Dr. Bronner's Olive Fatty Acid? Do I Need This?

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CookbookChef

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I was reading a Listing on Ebay for Dr. Bronner's Soap. I was reading the ingredients along with the listing itself that Dr. Bronner's uses something called Olive Fatty Acid, says that they Superfat their soap with this. They go on to say that this Olive Fatty Acid ensures that there is no free alkali, and lowers the ph, making a milder, smoother lather. The listing also stated that rosemary extract is used to protect freshness, (stating that rosemary is effective at 0.005%s s so it contributes absolutely no scent). Oh, and also the listing stated that plant-derived antioxidants are also used as well (as another way of protecting freshness).

Here is the Ingredient list: Ingredients: Water, Saponified Coconut-Hemp-Olive Oils (with retained Glycerin), Olive Fatty Acids, Lavandin & Lavender Oils, Rosemary Extract.

I am guessing that the plant-derived antioxidants that are being used would have to be the Lavandin and Lavender Oils (Just My Guess)
I understand all of this pretty well, except for the part about the part where they Superfat using the Olive Fatty Acid. I have high hopes that somebody can explain this more to me as I have been working hard at making Lots of Liquid Soap as of late, but to date, have only used Borax one time on a trouble maker batch, and never had to use it on any other batches. That being said, I know many who also use or instead of, use Citric Acid and or Boric Acid. I am new, so please be gentle, I only have 22 Batches of LS Under My belt, which I know to many, is a drop in the hat. Being said, I am trying very diligently to make a Superior Product, and in my own humble opinion, went on believing that less is better. Meaning, if I can get away with NOT using Borax, Boric, or Citric Acid, all the better for a more Natural Liquid Soap! But I have to say, the one time I used the Borax, I was amazed at how much thicker it had made my LS Become. It was nice, so I had to keep adding MORE Water to dilute it. Saying that, I had a thicker product, but felt a less soapy product as well to accommodate all that extra water. Just my thoughts, I can not really conclude much on one batch of LS Using the Borax just the one time. Oh, I forgot, yes, I did use Citric Acid in the start of things, way back when I was just learning my first few batches. Ok, anyway, I saw that Olive Fatty Acid on Doc. Bronner's LS, and thought to myself is this something that I should be using? I mean, it stated in the listing it helps with the PH...but so does Borax, it also said that it helps with a milder, smoother Lather. It all sounds good, but I am bringing this up because to me, this is a NEW topic. I couldnt tell you what Olive Fatty Acid is, or where I would buy it even if I wanted to use it in my LS. And then their is the thought that Less is Better. Maybe I should leave well enough alone and go about trying my best to NOT use any of the acids at all. Yes, I know Citric Acid is Natural, and it seems as if Olive Fatty Acid would be too, but saying that, I am such a new LS maker, I thought I better see about gaining some wisdom from the Forum Here. I know this was kind of a long post, I wanted to give a brief run down of my experience and my own personal thoughts on soaping, so that you could possibly understand me and my question a bit more, I hope ;)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Olive oil is an olive fatty acid. All of the oils and fats that we use (maybe some exceptions) are fatty acids.

While I don't know him personally, I can't take anything on face from 'Dr' Bronner, especially after the reason given for calling their soap a Castile when it very clearly isn't.
 

Susie

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Olive oil contains fatty acids. Fatty acids are the part of the oils we use that join with the KOH that make the soap. So, by saying that it is used for mildness, it just means that it is used in place of something like Coconut Oil that can be harsher when used in high percentages. They probably think by adding it like that they are doing something special, not just another oil. The "Rosemary Extract" is what they are calling the antioxidant. Rosemary Oleoresin Extract(ROE) is an antioxidant. But then, they are NOT AT ALL into naming stuff or labeling stuff "properly", so what do you expect? The lavandin and lavender oils are the "essential oils" used to scent the soap.

Castile soap is supposed to be 100% olive oil. But because the USA does not have any legal definition for "Castile", they can call it anything they choose. Please note that they list olive fatty acids after the other oils, so there is supposed to be less of it than the oils listed before it.

Now, if you want to make a Dr. Bronner's "clone" type soap, go right ahead. Not me, and not most of us. And I won't be offering to help make a recipe. We choose to make high quality soaps of our own design that are named properly.

