Fatty Acid Profiles

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Kari Howie, Sep 18, 2019.

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  1. Sep 18, 2019 #1

    Kari Howie

    Kari Howie

    Kari Howie

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    Ever since I discovered that it is more important to look at fatty acids, rather than depending entirely on the ratio of hard to soft oils I have been trying to master this next stage of my ongoing education. However, for the last 3 days I have spent hours trying to please SoapCalc in a fruitless endeavor for the ideal bar of soap. It says I either have not enough Oleic acid, too much Linolenic, or the quality values are messed up--too drying, not bubbly enough, UnSat/Sat out of whack, etc, etc, etc. I know that soap-making is an art as well as a science, but I would like to be able to make less costly decisions about which and how much of various oils, butters, etc to use instead of my heretofore haphazard approaches. I also would like to use what I have on hand and come up with something that is not just a replication of a pre-made ready mix. I'm not sure what my question here is except--help!
     
  2. Sep 18, 2019 #2

    Lin19687

    Lin19687

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    You will never get the IDEAL bar. If it was that easy and everyone had the same type of skin then everyone would have the same recipe.

    Just keep making till you find what works for you.
     
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  3. Sep 18, 2019 #3

    IrishLass

    IrishLass

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    Hi Kari- you might be over-thinking things. Don't look at SoapCalc as being the be-all, end-all kind of calculator. All those cool values on SoapCalc need to be taken with a grain or two of salt. I look at them as mere jumping-off tools at best that help me to be able to tweak whatever formula to get it closer to where I'd like it to be.

    Do you happen to like any of the formulas you have made already? Or at least kinda sorta like one or two, but feel they could be improved in certain areas? If so, that's where I would start. Ask yourself if you think the formula could do with more bubbles, or be more conditioning, or be harder, etc....then look at the fatty acid profile of the formula on SoapCalc, and then apply your knowledge of what each fatty acid contributes so that you can better manipulate your formula's oil percentages around to push whatever fatty acid up or down that you feel could deal to be greater or lesser in your soap. Then make the soap formula, let it cure, try it out, and compare it to the pre-tweaked formula. Then proceed from there, tweaking more if needed until you like the end results. That's how I use SoapCalc.

    When I first started soaping, I made a variety of different formulas until I hit a few that I liked, but felt could stand to be a littler better in certain areas, and I used SoapCalc as a tool to help get me there. In reality, there are no perfect value numbers, or generic one-size-fits-all value numbers on SoaCalc. The value numbers really don't mean much of anything until you have made a few tweaks of your formula and can see how the numbers compare from tweak to tweak. Once you have tweaked the formula to where you really like the outcome, use those resulting value numbers of the tweak for designing your future formulas.


    IrishLass :)
     
  4. Sep 18, 2019 #4

    Kari Howie

    Kari Howie

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    Thank you both very much! Since I’ve mostly been using pre-made mixes from BB until recently, I don’t have much original material to tweak. However, I am glad to hear that I can use SoapCalc as a guideline and not a strict equation.
     
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  5. Sep 18, 2019 #5

    DeeAnna

    DeeAnna

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    The fatty acid profile is good to pay attention to, but it's by no means the whole story. It doesn't tell you anything about additives, superfat %, the amount of cure, and so on.

    I also feel puzzled by the recommended ranges for the various fatty acids that you see in the recipe calcs -- some of that information just doesn't make sense to me. I remember when I was a new soaper feeling really frustrated because soap I liked didn't fully fit into the so-called recommended ranges. And I also remember puzzling on the names for "the numbers" such as "cleansing." Ugh. I'd like to see some of this information updated and revised or even deleted.
     
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  6. Sep 19, 2019 #6

    Kari Howie

    Kari Howie

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    Thanks, DeeAnna! I feel better now.
     
  7. Sep 19, 2019 #7

    Mobjack Bay

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    I agree with with the notion of mostly go with what you like. As a 6 month newbie, I hardly look at the soap calculator now except to figure out how much lye I need. Early on, I made soap that seemed way too soft (lots of oleics) and soap that seemed too hard and draggy (butters) at the 4-6 week marks. I would have tossed some of it until I read more deeply about how soap changes as it cures and got advice here to hold on to them. They’re quite nice after 3-5 months. As a result, I’ve decided that I have fairly wide latitude with soap recipes as long as I’m willing to wait for the soap to cure. Even some of the “plain Jane” soap I made when I was testing indigo colorant and trying to force glycerin rivers (40% OO, 40% PO, 20% CO) is pretty nice at the 3+ month mark. Other than appreciating the value of the cure, I aim to keep my combined Linoleic and Linolenic at or below 15% to minimize chances of DOS and keep my CO at or below 20% to minimize the stripping/drying effect.
     
  8. Sep 19, 2019 #8

    KiwiMoose

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  9. Sep 19, 2019 #9

    Cellador

    Cellador

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    I agree with what has been said here. I also wanted to note that, to me at least, additives can make a big difference in your soap qualities. I almost always use a sugar, a clay, silk, & sodium lactate. I feel like they give the bar the extra "oomph" I was looking for.
     
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  10. Sep 19, 2019 #10

    Kari Howie

    Kari Howie

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  11. Sep 20, 2019 #11

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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