Help Making Luxury Bar????

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Jul 17, 2015
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In The Hills of Kentucky!
I'm sure most of you all have done this already. Hope you don't mind another. :)

I've been making soaps for over 6 years, but have never gotten into all the math and chemistry parts, WAY to scared of that part. But I would really like to make a luxury bar using what I have on hand. Which would be the following:

Olive oil (I know lower grade actually makes a better soap, but I was thinking about using Extra Virgin. What are your thoughts on that?)
Coconut Oil
Castor oil
Shea butter
Hazel nut oil

I'm hoping to make a sort of Castile Soap, however, I don't want 100 percent Olive oil soap. I would like a hard, long lasting bar that I can still tout on the goodness of olive oil (the reason I'm thinking about going with EV Olive Oil.) I want a green bar and I just splurged on Rose Essential Oil, so I'm using that paired with Rosemary.

So..... My question is: How do I go about figuring the measurements for a 12lb batch of soap.

Any advice would be almost as great as homemade, all natural, soap bubbles!


Oooopsss, Forgot to mention that I will be using Pure Goat milk as part of the lye solution! That alone makes a luxury bar!

(Good thing our goats don't have internet, or they'd all be on strike!)

I would do 48% OO, 20% CO, 15% Shea, 10% Hazelnut, 7% Castor. I would do a smaller batch to see how I liked it before doing 12 lbs. But that's how I roll with new recipes. It will still require a good long cure as you've got a lot of liquid oils going.

Here's a link to the sticky on how to figure out how much oils to make by the size of the mold.

Good Luck!
You can use EVOO if you want to, it'll make an initially whiter bar (although most olive oil bars tend to go at least white-ish as they age).

I like Shunt's recipe, but if you want to extol the virtues of the olive oil, I think it should be at minimum 50% and more likely higher than that.

How about 60% olive, 15% coconut, 10% hazelnut, 10% shea, 5% castor? That might be another one to test with Shunt's--it'll be somewhat more lotion-like than Shunt's recipe, with about the same conditioning due to cutting back the shea.
You know, when I hear luxury bar I don't think about high olive oil. I would increase the shea to 20% and add in some palm/lard. I'd rather have creamy lather over slimy OO lather.
My luxury bar has Lard, CO, OO, Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter and Castor Oil...
Aye, you could make the most luxurious soap possible with what you have, but that might not really be a luxurious bar.

Are you selling? It seems likely, from the 'touting' and batch size. If that is so, then forget what you have on hand and make a soap that actually does what you want rather than uses the ingredients you have at the moment. If you're not selling rather just giving it away, then no need to call it a luxury bar, just a new recipe that you are trying.
Thanks for all the advice! I'm not selling at the moment, just have a need for lots of soap in my family! (I'm the oldest of 14, and since I started making soap at the age of 18, NOBODY in my family will use store bought soap/bar-of whatever-you-want-to-call-it-detergent. LOL.)

I have never used Lard in my recipes, does it give a creamy lather?

I currently use the following recipe(which isn't mine to begin with):

1 lb 13.1 oz Lye
3 lbs water/goats milk
7 lbs 14 oz OO
3 lbs 15 oz CO
6 oz Castor Oil

It makes a hard bar that lathers really well.

I would like to try adding lard to this recipe, but like I mentioned before, I'm not sure how to figure the measurements and am afraid I'll get it all wrong! :(

But, I think I will take the obvious next step in soap making and get into formulating my very own recipe.

Thanks again!

Are you sure you wrote that out correctly? I make that to be about 28% lye discount!

As for formulating your own, don't just ask for a recipe - you will likely get one, but it is better to read back through all the threads, especially recipe feedback, and see what people say about certain recipes. Distill that down in to information that you can then use, come up with an idea and then get some feedback on it. Take the feedback and adjust as you like, then make it up and see how it goes.

I would suggest, however, that you make smaller batches to see if you actually like a soap before committing to making bigger ones. Go for a 500g test batch to make sure the soap suits your tastes, then make it bigger as needed.
Are you sure you wrote that out correctly? I make that to be about 28% lye discount!

Are you sure, TEG? Unless I calculated wrong (wouldn't be the first time, that's for sure, lol), I come up with a 1% superfat/lye discount (not including the fat from the goat milk, which might push it up to 2% or 3%, maybe, it would depend on how fatty the milk is), and a 37.7 % lye concentration on SoapCalc. Overall, not too far off of something that I might make. This is the recipe in percentages:

64.62% Olive Oil
32.31 Coconut Oil
3.08% Castor Oil
Plus goat milk as part of the liquid.

SimpleSoapsnSalts said:
I would like to try adding lard to this recipe, but like I mentioned before, I'm not sure how to figure the measurements and am afraid I'll get it all wrong!

Lard is wonderful in soap. I lends such a beautiful creamy oomph to the lather. In order to incorporate some lard into your above formula, if it were me, I would change things up to look something like this (in percentages):

42% Olive Oil
28% Coconut Oil
25% Lard
5% Castor Oil

And if I wanted to use about half my water amount in goat milk, I would calculate for a 3% superfat.. Oh- and I'd also use a 33% lye concentration. I personally think that would make a lovely, luxurious soap, but that's just me, of course, based on my own preferences.

