such as high-oleic sunflower oil and high-oleic safflower oil. Also some specialty oils like avocado and sweet almond.

Linoleic Oils
Soy oil, regular sunflower oil, regular safflower oil and various others that have similar fatty acid profiles if you look in Soapcalc.

Ricinoleic Oils
Castor oil.

Some random notes:

There is no such thing as "sunfloweriness". Linoleic sunflower oil and high-oleic sunflower oil have completely different fatty acid profiles and bring completely different properties to soap. When you talk about or purchase one of the oils that is available in different versions like sunflower or safflower, you have to be clear about which one you're thinking of. They are different oils even if they are both produced by the same plant species.

As a point of interest, olive oil, palm oil and lard are more similar than they seem. Palm and lard can be solid because they have a greater amount of palmitic acid (saturated, so it tends to solidify the oil), but they also have a lot of oleic acid. Olive is an oleic oil (monounsaturated, which tends to make oil liquid), but it has a bigger helping of palmitic acid than most other oleic oils. If you put it in the fridge, it will partly solidify. This inner hardness quality helps olive make an acceptable single-oil soap (castile). It contributes a little more hardness to any recipe compared to other oleic oils.

Some people like to use rice bran oil and some consider it a substitute for olive oil. RBO is an unusual oil and not so classifiable. It has significant amounts of palmitic and oleic acid, but it also has a large helping of linoleic acid. The palmitic gives it that inner hardness like olive oil, but the linoleic acid limits how much you can use, so it's not entirely an OO substitute.
The next to do list I had planned for tonight was list my oils I like to use with %'s of fatty acids I'm looking for. You have added another piece to the puzzle.

The time that you Deeanna and others put in to our education is so appreciated. I am beginning to see the big picture. My time on here is becoming increasingly more limited and it's nice to know where to look for great information that I can count on as true.
Thanks!
Lisa
 

PerthMobility

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2016
Messages
145
Reaction score
56
Location
Mandurah, Western Australia
The fatty acid profile is indeed the place to look, and it's best to eventually understand it directly rather than looking at properties numbers. It might take a while to get into, but here's a broad outline...
Thank you for an excellent post. Very informative. Can you please point me towards resources (url's) that will go into more depth on this subject. You have really whetted my appetite for more info.
 

Latest posts

Top