Beginner question: mildness/ harshness of CP soap

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meepocow

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Hello! Beginner here!

I made my very first (!) loaf of soap, on October 7th, and sliced it on October 8th (14ish hours was probably too soon, but we were heading out of town and I didn't know if it would be rock hard after that - turned out it would've been fine!).

We got home today, and I couldn't help myself. I picked up a few scraps of my soap to see how it would wash up. It is still pretty soft, and did give some lather. However, when I rinsed off and dried my hands, they were PARCHED. I am freaking out now that I've made some sort of awful, skin-sucking soap. Attaching the formula I followed - closely linked to a YouTube video - as well as some photos:
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QUESTION: Does soap get more mild as it cures? Is my formula way off? Any other suggestions appreciated!!
 

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Zany_in_CO

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Pretty soap ! Amazing for a first timer!!!
10 10 10.gif

Does soap get more mild as it cures?
Yes. The reaction you had is typical of "fresh" soap. Give it time to do its thing and it will be fine.
Is my formula way off?
Nope. Wait 4-6 weeks to see how it is after it cures. At that time you can determine if you want to tweak it for more lather? more conditioning? etc.
Any other suggestions appreciated!!
In your introduction I noticed that you like to use essential oils and natural colorants. That's how I started out too. You may enjoy reading Tanya of Lovely Greens Blog about Gardening and Making Natural Soaps.
 
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Your soap looks wonderful! It should mellow out at it cures. However, a cleansing value of 20 is pretty high, and that comes from the high amount of coconut oil in your recipe. Think of "cleansing" as the ability to strip the natural oils from your skin, and you will understand why many of us keep our cleansing numbers well below the minimum recommended number - to avoid drying out our skin! All soap will get you clean, even with a cleansing number of 0. Unless you are making soap for a mechanic or gardener, think of low cleansing as being much kinder to your skin. It's one of those spots where the "recommended" value is really not a good one, IMO.

I'd also recommend changing your lye setting from "water as percent of oils" to "lye concentration." A good starting place for lye concentration is around 33%. You can see in your recipe that using 38% water as percent of oils resulted in 27.096% lye concentration. That's a LOT of water for cold-processed soap, and will take a long time to evaporate. This means the bars may stay soft for a long time, and may even warp as they cure.

The other issue is that water-as-percent-of-oils will not give you a consistent amount of water across varying batch sizes. Sticking with lye concentration will avoid that, so your soap batter will have a similar consistency whether you make one pound, or five. Speaking of which, if you can find some one-lb tester molds, that's a great way to learn about new recipes without overloading your family (and friends, and strangers!) will all the soap that will overtake your home.

Ok, I'll stop there. Lots to learn, and plenty of threads here that will help you along. Enjoy the journey!
 
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Welcome to the Forum and congrats on your first batch of soap! Love the color and the top. I can't make a decent top to save my life after a million batches. I cure for 6 weeks but note that soap with a lot of olive oil like yours are better after a longer cure. I love a lot of coconut oil in my soap and can tolerate 30%. But many folks here keep it in the teens to low 20s (percent-wise). Also, you get extra credit for using SoapCalc right off the bat -- that website intimidated me -- I was soaping for over a year before I tried using it! Make sure you come back to us with a report in 6 weeks.
 

meepocow

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Pretty soap ! Amazing for a first timer!!! View attachment 68975

Yes. The reaction you had is typical of "fresh" soap. Give it time to do its thing and it will be fine.

Nope. Wait 4-6 weeks to see how it is after it cures. At that time you can determine if you want to tweak it for more lather? more conditioning? etc.

In your introduction I noticed that you like to use essential oils and natural colorants. That's how I started out too. You may enjoy reading Tanya of Lovely Greens Blog about Gardening and Making Natural Soaps.
Thanks so much for the feedback! The long wait is the hardest part.

I've been lurking the threads and your name comes up a lot. So this is kind of a fangirl moment right here lol!

I am looking forward to trying your 'no slime castile' soon! It seems beginner friendly!

Question: Curious to know what temperature you like to soap at?

