Discouraging comments from others on your CP soaps?

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Makayla

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I'm not exactly sure where to put this kind of thread - and I apologize if it's the wrong place to put something like this. But it is in regard to CP soap, so here goes.

I've made about 5 CP soaps so far, I am a total beginner, but so far there was nothing wrong with the soaps (nothing major that I can tell at least) and all of my recipes turned out well as far as I can tell. But one thing is that me and my family have always been used to using the commercial liquid soap all the time. I don't even remember when I used a bar of any kind of soap for anything before I started making my own.

So there's a lot of questions, should this bar of soap feel this way, look like this, etc. And these kinds of things make me feel very insecure about whether my soaps are good or not - because I really don't have a reference point to judge them by.

I personally really like using my soaps, especially in shower. It was a bit strange at first to get used to using them, but it's a lot more fun to use something you know you made. They are good on my skin, although there really isn't anything that special to them I guess - soap is just soap. One thing that bothers me a bit is that I can't get that silky skin feel from using the bars. That's only achievable by using the commercial liquid soap. It does make me wonder what really are the advantages of making my own soap if it doesn't do things any better, in fact it does them worse than something I could easily buy.

Anyway, I don't want to make this long. The point of the thread was simply that I've also been getting discouraging comments from others, too. Well, it's just my family, really. My father doesn't like using my soap on his hands because he can't "wash it off" (I guess that's how it feels to him), and says that "your soap only stains the sink" (because it's sticky). My brother said that he didn't find it appealing to use in shower, because "it didn't really have any strong scent".

I did give a few bars to one of my friends who loved them and has asked me for more - so I guess it's not all bad. But as you can tell, all these comments really discourage me from making CP soap. It is really fun to make - but what is its value really? Especially if people around you dislike to use it no matter how much you change the recipe.

Has anyone ever been in this kind of situation and felt this way? I just feel really discouraged, because it's a hobby I'm growing to love a lot.
 

sue1965

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Please, please don't be discouraged! I felt just like you in the beginning! Yes, you are new and have a lot to learn. We are all learning...every new batch is STILL a learning experience. I felt very insecure when I first starting making CP. If I gave it to someone...would the like it? Handmade soap is never going to feel like the bars bought at the grocery store...thank goodness! My son used to say that he didn't like the way his skin felt squeaky clean afterwards. The more batches you make, the more confident you will feel. Play around with your recipes too...that will impact the way your bars come out...hard vs. soft, bubbly lather, conditioning. I downloaded Soapmaker 3 which is great but certainly not worthwhile unless you are truly into soaping. As far as retaining scent...that is something you will have to play around with. If you are looking for some great men's scents with staying power Cold Water and Cedar & Saffron from BB are great and my husband loves them both! Keep your chin up and keep soaping! :)
 

earlene

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Well that's discouraging to hear from your own immediate family, for sure. But you do have a friend who likes and wants more and you like them.

What I'd suggest is to post your recipes to ask for feedback. Maybe start with the one your dad says 'leaves stains in the sink' or that he 'can't rinse off'. Maybe an evaluation of the recipe by members here might help address some of those issues.

Also, is your immediate family general discouraging or is this something out of the ordinary? Not to say I am digging for information about how you were raised, etc. Just trying to put it into context.

Anyway, recipe analysis seems like the place to start. As I recall one of your soaps is a high oleic soap and you started using it at about 4 weeks. I can understand how your dad might say that he had trouble rinsing it off if that was the soap. I think with a much longer cure that feeling diminishes. Another factor of using hand-crafted bar soap is soap scum and the quality of your water. For me soft water makes my skin feel like the soap doesn't rinse off. But that's true with commercial bar soap, too, not just hand made soap. Harder water has more minerals in it and that affects how the soap rinses off of our skin. It also helps produce more soap scum, so it's a trade off. There are solutions to the soap scum issue, but that is really secondary at this point.

Your brother's comment, although not encouraging is a simple fix. Adding fragrance to soap is easy enough. If that is his only issue, no problem.

