Analyzing soap performance

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linne1gi

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Just MHO, but I'm guessing that you may not notice a difference is you are substituting as opposed to developing an entirely new recipe. With that said, an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Commercially available alternatives to palm oil) has some interesting alternatives



I think that that is pretty SOP for the majority of soap makers. When I first started out, I had collected a boat load of different recipes, but it's not very cost effective to have 20 different oils and butters on hand. I started with a basic recipe of Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor Oils (BrambleBerry's Beginning Soap Recipe). When it came time to order more supplies...I bought a dozen different oils and butters...substituting between 5% to 20%. In a discussion about the real-life benefits of using various oils and butters, I was told that with the exception of Castor Oil, adding less than 10% of any ingredient was a waste of money. Adding expensive ingredients of any amount was also a waste of money as the majority of any 'benefit' would 1) be destroyed by the Lye and 2) soap is a wash on/rinse off product and thus not on the skin long enough. In short, save the good stuff for leave on products like lotions.



I can't speak to beer, AVJ, Tussah Silk and a bunch of other additives, but I can with Goat Milk, Kaolin Clay and Sodium Lactate. I don't know if Goat Milk is "better" for the skin that soap make with Distilled Water...again, it's a wash on/rinse off product, but I can tell the difference between a bar of GMS and a bar of Regular Soap and that is less about it being "Goat" milk and probably just milk in general with its added fat and sugars. I could probably get the same 'feel' if I increased my SuperFat and add sugar or honey. And Lord knows it would be less of a hassle since I use fresh goat milk as opposed to powdered, but I enjoy the process...it's very zen...kind of like when I wind hanks of yarn into cakes.

With regard to the KC...some say it provides more 'slip', some say it helps to 'anchor' FOs...I don't know, it's soap, it's naturally 'slippery'. LOL As to the anchoring...the jury is still out on that one. I haven't tested it...maybe I'll do that this weekend. Make a small batch for my round cavity molds...add KO to one and not the other and put the soap on the shelf and check on it over the next year.

Last is the Sodium Lactate...I do find that it makes it a bit easier to unmold a lot of my soaps...especially during the Fall/Winter when it gets cold and damp. I could probably make my own or grab the salt shaker, but it's cheap enough and a gallon of the stuff lasts a long time.

To be honest, I don't get a lot of the additives I see folks putting into their soaps on YouTube...to me it's just more crap to buy, more crap to store, more crap to list on my label. Watched one gal add about a dozen different 'additives' and I kept thinking...is there any more for oils?

But the nice thing about making your own soap, it that you can experiment with stuff like that. A half ounce of Tussah Silk is $2.98 at BB, an ounce of Collodial Oatmeal is a buck and a quarter, an ounce of KO is a buck, seventy-five and so on and so forth.
I did an experiment a while back which I posted on FB, maybe here, I don't remember. I was making soap dough and had enough batter left for 2 soaps - so one soap I added blood orange essential oil to and colored it green, the other soap, I added blood orange essential oil which has been "marinating" in kaolin clay for hours and colored it pink. 6 weeks later, the green soap literally had no scent at all, while the pink soap (with the marinated clay) smelled terrifically of blood orange essential oil. I have been using kaolin clay to anchor my scent for years, now I have some evidence to back it up. This was just my experiment, not a controlled experiment. But I am going to continue using kaolin clay to anchor my scents.
 

soapysarah

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I’m right with you @KiwiMoose. I used to think it was all the bubbles I liked until I started noticing the bubbles weren’t what made my skin feel good after the shower. I’m gravitating to the creamy now. My husband likes creamy lather and scent - he’s a burn victim and he has some parts of his body that are sensitive and tight. He really likes @Zany_in_CO no slime Castile. Even with his skin he likes the peppermint EO and it gives him no problems. He can’t use Shea butter as it causes blisters. Go figure ...
Completely off-topic; have you heard of Scarwork? This was initiated by Sharon Wheeler in Seattle and is now taught all over the world; it can help the result of burns by re-integrating tissue.
 

soapysarah

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As I understand it's a form of massage that helps to improve scar tissue.
Hi, linne1gi, it isn’t really a form of massage but it does utilise touch but very gently. Sharon Wheeler has developed lots of different techniques over the years (I was trained in Scar and Bonework by Sharon) for most situations. I am also trained in massage and there is a big difference. Scarwork can permanently change fascia and the appearance and feel of scars. One of my clients saved her toes from being amputated by having Scarwork.
 

