Egg soap

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DeeAnna

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There's an old thread that got some response recently -- https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/egg-yolk-soap.18164/ -- and I thought I'd share an article I wrote about egg soap. Here tis --

Whole eggs, egg yolks, and especially egg whites have been added to soap for at least 100 years.

The venerable Swedish soap Lanolin-Agg-Tval contains egg white. These tiny (50 gram, 1.75 ounce) bars are touted as the Swedish secret for a lovely complexion. In 1908, authors W.H. Simmons and H.A. Appleton were less enthusiastic:

"...The use of albumen [egg white]... in soap has been persistently advocated in this country [the United States] during the past few years. The claims attributed to albumen are, that it neutralises free alkali, causes the soap to yield a more copious lather, and helps to bind it more closely... Experiments made by the authors did not appear to justify any enthusiasm on the subject, and the use of albumen for soap-making in this country appears to be very slight, however popular it may be on the Continent...."
Simmonds and Appleton, Handbook of Soap Manufacture, 1908.​

Egg yolk supposedly adds richness or thickness to the lather, perhaps due to the 1 gram of lecithin per yolk. Lecithin, an emulsifier and surfactant, is thought to slow trace when working with accelerating fragrances. Some say it helps a little; others say it does not slow trace and also softens the soap. There is only a small amount of lecithin in egg yolk, so it is unlikely to have much effect either way.

So far, I have used only whole eggs in my soap, but you can use just yolks or whites as you please. The egg soap batches I have made seem to saponify and harden in the mold about the same as non-egg batches. I do not see any obvious difference in the hardness, lather, and other qualities of the finished cured soap. Like Simmonds and Appleton, I do not think egg is a miracle additive, but it is fun to include and adds label appeal.

wcSoapFDg1.jpg

A couple of bars from a recent batch of egg soap.

How much to use

I suggest 1 whole egg or 1-2 egg yolks or 1 egg white per pound (or per 500 grams) of fats.

1 large whole egg supplies 5 grams of fat and 38 grams of water
1 large egg yolk supplies 5 g of fat and 9 g of water
1 large egg white supplies zero fat and 29 g of water

Adjust for the water in egg

Egg yolk will add 4% to 8% additional water to a batch of soap, if you add 1 yolk per pound or per 500 grams of fats.

Whole egg or egg white will add considerably more water. One whole egg per pound or per 500 grams of fats will supply 15% to 30% of the total water needed to make the soap and the white alone will add almost that much.

To account for this added water, use your usual lye concentration (or water:lye ratio) to calculate the total water needed for the soap batch. Next, calculate the total water added by the egg. Finally, subtract the water in the egg from the total water in the batch to get the additional water needed. Here is an example --

My latest egg soap recipe has a total of 1600 grams of fat
Total water = 510 grams based on a 33% lye concentration (2.0 water:lye ratio)
I added 3 whole eggs. Egg water = 3 x 38 = 114 grams
Additional water needed = 510 - 144 = 366 grams​

Adjust for the fat in egg

A whole egg or egg yolk per pound (or 500 grams) of fats adds only a small amount of fat to the recipe. Whether you ignore this added fat or not is up to you. If you want to include the egg fat in the soap recipe calculations, here is how --

Many soap recipe calculators, including Soapcalc and Soapee, do not have an entry for egg fat, but there is a work-around solution for that. The saponification value of egg fat is the same as for canola oil -- about 0.133 -- so use canola oil as a stand-in for the egg fat.

Enter 5 grams of "canola oil" for every egg yolk you want to use. This will trick the calculator into calculating the correct weight of NaOH for your recipe.

Canola oil does not have the same fatty acid profile as egg fat, so the fatty acid profile of your recipe will be slightly off. The fatty acids in egg fat are roughly comparable to emu oil.

How to add eggs to soap

A few points to remember --

Curdling happens when egg proteins are able to clump together during cooking to form unpleasant lumps. Prevent curdling by starting with cool ingredients, by diluting the egg with other liquids before soaping (source), and by letting the soap warm up gradually during saponification. These tips will help prevent hard bits, nasty odors, and weird colors in your egg soap.

All ingredients should start at room temperature to just slightly warm (below 105 F or 40 C).

Cold process (CP) soap making works fine, even if the soap eventually gets warm enough to gel. I have not tried hot process (HP), so I cannot say how that works.​

Here is the method I have used --

Crack the egg(s) into a small bowl. If you want just the yolks or whites in your soap, separate the egg and reserve the unwanted part for another use.

Stick blend the egg until smooth. There is no need to pick out the chalaza (the white ropy bit on one side of the yolk) or any other membranes.

Check that the fats are cool enough. Pour the blended egg into the fats. You can pour the egg through a strainer to catch any small bits the stick blender missed.

Stick blend for a few seconds to bring the eggs and fat to a consistent temperature. The mixture will quickly separate after you stop mixing, but that is okay.

