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mzimm

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***sigh***
I'm so discouraged today. I love making soap, and I want to keep doing it, but I just had a setback that makes me want to throw all my soaps out and hide my face. Maybe I'm over-reacting and throwing the baby out with the bath water. Can you help me sort it out and find a way forward?

Two of my testers are my daughter and son-in-law, who both were hard sells when it comes to bar soap. They both like liquid soaps, especially if they cost an arm and a leg.:???:

Today, my daughter gently informed me that they both are having trouble liking the couple of soaps I've given them. For one thing, she said they "sting our private parts." For another, her husband got an unexplained rash shortly after trying one of the soaps. The rash has since gone away, but because of these two faults, they are understandably shy of handmade soap.

I, on the other hand, have never been particularly sensitive to anything touching my skin, no matter how noxious. It's not a gift to be so tough, believe me! It means I'm often oblivious to things that are probably not good for me, and less likely to be aware of a problem soap before giving it away.

I never intend to sell soap, but that doesn't mean I don't care deeply that it is well-made. If anything, giving only to friends and loved ones means that I'm doubly concerned that the soap be top-notch, well-liked, and not just pretty on the outside.

I'm posting below the recipe for one of the soaps my daughter commented on. It was cured for 3 months before giving to them.

Would a longer cure lessen the sting factor? It's the ph that normally causes the sting, right? I'm already suspecting the fragrance oils as a possible cause for the rash, and am planning to make some unscented soaps for them to try (if they're still willing). Although Wellington claims their premium grade FO's are good for cp soap, since purchasing from them, I've noticed very little in the way of soap makers' reviews for this company, good or bad.
Anyways, any help/insight/suggestions you can make will be most welcome.

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The Efficacious Gentleman

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For this recipe I would say that 3 months should be fine.

I would look at the water that they have. What do they think this "Drying" is? Is it actually making their skin dry, like flaky and cracking? Or is it a tight feeling caused from hard water and/or just not being used to how a lye-based soap feels compared to a syndet?
 

lenarenee

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Marie, I'm sorry I have to leave soon and don't have time to give your concerns the time it deserves.

But know that soap - good soap - can and does sting delicate areas! Some can be more or less affected than others.

The rash can also be from a number of factors, and not caused by bad soap.

Hang tight while others have there say here....
 

mzimm

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For this recipe I would say that 3 months should be fine.

I would look at the water that they have. What do they think this "Drying" is? Is it actually making their skin dry, like flaky and cracking? Or is it a tight feeling caused from hard water and/or just not being used to how a lye-based soap feels compared to a syndet?
TEG, "drying" wasn't one of their complaints, it was mostly the stinging, and the rash. Their water isn't particularly hard. But for myself, I've since reduced CO in my soaps to <20% because even I can tell when a soap feels drying, and CO is usually the culprit.
 

snappyllama

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Everything looks fine from the recipe you posted! I'm assuming you zap tested the bars. They might be very sensitive to CO.

Or... Maybe they just don't like handmade soap?? That's a bummer, but everyone is different. I have a friend that loves my soap (asks me for more all the time). His daughter and mother-in-law also love it - she even sent me an EO to make a batch especially for her. His wife really doesn't - she says it makes her skin feel "weird" and is also someone that exclusively uses shower gels. what can ya do??
 

newbie

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Agree with the others. The only thing that stood out to me on the recipe was that there was some mint used as a fragrance. For some people, that is a little zingy on the private parts but I don't know if they tried only this recipe with this FO combo or other bars. If it's happening with all bars, then the mint thing wouldn't apply obviously.
 
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Susie

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Yeah, mint is what I zeroed in on, also. It certainly stings my more tender areas.

Try using something super mild, or even an FO they have used before with no problems with the same recipe to see which is the culprit.
 

earlene

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Mzimm, please hold off throwing everything out. I'm pretty sure that's just a knee-jerk reaction that in time will prove unwarranted.

My SIL doesn't like to use bar soap. I didn't know that when I made the Kombucha Soap especially for her because she loves Kombucha Tea so much. Other family love the soap, but the one I was inspired by to make this soap for in the first place, cannot use it in the shower. She decided to give it a try because she thought maybe homemade soap would be different and she wouldn't end up with a yeast infection (which happens whenever she uses bar soap.) But she did, so she only uses it for hand soap now. I was very disappointed at first, when she told me, but I realize it's not about me or my soap. It's her body and the fact that some women are more prone to yeast infections than others, and for her bar soap exacerbates that phenomena.

Regarding your Son-in-Law's rash, there are several ingredients in the soap that may have contributed. Or maybe it is totally unrelated. However, you do have to evaluate the ingredients just in case. You also said that both of them felt stinging in their male/female parts. I sure hope your son-in-law's rash was not in that area. Anyway, the stinging makes me wonder about the EO and the FO.

So I would look at that formula and compare it to the others you have given them to try where they did not have the same reactions. Have you given them soaps before that had Rosemary Mint EO, Plumeria FO, oatmeal, TD, or that Peach Mica? If yes to any, was the concentration the same (or lower or higher)? And were they in the same combination? (Example, Rosemary Mint EO but not including Plumeria FO.) It might help you rule out what was the cause.

