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Designing your own soap recipe?

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PeridotSoap

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Hello all :)

I am a big soap newbie, but am having fun messing around with some simple recipes and other bath/body recipes for the moment.

If I eventually start selling my products (which is the dream in a few years once I have more experience!) I don't want to be selling another soaper's recipe!

I just wondered how people go about creating their own soap recipes? Is there a set of general guidelines to follow eg. percentages of hard/soft oils and butters? If I knew what oils and butters I wanted in my recipe, how would I work out how much of each to go in to make a successful batch and not a slimey mess?

I know I could play around, and each recipe is personal to the soaper, but I am currently just soaping around my other job, and my funds currently hold me back from going too wild! So I would appreciate a starting point.


Any help you could give me would be much appreciated :) And at the moment my focus is on CP soaps, if that makes a difference! Thank you! <3
 

lsg

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Go to SoapCal and read all the information there. For myself, I want a hard bar with good bubbly and creamy lather and high conditioning values. Using the SoapCalc lye calculator helps me to design a bar that meets my requirements. But most of all practice, practice, practice until you know what oils and butters will give you the soap that has the qualities you desire.
 

Saswede

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I think that it's helpful to use someone else's recipes when you start out, and see how other soap makers use the various oils and butters. So I'd recommend either looking at soaping blogs and websites, or buying a book or 2 to get a few tried and trusted recipes. And run each recipe through Soapcalc (or another lye calculator) to double check the recipe, and to get used to using a lye calculator. Then as you feel more confident, you can start adapting the recipes you've tried and developing your own recipes with oils you can source locally or on-line, and the oils you prefer using.

Most of my soaps are based on olive and coconut oil, usually with Shea butter - and then I add other vegetable oils (like rice bran, castor, argan, macadamia, etc) and butters (I like cocoa butter in soaps for winter, because they're so creamy and moisturizing) to these base oils. I don't use palm oil or animal fats, but that's a choice each soaper should make for themselves .........


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Hazel

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It helps to know the properties of oils after saponification. For example, coconut oil becomes drying and stripping when used in soap. It really depends on what you prefer for your skin type. I like soap which is conditioning and gentle because I have dry, sensitive and umm...let's say mature skin. :lol:

SoapCalc does have info on fatty acid profiles but I like to suggest these sites to people for more info on oils.

https://summerbeemeadow.com/content/properties-soapmaking-oils
http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/soapmakingoils/tp/qualitiesofsoapmakingoils.htm

What is your skin type and what oils do you have? We could make some suggestions to help you formulate your own recipes.

eta: There are some "guidelines" but nothing set in stone. Since oils like coconut, babassu and palm kernel oil/flakes are drying at higher percentages, it's usually recommended to keep them at lower percentages unless you're using a larger lye discount. But some people prefer to use them at a higher percentage with a low lye discount. It just depends on what people like. Other "guidelines" are to keep oils with a shorter shelf life at a low percentage - generally 5% to 10%. There are more but I think you get the gist. Also, sometimes experimenting and trying varied percentages of oils can produce a wonderful soap. You really won't know until you try. I've three recipes that people would be horrified by if I mentioned the oil percentages. The reaction would be "OMG! That sounds like terrible soap!". One recipe came about from another soapmaker encouraging me to go wild and mix up percentages of my normal recipe. The other one came about from mistake when I poured the wrong oil into the batch. Well...I was tired. :oops: The other I came up with because I had small amounts of leftover oils and I didn't want to waste them.
 

PeridotSoap

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Thank you for your help guys! Those links from Hazel were a big help - I appreciate the percentage guides of most oils. I have also downloaded the Soap Qualities spreadsheet from SoapCalc to store away for future reference.

I plan on creating a few different soaps for different skin types (I myself have oily, my partner has dry, mother has mature etc).