I have another thought, though. If you and your family haven't used bar soap in so very long and are having such a hard time adjusting to it, would you be interested in trying your hand at making liquid soap? You can still do bar soap, too of course, especially since it is something you really enjoy.
 

Millie

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I think you just need to find the right audience for your soap. Most people probably don't like to change their washing habits, so don't get too discouraged if your family is uncomfortable switching to bar soap.

One of my best friends hasn't even tried my soap, because she had a bad experience with a handmade soap she picked up at a fair. I don't push it. I get the best feedback from a pair of my crunchy friends - they are used to handmade soap and can even describe lather and skin feel, and aren't shy in sharing their washing habits!

Everyone else just asks me to keep making soap in their favorite scent, which is pretty boring. They can't tell the difference in feel with wildly different recipes - as long as it lathers they like it. (I don't really understand this - I think I've always been obsessed with soap). My inlaws are wary of my soap - they kindly put it on display, but I doubt they have even tried it. It's ok, some people just think handmade stuff is weird.

I hope you keep making soap!

Edit: Just saw Earlene's comment, that is good advice
 
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lsg

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If your FIL has soft water, that may make it harder to rinse off the soap. But don't let negative comments stop . Like the old song says "Keep On Truckin" or in your case soapin.:)
 

SheLion

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That's unfortunate that your family is discouraging about your soap. I second Earlene's excellent advice to put your recipes up for feedback and advice from the sages here. The amount of knowledge and wisdom in this forum is mind-boggling and someone here can probably address just about any soap issue you have.

If it were me, I would probably also stop giving my soap to the poo-pooers and just use it myself and give it to friends that appreciate it. But that's me.

Whatever you do, keep making soap. Speaking from my own experience, the more you soap, the better the soap gets.
 

IrishLass

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I can totally relate. I had some poo-pooers in the beginning of my soap-making journey, too. It's definitely discouraging when someone rejects something I have gone to the trouble of making, especially when I myself think it's the most wonderful thing I've ever made. lol Whenever I find myself in that kind of discouraging situation, I encourage myself with a line from an old candy bar commercial jingle from the '70's that has stuck with me all these years, "Nobody's quite the same-there's different likes for different bites." (Peter Paul's old commercial advertising their varied line of candy bars).

As with candy bars- so it is with handmade soap- it's wonderfully versatile enough to be able to tailor it to different likes, which for me is actually the most enjoyable part of making soap- tweaking things to make it better.

Instead of accepting defeat, just think of this blip in the road as a challenge that will serve to help you hone/improve your soap-making skills.

I third Earlene's excellent advice to put your recipes up on the forum for feedback. :thumbup:


IrishLass :)
 

Susie

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I had folks that did not like my handmade soap in the beginning. I did not give them more soap, and I gave more to the folks that liked it.

This forum is, by far, the most amazing group of individuals to help you hone your soap. Just post the recipes, and someone will be glad to help.
 
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BattleGnome

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Don't give up! I've had similar mixed reactions when I started soaping and I took the comments with a grain of salt before going out of my way to find the gifts the recipients would actually want. My husband doesn't come from a very crafty family and no matter what I doesn't seem like the Christmas gifts are appreciated (though I'm slowly figuring out what my mother in law might like), for the most part I've given up and buy things for them. At the same time I made 2lb batches for my mom and sister for Christmas because I know they actually use and like my soap.

If you like your soap then there is no reason you have to give it away. Stop gifting it for a bit and see if anyone asks about it. That's the person who might appreciate a bar when you feel comfortable gifting.
 

Makayla

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Thanks, everyone.

I guess the main problem for me is that there are not many different oils I can use. Everything else is way too expensive to make it worth it. I can't even get the palm oil where I live (all there is is palm olein). It feels like all of the oils I use are high in oleic acid and there is not much I can do to help that.

As for posting the recipes - that's a great idea and I should've done that in past too probably.

