Favorite and most hated oils to use?

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It's Kit

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I also want to mention...I don't "hate" any oil or butter; it's simply a matter of personal preference. Like any other new soap maker, I tried a lot of different oils and butters in varying amounts. Some I liked the results of, some I did not but I'm not going to tell which ones I didn't like simply because you aren't me and I don't want to dissuade you from trying something that could turn out to be perfect for you.

And a few things to consider:

1) Soap is a wash on/rinse off product that is maybe on your skin for five or ten minutes. Imagine putting on hand lotion and then immediately washing it off...zero benefit.

2) Sodium Hydroxide destroys the majority of 'benefits' an oil or butter may bring to the table. Hence why we look at fatty acid profiles of them since that is what is what comes OUT of the pot.

3) What kind of soap maker are you? Are you someone who wants to make soap for family/friends or do you want to make a business out of it? If it's a hobby, it doesn't matter what you spend on oils/butters, but if it's going to be a business, then you have to consider costs. I knit...when I knit for family/friends I'm not overly concerned about the cost of the yarn, but when I make my Bath Scrubbies for my business, I do consider costs...I also consider quality. Now there is not a lot of leeway of the Scrubbie Yarn...not many companies make it, but cotton yarn...tons of it around. I could maximize my profits by using a cheap cotton yarn, but instead I chosen a better quality cotton even though it costs more. And I'm the same way when it comes to choosing my ingredients for soap making. I could make more money if I eliminated Cocoa and Shea Butter, but we're only talking 30 cents a bar and I'd rather make a good bar of soap as opposed to a cheap bar of soap.
For right now I'm just making for family and friends. If I end up really liking soap making and can create a recipe that my family and friends love, I would like to eventually add it to my line up of products I sell at local events. Right now I make pin back buttons and magnets, but I only do two events during the year because those are the only ones I enjoy making specific images/designs for. I technically sell tie dye and that was one of my inspirations to make soap. To make a soap that has a tie dye type swirl. From my understanding olive oil is a good oil for use when making designs in the soap because it doesn't trace as quickly as some oils do.
 
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Alright, so I'm looking at Wegmans online to see what they have in stock. There is: canola, corn, Avocado, peanut, grapeseed, HO sunflower, sesame, cottonseed (infused with onion and garlic), safflower, almond, walnut, macadamia nut, red palm, hemp seed, jojoba, argan (very expensive), rosehip (also expensive), sweet almond, baobab, and apricot kernel. At least it looks like I won't have to pay shipping when I want small sizes of some of the "fancier" oils to practice with lol. Are any of these worth buying eventually?
If you're dead keen on buying some new oils out of that lot, I would go for avocado, HO sunflower, sweet almond or apricot kernel. The others are either too expensive and/or don't bring much to the party. You haven't mentioned butters - have you tried shea? That's a relatively inexpensive butter to try ( I use 10% in my standard recipe). I'm a big RBO fan - but it's half the price of OO here in NZ so that's one of the reasons. Suggestion: if you try new oils, just try one at a time against a standard recipe so you can see if you notice a difference. And make sure you maintain a fairly decent fatty acid profile - there's no point in have three oils that contribute high oleic for example, when you can just have one ( especially if that 'one' is cheaper than the others).
 

It's Kit

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If you're dead keen on buying some new oils out of that lot, I would go for avocado, HO sunflower, sweet almond or apricot kernel. The others are either too expensive and/or don't bring much to the party. You haven't mentioned butters - have you tried shea? That's a relatively inexpensive butter to try ( I use 10% in my standard recipe). I'm a big RBO fan - but it's half the price of OO here in NZ so that's one of the reasons. Suggestion: if you try new oils, just try one at a time against a standard recipe so you can see if you notice a difference. And make sure you maintain a fairly decent fatty acid profile - there's no point in have three oils that contribute high oleic for example, when you can just have one ( especially if that 'one' is cheaper than the others).
My stores don't carry rbo but I can ask my mom and aunt if they know of any places that sell it. I do plan on ordering Shea butter next week and maybe some bee's wax to try out making some lotion bars. I have a gift card for Wegmans from my husband's work, so I figured maybe I would get some of the fancy oils for lotion bars.

If you're dead keen on buying some new oils out of that lot, I would go for avocado, HO sunflower, sweet almond or apricot kernel. The others are either too expensive and/or don't bring much to the party. You haven't mentioned butters - have you tried shea? That's a relatively inexpensive butter to try ( I use 10% in my standard recipe). I'm a big RBO fan - but it's half the price of OO here in NZ so that's one of the reasons. Suggestion: if you try new oils, just try one at a time against a standard recipe so you can see if you notice a difference. And make sure you maintain a fairly decent fatty acid profile - there's no point in have three oils that contribute high oleic for example, when you can just have one ( especially if that 'one' is cheaper than the others).
OK. So I found rbo at the farm store. It costs about the same as the olive oil. But.. I think my sister in law still works at the farm store in a city around an hour away from me. She just had a baby, but if she gets a discount, I may be able to have her buy it for me once she is back at work. I'll message her later tonight!
 

