Hard water and dry skin; recipe trouble shooting

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
We live in a high altitude, very dry & extreme dessert climate. It’s dry and hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. (Sub zero and lots of snow). Our water here is also VERY hard and full of iron and calcium. It’s a harsh environment and most people have dry skin. I’ve been really playing around with recipes and have found some nice ones that everyone in our family loves, except for my daughter! She can’t use any of them. She says they are too squeaky clean and she feels stripped and can’t shave with them because the razor doesn’t glide. Here is 1 of my recipes and I will post a 2nd one that I haven’t made but would like to try. Any feed back is GREATLY appreciated!
#1. 2268g oils, SF 5%, lye concentration 35.714%, tallow 20%, palm oil 15%, coconut oil 15%, cocoa butter 12%, palm kernel oil flakes hydrogenated 3%, OO 20%, HOSO 10%, Castor O 5%. sodium lactate 5 tsp, kaolin clay 5tbsp, sucrose 5 tsp, aloe extract 1oz. Fatty acid profile Lauric 9, myristic 5, palmitic 20, stearic 11, ricinoleic 5, oleic 41, linoleic 6, linolenic 0
#2. 2374 g oils, SF 3%, lye concentration 35.714%, Shea butter 35%, RSPO palm oil 20%, Coconut Oil 18%, refined rice bran oil 12%, castor oil 7%, HOSO 8%, 5 tsp sodium lactate, 5 TBSP kaolin clay, 5 tsp sucrose. 1/2 distilled water and 1/2 coconut milk for lye water mixture. Fatty acid profile according to soap calc not including coconut milk. Lauric 9, myristic 4, palmitic 15, stearic 16, ricinolec 6, oleic 38, linoleic 9, linolenic 0.
I’m thinking #2 might feel softer on her skin due to more castor oil? I’ve seriously made 20 different recipes with a different mix of additives, oils, milks etc and she hasn’t been able to use ANY of them. 🤷🏽‍♀️
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
14,096
Reaction score
21,336
Location
USA
What's HOSO? My guess is either high oleic sunflower oil or HO safflower, but I'm not sure.

Palm kernel and coconut are high in lauric and myristic acids, which can be drying to the skin, especially sensitive skin or skin that's already dry from dry weather. Your daughter's skin might not be able to tolerate much (or any) of these fatty acids in soap.

Tallow contains a small amount of lauric and myristic acids as well, so even if you zeroed out the palm kernel and coconut, there's still going to be a tad of these fatty acids in the soap from the tallow.

"...sodium lactate 5 tsp, kaolin clay 5tbsp, sucrose 5 tsp, aloe extract 1oz ..."

It's impossible to know how these measurements relate to the other ingredients, since you've given all the other ingredients as percentages. Did you put these ingredient into a 20 pound batch or a 2 pound batch?

If you're making something closer to a 2 pound batch, it looks to me like you might be overdoing the clay. That could also contribute to the drying nature of the soap. If it's a 20 pound batch, that amount of clay might be fine.

edit: I stand corrected. I see now you used 2268g oils. My apologies for not seeing that!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,086
Reaction score
9,683
Location
Virginia
I personally would cut down on the clay since you’re in the range of 2-2.5 TBSP per 1000 g of oils, or eliminate it. I made a lot of soaps with clays in the beginning but they never became favorites. You could try upping your linoleic & linolenic to closer to 15, using RBO. IMHO it makes a luxurious feeling soap that is not skin stripping even with the CO at 20%.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,611
Reaction score
11,668
Location
Western Illinois, USA
I second/third the suggestion to decrease the high lauric/myristic oils for trial soaps for your daughter. If you drop your "cleansing" number (in your lye calculator) to 10 or below, you may find she likes it better. Clay tends to absorb moisture, so maybe try a soap without clay just for your daughter and see if it helps.