Another question: Have others had similar experiences to this same batch of soap (if you have given it to anyone else)? If you don't know, perhaps you could call and ask just for evaluation purposes. If yes, then I would probably 'recall' that batch to be on the safe side. If no, then I would probably determine that a personal sensitivity to some additive in the soap is the issue. Of course, the fact that two people, even if they are in the same household are experiencing a similar sensitivity, that it is likely it is one or more of the additives. And maybe it is just the particular combination of additives that is the issue.

That does not make you a bad soaper and it does not make you a failure.
 

penelopejane

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I have an intollerance to CO, mint and rosemary. In a soap I would have the same reaction as your daughter but more extreme (dizzy and nausea). Just because additives and ingredients are natural does not mean people won't react to them. I also can't use tallow or palm oil. Of course lots of people can!

You could try Castile (12 month cure) or try Ginnys shampoo bar recipe (but for use as a soap not on your hair). It's very mild and creamy and has no CO.

For additives try none to start. Then give them one with clay if you want to 1/2 tsp ppo. Try mild FOs and only use 1/2 oz ppo. Or less champagne by BB or moon lake musk are both pretty strong and can be used at less than that. Funnily enough fussy people want some scent in their soap cos they are used to it.

Keep trying but don't rush to give them your new recipe. People who have a mindset against handmade soap are going to be less than impressed with an uncured or soft soap. I add 1 tsp salt dissolved in part of the reserved lye water to make my bars harder. I add it to the oils then mix.

Don't be discouraged - I know it's tough - people on this forum show their fantastic first soap ever and I still make mistakes and produce disasters after 9 months and heaps of batches. Your problem is just a matter of tweaking things so you produce a great bar of soap!
 
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MySoapyHeart

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Don`t give up! I looked at your recipe too, and it is not a bad one. At all! And 3 months cure would make it even better.

Just some thoughts:

Are either one of them allergic to latex? Sheabutter can be a trigger for some, and even though the saponification perhaps do something with the allergens, not all sheabutters are equal and will have less or more allergens depending on source etc. Some are allergic to soaps with sheabutter. It is just a thought.

The CO: I have a friend that I make soap to. And after a while we discovered that she is sensitive to CO. Not allergic, but sensitive. She felt the skin itch and felt tight using soaps with more than 20% CO, so I dropped the CO to 10% and that helped, she has had zero problems after I did that. I make soaps with higher CO, but not for her.

I know for a fact that it was the CO and not fragrances etc, because I have used the same fragrances, oils and aditives in my other soaps, and she had no problems with those. The only complaint I really get is that she is a bit annoyed with my strict 3 month cure before she gets anything.

All of this took me a lot of testing, trial and errors to figure out. Not to mention a lot of curingtime. But after taking my sweet time doing this for her I have learned a lot, and are happy I took the challenge.

Also, have you tried to make a 0% cleansing bar before? I also make my friend a 0% cleansing soap too. Those are really lovely, especially for dry skin, which is what many struggle with. It is a lovely soap, it leaves the skin clean but not stripped for natural skinoils.

PS!
Some may disagree, feel free to do so. But, as all my gyno`s though the years have said over and over again - SOAP is not supposed to be used *cough* down there. Evah. It messes with the finely tuned ph balance that is very sensitive to changes. Even those ph-neutral "soaps". Rinsing with water everyday is the best way. No matter what the huge soap industry guilt people into believeing. We have to wash with their down-there soaps, because if we do not - we are not "hygienic" enough.

They claim they are endorsed by the gynocologist themselves. Well, I have asked several, in all my years I have not even found one gyno who thinks that is a good idea...

So if they use your soap as a down-there-soap, and use it every day when they shower, I absolutely expect them to feel something unpleasant. If there is peppermint in there too, well then... User error is not your fault.

Anyway, don`t give up!! : )
 

IrishLass

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Your recipe looks fine to me.

Don't be too down on yourself or your soap, though, because it's actually not too uncommon of a thing for some folks to be sensitive to soap used on their private parts, simply because those areas are more pH-sensitive. I remember a poll that was taken on another soaping forum when I first started soaping where the question was asked whether or not folks washed their private parts with soap (whether handmade soap or commercial soap/syndets), or water.... and I was surprised at how many said they only used water to wash privates because of stinging or itching issues, even with syndets. I was surprised because I myself have always used soap down there and have never had an issue, and had just (wrongly) assumed at the time that it was the same for everyone, but not so!

Re: the mint in the scent: I once made a soap with WSP's Peppermint Stick FO and both my hubby and son just about jumped clear out of their skin when they washed with it 'down there'. They immediately dubbed it my 'Evil Soap', and they refused to ever wash with it again. lol I, on the other hand, loved it and found it refreshing to use all over, but that just goes to show that there are different likes for different skin-types. lol

Have you tried having them test any unscented/uncolored soaps?