I am sorry to sound so harsh, but lots of us have sort of a "knee jerk" reaction to Dr. Bronner's. They are a business trying to make money, just like everyone else. But their labeling practices are not what we consider "appropriate", so we react badly.

As for Borax, I am with you. Less is more, or better. The less steps you can put into your soap, the less that can go wrong.(And the less I can be allergic to.) You go on thinking that simpler is better, because it is.
 
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CookbookChef

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Olive oil is an olive fatty acid. All of the oils and fats that we use (maybe some exceptions) are fatty acids.

While I don't know him personally, I can't take anything on face from 'Dr' Bronner, especially after the reason given for calling their soap a Castile when it very clearly isn't.
Wow, Thanks for that, I honestly did not know that the oils we used are Mostly considered fatty acids. Lol...I can't help but laugh cause for whatever the reason, he lists his Olive oil, and then he went ahead and listed Olive Fatty Acids...as if to say he is adding some kind of Mystery Ingredient that is"Special"...ha ha...well, I guess they meant to fool the "Ignorant public" like ME!! Ha Ha....when You said it is just oils, I started laughing, I still think its funny. In other-words, Dr. Bronner's decided to call Americans STUPID. I think that's funny. I ended up in that category, I look at Stupid and Ignorant as two different things tho. I am not stupid, but ignorant to an ingredient. I have concluded that because he states he uses Olive Oil, and then states in a totally NEW WAY that he is adding more Olive Oil, I believe he is trying to create some sort of magical Smoke screen over his product, like They would in the days of old, like Snake Oil, Or Cough Syrup! Now I am looking at his product in a whole new light!! Ya, I think I shall not worry about trying to copy his recipe, I learned from IrishLass the correct way of making LS, and That works really well for me. I have even since learned that with added patience, and cooking my paste longer and by adding one teaspoon of oil to it every 30 minutes if it is still zappy at the end, then with all of that, and added patience, I don't ever need the Borax anyway. I have concluded that those who use Borax either or in a rush, and just can't wait for the paste to become not zappy, or they want to simply lower the PH. Saying that, I have patience, and as far as making a lower PH...I am still learning about that, but have concluded that their are safer ways to lower the PH then by using a chemical like Borax. Ok, Thanks so much for the Lesson The Efficacious Gentleman!! I kindly and humbly say "Thank You". :smile:
 

CookbookChef

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Olive oil contains fatty acids. Fatty acids are the part of the oils we use that join with the KOH that make the soap. So, by saying that it is used for mildness, it just means that it is used in place of something like Coconut Oil that can be harsher when used in high percentages. They probably think by adding it like that they are doing something special, not just another oil. The "Rosemary Extract" is what they are calling the antioxidant. Rosemary Oleoresin Extract(ROE) is an antioxidant. But then, they are NOT AT ALL into naming stuff or labeling stuff "properly", so what do you expect? The lavandin and lavender oils are the "essential oils" used to scent the soap.

Castile soap is supposed to be 100% olive oil. But because the USA does not have any legal definition for "Castile", they can call it anything they choose. Please note that they list olive fatty acids after the other oils, so there is supposed to be less of it than the oils listed before it.

Now, if you want to make a Dr. Bronner's "clone" type soap, go right ahead. Not me, and not most of us. And I won't be offering to help make a recipe. We choose to make high quality soaps of our own design that are named properly.

I am sorry to sound so harsh, but lots of us have sort of a "knee jerk" reaction to Dr. Bronner's. They are a business trying to make money, just like everyone else. But their labeling practices are not what we consider "appropriate", so we react badly.