I suppose I was getting a bit too ahead of myself wanting to create my own out of nothing! Off to practice using tried and true recipes to get myself used to the oils and their properties. It can only help to be more familiar with the oils and butters I'm using before I start throwing them all together :)

Thanks again all x
 

savonierre

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Playing with the oils and taking your time to create the perfect recipe is the best way to go. It took me 2 years to get that "perfect" for me recipe nailed down.
 

verotxu

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I think that it's helpful to use someone else's recipes when you start out, and see how other soap makers use the various oils and butters. So I'd recommend either looking at soaping blogs and websites, or buying a book or 2 to get a few tried and trusted recipes. And run each recipe through Soapcalc (or another lye calculator) to double check the recipe, and to get used to using a lye calculator. Then as you feel more confident, you can start adapting the recipes you've tried and developing your own recipes with oils you can source locally or on-line, and the oils you prefer using.

Most of my soaps are based on olive and coconut oil, usually with Shea butter - and then I add other vegetable oils (like rice bran, castor, argan, macadamia, etc) and butters (I like cocoa butter in soaps for winter, because they're so creamy and moisturizing) to these base oils. I don't use palm oil or animal fats, but that's a choice each soaper should make for themselves .........


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hello! i was wondering that if you do not use any animal fat or palm oil, what do u use to make your soap bar hard?

cheers!

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Hazel

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I plan on creating a few different soaps for different skin types (I myself have oily, my partner has dry, mother has mature etc).

I suppose I was getting a bit too ahead of myself wanting to create my own out of nothing!
It's not necessarily getting ahead of yourself by wanting to formulate your own recipes. You may not have the oils for the recipes you've already found or would prefer to substitute an oil that you can find locally, etc, etc. I started out using olive, coconut and Crisco since I could find them all at the grocery. I didn't want to invest too much into it and then find out I didn't like making soap. But it's still helpful to know the properties of oils. :wink:

Although this is just through my own experience, I haven't found too much difference in formulating for oily skin as compared to dry skin. I use the same oils. The main difference in my recipes is increasing coconut slightly by 2%-3%, increasing palm, decreasing the conditioning oils and using less lye discount for family members and friends who have oily skin. You don't want soap to be too stripping because it can cause the oil glands to overproduce to balance the skin out. I use SoapCalc and I like a cleansing value of 17 or less. I've told my nephews and a friend who have oily skin to use a mild soap and then use a toner for oily skin or something with salicylic acid in it. Salicylic acid is helpful but it needs to remain on the skin and be absorbed. However, SA can be drying or even irritating to skin depending upon the strength of the product. It's also not recommended to be used on broken, inflamed or infected skin so it's something that should be discussed with a doctor depending upon the severity of a person's acne.

If it helps you to know, now I'm using olive, high oleic sunflower oil, coconut, castor, palm and lard. I have a recipe with shea butter but I'm starting to eliminate it since it's similar to lard (cheaper and I can buy it locally).

eta: Just a suggestion - another way to change a recipe is by using a dairy product in place of water. I've done this to make a soap even milder. I use the same recipe but use water for some people. I use cream or buttermilk for myself and one of my sisters. You could also use goat milk or yogurt to increase mildness and emolliency.

HTH
 
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Saswede

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Verotxu - to ensure that I get a hard bar, I use a slightly higher proportion of CO than many people, and offset any potential drying effects by using shea and/or cocoa butter (between 5% and 20%) and small amounts of "moisturizing" oils (like argan or castor oil) in most of my recipes. I've never used palm oil, so have developed all of my recipes that way ......




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Hazel

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@ verotxu -

A higher percentage of olive oil will also cure very hard but take longer. I do recommend a water discount with high percentage olive recipes.
 

ahutchins9

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The easiest way i did it was i started with a recipe i found online and then just subed out oils. Like if it called for cocoa i would use Shea. Also alot of recipes online called for a higher % of coconut oil. I personally do not go above 20% so if the recipe called for 25% i used 20% then added the other 5% to my olive oil or used a different oil. Just make sure anytime you change something you run it through a lye calculator. I don't soap with any nut oils ( except Shea ) or animal fats. I am also palm free.

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