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Hi Folks! A quick question about my recipe!

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Hi Folks!

Hope you are all well in these crazy times!

I don't post here much but do scurry around the forums often, so hello to all!

I am just wondering if you cool cats could spare some time to lend some advice on a recipe of mine? I am starting to doubt whether it is as great as once thought.

So basically , I soon want to be able to be able to sell my soap, and I am waiting until I get it just right to do so (obviously :) )

I am not for using animal fats/ Palm Oil/PKO , Soy, and or/ Avocado in my soaps for personal reasons of sustainability and ethical issues, so I am trying to achieve a great bar, without some of the holy grail of soapmaking 😂

I use CO and EVOO as the main 2 in my bar, and try to achieve hardness with Cocoa and Shea butter. I am aware of the un-saponifiables of shea butter but do love the feel. I am now starting to feel as if the levels of butters are starting to affect my soaps lather as it not quite as i would have liked. I used a high level of castor oil but now am feeling that it may be too much and may be contributing to a slightly shorter lasting bar.

I will post the recipe below as so you guys can check it out and let me know what you think? I was thinking of increasing coconut oil as to keep some hardness if reducing the butters, but i feel any more than 30.5% might start giving a squeaky clean, a sensation I don't exactly want in my soap. I have been making soap for approx. 10-11 months now so obviously still a beginner, and have not yet strayed from 5%superfat, so potentially lowering that will harden the bar more? Will tat effect the feel of the soap on the hands apart from the hardness aspect?

So this is the recipe i have been using. I think the butter content may be too high, and also the Castor oil may be too high.

#
Oil/Fat​
%​
1​
Coconut Oil, 76 deg
30.00​
2​
Olive Oil
21.00​
3​
Shea Butter
15.50​
4​
Cocoa Butter
15.50​
5​
Castor Oil
12.00​
6​
Sunflower Oil
3.00​
7​
Hemp Oil
3.00​
Total oil weight 24.242 oz
Water as percent of oil weight 38.00 %
Super Fat/Discount 5 %
Lye Concentration 27.071 %
Water : Lye Ratio 2.6940:1


And this is my recipe in which I think may work better

Water as percent of oil weight
35.35 %​
Super Fat/Discount
5 %​
Lye Concentration
28.571 %​
Water : Lye Ratio
2.5000:1
1​
Coconut Oil, 76 deg
30.50​
2​
Olive Oil
25.50​
3​
Shea Butter
13.00​
4​
Cocoa Butter
15.00​
5​
Castor Oil
7.50​
6​
Sunflower Oil
3.00​
7​
Hemp Oil
3.00​
8​
Wheat Germ Oil
2.50​
Totals
100.00​

I want to add some wheatgerm oil as I hear it adds a nice silky/powdery feeling that I think ,might work well with the hemp oil!

Also, i have been reading about going by 'water : lye ratio' rather than 'water as a % of oils' , so I changed from '38% water as % of oils' in recipe 1, to '2.5:1 water : lye ratio' , in recipe 2, I know its not much of a difference at the moment, but working down towards 2:1, as to reduce cure time in the future!

I would love to hear what you guys think, and i would love if you have any recommendations!

Brian, Ireland :)

PS, if this is not the correct place to post this, please kindly point me in the right direction! :) moved
 

Susie

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Water as percent of oil weight35.35 %
Super Fat/Discount5 %
Lye Concentration28.571 %
Water : Lye Ratio2.5000:1
1Coconut Oil, 76 deg30.50
2Olive Oil25.50
3Shea Butter13.00
4Cocoa Butter15.00
5Castor Oil7.50
6Sunflower Oil3.00
7Hemp Oil3.00
8Wheat Germ Oil2.50
Totals100.00

Hi, welcome to the forum. No, this is probably not the best place, as we do have a recipe help forum way down at the bottom, but someone needs to answer you before you jump off into the new recipe.

Please excuse my brevity, it is due to lack of time, not lack of manners. (Although I am not tactful under the best of circumstances. Never mean to be ugly, but some people read it that way.)

1. EVOO is not necessary. Plain old olive oil (the light colored stuff) is much better for soap.
2. Too much coconut oil. 20% is my max.
3. Too much butters. Total of 15% butters is about all a bar can manage to make good suds with.
4. Be sure to use high oleic sunflower oil.
5. IMO, that is too much castor oil. I stick to 5%, others use more, but you need to figure out what is right for your recipe and your preference. Then test on friends and family, and get their opinions.
6. Be careful of oils with short shelf life (wheat germ oil). You will increase Dreaded Orange Spots (DOS) aka rancidity. Always use long shelf life oils.
7. I have found that any oil that is in a soap at less than 5% plays no role in the final product.

There are a lot of threads in these forums. I know. But you need to go read the first 5-10 pages of threads in the beginner forum at least. All of these points have been covered there.

Also, don't even mention selling until you have been making soap for at least a year. People lose their minds when you do. And go take a good, long look at soap on Etsy. You will soon figure out that there are way too many soapmakers on there already. And every farmer's market I have ever been to already has more than one soapmaker, so you really have to have a plan to do better than them with less experience. Good luck.
 