As for Borax, I am with you. Less is more, or better. The less steps you can put into your soap, the less that can go wrong.(And the less I can be allergic to.) You go on thinking that simpler is better, because it is.
I did find it weird that they call themselves a Castile Soap, And state that they are gentle for babies. I know just from being here that Castile Oil is a General term on Ebay, meaning Vegetable Oil, same for the USA. But I have also learned here on the Forum that only 100% Olive Oil can be considered Castile Soap, a TRUE Castile Soap. He states his product is safe for babies, but I know that can not be true as even tho Lavender can be used on Babies, you have to use a Very Small amount. And I am sure that the amount of Lavender he has in his Soap is Plenty to give it a good Aroma, which means strong Enough for Adults, but way to strong for Babies. He does offer a Baby Mild Soap, where I would hope he has a softer blend of Essential Oil. But ya, I had a red flag when he called BOTH the Regular LS Baby Mild, and then on the side he has a LS That he calls baby mild. Two different recipes, but they advertise as if ALL of the LS he sells are baby mild. That to me is dangerous.
So, once again, Thanks Susie for the Lesson here today, just sticking around I am learning alot. Yes, I aim to have Pure Castile Soap ( Olive Oil Soap ) and I also aim to have Pure Liquid Soap (A Blend of Oils Soap) I aim to keep continue with my quality control, and for me, I will sometimes Judge my LS Against Others, just to challenge myself, and help myself grow. I did that with Dr. Bronner's , and from what I see today, I have nothing to worry about. I think he may not even be a real Dr....ha ha. Ok, Thanks Susie, Very Helpful Information indeed!!:smile:
 

Obsidian

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The plant-derived antioxidant is the rosemary extract. Have you ever used Dr. Bronners? I find it to be exceptionally harsh and drying.
 

CookbookChef

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The plant-derived antioxidant is the rosemary extract. Have you ever used Dr. Bronners? I find it to be exceptionally harsh and drying.
I have not ever used it, and I have seen it and actually wondered how they get the LS to look so clear, not clear as see thru, but clear as it looks like water. My LS looks clear as in see thru, but then it also looks golden, more like Honey. It has always made me wonder if he isn't telling the truth on HOW he makes his LS..cause every bottle looks like water, never looking like amber like mine. I have made so many batches to know that I cant get a water looking LS no matter what I do. See thru, yes, like honey, but thats it. I think he isnt telling everybody the truth....just wondering here, thoughts in my own head. So wow, harsh you say...hhhmmm, I like my soap just fine, leaves my hands soft and wanting MORE of it. I just love how My hair feels, and body feels after using my homemade version. Thanks, I will stop WANTING to try his LS:!:
 

Obsidian

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I think he uses a lot of coconut to give it superb lather, unfortunately that also makes it drying. The pale color could be from being quite diluted, its a very thin liquid. I ended up mixing the bottle I bought with some of my LS and used it for shampoo. I had bought the peppermint Dr.B's and it was so strong, it burned my eyes when I washed my body.
Personally I like a thicker, amber colored LS, seems more robust to me:)
 

DeeAnna

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Coconut fatty acid is made from coconut oil, but it's not the same as coconut oil. So it is proper that coconut fatty acid is listed separately in addition to coconut oil in an ingredients list.
 

Susie

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See, DeeAnna, I learn something new from you every day. So how are they breaking the oil down into just fatty acids?
 

DeeAnna

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To break a fat down into fatty acids and glycerin, one commercial process has been to react the fat with water (steam actually) under conditions of high pressure and temperature. That's not too practical in a small scale, so here's a method that would work for handcraft soapers:

In the 1800s and early 1900s pharmacists used soaps in a variety of salves and other medical concoctions. They sometimes purchased well-made "toilet" soaps from soap makers to make these products. Other times they would make their own soap from fatty acids if they needed an especially pure soap for whatever reason. Here's the method:

Make a lye-heavy soap using fresh, pure fat. The typical fat used was olive or tallow. The excess lye ensures all of the fat is saponified. Mix the soap with an excess of a relatively strong acid -- sulfuric acid, if I remember correctly.

The fatty acids will separate from and float as a mass of solids on top of a water layer. Remove as much of the water layer as possible. The resulting fatty acid layer is washed several times with water to remove excess acid, glycerin, and water-soluble impurities.

Then make soap from the purified fatty acids using a zero lye excess or slight superfat.

The ingredients list on this pharmaceutical soap would be: tallow fatty acids (or olive fatty acids), lye (KOH or NaOH), water. Any soaping fat can be used -- this would work, for example, with coconut oil to make coconut fatty acids. Some shave soaps use coconut fatty acids.