Have you had a chance to look at SoapCalc? When it comes to formulating, I find it to be of great help, especially since it does all the math for me. lol : It lets you enter in your recipe 4 different ways, depending on how you like to figure things, i.e., percentages or ounces or pounds or grams, and it makes things so easy for scaling formulas up or down.

Just keep whichever new formula that you decide to try on the small side at first- something around 2 pounds at most is a good start (just in case you and your family don't like it). By the way, I think it's awesome that you have been making 12 lb. batches of your formula for your family for the past 6 years and that they like to use yours instead of store-bought. :thumbup:

IrishLass :)
Thanks so much IrishLass. I'm going to try using SoapCal and hope I do this right! I'll post it back and have you all take a look over.

After reading all over the place here, I've come to a few conclusions about myself:

1. I wouldn't consider myself a Newbie on "making soap". However, I'm not well learned in tweaking and all that.

2. I definitely could using some brushing up on learning a whole lot more about soap! You all have everything down to a science, yet simplified a billion soap bubbles over!

3. I need to make more soap! LOL!

Also, My Dad and brothers made me rectangular drop down side soap molds for my B-day. I can't say how much I LOVE these over the plastic PVC pipe I was using for years! I truly love round bars, but the pain and hassle of getting them out of the mold was a real hindrance to me being able to keep making soap. Anyway, I said all that because I will now be able to make swirled soaps! Which I've never been able to do. And judging from whats all over the internet and even here on the forum, Swirls sell!

Well, thanks for your time and patience!

Oh, and yes, The Efficacious Gentleman, I did get that recipe right. I've been using it for years and never had a problem. Do you think I need to change it up bit?

Also, I use half GM and half Water. I don't like full strength goats milk, its kinda slimy and wet feeling.
Ok, So what do you all think about this?:

CO 30%
OO 25%
Lard 24%
Castor Oil 5%
Hazelnut Oil 8%
Shea Butter 8%

Soapcalc says it will give a hard bar INS of 159. But creamy and bubbly numbers are 25 & 26. Is that ok?

Thanks again for your patience with me. :)

I'd say you probably want to try that out before committing 12 pounds to it.

This is just my skin talking, but 30% CO would feel very unpleasant. I like 15% to 20% max. Unless you have a good source of hazelnut oil, I'd skip that and put it into the lard. Try making a small batch of the recipe Susie posted.... it's really, really nice!

One of my favorite recipes is a minor variation of it that produces abundant rich lather especially when I sub water for GM:

Lard 55%
Castor 5%
CO 15% (I like to split this into PKO and CO for the mildness and extra bubbles)
OO 20%
Shea 5%

I live in a dry area that is really rough on my skin (lots of UV, cold, and wind damage). If you're making for a younger crowd or one in a humid area, you might prefer higher CO. The best way to tell is to make a bunch of variations, take good notes and compare. Instead of making 12 pounds at once, make 6 different 2lb batches or 12 different 1lb ones.

Good luck :)
If it's just for family, is it important to you to make something that "seems" luxurious? Ie; I understand why sellers want to be able to label something that way just b/c buyers are so susceptible, but I am thinking that maybe your family won't really care, and are just happy to have hand-made soap. I know mine is that way, they wouldn't know argan oil from a hole in their collective head. I bet your peeps would think it was awesome to try a new soap (and how lucky for you to have so many testers, I wish I did!).

Also, even w/buyers, I wonder what really is luxurious these days. So many soapers use milks, butters, expensive oils, etc, that I would be hard pressed - at least in LA - to imagine what would make someone think "luxury" except for something really obvious "looking" like gold leaf ....
I'm hoping to make a sort of Castile Soap said:

Here's mountain rose herbs' webpage about rose EO. It list some EO which goes well with Rose EO.

At the price of $179.5 per 1/8 oz, I don't think you should put it in a HIGH OLIVE oil recipe, its long-lasting number is NOT as good as any other HARD oil ( Palm, lard are more long lasting than coconut, if I recall Deanna's post correctly)

I have bought HIGH LIQUID oil content soap with real Rose EO in it, Yes! It's luxurious but it just melt away SO QUICKLY DOWN THE DRAIN!!! So even I have rose EO and soap making skills, I would not try it in my recipes. Just my humble opinion.

Or did you bought rose Absolute? It's a lot cheaper than H2O extraction but still on the pricier side. $43.75 for 1/8 oz on the same site.
I use olive oil in all of my soaps. I normally buy the regular old olive from Costco. Occasionally, EVO has been on sale, cheaper than regular, and I've grabbed it for soapmaking. Honestly, I can't say that I notice any difference at all. Personally, I like avocado oil in a "luxury" bar, so I'd go with regular olive and add a bit of avocado. Really finely ground oatmeal is nice, too. How nice that you have your own goats to supply you with goat's milk! Your family is lucky to have you making soap for all of them. :grin:
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