CO76, CO92, MCT: Lauric Oil Comparison

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I've gone crazy and ordered hydrogenated coconut oil (“CO92”), which is about to arrive soon.
Not sure if I'll notice any difference to regular/virgin coconut oil (“CO76”) when it comes to soapmaking. There wasn't much to talk about with palm kernel oil, babaçu, or murumuru either (except the price 😫).

On my grocery shopping list, there is also fractionated coconut/MCT oil.

I'm planning to take the opportunity to challenge some preconceptions for good that are lingering around about lauric/mid-chain oils, regarding hardness, bubbliness, and skin irritation. (This is partly motivated by my recent experiences with ucuuba butter and laurel oil, that happen to be about the only oils with significant C14:0 or shorter FAs, but aren't seeds of palm trees.)

My possible plans (not sure if I'll address all of them) for the lauric oils I have at hand in the near future (CO76, CO92, murumuru):
  • Make a simplistic, basic recipe (50% HO sunflower, 20% palm stearin, HP) as a “stage” to give 30% of each of these lauric oils a chance to shine in an environment that is close enough to usual balanced recipes.
  • Make single-oil bars from said lauric oils, at 20% SF
  • Replace 20%, 50%, 100% of lauric oils (probably CO76) by MCT oil, and observe how the batter and the final soap do change upon this modification.
  • Acidify some CO92 soap, to check for the presence of MCT fatty acids (smell of sour goat milk). Literature is inconclusive if CO92 is made just by hydrogenation of otherwise unaltered coconut oil, or if it is also fractionated (to remove the precious MCT fatty acids to sell them separately). This is also a good opportunity to titrate the actual SAP of the CO and compare it to the literature values.
If you have further ideas/suggestions what to do with said ingredients, feel free to tune in!


I'm now a bit angry to myself that I've used up all of my palm kernel oil without need, and this is remarkably difficult to restock around here.
 

Johnez

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I'm now a bit angry to myself that I've used up all of my palm kernel oil without need, and this is remarkably difficult to restock around here.

Unlike me who is a bit angry that I unnecessarily purchased CO92 before figuring that I should completely eliminate it from my shave soap. 😆 Looking forward to your results, you're taking on quite a bit lately!
 
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you're taking on quite a bit lately!
Not really ;). I'm just resorting to the easier and more presentable projects, with progress stuck in the more ambitious big things 😩.

ETA: Have you already been introduced to salt bars? Good opportunity to eat through a CO excess, and to get it out of sight for quite some time (it's common that salt bars start getting acceptable some half a year into cure).
 
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I've gone crazy and ordered hydrogenated coconut oil (“CO92”), which is about to arrive soon.
Not sure if I'll notice any difference to regular/virgin coconut oil (“CO76”) when it comes to soapmaking. There wasn't much to talk about with palm kernel oil, babaçu, or murumuru either (except the price 😫).

On my grocery shopping list, there is also fractionated coconut/MCT oil.

I'm planning to take the opportunity to challenge some preconceptions for good that are lingering around about lauric/mid-chain oils, regarding hardness, bubbliness, and skin irritation. (This is partly motivated by my recent experiences with ucuuba butter and laurel oil, that happen to be about the only oils with significant C14:0 or shorter FAs, but aren't seeds of palm trees.)

My possible plans (not sure if I'll address all of them) for the lauric oils I have at hand in the near future (CO76, CO92, murumuru):
  • Make a simplistic, basic recipe (50% HO sunflower, 20% palm stearin, HP) as a “stage” to give 30% of each of these lauric oils a chance to shine in an environment that is close enough to usual balanced recipes.
  • Make single-oil bars from said lauric oils, at 20% SF
  • Replace 20%, 50%, 100% of lauric oils (probably CO76) by MCT oil, and observe how the batter and the final soap do change upon this modification.
  • Acidify some CO92 soap, to check for the presence of MCT fatty acids (smell of sour goat milk). Literature is inconclusive if CO92 is made just by hydrogenation of otherwise unaltered coconut oil, or if it is also fractionated (to remove the precious MCT fatty acids to sell them separately). This is also a good opportunity to titrate the actual SAP of the CO and compare it to the literature values.
If you have further ideas/suggestions what to do with said ingredients, feel free to tune in!


I'm now a bit angry to myself that I've used up all of my palm kernel oil without need, and this is remarkably difficult to restock around here.
Looking forward to your findings! 💫🧼👍🏼
 

Johnez

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Not really ;). I'm just resorting to the easier and more presentable projects, with progress stuck in the more ambitious big things 😩.

ETA: Have you already been introduced to salt bars? Good opportunity to eat through a CO excess, and to get it out of sight for quite some time (it's common that salt bars start getting acceptable some half a year into cure).

I have looked from afar but have not taken the dive into that project....yet.
 
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Folks. Stuff shipping from the Netherlands. The seller was quick, Post.nl has already handed it over to their German parcel service partners – and is still optimistic that it should come today or tomorrow … I have reason to not be, though. Know them on the German side too well.
:swinging:
First-world problems.
 
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A recent, slightly tangential finding about lauric oils.