KimW

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I did an experiment a while back which I posted on FB, maybe here, I don't remember. I was making soap dough and had enough batter left for 2 soaps - so one soap I added blood orange essential oil to and colored it green, the other soap, I added blood orange essential oil which has been "marinating" in kaolin clay for hours and colored it pink. 6 weeks later, the green soap literally had no scent at all, while the pink soap (with the marinated clay) smelled terrifically of blood orange essential oil. I have been using kaolin clay to anchor my scent for years, now I have some evidence to back it up. This was just my experiment, not a controlled experiment. But I am going to continue using kaolin clay to anchor my scents.
Great tip! Thank you for sharing. Now to find that kaolin clay!
 

Becky1024

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As I understand it, bubbles do not automatically equate to high cleansing. Coconut oil soap bubbles profusely because it dissolves easily and is very cleansing because there are a lot of short chain fatty acid soap molecules in solution when in use. Sugars (and glycerin) enhance bubbles because they increase the surface tension of the bubbles, which allows them to grow bigger without breaking. Chelators, like sodium citrate and edta, enhance bubbles because they keep the dissolved soap from complexing with hard water minerals. Why the addition of oils that are high in linoleic fatty acid, like RBO, hemp and grapeseed, leads to bigger bubbles in a balanced recipe is still a mystery to me, especially since we know that soaps made with these oils at 100% do not make great lather.
Mojack Bay I agree with you that chelators increase bubbles. In fact I can get a very nice bubbly bar with adding 2% sodium citrate to a 100% lard soap. I think I can help you out with the linoleic acid and why they bubble well. Linoleic acid is polyunsaturated, each fatty acid has 2 double bonds. The double bonds are slightly more hydrophilic (water loving) than the single bonds. It makes the oils that are high in linoleic acid slightly more soluble than say strearic acid which only has single bonds. It’s the slight solubility that makes linoleic acid bubbly.
 

linne1gi

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Mojack Bay I agree with you that chelators increase bubbles. In fact I can get a very nice bubbly bar with adding 2% sodium citrate to a 100% lard soap. I think I can help you out with the linoleic acid and why they bubble well. Linoleic acid is polyunsaturated, each fatty acid has 2 double bonds. The double bonds are slightly more hydrophilic (water loving) than the single bonds. It makes the oils that are high in linoleic acid slightly more soluble than say strearic acid which only has single bonds. It’s the slight solubility that makes linoleic acid bubbly.
Two things I didn’t put together. Thank you.
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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I agree and most medical personnel disagree (doctors) - they all seem to have an affinity for Dove. Really. And I remember that Dove gave me most of my skin problems - itchy, hivey (sp) skin that never felt good no matter what lotion I used.
Zing - have you tried sugar in your soaps? Because putting sugar, particularly powdered sugar is a complete game changed. Big bountiful bubbles and even if your coconut oil is low, you still get great big bubbles.
How much powder sugar do you use & is it add'ed to oils before lye? id love to try it' currently i'm using honey or molasses one tea ppo depending on the soap i'm making to increase the bubbles.
 

linne1gi

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How much powder sugar do you use & is it add'ed to oils before lye? id love to try it' currently i'm using honey or molasses one tea ppo depending on the soap i'm making to increase the bubbles.
Sugar is sugar. I use 1 teaspoon (PPO) because that is the recommended rate for sugar. Powdered sugar dissolves instantly and also relaxes the batter giving more workable time. I add it to distilled water and make sure it has fully dissolved before adding lye. I add the lye solution to the melted oils as we all do.
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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Sugar is sugar. I use 1 teaspoon (PPO) because that is the recommended rate for sugar. Powdered sugar dissolves instantly and also relaxes the batter giving more workable time. I add it to distilled water and make sure it has fully dissolved before adding lye. I add the lye solution to the melted oils as we all do.
Thx so much 🤗💫🧼
 

Mobjack Bay

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Mojack Bay I agree with you that chelators increase bubbles. In fact I can get a very nice bubbly bar with adding 2% sodium citrate to a 100% lard soap. I think I can help you out with the linoleic acid and why they bubble well. Linoleic acid is polyunsaturated, each fatty acid has 2 double bonds. The double bonds are slightly more hydrophilic (water loving) than the single bonds. It makes the oils that are high in linoleic acid slightly more soluble than say strearic acid which only has single bonds. It’s the slight solubility that makes linoleic acid bubbly.
Mystery solved! Thank you! ❤
 