Johnez

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My stores don't carry rbo but I can ask my mom and aunt if they know of any places that sell it. I do plan on ordering Shea butter next week and maybe some bee's wax to try out making some lotion bars. I have a gift card for Wegmans from my husband's work, so I figured maybe I would get some of the fancy oils for lotion bars.


OK. So I found rbo at the farm store. It costs about the same as the olive oil. But.. I think my sister in law still works at the farm store in a city around an hour away from me. She just had a baby, but if she gets a discount, I may be able to have her buy it for me once she is back at work. I'll message her later tonight!

I remember searching for RBO and coming cross big jugs of it at the farm stores, maybe for horses? Anyway, I've found smaller bottles locally and at a decent price from Asian markets close to me. If you have any ethnic grocery stores ya might want to check them out. I've found all sorts of interesting ingredients. African market by my has an enormous selection of Red Palm oil.
 
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I remember searching for RBO and coming cross big jugs of it at the farm stores, maybe for horses? Anyway, I've found smaller bottles locally and at a decent price from Asian markets close to me. If you have any ethnic grocery stores ya might want to check them out. I've found all sorts of interesting ingredients. African market by my has an enormous selection of Red Palm oil.
I hear all the time that RBO is at farm stores, but ours does not appear to have it, ever.

But I hadn't thought to look at Asian or African markets, two of which are very close to me. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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I've been making soap for about 6 years now, and these are my top 5 favorites:
  1. Coconut
  2. Palm
  3. Olive
  4. Castor
  5. Meadowfoam/Jojoba
I have found these 5 give great results (moisturizing, bubbles, cleansing) when used together and I've made this my go-to base for most of my soaps. I do swap things in and out depending on what I'm trying to accomplish (e.g., extra moisturizing, sensitive skin, allergies/sensitivities to particular oils, etc.) though. With that in mind, I've also dabbled with:
  • Tamanu
  • Moringa
  • Argan
  • Rice Bran
  • Sweet Almond
  • Avocado
  • Hemp
  • Beeswax
  • Lanolin
  • Tallow
  • Lard
  • Shea Butter
If I had to choose a single thing that excites me about soapmaking and keeps me doing it is that once you have the basics down, you're very free to experiment with different oils, waxes and butters, as well as jiggering the amounts you use in your recipes. I have set up an Excel spreadsheet that lists all the major and minor oils that I can find, their fatty acid profiles and a quick blurb about what each one brings to the table along with how much to use; some oils, like Jojoba you only want to put in 15% or less, whereas others like coconut or olive oil can be used up to 100% depending on what you're trying to do.

Do some research on the basics, look into what each of the oils does or helps with, experiment with recipes (make sure to use a good soaping calculator) and make copious notes so you begin to learn and recognize what works and what doesn't. This is a great hobby for playing!
 
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Did someone mention lotion bars?! I know you're focused on your first soap recipe but lotion bars are awesome! Super easy, takes minutes, and you can use in a coupla hours.

I'm late to this party and all my helpful peeps have weighed in already. I'm here just to reinforce some things. Keep your initial recipes to 3-4 oils and buy from a local grocery. Keep the expensive oils for leave-on products like lotion bars. Some soap sellers will include expensive oils in their soap for label appeal.

There is one common newbie mistake (including me) and that is over-using your stick blender. The YouTube videos always fast forward the stirring process so it's hard to catch. I use my stick blender as a spoon and stir the majority of time. I will use a few short 4 second bursts.

And one final thing. I got into CP soap because it was a creative outlet. I was totally unprepared for the complete turnaround on the health of my skin and my family's. And then lotion bars was another game changer. I predict your husband and sister's sensitive skin will experience an improvement. Seriously, I could have saved boo coo bucks on prescriptions and dermatologist appointments for decades (I'm old.)

We want photos! Good luck and welcome,
 

It's Kit

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Did someone mention lotion bars?! I know you're focused on your first soap recipe but lotion bars are awesome! Super easy, takes minutes, and you can use in a coupla hours.

I'm late to this party and all my helpful peeps have weighed in already. I'm here just to reinforce some things. Keep your initial recipes to 3-4 oils and buy from a local grocery. Keep the expensive oils for leave-on products like lotion bars. Some soap sellers will include expensive oils in their soap for label appeal.

There is one common newbie mistake (including me) and that is over-using your stick blender. The YouTube videos always fast forward the stirring process so it's hard to catch. I use my stick blender as a spoon and stir the majority of time. I will use a few short 4 second bursts.

And one final thing. I got into CP soap because it was a creative outlet. I was totally unprepared for the complete turnaround on the health of my skin and my family's. And then lotion bars was another game changer. I predict your husband and sister's sensitive skin will experience an improvement. Seriously, I could have saved boo coo bucks on prescriptions and dermatologist appointments for decades (I'm old.)

