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Hello! and questions on my recipe

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NayanRose

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First I want to say Hello to everyone. I've been lurking around for a while and have learned so much. With your help I've already done two batches of CP soap, both were pretty basic. The first one is an olive oil/coconut oil soap with lavender essential oil, this one has already cured for five week and I love it, it turned out beautifully. The second one is the same recipe but with an added color that I swirled in and poured into two smaller molds. I like this one too but the plain colored one I think looks prettier (of course that could be because it's my first batch).

So now, I wanted to try my own recipe, I've got shea butter that I use for my hair and wanted to use it in soap too. I've run it through soapcalc so I have the numbers right. I just really wanted to run this by you all before I try it though.

Olive oil - 12.0 oz - 40%
Coconut oil - 9.0 oz - 30%
Shea butter - 9.0 oz - 30%

Would this soap work? I don't want it to drying with the high coconut oil, but I don't want to go much higher with the olive oil either.

And if this would work but... super fat. Would I want to super fat this at 10% to make it more conditioning or is that way to high, and it would make the soap go rancid? Or should I just stick with the 5%?
 

dixiedragon

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Is there a reason you don't want to go higher on the olive oil? If it's the expense, you could substitute another liquid oil. I don't love canola, but it's not terrible. I am very fond of sunflower, which is also pretty cheap. That recipe is 60% hard oils, so it is going to trace very fast. You probably won't have time for fancy swirls.

I think with the percentage of coconut that high, 10% would be a good superfat.
 

Obsidian

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It would work but the high shea might really reduce that lather. I would drop it to 20% max but my personal preference is shea at 10%. I would also drop the coconut down a little, 20% is a very common amount.

Are you ok with lard or palm? Either of those would be good to replace some of the shea and coconut with. I use 50% lard in my basic soap, it really does make a very nice creamy, gentle soap.
 

IrishLass

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You're going to get lots of different opinions, but for what it's worth, based on all the experiments I've done with different recipes, it looks like it would work just fine. If I were making it, I would superfat it at 8%.


IrishLass :)
 

WalterG

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My new favorite recipe uses 50% refined shea butter and 20% coconut oil. I find it lathers very well. I do use a very low superfat (3%) to account for unsaponifiables so maybe that helps.
 
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WalterG

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Thanks! I'm going to try it this weekend!
I'm really enjoying it. The lather is very lotiony and reminds me of the foam on a well-made latte.
I know most recommend lower amounts of shea but I've been steadily increasing the amount in my soap. I was having a "what the hell" kind of day and went for it.
Full disclosure: I've only made 2 batches.
SF was 3% and was calculated based on the average purity of my lye.
I do hand stir these days and trace took forever....like 25 minutes. I'm thinking maybe the ho sunflower slows things down. I even used a 40% lye concentration and soaped at about 115F.
 
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SoapingChick

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My new favorite recipe uses 50% refined shea butter and 20% coconut oil. I find it lathers very well. I do use a very low superfat (2%) to account for unsaponifiables so maybe that helps.
May I ask for how long you feel it needs to cure, to get that desired lather? I'm looking to try my first 'high butter' soap :)

Also - pls correct me if I'm mistaken - but isn't the lye calculator already taking into account all the usaponifiables? I can't seem to grasp why the "low" superfat - at what % do you usually superfat? My lowest has been 6% and many of my soaps are around 8-9% (I tend to have dry hands, that's why I've been SF'ing that high - seemed logic).

Thank you WalterG for the idea :) Happy soaping y'all!
 

NayanRose

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Thank you all for your replies.. :)

dixiedragon, I've been reading and just wanted to keep the olive oil % down at least below 50. And yeah, with the coconut oil that high I was thinking superfatting at 10 would help keep the soap a bit conditioning, but I wasn't sure if that was to high.

Obsidian, I honestly haven't looked into using lard at all, not opposed to it either but I want to keep away from palm.

IrishLass, thank you for your input. I haven't decided on the sf yet, again one of my concerns is I don't want it to go rancid.

WalterG, you too, thank you. I do feel better about choosing such a high % for my shea. I love what it does for my hair and wanted to use it in soap for my skin too.


Another question, SoapingChick asked... how long would I want to cure something like this? I would imagine it'd be longer than the 4-6 week because I'm guessing it'll be a softer/wetter soap.
 