I wondered why murumuru butter melts so much higher and is so much harder than its lauric cousins coconut oil (even the hydrogenated CO92), babaçu and PKO. Hard enough to be known as a “butter” rather than an “oil”.

My suspicion: low MCT content.

C6:0 (caproic acid)C8:0 (caprylic acid)C10:0 (capric acid)
Coconut0.5–1.2%7.6–15%6.5–15.8%
Palm kerneltraces4.1–6.9%5.6–7.2%
Babaçu0.3%1.85%4.02%
Murumuru0.2%1.5%1.5%
Dairy butter1.2–3.3%0.15–2.8%3%

Should the MCT in fact turn out to be major contributors to the irritant effect of soaps from lauric oils, then this would be bad news for coconut lovers; PKO proponents would come out of this a tad better. Murumuru would score great, if only its cost weren't that prohibitive…

Anyway. This makes me wonder if I should include murumuru into the project. And if it's only to test if its FFAs really have less of that goaty smell to them than CO.


ETA: C6:0 values.
 
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First results: MCT oil – pure LS performance and SAP

mct_foamer.jpg

I made a 100% MCT liquid soap for several reasons, and that alone clarified quite a few things about MCT soaps (in no particular order):
  • Soapmaking. Experience from CO76 LS let me expect a well-behaved, quick reaction. No way! It took me a whole day on a heat pad until noticeable reaction occurred, It is really prone to separation/unstable emulsion. Not sure if this MCT oil really is that slow-tracing, we'll see when I'll use it in balanced oil blends.
  • LS properties. The resultant soap was, at whopping 40% oil content (15% KOH saponified, 3% unreacted), a clear, colourless liquid with an oily, glycerol-like consistency. I didn't test it as-is for obvious reasons (lye-heavy). Titration, though, neutralised the remaining 3% KOH with acetic acid (and added a bunch of extra water). I put my finger in it and tried to lather it up – hrm. There were a few bubbles, but rather disappointing compared to CO76 soap. Rather think of a (young) 100% OO castile. Another nasty detail is that it smells like the FFAs (rancid coconut oil/goat milk) on the skin, and, worse, the smell sticks.
  • Foamer performance. The meagre sink performance reminded me of another oil that has nothing to do with coconut (we'll see soon which). At 27% oil content after neutralisation, the LS was already thin enough to give it a chance in the foamer bottle – et voilà, it foamed up impressively, and gave a stiff, very fine and dense, shave-soap-like foam!
    Also after some more dilution, it reliably gave me a solid 💧🧊[🧴🧴🧴🧴🔊] experience. Yes, castor oil finally got a companion, in its way to bubble up (sink test, foamer), give explosive lather only under special circumstances, and also how quickly the lather collapses, and gives off remarkably loud fizzing noises.
  • Saponification value. It is obvious from the process of making MCT oil, that the composition (ratios of C6:0, C8:0 and C10:0 fatty acids) will vary wildly between botanical sources (coconut, palm kernel) and processes (fractionation and/or interesterification). Hence, every brand will need its SAP to be determined separately, maybe there is even variation between different batches of the same product.
    To find SAP, I estimated how much too much KOH to add to end up intentionally lye-heavy. To the finished soap, I added a few drops of phenolphthalein (turns pink), and then dilute acetic acid until the pink colour vanishes. The amount of acetic acid can be converted into SAP.
    I ended up with SAP=0.275±0.001, which is remarkable in several ways. It is way higher than the 0.232 tabulated in various databases (Soapee, SMFriend…) as “Coconut oil, fractionated”. This is a practical issue for me because I will have to do the lye calculations by hand. But also fundamental: SAP is effectively a measure of average FA chain length. The conventional SAP=0.232 means an FA length of 9.1, i. e. a mix of C8:0 and C10:0 with a slight excess of C10:0, hence the INCI name Caprylic/capric triglyceride. However, SAP=0.275 means an average FA length of 7.9, which is lower than 8, and implies that there must be a substantial amount of caproic acid (C6:0) present, at least as much as C10:0. Looking at the FA spectrum of coconut oil, this isn't at all expectable (0.5–1.2% C6:0 vs. 6.5–15.8% C10:0), and once again demonstrates how important it is to accept that all MCT oils are not created equal.
    This special FA profile also means that my further results will not be easily applicable to any other MCT oil.
  • At this point, I cannot definitively judge if the MCT soap has exceptional cleansing/stripping/irritating properties. I'll postpone this to the judgment day for the final recipes. Washing my hands once with it, it had little “slip”, but felt sticky and somehow greasy; after rinsing it gave my skin a dry, clean, slightly chalky feel (once again reminding of castile soap), and that goaty off-smell. I now have disposed of this tiny batch – it has done its purpose, and is contaminated with phenolphthalein.
 
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A recent, slightly tangential finding about lauric oils.

I wondered why murumuru butter melts so much higher and is so much harder than its lauric cousins coconut oil (even the hydrogenated CO92), babaçu and PKO. Hard enough to be known as a “butter” rather than an “oil”.

My suspicion: low MCT content.