Your soap looks wonderful! It should mellow out at it cures. However, a cleansing value of 20 is pretty high, and that comes from the high amount of coconut oil in your recipe. Think of "cleansing" as the ability to strip the natural oils from your skin, and you will understand why many of us keep our cleansing numbers well below the minimum recommended number - to avoid drying out our skin! All soap will get you clean, even with a cleansing number of 0. Unless you are making soap for a mechanic or gardener, think of low cleansing as being much kinder to your skin. It's one of those spots where the "recommended" value is really not a good one, IMO.

I'd also recommend changing your lye setting from "water as percent of oils" to "lye concentration." A good starting place for lye concentration is around 33%. You can see in your recipe that using 38% water as percent of oils resulted in 27.096% lye concentration. That's a LOT of water for cold-processed soap, and will take a long time to evaporate. This means the bars may stay soft for a long time, and may even warp as they cure.

The other issue is that water-as-percent-of-oils will not give you a consistent amount of water across varying batch sizes. Sticking with lye concentration will avoid that, so your soap batter will have a similar consistency whether you make one pound, or five. Speaking of which, if you can find some one-lb tester molds, that's a great way to learn about new recipes without overloading your family (and friends, and strangers!) will all the soap that will overtake your home.

Ok, I'll stop there. Lots to learn, and plenty of threads here that will help you along. Enjoy the journey!
You have no idea how helpful this was to me! I did not know this about the cleansing, nor about the lye setting. I put your advice into practice on this next test batch, going the total opposite where I was and trying out lard. I was quite shocked at how switching out a single ingredient could affect the figures so much!

I made this one because I wanted to try a few things at once; much lower cleansing, and someone mentioned aiming for stearic + palmitic above 30% for bar longevity. Also testing out the 'clay holds EO' theory by suspending my clay in the EO before adding at trace. I even separated and brought both to a 'gloopy' enough trace that I could approximate layers. That was a lesson in what texture you need to get layers, my first attempt was way too runny but I was able to salvage it by pouring it out of the silicone and re-working with the immersion blender to a heavier trace that could be poured on top.

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It's so pretty! My first attempt was decidedly not that good looking. Congratulations on your first soap!
Thanks for the encouragement! It means a lot!!

Welcome to the Forum and congrats on your first batch of soap! Love the color and the top. I can't make a decent top to save my life after a million batches. I cure for 6 weeks but note that soap with a lot of olive oil like yours are better after a longer cure. I love a lot of coconut oil in my soap and can tolerate 30%. But many folks here keep it in the teens to low 20s (percent-wise). Also, you get extra credit for using SoapCalc right off the bat -- that website intimidated me -- I was soaping for over a year before I tried using it! Make sure you come back to us with a report in 6 weeks.
Thanks Zing! I'll make a note to let this one sit for 6 weeks! In the mean-time, I'll make a few more batches lol.

Sticking to recommendations to keep my tests to about 1 lb. It's much more manageable, gives me more opportunities to practice, and I won't cry as much with less waste. I don't think I'd want to go less though, there's a lot more room for error with smaller ingredient quantities!
 

Zany_in_CO

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So this is kind of a fangirl moment right here lol!
😅 I love it! And back atcha!
Question: Curious to know what temperature you like to soap at?
Well, Old School here! LOL
For soaps high in hard fats: 120°F - 135°F
For soaps high in liquid oils: 100°F - 120° F

NOTE: I rarely soap "Room Temp" or cool unless I'm using goat milk or other ingredients known to accelerate trace.
 

meepocow

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😅 I love it! And back atcha!

Well, Old School here! LOL
For soaps high in hard fats: 120°F - 135°F
For soaps high in liquid oils: 100°F - 120° F

NOTE: I rarely soap "Room Temp" or cool unless I'm using goat milk or other ingredients known to accelerate trace.
I think this is a sign of how far down the rabbit hole I am that *everything* you said makes total sense to me lol.

The chemistry behind soap making is just fascinating. I've gotten a lot of the experimentation out of my system wrt cooking and baking, so this is another great outlet!
 

user 56151

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I second what meecopow had to say. I use 15% coconut oil and 10% castor oil. I know a lot keep their Castor below 10 but I have not experienced any stickiness using it at 10%. The coconut oil provides the lather, using it at 15% provides that but still keeps the cleansing down. I aim for below 12 for cleansing and 60 and above for conditioning. I add everything I can to the oils before I add the lye and give it a good blitz. If I’m doing more than one colour I only bring it to emulsion. Then I have plenty of time to separate into colours.
 
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