WalterG

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May I ask for how long you feel it needs to cure, to get that desired lather? I'm looking to try my first 'high butter' soap :)
A minimum of 4 weeks by default. But in all honesty, the bar I'm using at the sink is about 3 weeks.
 
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topofmurrayhill

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My new favorite recipe uses 50% refined shea butter and 20% coconut oil. I find it lathers very well. I do use a very low superfat (3%) to account for unsaponifiables so maybe that helps.
Good work. We had someone asking how to make palm-free veggie soap. When I mentioned this approach, people who hadn't tried it announced various reasons it wouldn't work. The fact is, to be able to make a variety of good stuff within those constraints, you have to use stearic oil in place of palmitic oil. Otherwise you can only make run of the mill soft craft soap.

The OP recipe is another variation on the basic theme.
 

WalterG

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Once you go lard, you never go back. Just warning you.
I like lard in soap but I always end up with a thick layer of ash when I use it.

Also - pls correct me if I'm mistaken - but isn't the lye calculator already taking into account all the usaponifiables?
I don't believe that is so, but I could be wrong. My understanding is that soapcalc is only concerned with the FA in an oil; any unsaponifiables are added to the sf. I stand corrected--see DeeAnna below. I apologize for spreading erroneous information... and for completely hijacking this thread.
 
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DeeAnna

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Walter -- I suspect you may have an incorrect perception of sap values, so I want to share my understanding of the matter --

It is true that a person can calculate a theoretical saponification value based only on the ideal fatty acid composition of a given fat. A theoretical sap value would not include the effect of any unsaponifiable material present in the real life fat, so it would be the highest possible saponification value you could come up with.

A theoretical calculation like this is not helpful in the soap industry or in hand crafted soap making, however. We have to deal with real life fats, not theoretically ideal fats.

A more practical and useful way is to test the saponification value of an actual sample of a particular fat. The sap value is the amount of KOH required to saponify a given weight of the sample. This sap value does account for any unsaponifiable material in the fat. More unsaponifiable material => lower sap value and vice versa. This is the basis for the industry standard way of testing sap values (ASTM method D5558 ).

An extreme example to think about is jojoba. Some of it does saponify (or otherwise react with lye) but most of the jojoba does not. The sap value of jojoba is very low to reflect this fact. If the sap value was only based on the part of jojoba that does react with lye (ignoring the large unsaponifiable portion) the sap value would probably be quite high, but that's not the way it's done because it's not a useful measurement.

Because sap values are based on real life samples, the answers will vary, sometimes by quite a bit, so keep that in mind as you check the soap recipe calcs and other reference sources. Sap values for a given fat will vary based on the particular variety or breed of organism from which the sample comes, time of year when harvest occurred, method of processing the fat, weather patterns during the growing season, etc.

Since the effect of unsaponifiables is already included in the saponification value, then the superfat (lye discount) doesn't have to account for them. What the superfat does need to do is account for the fact that the sap values we use for soaping are estimates. While the estimates are as reasonable as possible, they are not 100% accurate values for the actual fats sitting in the soap pot.
 
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WalterG

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DeeAnna, I understand most of what you're explaining--thank you. But I still can't wrap my head around part of it. I hate to hijack anymore of this thread so I'm going to PM you!
 

DeeAnna

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Yeah, I can see why my explanation might be hard to follow. Sometimes my head is in the clouds. :) Let me say it a different way --

Here are the saponification values for several fats --

Coconut oil sap value = 0.182 g NaOH / 1 g coconut oil.

Olive oil sap value = 0.135 g NaOH / 1 g olive oil.

Jojoba sap value = 0.065 g NaOH / 1 g jojoba.

Can you see how small the jojoba sap value is compared with the sap value for the others?

What that low number means is only a little bit of NaOH will saponify the small amount of chemicals that can react with lye. If more of the jojoba could react with NaOH, the sap value would be higher.

I hope this is more down to earth and more helpful.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I think the consideration is then, if joboba has a large amount of unsaponifiables by nature, a 100% jojoba soap will contain less salt of a fatty acid than a soap made with 100% coconut, as it will contain more unsaponifiables.

A question is then - what are the unsaponifiables? Can we consider them a superfat?
 
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