Additives and Lather (Bubbles)

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dibbles

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I have softened water (whole house water softener) and since all of my soaps seem to produce good lather/bubbles I began to wonder how big of a role that played. Not everyone I give soap to has softened water. So I conducted a very small, very unscientific test enlisting the help of 4 SMF members (and two of their spouses also played along). I've been meaning to post the findings for months, and am finally going to get it done. This was a blind test.

The soaps were identical as far as the recipe is concerned, and contained 20% coconut oil, 10% cocoa butte, 30% palm oil, 15% HO sunflower oil, 20% olive oil and 5% castor oil, sodium lactate, 2% SF and 33% lye concentration. The additives tested were: 1 tsp sugar PPO, 1 tbsp sugar PPO, sorbitol at 1% total batch weight, aloe juice as a total water replacement, and aloe juice as total water replacement plus 1 tsp PPO sugar. One bar contained no additives as a control. I didn't specify any particular testing method, other than the soaps be tested in the same way as much as possible.

My impressions: all lathered quickly. Aloe juice as a water replacement was a clear winner for me with a good mix of fluffy and both dense and larger bubbles. The bar without sugar actually produced larger bubbles than the bar with both sugar and aloe. At six months, this is still true, but I think the bar with sugar added produces slightly more bubbles overall. Both soaps with the aloe replacement are winners for me.
I did think that the soap with 1 tbsp sugar lathered/bubbled better than the soap with 1 tsp sugar. I didn't notice any significant difference between sugar and sorbitol. This is still true at six months.

Tester #1 (softened water) found the aloe soaps quickest to lather with the sugar added soaps close behind. The sorbitol took longest to lather, but by 10 seconds all were producing lather well.
Tester #2 (naturally soft water) found the most/largest bubbles with the sorbitol soap (also the favorite of this tester), the second most/largest bubbles found with the higher sugar added soap. The rest seemed about the same with very small lotion like lather.
Tester #3 (hard water) chose the aloe + sugar soap as the favorite with 'copious' regular lather. Also found the aloe only soap to produce copious lather with larger bubble size. Found the sugar additive soaps without aloe to be drying. Tester #3A (spouse) chose the soap with the higher sugar added as the favorite, found the sorbitol soap to be drying and of the aloe soaps, found the aloe + sugar to produce larger bubbles than the aloe only.
Tester #4 (hard water) chose the aloe only soap as the favorite, described the aloe + sugar lather as lotiony, described the sorbitol soap as having dense bubbles that became lotiony and found the higher sugar added soap to lather quickly with loose, bubbly lather, and found the sugar additive to be drying.

One tester found sorbitol to be drying and two testers found sugar to cause tightness/dryness. This is an interesting article one of those two testers found.

What I have learned from this is that, as suspected, water plays a role in the ability of soaps to produce bubbles, and aloe juice is a worthwhile additive if bubbles are a goal. I'll include some pictures for those who enjoy visuals. Tester #3 also sent some pictures.
 

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SoapDaddy70

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Thanks so much for this. Very interesting. I have tried to get my wife to analyze some of my different soaps based on some of these same additive differences but she cant't be bothered. I agree with the Aloe Vera juice as a total water replacement. I started doing that a few months ago and never looked back. I just started using sorbitol instead of table sugar and not sure how much of a difference it has made. Also not sure how much of sorbitol's humectant properties survive in the final soap but I think I will continue to use it with the Aloe Vera Juice. Thanks again for this.
 
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I have softened water (whole house water softener) and since all of my soaps seem to produce good lather/bubbles I began to wonder how big of a role that played. Not everyone I give soap to has softened water. So I conducted a very small, very unscientific test enlisting the help of 4 SMF members (and two of their spouses also played along). I've been meaning to post the findings for months, and am finally going to get it done. This was a blind test.

The soaps were identical as far as the recipe is concerned, and contained 20% coconut oil, 10% cocoa butte, 30% palm oil, 15% HO sunflower oil, 20% olive oil and 5% castor oil, sodium lactate, 2% SF and 33% lye concentration. The additives tested were: 1 tsp sugar PPO, 1 tbsp sugar PPO, sorbitol at 1% total batch weight, aloe juice as a total water replacement, and aloe juice as total water replacement plus 1 tsp PPO sugar. One bar contained no additives as a control. I didn't specify any particular testing method, other than the soaps be tested in the same way as much as possible.

My impressions: all lathered quickly. Aloe juice as a water replacement was a clear winner for me with a good mix of fluffy and both dense and larger bubbles. The bar without sugar actually produced larger bubbles than the bar with both sugar and aloe. At six months, this is still true, but I think the bar with sugar added produces slightly more bubbles overall. Both soaps with the aloe replacement are winners for me.
I did think that the soap with 1 tbsp sugar lathered/bubbled better than the soap with 1 tsp sugar. I didn't notice any significant difference between sugar and sorbitol. This is still true at six months.