Also, is your immediate family general discouraging or is this something out of the ordinary? Not to say I am digging for information about how you were raised, etc. Just trying to put it into context.
It's certainly not out of the ordinary - you could hardly expect them to be encouraging about anything I'd decide to do. But I feel like they are just being cold honest and try to take it as a constructive feedback but it's hard when you don't even know what you have to change. Now that I think about it, when I started making my first soap, I was almost yelled at by my father because "I don't know what I'm doing" and that I'm playing with chemicals which I shouldn't. I'm well into my adulthood so these kinds of comments were really annoying to hear - I'm surprised I didn't just drop making soap right there and then.

Anyway, recipe analysis seems like the place to start. As I recall one of your soaps is a high oleic soap and you started using it at about 4 weeks. I can understand how your dad might say that he had trouble rinsing it off if that was the soap. I think with a much longer cure that feeling diminishes. Another factor of using hand-crafted bar soap is soap scum and the quality of your water. For me soft water makes my skin feel like the soap doesn't rinse off. But that's true with commercial bar soap, too, not just hand made soap. Harder water has more minerals in it and that affects how the soap rinses off of our skin. It also helps produce more soap scum, so it's a trade off. There are solutions to the soap scum issue, but that is really secondary at this point.
At this point I feel like a longer cure could be the only thing that I can do to even change anything. Yes, because of that first soap I tried making one mixed with lard and another one that's 100% lard (not ideal - but I wanted to see what it would be like). I'm using both of them now (4 weeks cure time, again), and my dad's comments haven't changed even about the 100% lard one. Which to me feels like no matter what I change in the recipe - the result is always going to be the same. They will be sticky and form a layer of slime.

Even I wasn't too happy with the 100% lard one because it feels a bit drying to my skin. I just don't know what else to use to make the bars harder, though.

Also, yeah, we do have very soft water here and hard water at our apartment in the city which I guess makes sense. My high oleic soap did feel better to use in hard water.

Your brother's comment, although not encouraging is a simple fix. Adding fragrance to soap is easy enough. If that is his only issue, no problem.
I did add essential oils to that soap. The problem is that the scents never stick too much. The bars to me smell great - they have a mild scent of whatever I put in them which is what I like. I wouldn't want my bars to have an overwhelming scent. But the essential oils just fade a lot, too. So even if I would like the bars to smell stronger it's hard to achieve. In that soap my brother didn't like, I put 5 ml of orange ess. oil, and 5 ml of apple/cinnamon ess. oil to a 700g batch. Also I added grounded cinnamon. I'm scared of putting too much essential oils because of possible skin irritations I read about.


I have another thought, though. If you and your family haven't used bar soap in so very long and are having such a hard time adjusting to it, would you be interested in trying your hand at making liquid soap? You can still do bar soap, too of course, especially since it is something you really enjoy.
That's a good advice, thanks. I did think about it, but the process seemed more complicated than CP soap, which is why I just stuck to CP.

I can understand also that "my audience isn't right" - after all my family didn't use soap bars in a looong time. It's just really stressful to give out soaps to other people, even just for testing, when I know people around me don't like it.

Anyway, I try to keep in perspective - that anyway, I just wanted to do this to see what it's like, and after all I do it because it's fun, and well, I use the soaps and they are good enough to me. And of course, there's more to learn and improve on.

I think this more or less answers and addresses most of the posts from everyone - which again, thank you everyone. I already feel a bit better about the whole situation because of your posts.
 

Susie

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OK, I admit I missed your other recipes, but I can help a little in the essential oil department to start with.

You need about 21 g of essential oil, depending on what it is, to scent a 700 g batch of soap at the lowest usage rate. Citrus (orange) essential oils are known faders in CP soap. I have tried everything suggested to get them to stick. They just don't. The essential oils you need to worry about being irritating include, but are not limited to (it is early, and I have not had coffee yet, so ask before you use one) cinnamon, clove, citrus oils, menthol, and peppermint. The apple/cinnamon sounds like a fragrance oil, though, and those usage rates can be very different. I would probably use the 21 g again, but you need to verify the safe usage rate with the seller.