C8:0 (caprylic acid)C10:0 (capric acid)
Coconut7.6–15%6.5–15.8%
Palm kernel4.1–6.9%5.6–7.2%
Babaçu1.85%4.02%
Murumuru1.5%1.5%
Dairy butter0.15–2.8%3%

Should the MCT in fact turn out to be major contributors to the irritant effect of soaps from lauric oils, then this would be bad news for coconut lovers; PKO proponents would come out of this a tad better. Murumuru would score great, if only its cost weren't that prohibitive…

Anyway. This makes me wonder if I should include murumuru into the project. And if it's only to test if its FFAs really have less of that goaty smell to them than CO.
Cost isn’t great but everything I have made with murumuru is great. One of my favorite butters for sure.
 
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Murumuru is already on my shortlist 🙂. Have you ever had reasons to assume that its tabulated SAP might be off?

I wonder if I might pair it about 5:1 with fractionated coconut oil to replenish its “missing” MCT, and if it does any harm to the lather, hardness, or skin irritation.

My slightly revised recipe now consists of 40% of each lauric oil/blend (really wanna find out if I reach comfort zone limits here, hehe), 40% pomace OO, and 20% palm stearin, at 8% SF.
 
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Murumuru is already on my shortlist 🙂. Have you ever had reasons to assume that its tabulated SAP might be off?

I wonder if I might pair it about 5:1 with fractionated coconut oil to replenish its “missing” MCT, and if it does any harm to the lather, hardness, or skin irritation.

My slightly revised recipe now consists of 40% of each lauric oil/blend (really wanna find out if I reach comfort zone limits here, hehe), 40% pomace OO, and 20% palm stearin, at 8% SF.
It has not caused any of my soaps to zap and I usually use a 1-2% super fat. If the value is off I feel like it could be more cleansing than listed. Just from personal experience with bars no technical data. But when I plug in what I like around 14 cleansing number on soapmakingfriend but that number seems off when I use murumuru. My lather and bubbles seem to much for a low cleansing soap. But I do really enjoy the bars I have made with it thus far.
 
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lauric_alienbrain.jpg lauric_labels.jpg

Each soap contains 40% lauric oil, plus 40% pomace OO and 20% palm stearin, at 5% superfat (as far as weighing precision and SAP allows for that), with a single EO added at 2%TOW.

76
Coconut oil, cold-pressed (CO76)
Cornmint (wild mint)
92
Coconut oil, hydrogenated (CO92)
Peppermint
99M
33% CO92 + 7% MCT
Pennyroyal
9MM
16% CO92 + 24% MCT
Combava (kaffir lime leaf)
MCT
Fractionated coconut oil (MCT)
Catnip
Mu
Murumuru butter
Peru balsam
MuM
33% murumuru + 7% MCT
Ginger (steam-distilled rhizom)
U
Ucuuba butter
(no EO, inherent smoky odour)

I melted the palm stearin and lauric oils in the CPOP oven, and in parallel I mixed the OO with lye solution , at a rate how I'd need it for the lowest-SAP oil (ucuuba). For each soap, I weighed the same amount of OO batter, and some extra NaOH masterbatch for the oil blends with higher SAP. That means that the ucuuba soap is at 33% lye concentration, and the others are slightly higher (up to 39% with the MCT soap).
Then I added the EO and gave it a thorough mix. This approach is by far not ideal (I suspect that I might have lye pockets in the MuM soap), but the only viable technique on this pilot scale. I'll zap test all of them in due time.

The whole batch got CPOP for one hour, then a control patrol: I gave the ucuuba and the MuM a mix (you can see that 😑).

Some notes
  • Hardness (after 12 hours). The pure coconut soaps (top row) are hard and already slightly brittle (carving the names left crumbs). The others (containing MCT and/or murumuru) were more pliable still, and more or less sticky, but not crumbly. Ucuuba was still very soft, like semi-riced soap dough.
    The 99M and MuM soaps (low MCT addition) were the most comfortable in terms of texture: stiff but not hardened up, no stearic spots, homogeneous, opaque look.
  • The higher the MCT content (middle row), the softer the soaps are right now, and soft in the sense that they have a bit of the weird, gummy texture that I otherwise only know from soaps high in castor oil or erucic acid (abyssinia, mustard). The pure MCT soap also has some bubbling going on (?). I don't know if this is a coincidence or something systematic, but along the MCT increase, there are more and more wrinkles on the surface (alien brain).
  • The ucuuba was the hardest to melt and quickest to set, but still it turned out to separate in the end. It's not too bad, since I have other soaps with ucuuba and I'm not dependent on this particular soap. It isn't a lauric oil in the narrower sense, and does not carry EO duties too.
  • Peru balsam and catnip EOs appear to discolour to brownish colours. The murumuru butter is not white, but rather yellowish-beige, but not as dark as the Mu soap. More on this later on, of course.
More to follow when it's time to test them for their bubbliness, skin irritation, and scent retention skills!


ETA: fixed mistaking corn mint (mentha arvensis, IFRA-49: Cat 9 unrestricted) for spearmint (mentha spicata, IFRA-49: Cat 9 limited to 0.24%)
 
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