Quantcast

Does beeswax really make for a harder soap?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
I am wanting to try using beeswax in a recipe, the hardness of the recipe is 33.5, and strangely to me, when I add 1.5 tsp. to a 16 oz oil recipe it comes out of soapcalc like 2 points softer. I have also ran it through exchanging equal olive oil for beeswax rather than just adding to....Olive oil is clearly much softer than an equal amount of bw, so is this just a quirk in the calculator? Does it even harden the soap at all. Am I missing something here? Please help, something that should make sense is not making the sense it should.
 

Bex1982

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
289
Reaction score
112
Location
Coast of Washington
Hum, it’s funny because I use it in my soap and never thought to check hardness because I just assumed ir would add hardness, now im wondering if that's why one of my soaps came out so soft..
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
1.5% bw
15.7 % castor
20.5 % coconut
42.9 olive pomace
19.4% palm oil.
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
The recipe without the bw added or altering the olive oil is 33.5 where modifying the recipe to add the be ends up being 33.2 or 33.3. But still it should be harder right? I know it's not a huge difference but it shouldn't go softer. Im just wondering.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,592
Reaction score
17,388
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
It's because you are adding 1.5% of an ingredient that will not contribute any soap that adds to hardness. Beeswax has no saponifiable fatty acids, so it is just something that dilutes the fats, as far as soap calc is concerned.

It's the same as adding, say, pine tar to a recipe. There's an entry in soap calc for pine tar, but it doesn't saponify either. By diluting the fats in a soap recipe, it also reduces the hardness value calculated by soap calc based on those saponifiable fats.

Any other additive like sugar, oatmeal, whatever, will do the same if there were entries for these additives in soap calc. They don't make soap, so the math that soap calc uses will treat these additives as stuff that dilutes down the hardness created by the soap.
 
Last edited:

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
But it does make the soap harder right? And thanks for your help.
 

FarmerMom

Active Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
25
Reaction score
4
Beeswax and soapcalc

Soapcalc.com does not register a hardness factor for beeswax (click on the beeswax line item then check the register on the left) therefore it won't correctly calculate the totals either.
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
And your explanation makes sense, about the dilution and how a program does the math.
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
Soapcalc.com does not register a hardness factor for beeswax (click on the beeswax line item then check the register on the left) therefore it won't correctly calculate the totals either.
Did not know that, thanks :)
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
K, so I feel really stupid! I was looking at the calculations wrong, so sorry guys to have wasted your time. One of those days! Now that I figured it out, will bw act differently, like accelerate trace or cause soap to heat up more than normal? And I've seen to use 1-3%, is that so?
 

Bex1982

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
289
Reaction score
112
Location
Coast of Washington
Would that mess with the lye that soap calc tells you to use, if it thinks the fats are diluted?
Maybe when I did it I added too much beeswax. I thought it would just make it harder lol. This one guy was selling beeswax soap and he said it was made out of only beeswax. He must have been lying.
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
Bet he was. I'm pretty sure the lye has to be adjusted for the beeswax or you'll end up with softer soap even though you intended to harden it. Heck, i'm as clueless as the next guy. I've never used it, but I have some and think I may try it.I have that recipe above that I really like but I want it a pinch harder. Good luck!
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
9,879
Reaction score
7,231
Location
Idaho, USA
It will harden your bars a bit but its tricky to work with, there are better ways to get a hard bar. Also, many people don't like the feel of bw in soap. I personally like it ok but not enough to bother using it again.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,592
Reaction score
17,388
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
"...Would that mess with the lye that soap calc tells you to use..."

No.

A pound of fats takes X amount of lye to saponify. If you dilute that same pound with something that doesn't saponify, the pound still requires the same amount of lye. Think about it this way -- Measure out a teaspoon of salt. Look at it. Dump it in a quart of water. Is there still a teaspoon of salt in the water? Same deal.

Beeswax supposedly adds hardness. But it also can suppress lather, adds a waxy feel, and is notably hard to work with. I'm a hobby beekeeper and have plenty of beeswax, but I've never used it in soap and most likely never will. There are better ways to make a hard, longlasting bar of soap, if that is the only reason why you're thinking about using beeswax.
 

Bex1982

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Messages
289
Reaction score
112
Location
Coast of Washington
Thank you Deanna!
I used it in a honey soap, more for the cuteness of it being a "bee" type soap, and I do really have a soft spot for beeswax. I love the smell :) not that it matters in soap hehe. But its like natures lil special present :)
But yes, I did tthink I could kill two birds with one stone and get a harder bar. You're right about the lather. I actually had to rebatch that one twice. So I definitely need to reformulate that one!!
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
So, I think I may try it in a 1# batch. If I do the 50% coconut milk in the oils after lye and 50% water in the lye how do you think that would go? I want to use 1.5% beeswax like mentioned above. I'm a little nerved out. I've seen so many things on web where people say its a pain to work with, its tricky, it accelerates really quick, heats up a lot. As it is (without bw) when it add my coconut milk at medium trace it REALLY jumps to heavy trace super fast and I better be ready to roll! but this hasn't been a problem, I rather like that it move this quickly for me (probably cuz I use a whisk not a blender). Do you think I may have issues with this. I cant imagine that little bit of bw causing any more of a fuss than I already have with the quick heavy trace. But you guys know better than I, thats why I ask. As soon as I think I figured "soap"out, it stumps me all over again. I have been combining lye water with oils right at 110*F for both. What's the worst thing that could happen if I do this? I have been making lotion/creams and lotion bars for a few years using bw and am familiar with using it and its behavior, but am certain it is probably naughty with lye. Any thoughts on my issue?
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,592
Reaction score
17,388
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
Beeswax melts about 155-160 deg F. In a lotion that's not a problem because you need to bring your ingredients up to that temp anyways for the "heat and hold" step, so all usually goes well. But the way most people make soap, their soaping oils are usually cooler than 160, so the beeswax quickly cools off and solidifies in the oils, making small insoluble lumps. And that happens before you've even added the lye. Have fun....
 

Bubli

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
201
Reaction score
55
Alright DeeAnna, you've swayed me. I'll find something else to try. I was a little creeped out by it any way. So I have some steric acid flakes that I tried in cream once and ended up not liking, so I just didn't use it. That works in soap right? But I saw somewhere it said too much can be drying. Any good percentages?
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,592
Reaction score
17,388
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
Stearic acid melts about 160 deg F, so you are once again looking at an ingredient that is troublesome to get mixed properly into the soaping oils. It also reacts pretty much instantly with lye, which can cause any thing from faster trace in small amounts to seizing in larger amounts. And it also is similar to beeswax in that it contributes to hardness, somewhat less lather, and possibly a waxy texture to the soap.

I don't know about stearic causing skin dryness. Stearic is a major component of lard, palm, and tallow, all of which are not considered to be fats that make drying soap. I use it in shave soap to get the right kind of protective lather needed for shaving, but I do not use it in a regular bath type soap for the same reasons I don't use beeswax.

Why do you want to add ingredients like these to your recipe? Just cuz? If so, there's nothing wrong with that, if you just want to try something for the sake of trying it. But I kind of get a vibe that there might be more to it -- that you are hunting around for a quick fix to solve some problem, but not really thinking it through very well, nor explaining it well in this thread. There are many discussions on this forum about the use of beeswax and/or stearic acid in soap; perhaps you will find more answers there?
 
Top