One other suggestion I have is to try at least one recipe with lanolin at 5% as an ingredient. I found it contributes to a less harsh soap for my skin, and makes shaving more comfortable as well. In fact, I love it as an ingredient in shaving soap. I keep the SF in the at 3-5% range and this seems to work well for me and my skin.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
12,451
Reaction score
12,891
Location
Southern California
How about making her a high shea butter soap with only 12% CO or PKO? I make one with 57% Shea Butter, 26% any Liquid Oil other than OO, 5% Castor with .5% EDTA and .5% Sodium Gluconate. It will need a 4-6 month cure to be at it's finest, but it makes a really nice soap.
The EDTA and SG combination is used in all my soaps.
 

Zany_in_CO

Saponifier
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
7,988
Reaction score
8,911
Location
SE Denver CO
How about making her a high shea butter soap ... It will need a 4-6 month cure to be at it's finest, but it makes a really nice soap.
Good advice. :thumbs:
I live in the Denver area which also has an alpine desert climate, very low humidity most days. All my soaps are formulated for dry skin. I recently (9/11/20) made a soap with 67% raw shea butter that needed to be used up. I'm using a 2 oz. puck at the sink now. Copious lather and I love how it feels.
SB Lather.JPG

PDF attached. Note the "11" Cleansing value.
 

Attachments

  • 091620 Shea Butter.pdf
    88.8 KB · Views: 59
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
What's HOSO? My guess is either high oleic sunflower oil or HO safflower, but I'm not sure.
High oleic sunflower oil
Palm kernel and coconut are high in lauric and myristic acids, which can be drying to the skin, especially sensitive skin or skin that's already dry from dry weather. Your daughter's skin might not be able to tolerate much (or any) of these fatty acids in soap.
I’ve been trying to keep the Lauric and myristic acids low while still g
Tallow contains a small amount of lauric and myristic acids as well, so even if you zeroed out the palm kernel and coconut, there's still going to be a tad of these fatty acids in the soap from the tallow.

"...sodium lactate 5 tsp, kaolin clay 5tbsp, sucrose 5 tsp, aloe extract 1oz ..."

It's impossible to know how these measurements relate to the other ingredients, since you've given all the other ingredients as percentages. Did you put these ingredient into a 20 pound batch or a 2 pound batch?

If you're making something closer to a 2 pound batch, it looks to me like you might be overdoing the clay. That could also contribute to the drying nature of the soap. If it's a 20 pound batch, that amount of clay might be fine.
What's HOSO? My guess is either high oleic sunflower oil or HO safflower, but I'm not sure.

Palm kernel and coconut are high in lauric and myristic acids, which can be drying to the skin, especially sensitive skin or skin that's already dry from dry weather. Your daughter's skin might not be able to tolerate much (or any) of these fatty acids in soap.

Tallow contains a small amount of lauric and myristic acids as well, so even if you zeroed out the palm kernel and coconut, there's still going to be a tad of these fatty acids in the soap from the tallow.

"...sodium lactate 5 tsp, kaolin clay 5tbsp, sucrose 5 tsp, aloe extract 1oz ..."

It's impossible to know how these measurements relate to the other ingredients, since you've given all the other ingredients as percentages. Did you put these ingredient into a 20 pound batch or a 2 pound batch?

If you're making something closer to a 2 pound batch, it looks to me like you might be overdoing the clay. That could also contribute to the drying nature of the soap. If it's a 20 pound batch, that amount of clay might be fine.
What's HOSO? My guess is either high oleic sunflower oil or HO safflower, but I'm not sure.

Palm kernel and coconut are high in lauric and myristic acids, which can be drying to the skin, especially sensitive skin or skin that's already dry from dry weather. Your daughter's skin might not be able to tolerate much (or any) of these fatty acids in soap.

Tallow contains a small amount of lauric and myristic acids as well, so even if you zeroed out the palm kernel and coconut, there's still going to be a tad of these fatty acids in the soap from the tallow.

"...sodium lactate 5 tsp, kaolin clay 5tbsp, sucrose 5 tsp, aloe extract 1oz ..."

It's impossible to know how these measurements relate to the other ingredients, since you've given all the other ingredients as percentages. Did you put these ingredient into a 20 pound batch or a 2 pound batch?

