Getting ready for 1st batch...

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grayceworks

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And although I have been making hair and lotion products for a while, soap is new, so I would like to double-check that A) I have all the essential supplies, and B ) that the recipe I'm considering is reasonable.

My supplies:
32oz. 5PP containers with lids for mixing lye.
5qt stainless steel pot for melting oils and mixing the soap.
Stainless steel whisk
Silicone spatula-scraper
Stick blender
Various boxes, pans, tubes, silicon bakeware, etc and plastic to line the non-silicon ones for molds.
Cats to sit on the molds, keeping them at 100degrees F.
15lb scale that measures down to .1oz or 1g
Safety glasses and gloves
Various measuring tools
Instant-read thermometer

Tea tree, lavender, lemongrass, orange, lime, orange blossom, calamus, frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, clove, sandalwood, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils, a couple regular gardenia absolutes (not tiare *sigh*) , monoi oil, tiare fragrance oil, various whole and ground spices for scent or color

Coconut oil
Cats to taste-test coconut oil for freshness
Shea butter
Mango butter
Sweet almond oil
Avocado oil
Jojoba oil
Cocoa butter
Sesame oil
Apricot kernel oil
Flax seed oil
Grapeseed oil
Olive oil
Palm oil
Castor oil
Lard
----------------------------------

The recipe I'm considering is this:
3oz monoi
3oz flax seed oil -- my cat was swiping at my tablet while i was trying to select the oils because she wanted to play her mouse game. She ended up choosing this oil for me, and I liked the numbers in soapcalc so I left it in the recipe.
3oz cocoa butter
3oz shea butter
3oz castor oil

For 7% SF (is there a discernable difference in result between SF and doing a lye discount instead? It seems like they both give the same net result of a percentage of unsaponified oils, right? )
It says to use for a 33% lye concentration
Lye - 1.985oz
Water - 4.031oz
Can these be rounded to 2oz and 4oz respectively?


I have no idea if I'm interpreting the numbers correctly or not, but it seems like it's saying this will be a fairly mild, conditioning, bar with a decent amount of creamy lather?

Ideas, corrections, etc would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to make sure I've got this all straight in my head before I start, as I have a limited energy reserve and don't want to waste my fun time on stupid mistakes, :)


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shunt2011

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It looks like you have all the right supplies etc. Why are you using your cats to sit on your lids and to taste your coconut oil? Also, if this is your first batch I would start with a basic recipe of either Olive, Coconut, palm and Castor Oil or Olive, Coconut, Lard and Castor. Run it through a soap calc and I would also recommend using full liquid to start until you know how your batches ac%t. I would start with 45% Olive, 25% Coconut, 25% Palm or Lard and 5% Castor Oil. If you wanted to add cocoa or shea butter you could use it at 5% and subtract it from either our olive or coconut. Run them through the soap calc until you have the properties you might like. Good luck! Also, jojoba is kind of pricey and I only use it for leave on products.
 

grayceworks

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Why are you using your cats to sit on your lids and to taste your coconut oil?

Ummm... well, it was their idea.

Run them through the soap calc until you have the properties you might like.

Yes, that's what I was doing with the basics you mentioned over the past couple weeks, playing with proportions and different oils' properties... I have super-super sensitive dry skin, so I'm trying to get the most conditioning I can with oils I know are ok on my skin... I personally can't use palm oil, but hubby's skin is just fine with it. I just kept pkaying, adding, subtracting, seeing what it said when I added different things -- that's how I came up with that one. Do you think it will work? I know sometimes what looks good on paper doesn't work in practice, but I'm generally familiar with how those oils blend and melt and thicken in other things, so I'm not afraid to try complicated at first, if there's a reasonable chance of success. :)

Good luck! Also, jojoba is kind of pricey and I only use it for leave on products.

Thanks! And yes, I use it in formulating hair products, but figured I may as well list all my potentially useful ingredients.



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eyeroll

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I find Labradors are better insulators than cats, and they can also pant on your soap so you don't have to CPOP it. So I think once you get a puppy you'll be good to go.


