Always need lotion after my soap!

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Apr 4, 2022
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In my o
@WeLoveWabiSabi -- "...why is moisturizing and conditioning even in the properties chart ..."

"Moisturizing" isn't a property in any of the soap recipe calculators I've seen. What is the calc that does have it?

You are right that the "conditioning" number is provided by most calcs, but it should probably be called "mildness" or some other word that comes with a little less baggage compared to "conditioning." Someone chose that word some decades ago, however, and it's not likely to change any time soon.

The conditioning number is the combined total percent of the oleic, linoleic, linolenic, and ricinoleic fatty acids in the recipe. It's essentially a measure of the unsaturated fatty acid content.

A soap high in unsaturated fatty acids is highly water soluble, generally has a low creamy lather, and tends to be fairly mild to most (but not all) people's skin. Soap high in oleic acid easily absorbs water to make a thick, stringy oleic soap gel (also called snot or slime) that can be unpleasant. Soap high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic) is more prone to becoming rancid quickly.

Arguably if these unsaturated fatty acids made a soap that made lotion unnecessary, then I'd expect a lot of us would be making soap high in these fatty acids and absolutely loving it. That's not generally the case. Most people who are wanting a mild, non-stripping soap tend to use a high percentage of lard, palm oil, or the nut butters. These fats are rich in stearic and palmitic acids -- saturated fatty acids.

So the "conditioning" number isn't really a good measure of "conditioning" or mildness, for that matter.

Unfortunately these properties and their names were all defined some decades ago and they're kind of written in stone by now. We newcomers might not think these numbers and their names are as accurate as they could be, but that's not something we have a lot of control over.

"...the amount of glycerine in soap would help to moisturize your skin ..."

That might be true, but none of the properties you're talking about take glycerin into consideration. These numbers are based only on the percentages of fatty acids, nothing else.
pinion, and this is just me, your cleansing # has a lot to do with it. I recently lowered my to 8 and adjusted my superfats. This, in my hp soaps, made a world of difference. I also use granulated cane sugar in my lye solution and honey after full trace. is the calculator I've been using for the last 2 years. Just remember whatever calculator you use, they are estimators, not perfect and don't take additives (like sugar and honey) into account. I hope I helped.


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Mar 31, 2022
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@WeLoveWabiSabi -- "...why is moisturizing and conditioning even in the properties chart ..."

"Moisturizing" isn't a property in any of the soap recipe calculators I've seen. What is the calc that does have it?"

My bad. I was thinking of conditioning. And after reading yours and the others replies, I see that I was wrong about that as well. I'm definitely not new to soap making, but there will always be a lot to learn. I always just assumed conditioning was referring to moisturizing. I've been getting more into the science of it the last few years, so I enjoy reading about how and why things work the way they do, rather than just making soap. I guess I've been pretty lucky over the years as I have been formulating recipes based on the charts and haven't ever had anything that was a downright disaster. I've bought soap from a well known soap maker and it got DOS and a rancid smell after a few months. So I guess I should count my lucky stars...and cross my fingers. lol.
Oct 28, 2015
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North East Oregon, USA
I have found as several others have that a cleansing number below 12 works well for me. My old skin just doesn't need the oils removed as much as it did a "few" years ago.
After watching and listening here - and getting involved in a soap swap. I now use just a few oils and butters. Coconut, Lard ( yes I'm a lard-ite),shea butter and a touch of castor oil. Sodium citrate is usually added in to the recipe since our water is hard here. I have learned to keep the "superfat" low. It just makes the kind of soap I like. Your mileage may vary.

Sometimes less is better when it comes to the soap properties. Especially when it comes to cleansing numbers. BTW - all of the numbers are calculated using the fatty acid profiles of the oils and butters that you are using.