Tester #1 (softened water) found the aloe soaps quickest to lather with the sugar added soaps close behind. The sorbitol took longest to lather, but by 10 seconds all were producing lather well.
Tester #2 (naturally soft water) found the most/largest bubbles with the sorbitol soap (also the favorite of this tester), the second most/largest bubbles found with the higher sugar added soap. The rest seemed about the same with very small lotion like lather.
Tester #3 (hard water) chose the aloe + sugar soap as the favorite with 'copious' regular lather. Also found the aloe only soap to produce copious lather with larger bubble size. Found the sugar additive soaps without aloe to be drying. Tester #3A (spouse) chose the soap with the higher sugar added as the favorite, found the sorbitol soap to be drying and of the aloe soaps, found the aloe + sugar to produce larger bubbles than the aloe only.
Tester #4 (hard water) chose the aloe only soap as the favorite, described the aloe + sugar lather as lotiony, described the sorbitol soap as having dense bubbles that became lotiony and found the higher sugar added soap to lather quickly with loose, bubbly lather, and found the sugar additive to be drying.

One tester found sorbitol to be drying and two testers found sugar to cause tightness/dryness. This is an interesting article one of those two testers found.

What I have learned from this is that, as suspected, water plays a role in the ability of soaps to produce bubbles, and aloe juice is a worthwhile additive if bubbles are a goal. I'll include some pictures for those who enjoy visuals. Tester #3 also sent some pictures.
@dibbles

Thanks for sharing this great information! I am curious about the aloe juice. I don't have that on hand, but I do have aloe vera gel. Could I mix the gel with part of the water to achieve "juice"?
 

dibbles

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@dibbles

Thanks for sharing this great information! I am curious about the aloe juice. I don't have that on hand, but I do have aloe vera gel. Could I mix the gel with part of the water to achieve "juice"?
I don't know - I've never tried to do that. I think @KiwiMoose uses aloe vera gel from her plants. She or someone else might be able to help you out.
 
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I have softened water (whole house water softener) and since all of my soaps seem to produce good lather/bubbles I began to wonder how big of a role that played. Not everyone I give soap to has softened water. So I conducted a very small, very unscientific test enlisting the help of 4 SMF members (and two of their spouses also played along). I've been meaning to post the findings for months, and am finally going to get it done. This was a blind test.

The soaps were identical as far as the recipe is concerned, and contained 20% coconut oil, 10% cocoa butte, 30% palm oil, 15% HO sunflower oil, 20% olive oil and 5% castor oil, sodium lactate, 2% SF and 33% lye concentration. The additives tested were: 1 tsp sugar PPO, 1 tbsp sugar PPO, sorbitol at 1% total batch weight, aloe juice as a total water replacement, and aloe juice as total water replacement plus 1 tsp PPO sugar. One bar contained no additives as a control. I didn't specify any particular testing method, other than the soaps be tested in the same way as much as possible.

My impressions: all lathered quickly. Aloe juice as a water replacement was a clear winner for me with a good mix of fluffy and both dense and larger bubbles. The bar without sugar actually produced larger bubbles than the bar with both sugar and aloe. At six months, this is still true, but I think the bar with sugar added produces slightly more bubbles overall. Both soaps with the aloe replacement are winners for me.
I did think that the soap with 1 tbsp sugar lathered/bubbled better than the soap with 1 tsp sugar. I didn't notice any significant difference between sugar and sorbitol. This is still true at six months.

Tester #1 (softened water) found the aloe soaps quickest to lather with the sugar added soaps close behind. The sorbitol took longest to lather, but by 10 seconds all were producing lather well.
Tester #2 (naturally soft water) found the most/largest bubbles with the sorbitol soap (also the favorite of this tester), the second most/largest bubbles found with the higher sugar added soap. The rest seemed about the same with very small lotion like lather.
Tester #3 (hard water) chose the aloe + sugar soap as the favorite with 'copious' regular lather. Also found the aloe only soap to produce copious lather with larger bubble size. Found the sugar additive soaps without aloe to be drying. Tester #3A (spouse) chose the soap with the higher sugar added as the favorite, found the sorbitol soap to be drying and of the aloe soaps, found the aloe + sugar to produce larger bubbles than the aloe only.
Tester #4 (hard water) chose the aloe only soap as the favorite, described the aloe + sugar lather as lotiony, described the sorbitol soap as having dense bubbles that became lotiony and found the higher sugar added soap to lather quickly with loose, bubbly lather, and found the sugar additive to be drying.

One tester found sorbitol to be drying and two testers found sugar to cause tightness/dryness. This is an interesting article one of those two testers found.

What I have learned from this is that, as suspected, water plays a role in the ability of soaps to produce bubbles, and aloe juice is a worthwhile additive if bubbles are a goal. I'll include some pictures for those who enjoy visuals. Tester #3 also sent some pictures.
Thank you so much ..very interesting. Yes I substitute aloe from my plants at home with total water and with almost all of my sopas I use milk- goat or coconut or soy , almond , cashew , camel or A2 cow milk ( plus the A2 milk butter, which I make at home .) Even my 100 % coconut soap bars are very moisturizing and lathering ..
I have softened water (whole house water softener) and since all of my soaps seem to produce good lather/bubbles I began to wonder how big of a role that played. Not everyone I give soap to has softened water. So I conducted a very small, very unscientific test enlisting the help of 4 SMF members (and two of their spouses also played along). I've been meaning to post the findings for months, and am finally going to get it done. This was a blind test.

