Help developing new recipe

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Joey1919

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Hello, I'm new to the forum and soap making. Never thought this was something I'd be interested in but i received some Dr Squatch soaps for fathers day and really liked them. I didnt like the $7 a bar price tag though. So I jumped on youtube and made my first batch and it turned into soap.

So now I have an idea for a very specific soap that id like to make and would like some suggestions on where to start. So, I spend a fair amount of time off-grid, living out of a backpack. I have a 10 day alaska trip coming up. Which brings me to the soap recipe.

I'm looking to make a multi purpose bar, here are my goals

-Lye based soap
-It would be nice if it would also do a decent job as a shampoo at least for a few days
-med to heavy exfoliation
-no ingredients that would cause trouble downstream if I'm bathing in a creek
- I'd really like it to smell like pine and or cedar. I'm not opposed to a pine tar soap if thats what it takes
-no terribly expensive or hard to source ingredients
- I love coffee and like the idea of using it as an exfoliant. Pumice, sugar and granulated lemon peels seem like logical choices as well.

I know this will take some dialing in but looking for suggestion on where to start. Id love some suggestions on what oils to use, essintial oils and amounts, and exfloiants. No need for coloring or fancy shapes or additives. Im not looking to get into the soap business. This will be for personal use.

I would love to hear everyones thoughts, suggestions and questions.

Thanks
 

kagey

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I'm working many hours doing the same. Welcome to the club.

This takes a ton of time to research.
You'll need to learn how to use a soap calculator.
One way I learned is by recreating other people's recipes...
a lot of soapmakers will list the ingredients (including distilled water and lye) in the order of most to least.
so you can sort of see what their recipe might look like.
See my feable attempt at recreating Squash's recipe. (it's probably wrong)
But it will give you an idea of what soaping oils you might want to consider.

I'm currently using used coffee grounds as an exfoliant in a recipe.
But do you want that in your hair? Or downstream?
Maybe consider using kosher salt? Or ground walnut shells?
(Sugar doesn't work as an exfoliant - but does help boost lather/bubble.)

Essential oil are a math problem of their own.
Overall, there's a percentage of how much you should use in your recipe.
And then each EO has a max rate as well before it becomes a skin irritant.

Where to start?
I started on youtube learning how to make beef tallow CP soap.
and then ventured on from there.
There are a lot of great soaping resourses available on the internet.
And a ton of great videos -- as well as articles from BrambleBerry, Soap Queen, etc.

Hope this helps.
 

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Joey1919

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Thanks for the info kagey. I have familiarized myself with the soap calculators and explored YouTube. Thats where I found the the recipe for my first batch. Point taken on the coffee, I was just thinking that my coffee grinder would allow me to adjust grind to find the right consistency. But you're right, probably not the best choice for hair.

As far as the oils, I was hoping someone could steer me towards choices that would increase the soaps shampoo quality without sacrificing cleansing too much, if that's possible. Not asking for exact percentages just general recommendations.

Thanks again
 
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I would suggest you skip the exfoliant part until you get a handle on making soap. Same for essential or fragrance oils or colorants. Not for forever, mind you, but just until you have one successful batch under your belt. Also, the national forest service and environmental agencies still recommend you go at least 200 feet from a water source to use any soaps whatsoever. Just saying.

My basic recipe can be made with oils you can buy at your local grocery store:

Lard-45-55%
Olive Oil-15%
Coconut Oil-15-20%
Castor Oil-5% (found in the laxative section of Walmart among others)

If you have oily skin, go heavier on the Coconut Oil and lighter on the lard. If dry skin, do the opposite. Play with this recipe until you figure out if your skin likes it.

Since you are not adding pretty colors or scents, you can use the heat transfer method to melt your hard oils. Just weigh out your oils into one bowl, then mix your lye and water in another. Once your lye is completely dissolved, pour that hot mixture over your oils and proceed to stickblending. Once you see full emulsification, pour into the mold. Most people over stick blend when they start, so if I tell you to stop once it is no longer separating, you might hit it right. This mixture is going to get hot fast, so I would not over fret about insulating. If you get partial gel, it is not a big deal as this soap is just to get started. Don't forget you are going to have to wait 4-6 weeks to let it cure.

Then, once you have one successful batch under your belt, you can explore additives as well as alternate recipes.