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roseb

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No, I disagree with eyeroll kitties are much better as insulators, and they are finickier and therefore better taste testers! :p I agree with shunt keep it simple the first time. But looks like you're set for soapmaking. Good luck and keep us updated!
 

evilnurse

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I have to disagree with eyeroll also. You can't keep the puppies still to keep the soap warm. I have each model and the cats are better insulators but dogs are better taste testers


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kazmi

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Just from my personal experience, even though you've made lotions before, you'll have a learning curve with soaping. Go with a basic recipe (OO or lard, CO, castor) for your first batch. Learn what they look like at the various stages of trace, how long before you can unmold, etc. For your next batch make a slight change in oils or add a small amount of a butter. I made lotions for awhile before soaping and it still took me awhile to understand the emulsification process of soap and when a soap is at what trace, etc. And that doesn't even touch on when you run into trouble or adding scents and additives and how to manage those. BTW do a search here on flax seed oil to see if you want to use it in your soap. Seem to remember something about shelf life but I may be wrong.
and I agree, puppies are good taste testers :)
 

Spicey477

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Ok, serious newbie question here and sort of fits the subject :). Are you worried about said cat hair getting into your molds, then into your soap? When the soap is curing, do you cover it so that no hairs/dust stick to the top?
:eek:
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judymoody

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If I were lucky enough to have monoi oil, I would make HP soap and add the monoi as superfat oil after cook to preserve its lovely qualities.

lye discount and superfat are essentially the same thing with respect to amount of lye used to saponify your oils. If you are doing CP, there is no need to hold back a superfat oil and add at trace as the lye is active and will not discriminate. Superfatting is only relevant for hot process method.

I think your castor is too high - 20% is likely to make your soap sticky. I'd back it down to 10% or less.

You don't need to use palm - you can make perfectly good soap without it. In fact a combo of avocado, shea, and cocoa butter makes a good substitute.

Flax seed oil has a very short shelf life

I would try the following based on the oils you have:

If CP:

Shea: 15%
Cocoa butter: 15%
Castor: 10%
Avocado oil: 40%
Coconut oil: 20%

7-8% superfat.

If HP: use the monoi as superfat at end of cook, maybe at 8% of your total recipe.

Hope this helps!
 

JennH

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Ok, serious newbie question here and sort of fits the subject :). Are you worried about said cat hair getting into your molds, then into your soap? When the soap is curing, do you cover it so that no hairs/dust stick to the top?
:eek:
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Totally legit question! It's something I'm super concerned about. I have a cat and 2 dogs. (Who knew a dog who only weighs 20 lbs could shed so much...geez...)

When I get ready to soap, I thoroughly clean my counters, and then put down newspaper. Then I wipe all of my molds, bowls, etc with damp paper towel. If I leave my soap on the counter to gel, I cover it in towels, otherwise its in the fridge. After I cut them I put them in the closet away from all the animals to cure.

So far it seems to be working, I haven't had any soaps with pet hair on/in them.
 

Spicey477

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Thanks JennH! That sounds like a good setup you have. My 2 cats have been banished outdoors for the summer (yes it is October, but we actually went in the pool today... in Maryland! :) so I am at an all time hair low at the moment. :) Thank you so much for the tips!

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grayceworks

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Totally legit question! It's something I'm super concerned about. I have a cat and 2 dogs. (Who knew a dog who only weighs 20 lbs could shed so much...geez...)

When I get ready to soap, I thoroughly clean my counters, and then put down newspaper. Then I wipe all of my molds, bowls, etc with damp paper towel. If I leave my soap on the counter to gel, I cover it in towels, otherwise its in the fridge. After I cut them I put them in the closet away from all the animals to cure.

So far it seems to be working, I haven't had any soaps with pet hair on/in them.

I had been thinking of that as well. The cats actually have no access to the kitchen counters where all the making will be taking place. The shelves I have been storing stuff on and had set aside space for the curing soaps are currently in the living room, and the two larger molds (empty) currently each have a kitty sleeping in them but they will be thoroughly cleaned before use, I assure you. And well covered after as well. :) I love my kitties but hate pet hair in places it shouldn't be lol.

