Gentle liquid soap for shower

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Tara_H

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Backstory: my brother's birthday is coming up in a little over a month and I'd like to make him something nice (as well as expanding my soaping skills!)

Mum reckons he wouldn't like a solid bar, and he's also been having trouble with his skin so I'd like to make a very gentle shower cream soap, if that's possible.

I'm familiar with making liquid soap, but the kind I usually make for hand washing, while great for that, doesn't seem to fit the bill in terms of being very gentle as a face and body wash. I was looking at My Creamy Cocoa/Shea GLS Tutorial and wondering if that would be suitable? I've read through the whole thread multiple times and there's not a lot of reference to the characteristics, although a few people do say it's nice to use.

I should also say that I have or can get all the ingredients except the EDTA, but we don't have terribly hard water so I'm hoping I can get away without that, if it makes a difference. Does that sound like it will match what I'm looking for or would I be better off taking another track entirely? I've never gone down the syndet route so wouldn't be confident trying that in the time available.
 
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IMHO and years of experience trying to convert shower gel users to hand made soap, hand made liquid soap does not produce the plethora of long lasting bubbles that commercially made shower gel does. And that seems to be the tipping point for shower gel users.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with Susie. Also liquid soap typically doesn't have the same just-about-can't-pour-it texture that shower gel usually has. And that's another complaint by shower-gel addicts -- soap isn't thick enough.

I know soap gels can be made, but only with the addition of separate thickeners. And then you're veering away from a quick straightforward task of making liquid soap into more of an experimental project.

In the case of a shower gel thickness, I'd probably experiment with adding a synthetic detergent (syndet) as a way of adding thickness and mildness. But then the product would become a combination cleanser, not a true 100% lye-based soap.

I don't have a sure-fire recommendation about what syndet to use. I've done enough experimenting to know some syndets thicken liquid soap, but not enough experimenting to know if a person can achieve a shower gel thickness.

A chelator like EDTA also protects your soap from rancidity (DOS) as well as reduces soap scum. We have a whole-house water softener, so our water is relatively soft. I've noticed EDTA makes a noticeable difference in the amount of lather, even with softened water.
 

ResolvableOwl

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A little over a month … probably too short for a CP liquid soap. Which isn't that bad, since most LS recipes are HP anyway.

In principle, similar rules apply like with bar soap (in the end, you don't use bar soap by itself, but what dissolves off bar soap, and that is a liquid too):
  • Lauric oils will add bubbly lather, but tend to “scrape off” the skin if overdosed (many LS recipes are on the high side of coconut). Peculiar to LS, lauric soaps don't contribute much to viscosity.
    Concerning lather performance, my poppy/babaçu/castor soap is beyond reproach 😎 and can, IMHO, easily compete with commercial LS/shower gel (and it's getting better and better with every week). Though, if daily body soap is the goal, I would ramp down lauric oils (cleansing number) a bit.
  • Hard (palmitic/stearic rich) oils contribute to viscosity, but can cause clarity issues (oils high in unsaponifiables, like shea, doubly so). But whatever your conceptions of “cream soap” are, this might be even an advantage. My 80% red palm + 20% castor (lauric-free) LS could easily be mistaken for creamy pumpkin soup (bright orange, fully opaque due to palmitate/stearate precipitation).
  • Castor is your friend! But you don't have to fear slimy goo if added well above the standard-ish 5%.
  • LS can't get “orange spots”, but rancidity prevention (ROE, chelators…) is equally important as with bar soap. (IMHO, EDTA is dispensable in favour of things that put less strain on sewage treatment.)
Some non-issues with bar soap need extra considerations for LS: preservation, lye purity and precision of lye dosage, separation/settling (superfat, unsaponifiables, pigments, FO/EO). Viscosity manipulation is a snake pit of itself.

FWIW, a logical first step would be that you decide which kind of soap you are precisely aiming at, and how it should be “presented”: Body soap and/or hair shampoo? Should he scrub it out of a jar? Classic LS dispenser? Foamer? Squeeze bottle? Recipe tuning comes not until you know what you need.
 