If you have not started accumulating equipment, your local Dollar Tree as well as thrift stores are the best places to start. Goggles, gloves, spatulas, bowls (just be sure it has a 2 or a 5 on the bottom), and even the drawer dividers to use as molds all come from dollar stores. And I got a couple of stick blenders (always get more than one if getting from thrift stores) and other items from thrift stores. Spend your money on a good scale. I think highly of Amazon.com: My Weigh KD-8000 Kitchen And Craft Digital Scale & AC Adapter: Home & Kitchen
 

Joey1919

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Thanks Susie,

I have made my first batch of soap, actually I just bathed with it for the first time last night. I have all the equipment and made my own mold out of plywood and lined it with butcher paper.

Because of my profession I'm familiar with batching things in specic amounts and temperatures. I already have scales that read in grams.

I was given some whole luffa by a neighbor and ground that and added to the soap. It was more trouble than I want to deal with again.
 
A

amd

I have a 10 day alaska trip coming up.
When you say "coming up" I really hope that means you have time to allow a proper cure for the soap.

My advice, use a simple recipe - if you like the first batch you made, why not use that? Skip the exfoliant, especially if you intend to use this short term on hair. I think a small amount cedarwood EO is always nice. You'll want to use it within a safe range, so be sure you understand IFRA guidelines. While many on the forum do not recommend lye soap as shampoo, I think using it short term or if you have short hair that gets regular cuts will be fine. I can't speak on the environmental impact, hopefully someone has some input. My first thought is that the small amount of soap from one person bathing going into a natural waterway probably isn't going to have an impact.
 
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Welcome, welcome and safe travels to you.

I can't help you on the bathing in a stream front. (I'll overshare, though, and say I'm jealous -- skinny dippin' is a simple pleasure.)

When I started I too was drawn to the idea of pine essential oil. However, to me, it was too pinesol-y. I MUCH prefer fir needle essential oil. I use at least a titch of cedarwood in most of my blends. Find Free Essential Oil Blends - Modern Soapmaking is a great resource -- you can choose essential oils or spend hours browsing various blends.

Most of my soaping oils are found in grocery stores (palm, coconut, rice bran, castor) and the rest of my equipment is from thrift store or dollar stores. I shoot for a ratio of 60:40 hard:soft oils.

I like to use already-shredded loofah, coffee grounds, poppy seeds as exfoliants.

Making pine tar soap is on my bucket list but a quick search on this forum will show you that it is tricky to work with (quick to trace), just FYI.

Keep us posted on your progress!
 

Joey1919

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Hey amd,

Yeah I just mention the alaska thing as an example, but yes I'm 6 weeks out from that now.

And yes, short duration use, short hair, cut every couple weeks. I'm with you on that one

Hey Zing,

Thanks for the advice, I've seen the fir oil and now that I think of it I would probably like that better. I bought some beard oil a few years back that was fir scented and the smell was amazing. The the beard oil itself was just too expensive for my taste. Do you have any reccomemdation on waht kind of percentage to start with for the fir needle oil?

Are the poppy seeds scratchy at all? I used some soap with sand as the exfoliant and that was a bit scratchy for me. However I think sourcing the correct / finer sand would be a good option.
 
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Hey Zing,

Thanks for the advice, I've seen the fir oil and now that I think of it I would probably like that better. I bought some beard oil a few years back that was fir scented and the smell was amazing. The the beard oil itself was just too expensive for my taste. Do you have any reccomemdation on waht kind of percentage to start with for the fir needle oil?

Are the poppy seeds scratchy at all? I used some soap with sand as the exfoliant and that was a bit scratchy for me. However I think sourcing the correct / finer sand would be a good option.
Now you can make your own beard oil!
Poppy seeds are super mild. I spent last week daily using my poppy seed soap and I threw a s load in there.
I don't have my soap notes with me right now but will look for my notes on fir needle essential oil. If I forget to get back to you, please "@ mention" me here. If you put the @ symbol in front of a member name, they get a notification, like this: @Joey1919.
 
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Hi @Joey1919, soap needs to cure for at least 4 weeks, so for best results, do a few small batches now. Just FYI, I let my CP soap cure for at least 8 weeks. I let my HP soap cure for at least 4 weeks.
Several other members have given you ideas on recipes and calculating fragrances. My favorite woodsy blend is 3/4 cedarwood eo and 1/4 rosemary eo. One fun trick to testing EO blends is the toothpick method. Dip toothpicks into the EOs you want to try and put into a plastic ziploc bag in the same ratio that you want to try. For example, put 3 cedarwood toothpicks and 1 rosemary toothpick in a plastic bag to test the above combination. Leave for 4 - 24 hours, then take a whiff to see how you like it.
Have fun with your soaping.
 
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I love this blend that I call Winter Blend. Smells outdoorsy and forest-y. Equal parts bergamot, eucalyptus, fir needle, peppermint, cedarwood, rosemary.