You can substitute citric acid for the sulfuric. Citric is strong enough to break soap into its fatty acids with a little more patience. Does that sound familiar in the context of making liquid soap? :p
 
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Susie

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So, let me get this straight...they are making soap twice using this method? Make the soap, break the soap with an acid. Wash the fatty acids and make the soap again??? Wow.
 

Obsidian

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I think its more likely they are using olive fatty acid thats already been processed instead of adding the additional steps themselves.
 

DeeAnna

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Susie -- Yes, in the small scale method, the soap is basically made twice. One saponification and acidification to remove the impurities, and a second saponification to make the finished soap. It's something a pharmacist or handcrafted soap maker could do, but I agree it's certainly a complicated and fussy process. The point, however, was not to make soap to "wash the unwashed masses", but to obtain small amounts of very pure soap for pharmaceutical use.

Obsidian -- Yes, you are quite right. I'm sure Dr Bronner is not making the oleic fatty acids with the pharmacists' twice-saponified process. That's not at all practical. Bronner is buying the product from a commercial producer who's using an efficient large-scale industrial process to get the job done.
 

biarine

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I never use Dr bronner's castile, his castile soap is actually a Bastille because he never use 100% olive oil. I use Rosemary oleoresins in my shampoo bar and also on my face cream and lotion but not in my soap.
 

CookbookChef

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To break a fat down into fatty acids and glycerin, one commercial process has been to react the fat with water (steam actually) under conditions of high pressure and temperature. That's not too practical in a small scale, so here's a method that would work for handcraft soapers:

In the 1800s and early 1900s pharmacists used soaps in a variety of salves and other medical concoctions. They sometimes purchased well-made "toilet" soaps from soap makers to make these products. Other times they would make their own soap from fatty acids if they needed an especially pure soap for whatever reason. Here's the method:

Make a lye-heavy soap using fresh, pure fat. The typical fat used was olive or tallow. The excess lye ensures all of the fat is saponified. Mix the soap with an excess of a relatively strong acid -- sulfuric acid, if I remember correctly.

The fatty acids will separate from and float as a mass of solids on top of a water layer. Remove as much of the water layer as possible. The resulting fatty acid layer is washed several times with water to remove excess acid, glycerin, and water-soluble impurities.

Then make soap from the purified fatty acids using a zero lye excess or slight superfat.

The ingredients list on this pharmaceutical soap would be: tallow fatty acids (or olive fatty acids), lye (KOH or NaOH), water. Any soaping fat can be used -- this would work, for example, with coconut oil to make coconut fatty acids. Some shave soaps use coconut fatty acids.

You can substitute citric acid for the sulfuric. Citric is strong enough to break soap into its fatty acids with a little more patience. Does that sound familiar in the context of making liquid soap? :p
Good Job explaining this, In detail. That was needed here indeed. If you would of explained only in part, it would cause confusion. But you elaborated so that ALL could understand. I appreciate this about your time connected with this post. Thank You DeeAnna
 

Susie

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Must be ROE, I don't see any other plant based antioxidants. And why should they call it the correct name when they don't call anything else the correct name?
 

cdmusic68

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So what is the purpose of adding the additional fatty acid? To make the soap more concentrated? It won't add to the conditioning of the soap after that process... Or will it? Just curious!
 

DeeAnna

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Soap really doesn't condition the skin. It only cleans, regardless of the fats or fatty acids used.

The use of fatty acids in a recipe compared with using the fat from which the fatty acids are made won't make a soap any more concentrated or stronger or more cleansing or whatever. Fatty acids just make soap, just like fats make soap.

Three big differences between fatty acids and fats for making soap: Fatty acids don't make glycerin when they saponify; fats do produce glycerin when they saponify. Commercially produced fatty acids tend to have a lower amount of impurities than the fats from which the fatty acids come. Also, fatty acids saponify very quickly; fats saponify slowly in comparison. This can be a critical issue when you're trying to manufacture product in high volumes.

Why use fatty acids rather than fats? Lower cost because fatty acids can be produced from low-quality fats, better availability on the world market, more control over the consistency of the end product, and fewer impurities in the fatty acids are some possibilities. Ease of saponification is another.
 
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