Tara_H

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Thanks for the input everyone!

To add a bit more clarity to the question, this is how IrishLass describes it in the recipe:

My own preferences for this particular formula are that the finished soap turn out to be low on the drying/skin-stripping aspect; rich and creamy in feel, but also be able to exhibit a lovely amount of the fluffy-type bubbles; be as thick as pourable honey; be opaque; and lastly, to exhibit a bit of a pearly sheen (gee- I don't want much, do I?). Believe it or not, my ingredients/dilution rate meet each of those goals splendidly.

Based on that, which I don't have any particular reason to doubt, I wasn't terribly concerned with the lather, consistency and so forth, but more with whether it was gentle enough to be used as a full body wash rather than just a hand soap since I didn't find any specific details about that in the thread.

Definitely though, if anyone is familiar with the recipe and tells me that actually it's not going to come out as described, that would be very useful info also.

In terms of goals, the description quoted above sounds just about right to me which is why I was drawn to this recipe in the first place.
 

earlene

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When you say skin problems, do you have more specifics? Does he have eczema, psoriasis, something else about his skin that is of concern? Sometimes we don't know all this about our siblings, but some conditions do run in families so it might be something to f/u on anyway even if not to get a better understanding of what he is dealing with.

Also, perhaps ask IrishLass directly. She may have more specific answers for you and may have input as regards to use with skin concerns based on friends or family of her own who may have used it.
 

KimW

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I'll chime in as someone with sensitive skin and tag @Zing as someone who has problem skin. Any sort of syndet ingredient will not do for my skin. I'd have contact dermatitis on hands, back of arms and toes (weird eh?) within one or two uses and likely everywhere within a week. Your bother might not mind syndet shower gels right now, but that might be because he doesn't know anything different.
I don't have siblings so I don't know how that works, but I wonder if you could persuade him to use some plain bar soap of yours with no FOs or micas, for a week and see if it he notices any difference. Perhaps also if you knit him one of those bar holder/bag/pocket things to hold the bar so he could get some good bubbles with little effort...

ETA: I'm sure the recipe will come out as described, given Irish Lass' experience and that there would have been comments otherwise on that thread.
ETA2: I made a nice and thick (like you have to squeeze it out of the bottle thick) LS recently and it was just down to minimal dilution. Just something for thought.
 

Tara_H

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Does he have eczema, psoriasis, something else about his skin that is of concern?

It's not to the extent of being a medical problem, just temperamental and I believe aggregated by stress etc. I'm not trying to set out to cure anything, I just want to avoid making things worse if I can! :)

Your bother might not mind syndet shower gels right now, but that might be because he doesn't know anything different.

I suspect this is very true, he's probably grabbing the cheapest thing that smells nice 😆

I wonder if you could persuade him to use some plain bar soap of yours with no FOs or micas, for a week and see if it he notices any difference.
Mum has already promised to try and influence him with a Castile bar I sent her... Best case, he decides he loves it and I don't have to worry about a liquid version at all!
 

KimW

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Ok so, LOL, I'm a doofus. I was reading that you were thinking LS and of trying syndet, but of course, nope. Cue dear mother's Mrs. Howell voice used for such occasions: "Kimberly, reeeeallah." Sorry. Here's my non-doofus reply.
~ I suggested bar soap with bag/etc because I've never had success in super-fatting or super-bubbling LS. Hopefully Mom will succeed! :)
~ The only soaps that don't leave my skin feeling dry are soaps made with 2-3% SF or ACV/Vinegar as a water replacement. I've always suspected this is due solely to our slightly hard water. Our well water is 6gpg - not sure how water hardness is rated in Ireland. In the table of hardness our 6gpg falls into the first hard water 3gpg-7gpg category. Our city water was 9gpg. This to say, some sort of chelating agent might be helpful even if your water isn't that hard.
~ Any of my LS leaves my skin feeling a bit dry. Even my 100% CO LS isn't shower-worthy bubbly, even with a washcloth, IMO.
~ ALOE: I recently tested some soaps made with aloe juice total water replacement and BOY did they bubble. A near future experiment will be to use aloe in LS and bar soap. Perhaps a small batch of LS made with aloe to test for shower-worthy bubbles?
 