If I have to, I can always reallocate kitchen cupboard space.

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grayceworks

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If I were lucky enough to have monoi oil, I would make HP soap and add the monoi as superfat oil after cook to preserve its lovely qualities.

lye discount and superfat are essentially the same thing with respect to amount of lye used to saponify your oils. If you are doing CP, there is no need to hold back a superfat oil and add at trace as the lye is active and will not discriminate. Superfatting is only relevant for hot process method.

I think your castor is too high - 20% is likely to make your soap sticky. I'd back it down to 10% or less.

You don't need to use palm - you can make perfectly good soap without it. In fact a combo of avocado, shea, and cocoa butter makes a good substitute.

Flax seed oil has a very short shelf life

I would try the following based on the oils you have:

If CP:

Shea: 15%
Cocoa butter: 15%
Castor: 10%
Avocado oil: 40%
Coconut oil: 20%

7-8% superfat.

If HP: use the monoi as superfat at end of cook, maybe at 8% of your total recipe.

Hope this helps!

This helps a lot! I'll play with the calculators some more. :) The recipe is very helpful. That's why I posted everything I have, in case there were better ideas.

I had wondered if that's what I should do with the monoi -- I have both that and coconut oil, but I haven't decided on HP or CP yet. I do have a crockpot that never gets used -- but I'm not sure on the thermostat reliability on it -- keeps scorching chili on low but barely cooking on high. :(

So, if I HP then use the SF on the calculator, and if CP, then use the lye discount instead, right?

On the flax oil, I will search the referenced info, but my first thought is that since it will be saponified, doesn't that change the shelf life of oils?

I also forgot to include in my list of supplies, that I have various natural and naturally derived preservatives and antioxidants.

If I were to use flax, because I am curious after seeing the conditioning numbers go way up on the calculator (my cat really did pick that one lol -- I hadn't thought of using it before because I had heard of the short shelf life) and once I get curious, well........but if I were to use it, would antioxidants help?

Also, what happens if you add the oils one at a time instead of mixed together? Like what if I added one kind first to make sure it was totally saponified, and added a different kind last if I didn't want it to completely saponify? Or is that asking for trouble? (I'll prolly try all of this on small batches at some point anyhow out of curiosity, but I like to hear other's voices of experience as well)

I'm curious on the castor also -- what sort of 'sticky' ? I know before I added cocoa butter to the calculation, it said it would be a really really soft bar, which is why I added cocoa butter to the recipe...

Never fear, I'm not trying to be stubborn or argumentative on these... like I said, not going to start the first batch until I'm reasonably confident I have everything worked out for the best possible result. :) Which is why I finally quit lurking and started asking. I am insanely curious about everything in life (which has led to the unfortunate need for brain-bleach on occasion) so I tend to ask and/or play devil's advocate a LOT. :)





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grayceworks

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Anyone?

also another question, which is probably a "duh" question, but... I have an almost new crockpot which scorches chili on low setting, but barely gets warm on high setting -- safe for soaping or toss it? (it's very consistent in these heat settings -- maybe it's just wired backwards?)

On the flax oil, I will search the referenced info, but my first thought is that since it will be saponified, doesn't that change the shelf life of oils?

---------------------------------

If I were to use flax, because I am curious after seeing the conditioning numbers go way up on the calculator ........... would antioxidants help?

(ETA - I didn't find much specifically about flaxseed oil, but about high linoleic acid content, etc... which applies to several oils in the calculator... I noted that some use some of these along with an antioxidant -- will this work with flax seed oil?)

---------------------------------

Also, what happens if you add the oils one at a time instead of mixed together? Like what if I added one kind first to make sure it was totally saponified, and added a different kind last if I didn't want it to completely saponify? Or is that asking for trouble?

---------------------------------

I'm curious on the castor also -- what sort of 'sticky' ?
 
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