The soaps were identical as far as the recipe is concerned, and contained 20% coconut oil, 10% cocoa butte, 30% palm oil, 15% HO sunflower oil, 20% olive oil and 5% castor oil, sodium lactate, 2% SF and 33% lye concentration. The additives tested were: 1 tsp sugar PPO, 1 tbsp sugar PPO, sorbitol at 1% total batch weight, aloe juice as a total water replacement, and aloe juice as total water replacement plus 1 tsp PPO sugar. One bar contained no additives as a control. I didn't specify any particular testing method, other than the soaps be tested in the same way as much as possible.

My impressions: all lathered quickly. Aloe juice as a water replacement was a clear winner for me with a good mix of fluffy and both dense and larger bubbles. The bar without sugar actually produced larger bubbles than the bar with both sugar and aloe. At six months, this is still true, but I think the bar with sugar added produces slightly more bubbles overall. Both soaps with the aloe replacement are winners for me.
I did think that the soap with 1 tbsp sugar lathered/bubbled better than the soap with 1 tsp sugar. I didn't notice any significant difference between sugar and sorbitol. This is still true at six months.

Tester #1 (softened water) found the aloe soaps quickest to lather with the sugar added soaps close behind. The sorbitol took longest to lather, but by 10 seconds all were producing lather well.
Tester #2 (naturally soft water) found the most/largest bubbles with the sorbitol soap (also the favorite of this tester), the second most/largest bubbles found with the higher sugar added soap. The rest seemed about the same with very small lotion like lather.
Tester #3 (hard water) chose the aloe + sugar soap as the favorite with 'copious' regular lather. Also found the aloe only soap to produce copious lather with larger bubble size. Found the sugar additive soaps without aloe to be drying. Tester #3A (spouse) chose the soap with the higher sugar added as the favorite, found the sorbitol soap to be drying and of the aloe soaps, found the aloe + sugar to produce larger bubbles than the aloe only.
Tester #4 (hard water) chose the aloe only soap as the favorite, described the aloe + sugar lather as lotiony, described the sorbitol soap as having dense bubbles that became lotiony and found the higher sugar added soap to lather quickly with loose, bubbly lather, and found the sugar additive to be drying.

One tester found sorbitol to be drying and two testers found sugar to cause tightness/dryness. This is an interesting article one of those two testers found.

What I have learned from this is that, as suspected, water plays a role in the ability of soaps to produce bubbles, and aloe juice is a worthwhile additive if bubbles are a goal. I'll include some pictures for those who enjoy visuals. Tester #3 also sent some pictures.
Thanks so much for this. Very interesting. I have tried to get my wife to analyze some of my different soaps based on some of these same additive differences but she cant't be bothered. I agree with the Aloe Vera juice as a total water replacement. I started doing that a few months ago and never looked back. I just started using sorbitol instead of table sugar and not sure how much of a difference it has made. Also not sure how much of sorbitol's humectant properties survive in the final soap but I think I will continue to use it with the Aloe Vera Juice. Thanks again for this.
 
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@Cindy1961 - aloe vera gel is not 100% aloe vera, it has many other constituents so i wouldn't;t use it it make 'juice' because who knows what the other ingredients will do to your soap.
@bookworm - I also use 200x powder for when I need to give my poor aloe vera plant a break, and it works very well.
@Mobjack Bay - I can think of nothing more exciting than receiving some of @dibbles soap by mistake.
 
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@Cindy1961 - aloe vera gel is not 100% aloe vera, it has many other constituents so i wouldn't;t use it it make 'juice' because who knows what the other ingredients will do to your soap.
@bookworm - I also use 200x powder for when I need to give any poor aloe vera plant a break, and it works very well.
@Mobjack Bay - I can think of nothing more exciting than receiving some of @dibbles soap by mistake.
@KiwiMoose Thanks for your help! I won't attempt it.
 

dibbles

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😃 What an intriguing thread! Blind tests are fun!

Has someone done it to dual-lye bar soap? My non-blindness is fooling me, I can't tell if replacement of a small fraction of NaOH by KOH has a lather boosting effect too.
I don't remember ever reading anything about a test of dual lye vs straight NaOH, but I know I've read that dual lye soaps will lather more quickly. As you can see from the pictures I posted, I am not a good judge of boosting lather - in my softened water everything more or less bubbles quite well. The high coconut oil/high SF salt bars are an exception - they give me off the chart lather. So fun to play with those in the shower!
 
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@Cindy1961 - aloe vera gel is not 100% aloe vera, it has many other constituents so i wouldn't;t use it it make 'juice' because who knows what the other ingredients will do to your soap.
@bookworm - I also use 200x powder for when I need to give my poor aloe vera plant a break, and it works very well.
@Mobjack Bay - I can think of nothing more exciting than receiving some of @dibbles soap by mistake.
@KiwiMoose, thank you so much. Can I please impose yet again on your kindness and ask how you dilute it?
Thank you so much
 

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