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What a fascinating discussion and @Tara_H sounds like a great sister! It's been my observation, too, that in general people are pretty locked into one type of soap. To me, liquid soap in the shower seems like a lot of work, but hey, to each his/her own. I do have sensitive skin but it is not a severe condition like eczema or psoriasis. It's an irritating rash and no doctor has been able to diagnose it. For decades I was a faithful user of Dove Sensitive and was always on some sort of prescription. Since using my own soap there has been a dramatic improvement. Outbreaks used to be all over and an every day occurrence. Now an outbreak will be in only one tiny spot and are infrequent.
Interestingly enough, my son has sensitive skin but he is locked into his brand-name liquid soap in the shower, and just uses my bars at a handwashing sink. I'm just the dad, so what do I know?
Hope this wasn't too far off topic and TMI. Good luck on your project1
 

Tara_H

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Ok so, LOL, I'm a doofus. I was reading that you were thinking LS and of trying syndet, but of course, nope.
Lol, actually I thought your response was perfectly relevant! Even reading back it seems like a totally sensible reply to what I said ;)

I'm not sure what the official water rating is here, but having previously lived in London where the water is very hard I know it's not like that. For example we don't get any limescale build up in the kettle or toilet like we used to there, and I've never seen a shower head get blocked like that either.

If I could get my hands on EDTA I would totally buy some but from a good hour's research this morning it's not to be had by the general public. There are a bunch of chemical supplies companies but they deal wholesale only. The only options I found were eBay and... Eh... 🤨

Any of my LS leaves my skin feeling a bit dry. Even my 100% CO LS isn't shower-worthy bubbly, even with a washcloth, IMO.
This seems like important info 🤔 Above all else I wouldn't want it to be drying or unpleasant to use. I'm not sure what his exact opinions are on bubbles though, or if he has any strong ones. Maybe I should pick my sisters' brains on that, they know him better than I do.
 
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KimW

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I've found citric acid to be a pretty good chelator with our water. Here too, we don't have limescale in the kettle or on shower heads like we did in the city, so maybe your water is close to ours. I mentioned bubbles because that's why Hubs used to love his shower gel - until we found it was making my toes breakout when I used the shower right after him. How fun is that?! so.gross. I'm a delicate flower... 🤣 🤣
 

Zany_in_CO

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hand made liquid soap does not produce the plethora of long lasting bubbles that commercially made shower gel does.
IME, using a bath pouf with homemade LS makes all the difference in the world. I still remember the first time DH used the bath pouf hanging in the shower for years! He couldn't stop saying "WOW!" 🤣
"...A little over a month … probably too short for a CP liquid soap...."
Hmmm. That's not been true in my experience.
🤔 Not true in my experience either. Once the 2-week sequester period is over, I decant into 8 oz Boston Round bottles, label, and it's good to go.
Mum has already promised to try and influence him with a Castile bar I sent her... Best case, he decides he loves it and I don't have to worry about a liquid version at all!
I have several soaps, bars & liquid, that are skin friendly as I am "one of those" with sensitive skin. I would pass on syndets and even @IrishLass LS (mainly because of the EDTA). My recommendation would be ZNSC. It does not require a long cure. I start using it at the 2 week mark -- lovely champagne bubbles. Of course, the longer it cures, the better it is. The bar I'm using now has dense creamy lather similar to cold cream. (Not braggin', just sayin'. ;) ) It was made sometime in 2020.
 
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ResolvableOwl

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🤔 Not true in my experience either. Once the 2-week sequester period is over, I decant into 8 oz Boston Round bottles, label, and it's good to go.
Good to go, fair enough. But also good to keep for oneself? After going through gel, passing zap and clarity tests, and diluting to target concentration, it is a safe product, yes. And this might be after a few days in a fast recipe. Still I found that each of my CP LSs so far has still improved by letting it rest for multiple weeks after that. I have no explanation for it, it's a mere gut feeling that (my) CP LS stays below its potentials if put into use early – that's all I wanted to contribute. But you are free to disagree with your undoubtedly larger experience.

