Desperation driving me to saponification

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Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2022
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BC, Canada
Hi, I am an artist who sells (house) paint for a day job.

I am plunging into soapmaking because I am finding that ingredients in commercial products are causing reactions. I think the big baddie is an unpronounceable compound that ends in 'cloride' but I have had problems with a cleaner at work derived from sage; both of them affect my sinuses and bring forth snot. (Here in Canada, they have to list the ingredients in soaps and cleansers)

I also have a topical sensitivity to coconut (gives me hives) so I didn't look too hard at the local hand made products which all use it. I skipped right to how to make my own.

I have spent the last two weeks binge reading about saponification but all my knowledge is highly theoretical, and often what I am reading is contradictory. I liked this site because when I was looking for more information about competing theories, the members would give logical explanations and often explain the science behind their answers.

My initial goal is to make a shampoo bar that will clean my hair without making me itchy or sneezy. I am starting from scratch because all the recipes call for coconut.

I plan to also make a lotion bar to use in place of conditioner.

And some regular soap for sensitive skin since my sister and my besty have issues with eczema and psoriasis, respectively.

At the bottom of my project list will be a non-sudzy "soap" for reshaping my paint brushes.

Where I live, the soap suppliers are 5-8hrs away by car. I have ordered in babassu, cocoa butter and lye. Castor oil and shea butter I can get locally. I have loads of sunflower oil and beeswax (dad keeps bees).

I will be using hot process in a double boiler to cut down on clean up, so I can test my recipes more quickly and because I don't have extra space for caustic soap to cure.

Thanks for reading and
I look forward to chatting with everyone!
Welcome, and thanks for all the deets! While it is true that HP soaps are non-caustic right after the cook, CP soaps generally saponify on their own by 72 hours. Mine are usually fine at 24 hours, actually.

Whether they are HP or CP, all soap should be cured for a few weeks minimum - not because they are "caustic," but because the lather and hardness improves significantly over time. HP bars can even need a longer cure, since they often have more water that must evaporate out, as compared to CP bars. Sure, you can use your soap before then, and many of us begin testing them after a week or so. But the bars will melt away quickly and more easily become mushy if used before they are well-cured.

Hopefully you are aware that babassu is related to coconut, and thus may cause a cross-reaction? But if you can use it and can find it, babassuamidopropyl betaine is a coconut-free syndet that can work for (non-soap) shampoo bars, as well as (non-soap) liquid hand and bodywash.

If you do end up being cross-reactive to babassu, perhaps consider palm kernel oil (PKO). PKO is not the same as palm oil; unlike palm, PKO adds to the cleansing and bubbly numbers of your bar. It also tends to be less expensive than babassu, which is very pricey, at least for my area. I like it a lot in my soaps.
Hi @Hermit! Good to see you here!
My initial goal is to make a shampoo bar that will clean my hair without making me itchy or sneezy.
Find the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of this page. Use it to Search "shampoo bars". Be sure to tick "Titles Only". Shampoo bars have been discussed many times. There are 2 camps: Lye-based shampoo bars and Syndets (Synthetic/Detergent)
I plan to also make a lotion bar to use in place of conditioner.
So "lotion bar" is another thing you can search. But it's not the same as a "conditioner bar" for hair. But there should be threads for both.
soap for sensitive skin since my sister and my besty have issues with eczema and psoriasis, respectively.

Zany's No Slime Castile

ZNSC - You Tube Video

non-sudzy "soap" for reshaping my paint brushes.
Vinegar Cleans Paint Brushes
  1. Get a clean empty jar, I always keep old pickle jars for painting and cleaning my brushes.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat distilled white vinegar in the microwave. ...
  3. Place brushes into the vinegar. ...
  4. Let the brush sit in the vinegar for up to 30 minutes, then rinse well.
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@ aliOop
Thanks for the great info!
I didn't know that those two oils were related, but I have been doing spot tests on my wrists to make sure I won't react to it. So far, we're good! Yeah, that stuff is expensive.

Think I was intimidated by how controversial palm oil is, so focused on babassu.🥴

I am planning to start with small batches, and cut off small slivers to try and let the rest of the block harden. When I'm refilling the tints at work, my hair gets covered with a plasticy film from the vapours off the colourants, so I will want to see how well the soap will deal with that residue, as well as what state it will leave it in.
Oh my, can you wear anything over your hair to protect it? Also, speaking of controversial (ahem), using soap on your hair is definitely in that category. It's a minority of folks who can do that without sustaining a lot of damage to their hair. I'm in that happy minority, but most folks here are not.

And even though I can, I don't (anymore). There are just too many folks who had success with hair soap for awhile, and then all their hair broke off. If you haven't done so already, you can read those stories in several threads here. That way, if you decide to proceed, you'll know what to look for, and whether you need to stop and find another product. Best wishes for finding the right formula for you!