You can use 1 tsp of salt in the soap to make it harder. Just take a little of the water amount and dissolve it. I would add that to the oils so as not to make your lye water cloudy. I like being able to see that all the lye is used up, though.

If you can get castor oil (should be available everywhere, look by the laxatives), and coconut oil, you have the start of a marvelous soap. Let me know if you can find the coconut oil, but I can give you a pretty good recipe that is not drying to get you started, even without coconut oil.

Lard 75% (525 g)
Olive Oil 20% (140 g)
Castor Oil 5% (35 g)
Sugar 15 g (mix with 30 g of the water amount, you need hot water for this)
Salt 5 g (mix with the sugar water)
Water 266 g
NaOH 92.7 g
Fragrance Oil 21 g

This gives you a 5% superfat in a 700 g batch. Give it 4-6 weeks for cure before judging.
 

Makayla

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Thank you for the recipe, Susie. I'll definitely give it a try when I can.

I don't have castor oil, though. Oils like coconut and castor are very expensive and I can't really afford them most of the time. I did use coconut oil in one of my soaps but I've yet to try it out. However, I managed to get about 200g of cocoa butter - so I'd really like to know what's the best way to use that amount in a batch of 600g of soap (that's how much my new mold can hold), because it was really expensive to get.

Also, is there no other oil that could replace castor in your recipe?
 

Soapprentice

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Makayla... everyone has a different requirement and it is impossible to get it right, right away...it takes time and patience to achieve the perfect soap. If u want your family to love your soap, try to note down what they want and make tiny batches for each person until they feel it right.. you can not please everyone with the same recipe.. I am sure everyone in this form went through that phase and everyone new will go through it too..

I have palmolein here as well... I checked the recipe in soap cal with both palm oil and palmolein and the difference is not huge, it can be done with tweaking the amount of other oils or butters.. I thought having high linoleic is bad, but nothing about high oleic.. am I wrong?

Please please don't loose your heart.. as a fellow newbie, we can get past this and someday, we will laugh thinking about this.. stay strong! May the force be with you ;)
 

Saintlysoaper

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I just wanted to add my support too. My family also have not used bar soap in decades and are so used to shower gel they just don't think bars are preferable. I love making them anyway because the colours, textures and scents make me happy - like baking but without the calories! Out of interest have you bought any handmade soaps from others that you really like? As a way to find out which ingredients you might prefer I mean?
 

Makayla

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Makayla... everyone has a different requirement and it is impossible to get it right, right away...it takes time and patience to achieve the perfect soap. If u want your family to love your soap, try to note down what they want and make tiny batches for each person until they feel it right.. you can not please everyone with the same recipe.. I am sure everyone in this form went through that phase and everyone new will go through it too..

I have palmolein here as well... I checked the recipe in soap cal with both palm oil and palmolein and the difference is not huge, it can be done with tweaking the amount of other oils or butters.. I thought having high linoleic is bad, but nothing about high oleic.. am I wrong?

Please please don't loose your heart.. as a fellow newbie, we can get past this and someday, we will laugh thinking about this.. stay strong! May the force be with you ;)
Thank you for your encouraging comment! And you are right. As for palm olein, I read that it's different from the palm oil and needs to be calculated differently too. While I don't know if you can really use it as a replacement, I remember reading that it's not as good in soaps, but then again I know nothing about this. As for acids, I'm not sure either. I guess too much of any particular type of acid is not good?

I just wanted to add my support too. My family also have not used bar soap in decades and are so used to shower gel they just don't think bars are preferable. I love making them anyway because the colours, textures and scents make me happy - like baking but without the calories! Out of interest have you bought any handmade soaps from others that you really like? As a way to find out which ingredients you might prefer I mean?
I'm glad there's someone who understands the situation, too. And no, I've never bought handmade soap before or have used it before. Even I myself haven't used the commercial soap in a looong time. So discerning what's normal, what's good, how the soap should act or not is really difficult for me.
 

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