In the end, @Tara_H knows her schedule/calendar best, and has to decide which adventure(s) to risk. For the impatient, there is still the HP option at any time.
 

DeeAnna

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...it's a mere gut feeling that (my) CP LS stays below its potentials if put into use early – that's all I wanted to contribute....

By all means share your opinions and your experience. If you had presented your thinking in Post 4 as a personal preference, such as the quote above, and less of an absolute, I doubt anyone would have questioned your contribution.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Still I found that each of my CP LSs so far has still improved by letting it rest for multiple weeks after that. I have no explanation for it, it's a mere gut feeling that (my) CP LS stays below its potentials if put into use early – that's all I wanted to contribute. But you are free to disagree with your undoubtedly larger experience.
I agree. CP LS needs to rest for 1-2 weeks. Usually it is fully saponified and ready to dilute at that point. I'm not so sure it improves over time. Your experience is valid as I really never paid much attention to whether or not it improves over time. As it happens, I often make CP LS and recommend it to Newbies. It takes all of 30 minutes, including clean up. :) It really is the best way to insure success at a first attempt.

HP is more difficult because it is difficult to judge how long the batch needs to cook.
As a 10-year member of the Liquid Soapers Yahoo Group, I speak from experience. The time it takes to cook LS to reach saponification varies with the oils/fats/butters used.

Surprisingly, 100% Olive Oil takes the longest time to bring to trace and to cook. For that reason, I use Carrie Petersen's GLS method -- takes all of two minutes to become soap. So fun! NB: NOT for beginners due to the high heat and toxic fumes if the glycerin overheats.

Oh my, I'm really getting off topic here... my bad. Apologies to the OP.

PS: To reinforce what @DeeAnna said, I appreciate your contributions. They are generally helpful and well said. :thumbs:
 
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Tara_H

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Well, I went ahead and gave that recipe a try, I have other less soapy gifts available also, but I'm hoping this will be a hit.

It all went exactly as described in the thread, flying bubbles and all.

Zapless paste within a couple of hours.
IMG_20210424_183522.jpg

Weighing the paste to dissolve.
IMG_20210424_184219.jpg

Simmering with the dilution liquid and stearic acid.
IMG_20210424_191642.jpg

Soft lumps of paste.
IMG_20210424_201008.jpg

SB'd and turned opaque.
IMG_20210424_201227.jpg

'Amber ale' stage.
IMG_20210424_204021.jpg

This morning when I woke up it was thick and creamy.
IMG_20210425_084520.jpg IMG_20210425_084621.jpg

I did a test wash of my hands - even without the final superfat it feels very gentle and moisturising. Along with an addition of almond oil superfat, I'm planning to add cedarwood and verbena FOs, and a touch of tea tree EO. Will test it myself in the bath before I make a final decision on whether to send it to my brother.
 

Tara_H

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Definitely a winner! (And I'm going to have to make a bunch more to keep for ourselves 😆 )

The tests on my hands were very encouraging, so I did a trial run as a body wash in the bath. Assisted by a shower puff, there was tons of luxurious-feeling lather, and it did a good job of washing after hours sitting in a hot car (TMI? 🤭)

I even went so far as to try it on my face - I never use soap on my face since I hate the tight dry feeling I get - and I was impressed! There was some unpleasant tingling on my chapped lip, but after just rinsing with clean water I didn't feel the need to run for the moisturiser as I was expecting. In fact I just realised I didn't use moisturiser at all last night, and my face feels perfectly nice and soft.

There's still a couple of weeks to his birthday, so enough time IMO for it to be considered finished sequestering, although even the immediate results are more than acceptable to me.

As well as a sample with the cedar and verbena, I also scented a sample with the purple discolouring FO from my test, and nothing untoward happened :) so I think I'll do half of one and half of the other so my brother can have a choice in the shower.

I've ordered two nice dispensing bottles and I'm considering this a success.
 

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