If you're making something closer to a 2 pound batch, it looks to me like you might be overdoing the clay. That could also contribute to the drying nature of the soap. If it's a 20 pound batch, that amount of clay might be fine.

OMGosh! Thank you for all of the great tips and advice! DeeAnna, I kept trying to reply to your original post today and couldn't seem to get it in the correct place. I haven't quite figured out how this forum works for posting and replying. lol
I guess I have had it in my head that kaolin clay gives some slip to soap and I love how my soaps feel when I shave with them, so didn't realize it can also contribute to dryness. Makes sense, as it is clay.
The 67% shea butter recipe doesn't look a whole lot different than my recipes according to soap calc fatty acid #'s and I get so hung up on those #'s. The main difference I see is more balance between palmitic and stearic acids. My recipes tend to be high in palmitic and low in stearic. I'm still studying and learning and taking notes about all of the fatty acids and trying to figure out how each one contributes and feels. I've read Kenna's article at Modernsoapmaking.com that breaks down all of the fatty acid profiles and tried to utilize this info for tweaking my own recipes but I realize this is all a matter of personal preferences and also depends on environmental factors. In my head the perfect soap is SUPER hard with very creamy bubbles and also soft on the skin!

How about making her a high shea butter soap with only 12% CO or PKO? I make one with 57% Shea Butter, 26% any Liquid Oil other than OO, 5% Castor with .5% EDTA and .5% Sodium Gluconate. It will need a 4-6 month cure to be at it's finest, but it makes a really nice soap.
The EDTA and SG combination is used in all my soaps.
I purchased some Baraka shea butter and coconut oil and just received it. I'm going to try this 57% shea butter , 12% CO, 5% Castor and rice bran oil and see what happens. I need to research EDTA and sodium gluconate to see what those contribute as I have no idea. I have used sodium lactate and sugar(in different forms) in most of my recipes to add lather and make the bar harder. I'm a bit hung up on the 8 cleansing # and 13 bubbly #. :tub:

I second/third the suggestion to decrease the high lauric/myristic oils for trial soaps for your daughter. If you drop your "cleansing" number (in your lye calculator) to 10 or below, you may find she likes it better. Clay tends to absorb moisture, so maybe try a soap without clay just for your daughter and see if it helps.

One other suggestion I have is to try at least one recipe with lanolin at 5% as an ingredient. I found it contributes to a less harsh soap for my skin, and makes shaving more comfortable as well. In fact, I love it as an ingredient in shaving soap. I keep the SF in the at 3-5% range and this seems to work well for me and my skin.
I just ordered some lanolin and will hopefully receive it soon! i've never heard of adding this to soap and I'm excited to try it. Thanks!
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,611
Reaction score
11,668
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Tetrasodium EDTA and Sodium Gluconate are added to soap as chelators, which help tremenously in reducing soap scum in hard water. In the presences of hard water, soap without chelators, can leave a film on the skin that feels itchy as it dries. See DeeAnna's article on chelators in soap: Table of contents | Soapy Stuff
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
14,096
Reaction score
21,336
Location
USA
...I've read Kenna's article at Modernsoapmaking.com that breaks down all of the fatty acid profiles...

We have been talking about this in another thread. The title and original topic of this thread probably wouldn't tempt you to read it, but we digressed into evaluating fatty acid profiles for soap and discussing Kenna's article. My lard based soaps going rancid!

***

As far as lanolin in soap -- For the past couple-three years, I've been making a soap with lanolin and whole egg and like it very well. I did a little video about making it.



Lanolin is a well behaved ingredient in soap. I think it is nice up to about 5% of the total fats, but I think it could leave a sticky residue on the skin and soften the bar if used at higher amounts.

It is one of the few ingredients I've tried that really does leave a pleasant, light film on the skin after washing. But, IMO, lanolin in soap won't replace a good lotion for protecting and moisturizing dry skin, nor will it fix a soap that is too harsh of a cleanser.

Also some people are sensitive to lanolin (more specifically to the impurities found in lanolin), so it's not for everyone. You can purchase an extra pure lanolin (one brand name is Lanisoh) to minimize the chance of a reaction. I have used regular and purified lanolin. In bath soap, I stick with regular lanolin, but I use Lanisoh in my shave soap.