Make sure the lye solution is cool enough. Add the lye to the fat and egg mixture. Make the soap as normal. Right after adding the lye, the batter may darken and there may be an ammonia or "rotten eggs" odor for a short time. These changes are typical.

Allow the soap to saponify. I do not insulate the mold nor add extra heat (CPOP, heating pad, etc.) I only lightly cover the mold to help the surface of the soap stay a bit warmer and keep the dust off. My goal is to let the soap warm up slowly on its own.​

Even without insulation or extra heat, all my batches of egg soap have gelled. There have been no lingering odors or unexpected color changes.​

By blending the eggs with the fats and soaping on the cool side, I have noticed only a small whiff of odor right after adding the lye, but I have not observed any weird colors, hard lumps, or lingering odors that other soapers sometimes mention.

Other resources

 
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amd

Thanks, DeeAnna, for sharing this info! I was going to go weeding through the mentioned old thread, as I have been curious to do my own experiments. I had received an egg soap from another soaper but it developed a horrible case of DOS (probably the grossest case of DOS I have seen) so I didn't get a chance to try the soap. I was curious if the DOS was particular to her recipe, or if egg reduces the shelf life of a soap. Now I know how to go about doing my test batch! Great job compiling all of this info to one handy dandy location :thumbs:
 

DeeAnna

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I've not seen any DOS in my egg soap, but all of my batches with egg have had tetrasodium EDTA in them.

In all my ramblings around as I researched egg soaps, however, I have never seen any warnings about egg being linked to rancidity. My guess is there was something else going on in your fellow soaper's soap to cause the rancidity.

***

I should also point out that 1 egg yolk ppo (or per 500 grams of fat) will color your soap a pale custard yellow.

The lighter yellow in the soap in my first post is the color from the yolk plus a small amount of titanium dioxide. In my latest batch of egg soap, I didn't use any TD, and the yellow is only slightly darker than what's in the photo above.

If you want a white soap, I'd stick to egg white only, not yolk or whole egg.
 

snappyllama

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Thanks for posting this! As usual, you've covered all the questions I was going to ask. :) I was surprised to read about the gelling... that's a handy benefit. I normally don't bother gelling but sometimes want the richer colors.

My pet chickens just started laying, and we are running out of things to do with all their eggs. My favorite, Miss Princess Beaker, will contribute her presents to this weekend's soap batch. She is a polish so her eggs are about a third the size of regular eggs. This is the perfect way to use them up.
 

cerelife

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Thanks, Deanna!
This has been on my 'experiment' list for a couple of years. Now I have no excuse not to give it a whirl!!
 

DeeAnna

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Here's a photo of my latest batch of egg soap with a hanger swirl. It contains 3 whole eggs (US large size) in 1600 grams of fat.

The pale yellow is the base soap with the egg only -- no additional colorants. The darker yellow is the same batter with some yellow iron oxide pigment added. The blues are made with varying amounts of ultramarine blue, black iron oxide, and a bit of titanium dioxide (TD) pigments. I don't add a lot of colorant, but you can see the pigments make the soap more opaque looking compared with the more translucent base soap.

DSC_0009 800.jpg
 

DeeAnna

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I gather the pale yellow from the egg yolk that I have been getting in CP soap turns into a warm beige color in HP soap? Or did you add colorant to the main portion of the soap to get that pretty shade?

Nice swirl pattern -- and you chose an attractive color combination. Well done!
 

Sharon Patterson

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I gather the pale yellow from the egg yolk that I have been getting in CP soap turns into a warm beige color in HP soap? Or did you add colorant to the main portion of the soap to get that pretty shade?

Nice swirl pattern -- and you chose an attractive color combination. Well done!
It actually didn't turn too brown when I added the lye. Of course I had tempered the egg with the oils right before. I did a bit of zinc oxide to make it whiter before swirling.
 

DeeAnna

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I uploaded a short video tonight about how I make soap with whole egg and lanolin. If you're interested in the process, here's a link to the video --

I promise you won't have to listen to any stick blender whine. And the video is tolerably short -- under 7 minutes. ;)
 

DeeAnna

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Thank you! I taught math and science at our local community college for 10 years so I've had lots of practice speaking informally about technical subjects. The experience has come in handy for making videos.

Even so, it's stressful. Enunciate, talk a little slower than usual, avoid "ums" and "you knows" (I'm not perfect at this by any means), know your subject inside and out, and be able to think ahead to the next task while talking about the current one.

I think it's harder to do a soap making video than teach. My tendency is to just do one thing at a time -- talk about soap or make it -- and a person must do both to be really effective.

It's also easy for me to slip into professor mode and digress into explaining the whys as well as the hows. That can get me into trouble on a video -- some explanation is fine, but too much gets to be boring and can be confusing. Thank goodness for editing software!
 

Dawni

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Very good tutorial video, with clear, easy-to-follow instructions. You also have a very pleasant voice.
I agree! And thanks for the video.. Egg has been on my must try list but I haven't gotten around to it.
 

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