We want photos! Good luck and welcome,
I plan on making my first batch this weekend or on Wednesday! I looked into lotion bars and I am totally going to make some of them too! My sister wants me to make cbd lotion bars, but my gosh cbd is expensive. No clue how people can add it to bath bomb and only raise their price by $1 or $2. They must have some inside secret on where to get it because even places listed as wholesale are very expensive. I do plan on getting some of the more expensive oils for the lotion bars with a gift card since I don't really have anything else to use it on. I have a really cool idea for my first soap as well. I want to pick one of my new fragrances that has a dark color and do half the batter with that and half unsented with a bright orange to swirl with the brown. I bought almost exclusively bright colored micas from nurture soap because I want to eventually do a cool tie dye inspired soap. I think I'll need using almost exclusively olive oil for that one because it seems to trace slowly compared to a lot of oils from what I have seen on groups and videos
 

It's Kit

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This, I think, is my finalized first recipe. I adjusted the oils to be whole numbers because I do not think my scale goes in increments less than grams.
Screenshot_20230126_192727_Chrome.jpg
 

Zany_in_CO

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This, I think, is my finalized first recipe.
Your original formula is better. It's an excellent starter formula for Newbies. You really can't improve on it.

About your revised formula:
For one thing, 5% castor is the maximum recommended amount. Any higher than 5% may result in sticky soap. First try a batch without. Add it to the second batch to see the difference it makes, if any.
Cleansing Value of 10 is below the recommended range. Guys especially won't like that.
An Iodine Value of 60 makes softer soap than a "perfect" Iodine Value of 55.
An INS Value of 144 will be softer and take longer to cure compared to an INS Value 157 of your previous formula.

The Basic Trinity of Oils formula is a good first recipe. It's important to understand what part each leg of the trinity plays in making a good basic soap. From there you can sub different oils and fats to see what fits your budget and what suits you and your family best.
I adjusted the oils to be whole numbers because I do not think my scale goes in increments less than grams.
Good thinking! That's what I do. :nodding:

Allow 4-6 weeks cure. While waiting for your first batch to cure, make as many batches as often as you can over the next 4 months. Use your original formula, IF successful, you can then sub oils/fats one at a time based on what piques your interest from those others have recommended. Be sure to recalculate the lye amount for each one.

For hardness & lather: Coconut, PKO flakes
For bulk: Any fat/oil that is solid at room temp: Lard, Tallow (or a combo of both), palm, shea butter (my fave), cocoa butter, etc.
For conditioning: Any liquid oil you like: Olive, HO Sunflower, RBO, Almond Oil, etc. Lots to choose from.

There's no need to add color, fragrance or other addives until you have your formula down pat. That shouldn't take long. Colors and fragrance are a whole 'nother ball game. Keep in mind, the First Rule of Soaping is PATIENCE.

HAVE FUN!
 
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This, I think, is my finalized first recipe. I adjusted the oils to be whole numbers because I do not think my scale goes in increments less than grams.
This looks like a great recipe to me - very similar to what I regularly create. Family and friends love it! The low cleansing number is perfect for sensitive skin, plus using lard as the primary hard oil creates a gentle, creamy lather.

If you find that it isn't enough bubbles for you, consider taking 3% off the castor, and adding that 3% to the coconut oil. The cleansing value will go a little higher, but still be low enough.

Personally, I pay zero attention to either the iodine value or the INS value, and never have any problems with soap being too soft, or melting away too soon. As a new soapmaker, I'd focus first on finding a recipe that performs well for your skin. Once you get there, you can start making adjustments to address things that are important to you, whether that is longevity, hardness, etc.

So, I'd go for it with the recipe you posted, and let us know how it turns out for you!
 

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This, I think, is my finalized first recipe.

If possible, you may want to use a small mold to test different soap recipes. A 4” loaf mold, a silicone muffin pan, or just line a small box with a little freezer paper… I wish I had done that.

I was on the gentler-bar bandwagon, now I’m on the bubbles-bubbles-bubbles team all the way. I’ve been testing out adding citric acid, goat milk, colloidal oatmeal, clay, beer, 50% salt, silk, sugar, butters, etc. for different textures and effects.

If you haven’t looked up single oil tests, go do that! Soap queen, lovin’ soap, and curious soapmaker are three good websites where they tested different oils and show examples of what happens.
 

It's Kit

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If possible, you may want to use a small mold to test different soap recipes. A 4” loaf mold, a silicone muffin pan, or just line a small box with a little freezer paper… I wish I had done that.

I was on the gentler-bar bandwagon, now I’m on the bubbles-bubbles-bubbles team all the way. I’ve been testing out adding citric acid, goat milk, colloidal oatmeal, clay, beer, 50% salt, silk, sugar, butters, etc. for different textures and effects.

If you haven’t looked up single oil tests, go do that! Soap queen, lovin’ soap, and curious soapmaker are three good websites where they tested different oils and show examples of what happens.
I have a 1.5 pound soap mold coming in the mail in a few days! I'm picking up a few small molds today as well because I saw the dollar store had some adorable heart shaped molds that look like they will be good for having friends and family test out my soap for me. I will go check out those websites! I actually think I'm going to substitute the olive oil with crisco all vegetable shortening because I found some really positive accounts of using that in soap and I have a really good coupon for it too.
 
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