A couple of tips -- Warm it up in a hot water bath (or the microwave) so it's pourable -- it's a real pain to spoon out room-temp lanolin. If doing cold process, be sure to stick blend it into your fats before adding the lye so it is mixed in well with no lumps.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
Tetrasodium EDTA and Sodium Gluconate are added to soap as chelators, which help tremenously in reducing soap scum in hard water. In the presences of hard water, soap without chelators, can leave a film on the skin that feels itchy as it dries. See DeeAnna's article on chelators in soap: Table of contents | Soapy Stuff
[/QUOTE
Yes! I looked it all up last night and ordered some. Thank you!
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
We have been talking about this in another thread. The title and original topic of this thread probably wouldn't tempt you to read it, but we digressed into evaluating fatty acid profiles for soap and discussing Kenna's article. My lard based soaps going rancid!

***

As far as lanolin in soap -- For the past couple-three years, I've been making a soap with lanolin and whole egg and like it very well. I did a little video about making it.



Lanolin is a well behaved ingredient in soap. I think it is nice up to about 5% of the total fats, but I think it could leave a sticky residue on the skin and soften the bar if used at higher amounts.

It is one of the few ingredients I've tried that really does leave a pleasant, light film on the skin after washing. But, IMO, lanolin in soap won't replace a good lotion for protecting and moisturizing dry skin, nor will it fix a soap that is too harsh of a cleanser.

Also some people are sensitive to lanolin (more specifically to the impurities found in lanolin), so it's not for everyone. You can purchase an extra pure lanolin (one brand name is Lanisoh) to minimize the chance of a reaction. I have used regular and purified lanolin. In bath soap, I stick with regular lanolin, but I use Lanisoh in my shave soap.

A couple of tips -- Warm it up in a hot water bath (or the microwave) so it's pourable -- it's a real pain to spoon out room-temp lanolin. If doing cold process, be sure to stick blend it into your fats before adding the lye so it is mixed in well with no lumps.

Yes, I actually have been following that thread about Kennas article. I think it’s what finally lead me to ask my own questions to the forum! I’m recognizing that those average and typical fatty acid profiles just aren’t working for me and I needed to step out of that box but didn’t know where to go. I’m often in your classic bells site and ready all of your soaping info also DeeAnna! Thank you for that! I ordered EDTA, Sodium Gluconate and lanolin last night. I’m assuming the lanolin I ordered isn’t extra pure. I ordered it from, makeyourown.buzz. Thanks for all of the tips and your chemistry lessons.
 

Zany_in_CO

Saponifier
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
7,988
Reaction score
8,911
Location
SE Denver CO
it's a real pain to spoon out room-temp lanolin. If doing cold process, be sure to stick blend it into your fats before adding the lye so it is mixed in well with no lumps.
TIP: I use two popsicle sticks to measure the amount of lanolin needed. One to scoop and the other one to scrape and drop it into the oils so it can be warmed with the rest of the oils before adding the lye solution.

SHORT STORY: This brings back fond memories of making stuff for a wholesale customer in Long Island that sold to knitters and quilters at various events in NYC and surrounding states. She used lanolin in many products: 5% in hard bars (shave soap), 2% in liquid soap, "Smooch Recovery" (Lip Balm), "Sole Survivor" (Foot Balm), and herbal salve. There is a segment of the consumer society that loves lanolin in anything you make. Personally, I use lanolin in a lip balm I make for my firefighter nephews. :thumbs:
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
TIP: I use two popsicle sticks to measure the amount of lanolin needed. One to scoop and the other one to scrape and drop it into the oils so it can be warmed with the rest of the oils before adding the lye solution.