IrishLass :)
 

shunt2011

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I'm with the others. Don't give up. Your recipe looks fine to me as well. Sometimes it's can be frustrating. Find some friends to be Guinea pigs. You may be surprised.
 

dibbles

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I agree your recipe is fine. I would also guess the mint is the culprit for the stinging issues. I once made a bergamot/rosemary/mint soap that I loved and shared it with my MIL. She gently told me that it caused a burning sensation in her 'sensitive mucousy areas' (her words). Oh dear, not what you want to hear from your MIL. She still uses my soap and I just make sure I don't give her anything with mint.

I'm going to digress here, but while we are on the subject of my in laws! My husband's grandmother loved my chili. I'd freeze it for her in single servings, and she ate it often. When she had to go to the hospital and they asked her what she had eaten, she remembered she'd had chili the night before. Her problem was with her heart, completely unrelated, but she convinced herself it was the chili that put her in the hospital and would never touch it again. So I made her soup instead.

The rash, I don't know, but the shea butter idea is a thought.
 

KristaY

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"Some may disagree, feel free to do so. But, as all my gyno`s though the years have said over and over again - SOAP is not supposed to be used *cough* down there. Evah. It messes with the finely tuned ph balance that is very sensitive to changes. Even those ph-neutral "soaps". Rinsing with water everyday is the best way. No matter what the huge soap industry guilt people into believeing. We have to wash with their down-there soaps, because if we do not - we are not "hygienic" enough."

Well said MySoapyHeart! This is exactly the point I was going to make. Female genitalia is very sensitive to change, especially pH. Warm, running water is the best "cleanser" for that area.

Also, the point about shea butter is a good one. More and more people seem to be developing a sensitivity to latex these days. Maybe they're becoming sensitive to it and just aren't aware it's an issue yet, especially if they don't work in an area that requires routine use of gloves. Maybe you could try to substitute another butter like cocoa or mango.

I don't see anything wrong with your recipe. That should be wonderful soap! I have people in my life that will never like bar soap. Even if I could add some magical ingredient that would cure every disease on earth, they still wouldn't be happy with it. So don't give up! You can't please all the people all the time. Dibbles great chili story is the perfect example!
 

LoveOscar

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You could experiment with liquid body washes if that is their preference. Keep the bar soap as a hand wash soap. Iirc, working in skin care, an enormous amount of the consumer base uses liquid body washes, like 92%.

Don't be discouraged. Keep doing what makes you happy. Maybe find someone else willing to test your bars. And maybe expand your product base to include liquid soaps. Make what your family uses. :)

I am an indiscriminate body cleanser user and hoarder. I keep a liquid body wash, cream body wash, sea salt body wash, sugar scrub, handmade sea sponge bar soap, and w/e bar soap(s) I am experimenting with, in my shower.
 

mzimm

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Well, I'm breathing a little easier! And laughing a lot, too. Thanks to all who weighed in with reassurances. Here are my takeaways:
1) easy or zero on the mint
2) consider a 0% cleansing bar --- this seems like a great idea and I've been meaning to try it
3) Shea butter may be a suspect - although neither of them have known allergies, its relationship to latex could be a concern. My son-in-law says his rash occurred in his underarms, so maybe shea was the offender there
4) I had heard over the years that soap contributes to yeast infections in women, but since it was never a problem for me and I freely wash everywhere with it, I wrongly assumed the experts were probably wrong.
5) Finally, as some of you said, not everybody is going to be happy with handmade soap. I just hope, truly, that people I've given soap to will be honest with me if they don't like it. I'm going to have to check in with all of them now, and ask them to, "tell me how you really feel." That's a necessary part of the deal, isn't it? Learning how to keep learning.
 

SuzieOz

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Well, there you go, I'm 50 years old and I never knew you shouldn't wash "down there" with soap. I missed something in my education somewhere ... :razz:

I must say, though, that peppermint oil can give quite the zing ... not unpleasant though ... :eek:
 

ngian

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Well you shouldn't get discouraged as you can't make everyone like your soaps as every individual is different and has different smelling sensitivities.

I gave once to a friend a very nice Avocado oil soap with the fo of lemon and when she tried it she said that the soap smelled some kind of woman's period! I have given the same soap to others too without any issues.

As it concerns the recipe, I think that the usage of milk for full water replacement along with honey, those two might have shifted the superfat to maybe 10% (if the lye was also less than 99% pure) and adding 30% lye concentration, all these might contribute to a soft soap bar, and to a not saponified Tallow Beef that might smell not so good for someone.

You could try not using FOs at all and use Palm instead of Tallow.
 
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bountifulsoaps

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Mint...My daughter cannot be around mint. When she visits I have to take anything mint out of the house and back into the soap kitchen. when she lived at home we ended up at the emergency room because of a bath with mint soap. Now she loves my soap and even used (Christmas soaps all fos like almond, chocolate, cinnamon, pumkin) without a problem only mint essential oils. An elderly lady who always buys my lavender and frankincense essential oil soaps tried my double mint and she had a reaction not bad but she said it dried her out so she is back to lavender and frankincense.
 

McMomWV

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No new advice from me, but wanted to say Don't Give Up! Again, try something other than mint for these two. A lot of problems with washing nether regions is the change and ph and lack of proper rinsing. Keep trying and perhaps find a couple more test subjects.
 

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