Basil

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I’ve tried many, many different recipes, with various hard fats (tallow, lard, butters, palm and soy wax alone or in combination), liquid oils (mostly olive, HO sunflower, Avocado or RBO), CO ranging from 10-30%, with and without castor oil, sugar, vinegar, aloe juice, salt, goat milk, cow cream, oat milk, clay, etc. After almost two years of experimenting, I know that I like handmade soap :cool:. I also learned that what I like the most in a soap aligns pretty well with particular ranges for the major groups of fatty acids. For me, this is 14-20% lauric + myristic, 25-31% stearic + palmitic and 11-15% linoleic. These ranges work well for me, almost regardless of what fats I use to get the profiles, except that after almost two years I still don’t have a palm-based recipe that I love. The hard fats give me creaminess, but if I go above above 31% in my recipes, the soap feels too hard in my hands. The linoleic gives my recipes some “slip” and bigger bubbles without adding sugar or a lot of coconut oil. Unless I’m making a high OO soap, I think of the oleic FA as a filler. I’ve made soap with and without castor, but I don’t feel it changes my recipes much. My batches made with sugar make more/bigger bubbles and the animal milks add creaminess in my recipes, but for the most part, the qualities of my soaps align most closely with the FA profiles. When I add extra things now, it’s mostly for visual or label appeal. Since I don’t give any soap away without a label, the huge job of labeling test batches has forced me to think hard about whether or not I need any particular ingredient in the soap.

ETA: I forgot to mention that chelators are another additive I’m sold on. Aside from keeping DOS at bay, I get better bubbles with a chelator in the recipe. We have a water softener, but our water still has high TDS. I also use a low SF (2-3%) and have no problems with soap scum.
I now I'm replying to an older post, but as I've been reading through these again, your pecentages caught my eye. I've mangaged to get my palmitic and stearic over 30, but I still gravitate to the 25-29 %. My linoleic is also higher as yours and the lauric and myristic hover around 13-14%. I'm thinking what the heck is wrong with me, but after reading your post, I've figured out I must like those ranges LOL. Thanks my octopus friend for that!
 

linne1gi

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I now I'm replying to an older post, but as I've been reading through these again, your pecentages caught my eye. I've mangaged to get my palmitic and stearic over 30, but I still gravitate to the 25-29 %. My linoleic is also higher as yours and the lauric and myristic hover around 13-14%. I'm thinking what the heck is wrong with me, but after reading your post, I've figured out I must like those ranges LOL. Thanks my octopus friend for that!
The only thing I would add to this is that Linoleic & Linolenic acid numbers are best kept below 15, or you risk DOS.
 

MickeyRat

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I have to confess that I have skin that is impervious to almost anything. Though I did have a nasty experience with lye once. Back in the day I had my hands in gasoline for about an hour cleaning a carburetor with a toothbrush with no ill affects. I have to go by what the calculators say or what I hear from other people. Nice to see I'm not alone.
 

Arimara

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Several doctors told me to use Dove Sensitive which I used for years and years and it did nothing for me, and now when I occasionally use it, it feels caustic.
I will put sugar on my 2021 Soap Resolutions! Thanks for the tip. Always good to hear others' experiences.
I stopped using that soap for my daughter after my sister confirmed that it was responsible for burning my daughter's skin up (it had burned my sister's face and her skin is nowhere near as sensitive). I still won't use a handmade soap for her yet but her skin is mostly good with Cetaphil.
 

Johnez

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So much soapy knowledge in this thread.
Mojack Bay I agree with you that chelators increase bubbles. In fact I can get a very nice bubbly bar with adding 2% sodium citrate to a 100% lard soap. I think I can help you out with the linoleic acid and why they bubble well. Linoleic acid is polyunsaturated, each fatty acid has 2 double bonds. The double bonds are slightly more hydrophilic (water loving) than the single bonds. It makes the oils that are high in linoleic acid slightly more soluble than say strearic acid which only has single bonds. It’s the slight solubility that makes linoleic acid bubbly.
 

Zing

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I stopped using that soap for my daughter after my sister confirmed that it was responsible for burning my daughter's skin up (it had burned my sister's face and her skin is nowhere near as sensitive). I still won't use a handmade soap for her yet but her skin is mostly good with Cetaphil.
Yikes-kers! I was exaggerating for me, Dove just leaves me feeling super dry.
 

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