First cocoa butter soap

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Emily4028

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Hi all,

I’m a beginner looking to make a conditioning soap with a creamy lather that leaves skin feeling super soft. I came up with the following recipe using soapcalc and several forums on this site. It’s my first time using cocoa butter. I just tried it after 1 week of curing (I couldn’t wait!) and unfortunately it seemed slightly drying to the skin. The creaminess was pretty much there, which is good, but why the dryness? How can I tweak the recipe to leave skin feeling super soft?

38% olive oil
25% beef tallow
17% coconut oil
15% cocoa butter
5% castor oil
Powdered goat milk blended into the warm oils before adding the lye solution
~7% super fat

Thank you for your input!
Emily
 

Millie

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New soap is harsh by nature. Patience dearie :)
 

IrishLass

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Ditto what Millie said. It's hard to wait, I know, but you need to let your soap cure at least 4 to 6 weeks (sometimes a little longer, depending on the formula) before making a final judgement on its performance. The reason why is that even though saponification is complete after the first 24 to 48 hours, there's still so much more that is going on inside of a soap during cure as it continues to develop its crystalline structure....the pH lowers a little, it becomes gradually less harsh while gradually becoming more bubbly, etc....

DeeAnna has posted some great info on the kind of chemical reactions that continue to take place inside a bar of soap once the initial reaction of saponification has taken place, such as this one: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/cure-time.35831/#post-548993


IrishLass :)
 

Emily4028

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New soap is harsh by nature. Patience dearie :)
Thank you, Millie! I was wondering if that was the issue. What do you think of the recipe? Any thoughts on how you’d tweak the recipe to get the effects I’m looking for?

Ditto what Millie said. It's hard to wait, I know, but you need to let your soap cure at least 4 to 6 weeks (sometimes a little longer, depending on the formula) before making a final judgement on its performance. The reason why is that even though saponification is complete after the first 24 to 48 hours, there's still so much more that is going on inside of a soap during cure as it continues to develop its crystalline structure....the pH lowers a little, it becomes gradually less harsh while gradually becoming more bubbly, etc....

DeeAnna has posted some great info on the kind of chemical reactions that continue to take place inside a bar of soap once the initial reaction of saponification has taken place, such as this one: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/cure-time.35831/#post-548993


IrishLass :)
Thank you for sending the link! I read it and it’s really helpful. I wasn’t aware of the crystalline structure aspect of curing. I thought curing was all about (1) the bar becoming harder, which I’m not worried about if I’m just testing a small sample after a week, and (2) the remaining saponification, which I’ve heard is pretty much done after 48 hours. So I thought I could get an early indicator of how the soap will be by testing it after a week. I guess not! I’ll try again in 3 weeks :)

thanks again!!
 
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Millie

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Thank you, Millie! I was wondering if that was the issue. What do you think of the recipe? Any thoughts on how you’d tweak the recipe to get the effects I’m looking for?
It looks great! Lard might be nice in place of the tallow, but I haven't actually used tallow, I'm just guessing. Lard is really wonderful though. I like a lower superfat most of the time, just because I really love bubbles, but sometimes a high superfat is nice too. Just one more thing to play around with ;)
 

Emily4028

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It looks great! Lard might be nice in place of the tallow, but I haven't actually used tallow, I'm just guessing. Lard is really wonderful though. I like a lower superfat most of the time, just because I really love bubbles, but sometimes a high superfat is nice too. Just one more thing to play around with ;)
Thanks for the thoughts :) I’ll try lard! And I’ll keep in mind the superfat percentage. I’m thinking I’ll do a few variations of this recipe and see what I like. Thanks again!!
 

newlee

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Hi all,

I’m a beginner looking to make a conditioning soap with a creamy lather that leaves skin feeling super soft. I came up with the following recipe using soapcalc and several forums on this site. It’s my first time using cocoa butter. I just tried it after 1 week of curing (I couldn’t wait!) and unfortunately it seemed slightly drying to the skin. The creaminess was pretty much there, which is good, but why the dryness? How can I tweak the recipe to leave skin feeling super soft?

38% olive oil
25% beef tallow
17% coconut oil
15% cocoa butter
5% castor oil
Powdered goat milk blended into the warm oils before adding the lye solution
~7% super fat

Thank you for your input!
Emily
If you have older plumbing, a high superfat like that may clog your drain pipes. I had to cut my soaps back to 3% from 5% to prevent it. Now, I'm thinking of just making it 1% and having a longer cure.
 

TheGecko

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Hi all,

I’m a beginner looking to make a conditioning soap with a creamy lather that leaves skin feeling super soft. I came up with the following recipe using soapcalc and several forums on this site. It’s my first time using cocoa butter. I just tried it after 1 week of curing (I couldn’t wait!) and unfortunately it seemed slightly drying to the skin. The creaminess was pretty much there, which is good, but why the dryness? How can I tweak the recipe to leave skin feeling super soft?
You need to give your soap time to cure. You can use the most expensive and luxurious oils/butters in the world and your soap isn’t going to be good soap after only week. Soap is like making whiskey...you can have moonshine or you can have 10-year Pendleton.
 

Emily4028

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If you have older plumbing, a high superfat like that may clog your drain pipes. I had to cut my soaps back to 3% from 5% to prevent it. Now, I'm thinking of just making it 1% and having a longer cure.
Good to know! Thanks!
 

Emily4028

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You need to give your soap time to cure. You can use the most expensive and luxurious oils/butters in the world and your soap isn’t going to be good soap after only week. Soap is like making whiskey...you can have moonshine or you can have 10-year Pendleton.
I love the whiskey analogy :) People should start appreciating aged soaps like they do for wine and whiskey!
 

DeeAnna

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The other issue is you have 17% coconut and 25% tallow. This is going to put the combined lauric and myristic acid level around the 20% range. (I'm just guess-timating this, not running it through a soap calc.) If you have sensitive or dry skin, 20% lauric + myristic acid might be too drying for your skin.

If you want a mild, non-drying soap, you may need to experiment to find out how much of these fatty acids is optimum for your skin. I normally shoot for 10% to 15% combined total for my skin. This is the "cleansing" number in many online soap recipe calculators.

Many people think a high "conditioning" number is the way to go to get a mild soap, but in my opinion that is not the best thing to focus on. Find a lauric + myristic percentage that your skin likes, set that percentage, and go from there.
 

Emily4028

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The other issue is you have 17% coconut and 25% tallow. This is going to put the combined lauric and myristic acid level around the 20% range. (I'm just guess-timating this, not running it through a soap calc.) If you have sensitive or dry skin, 20% lauric + myristic acid might be too drying for your skin.

If you want a mild, non-drying soap, you may need to experiment to find out how much of these fatty acids is optimum for your skin. I normally shoot for 10% to 15% combined total for my skin. This is the "cleansing" number in many online soap recipe calculators.

Many people think a high "conditioning" number is the way to go to get a mild soap, but in my opinion that is not the best thing to focus on. Find a lauric + myristic percentage that your skin likes, set that percentage, and go from there.
Interesting! I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for your expert feedback!
 
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