Also, try 60/30/10/titch of fir needle, rosemary , spearmint, cedarwood.

Another complex and outdoorsy blend is 3/16 rosemary, 3/16 tea tree, 5/16 bergamot, 5/16 litsea cubeba.

Have fun testing and soaping!
 

Hoppy_Cosmetics

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So now I have an idea for a very specific soap that id like to make and would like some suggestions on where to start. So, I spend a fair amount of time off-grid, living out of a backpack. I have a 10 day alaska trip coming up. Which brings me to the soap recipe. I'm looking to make a multi purpose bar, here are my goals
Since you're out backpacking alot, there's a type of soap you could make called Soleseife Soap (aka. Sailor's Soap), and its one that you can use in seawater aswell as fresh water. Its made with salt water and is versatile, as it lathers really well in both types of water. The Nerdy Farm Wife has some online tutorials, and there's a decent youtube video about it here:
 

rdc1978

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If you have not started accumulating equipment, your local Dollar Tree as well as thrift stores are the best places to start. Goggles, gloves, spatulas, bowls (just be sure it has a 2 or a 5 on the bottom), and even the drawer dividers to use as molds all come from dollar stores. And I got a couple of stick blenders (always get more than one if getting from thrift stores) and other items from thrift stores. Spend your money on a good scale. I think highly of Amazon.com: My Weigh KD-8000 Kitchen And Craft Digital Scale & AC Adapter: Home & Kitchen

I second this emotion. The Dollar Tree in my area actually has an arts and crafts second where you can pick up craft sticks/bamboo sticks/little squirt bottles. But I cannot go into a dollar tress and not leave with like 2 or 3 plastic measuring cups and a few mini silicone spatulas. Whisks and small spoons are good to buy there too. I still have a set of "dessert shot glasses" that I use for mixing mica and oil.

Soaping 101 did a super cool video once about making a soap from dollar store ingrediants (I'm pretty sure they assumed you had your own lye and stick blender))
 
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Since you're out backpacking alot, there's a type of soap you could make called Soleseife Soap (aka. Sailor's Soap), and its one that you can use in seawater aswell as fresh water. Its made with salt water and is versatile, as it lathers really well in both types of water. The Nerdy Farm Wife has some online tutorials, and there's a decent youtube video about it here:


I do not consider solseife a beginner soap, neither do I suggest using a salt water brine soap near fresh water sources such as streams and lakes.

Lather ability has nothing to do with safety out in the wild. Safety around water has far more to do with lack of detergents or additives that you would not want in your water sources. I do consider hand made soap that is made with a care as to ingredients and methods used fairly safe to use out in natural environments, but the NWS and EPA do not agree about their safety closer than 200 feet to a stream, creek, river, or lake.
 
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I almost suggested to try brine soap, as it is my favorite bath soap. But i 'm not sure the salt is a good idea for freshwater. However, I don't think the salt from using brine soap to bathe is going to add much salt to fresh water. I use one ounce of fine sea salt in a recipe that makes 6 individual bars of soap. One bar probably lasts me at least a month. I don't consider it too complex of a soap to make, if you keep it simple (no fancy additives or fragrances). One draw back is the fact that it is best poured into individual molds vs. a slab or loaf mold. If you made a slab mold, you could make dividers for individual bars. Or possibly use old individual small food containers - never tried this, so may not be feasible with the heat of the soap as it saponifies (sp?).
However, before I started making brine soap, I would make sure I had a base recipe that lathered and cleaned in the way I liked. Then try using a brine as my liquid and see how I liked it. My brine is 1 part fine sea salt to 4 parts distilled water.
 
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Joey1919

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@Zing , I found out that particular beard oil company has shut down but I looked at an old bottle and the EOs used were Rosemary, bergamot, fir needle, pine and frankincense.

I think ive got a good start for my soap, I'll get the ingredients together and let y'all know how it goes.

Thanks to everyone
 

Hoppy_Cosmetics

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I do not consider solseife a beginner soap, neither do I suggest using a salt water brine soap near fresh water sources such as streams and lakes. Safety around water has far more to do with lack of detergents or additives that you would not want in your water sources.
He asked for versatile. Also, safety around streams and lakes? It rains, there's air pollution, dust, things that settle on the water surface, animals pee and excrement in those water sources, its not all untainted and magical. Water has to be tested, treated or filtered before drinking it to remove these things, so i doubt a little bit of salt water and natural oils would harm it. There's no reason why a beginner couldn't make this.
 
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