SHORT STORY: This brings back fond memories of making stuff for a wholesale customer in Long Island that sold to knitters and quilters at various events in NYC and surrounding states. She used lanolin in many products: 5% in hard bars (shave soap), 2% in liquid soap, "Smooch Recovery" (Lip Balm), "Sole Survivor" (Foot Balm), and herbal salve. There is a segment of the consumer society that loves lanolin in anything you make. Personally, I use lanolin in a lip balm I make for my firefighter nephews. :thumbs:
[
I’m also a knitter, hairdresser,gardener, chicken farmer...😂 I’m super excited to get this lanolin. My hands are always destroyed and I have to use hydrocortisone cream on them.
 

Zany_in_CO

Saponifier
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
Messages
7,988
Reaction score
8,911
Location
SE Denver CO
I’m also a knitter, hairdresser,gardener, chicken farmer...😂 I’m super excited to get this lanolin. My hands are always destroyed and I have to use hydrocortisone cream on them.
Eww Ouch! Once you try lanolin on them hopefully you'll throw the cortisone :p cream away.

TIP: When posting a reply, click "Reply" button lower right corner of the post. The text shows up between "QUOTE"s. You type your reply after the final quote. You can also edit the text between the QUOTEs to reply to just one thing. ;)
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
7,554
Reaction score
13,697
Location
US
To the extent that DeeAnna was suggesting that you try lard, I second that suggestion. Although many soapers consider palm and lard to be interchangeable, my skin loves lard, and does not like palm (although I'm fine with PKO in small amounts). Also, be wiling to give a bit on your desired hardness and/or longevity numbers in order to make a soap that agrees with your daughter's skin. That's what I did for my husband's eczema and psoriasis. Turns out, my skin likes these recipes better, too. Here is what works for our super-sensitive, dry itchy skin:

70% lard
15% CO or PKO
10% sweet almond or RBO
5% castor

3-5% SF
vinegar for lye liquid
1 T powdered goat milk ppo (stickblend into oils)
- sorbitol, sugar, or honey for bubble boost
- colloidal oats for skin-soothing properties.

If that works, then you can try backing down the lard by 5% at a time to add in some hardening butters, or a bit of tallow.

I do give this a nice long cure - 6 weeks minimum, but much better at 8-10 weeks. It's super gentle, has nice lather due to the added sugars, and doesn't make either of us peel or itch. The longevity isn't great, but hey, the faster the soap gets used up, the more often we get to make it, right? 😁

ETA: I have just started using sodium citrate as a chelator. In the past I used citric acid, but it didn't always play well with the vinegar. Plus, if your water is very hard, you probably need something stronger, like EDTA or sodium gluconate.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Messages
21
Reaction score
56
Location
Lakeview, Oregon
To the extent that DeeAnna was suggesting that you try lard, I second that suggestion. Although many soapers consider palm and lard to be interchangeable, my skin loves lard, and does not like palm (although I'm fine with PKO in small amounts). Also, be wiling to give a bit your desired hardness and/or longevity numbers in order to make a soap that agrees with your daughter's skin. That's what I did for my husband's eczema and psoriasis. Turns out, my skin likes these recipes better, too. Here is what works for our super-sensitive, dry itchy skin:

70% lard
15% CO or PKO
10% sweet almond or RBO
5% castor

3-5% SF
vinegar for lye liquid
1 T powdered goat milk ppo (stickblend into oils)
- sorbitol, sugar, or honey for bubble boost
- colloidal oats for skin-soothing properties.

If that works, then you can try backing down the lard by 5% at a time to add in some hardening butters, or a bit of tallow.

I do give this a nice long cure - 6 weeks minimum, but much better at 8-10 weeks. It's super gentle and doesn't make either of us peel or itch. The longevity isn't great, but hey the faster the soap gets used up, the more often we get to make it, right? 😁

ETA: I have just started using sodium citrate as a chelator. In the past I used citric acid, but it didn't always play well with the vinegar. Plus, if your water is very hard, you probably need something stronger, like EDTA or sodium gluconate.
Thanks for the additional input! I’m waiting on my order of EDTA, Sodium Gluconate and lanolin and then I have a recipe planned and waiting that incorporates a lot of these suggestions. I will give your recipe a go also and then I can compare them. I’ll let everyone know how they work out when they’re done! Thanks so much! I love this forum!
 

Latest posts

Top