Zing

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Welcome! I'll add my 2 cents. I love castor oil but keep it to 4-6% Large amounts can make for a too soft bar. Also I keep the number of oils low, just a personal preference -- 6 is a lot for me. I personally can tolerate high coconut oil amounts but many cannot (it's drying) but it will make for a softer, and not long-lasting bar, I normally use 20-25%.
I personally don't like lots of butters in my soap because it makes for creamy lather -- I like bubbly lather. But someone requested one and I had good luck with this recipe. Because of the large percentage of butters, I upped the coconut. I was pleased with the lather.
avocado oil 12%
castor oil 4.5
coconut oil 30
rice bran oil 23.5
cocoa butter 15
shea butter 15
Good luck to you.
 

TheGecko

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Use Lye Concentration, NOT Water as percent of Oil Weight. 33%-35% is a fairly standard Lye Solution, some folks go as high as 40%. The more water you add, the longer the cure time. Both of your recipes would require at least a 10-12 week cure time. Not that a longer cure time is 'bad' per se as there is more to curing soap than water evaporation, but it does almost double your turn-around time if you're wanting to do this as a business and you'll need to adjust your production accordingly.

EVOO is a great waste of money...save it for cooking. Also, there is the issue of the green tint of the oil to contend with. A generic OO (second pressing) so long as it is 100% OO is good enough.

Unless you are making a Salt Soap or a soap for ocean fisherman, keep your CO to 20%. But if you are determined to use a high amount of CO, then you will need to increase your SuperFat to at least 10%, maybe 15%. CO is very drying. CO is also water soluble which means a shorter lasting bar.

Your Cocoa and Shea Butters should not exceed 15%.

Your Castor Oil is high...5% is sufficient or you run the risk of a 'sticky' soap.

Unless you are going strictly for label appeal, any oil or butter under 5% is a waste of money. You also want to watch the shelf life of your oils and butters, the shorter the shelf life, the greater the chance of DOS and rancidity. The simple fact is, you don't know when your oil or butter was produced or how long it was sitting on the shelf before you purchased it.

When picking your ingredients, understand that the majority of the 'benefits' of a particular ingredient will be destroyed by the lye during the saponification process. Save the Wheat Germ Oil for lotions.

While I respect your position of not using Palm Oil because of so-called 'sustainability' issues, you deal realize that if everyone were to quit using PO, then we would have to use something else, thereby increasing the demand for it, and thereby created a new 'sustainability' issue. Now I am not being disrespectful by saying 'so-called'...the evidence of greed is there for all to see, but so is the evidence that PO can be sustainably produced without damaging the environment or habitat and we need to support that so other PO producers will have to do the same or have no customers.

Now I understand not wanting to use Tallow, Lard or other animal fats if you are a vegetarian or vegan, but I grew up on a [dairy] farm and we didn't waste anything. In addition to our dairy cows, we had a few beef cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, 4 gardens and we hunted and fished.

I don't understand your objections to Soy or Avocados. Soy Beans are very sustainable and I've grown a couple of Avocado trees in my house. Always interested in hearing different opinions.
 

KiwiMoose

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Hi @Brian Bonfield ,

A few comments initially - changing your oils by 0.5% will not make any noticeable difference. Just stick to whole numbers.

Listen to @Zing regarding CO and suds - he's a man too and he likes his bubbles. Most females prefer CO to be in the 20% range otherwise it's too cleansing/drying.

Don't confuse hardness with longevity. CO makes your bar hard but it will be very soluble which means it gets used up quickly. To have a longer-lasting bar your butters are the best, but also anything with a high palmitic/stearic fatty acid profile. Rice Bran oil is a goodie - and it's cheap! I use it at 20% in my recipes. In the absence of palm, soy wax, or animal fats I don't see any reason why you should keep your butters reasonably high.

Use Lye percentage of around 33% in the calculators.

Use castor at no more than 10%, and even that can make a sticky/soft bar (ask me how I know).

Suggest something along the lines of this:
CO 25%
Shea/cocoa 15% each
OO 20%
RBO 15%
Castor 5%
other fancy oils ( if needed) to make up the remaining 5% - otherwise add it to RBO.

33% LYE concentration
4% superfat (suggestion)
 
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Hi folks! Thanks very much for all your answers!

Couple more questions if anyone would be kind enough to elaborate on again! :)

- For CO , I was under the impression it made for a very hard, long lasting bar... I was not fully aware that it made a short lasting bar, I guess my ignorance assumed the harder the bar, the longer lasting!
- For Butters, @TheGecko suggested no more than 15% (I'm not sure if that meant each or together) but @KiwiMoose suggested no more than 15% each. Would this not kill lather even more if they were kept at 30% (both together) ? Seeing as both Castor oil and CO are coming down (The reason castor was so high was to counteract the low bubbles, partly the reason of having CO at 30.5 too)
- For rice bran oil, from reading before i believe the lather of this is quite similar to OO? would that be correct? would this would make for a softer bar too right?


Use Lye Concentration, NOT Water as percent of Oil Weight. 33%-35% is a fairly standard Lye Solution, some folks go as high as 40%. The more water you add, the longer the cure time. Both of your recipes would require at least a 10-12 week cure time. Not that a longer cure time is 'bad' per se as there is more to curing soap than water evaporation, but it does almost double your turn-around time if you're wanting to do this as a business and you'll need to adjust your production accordingly
This is something I've been slowly finding out, I was finding that my soap is losing quite a lot of weight during curing, which is quite worrying , and I couldn't find out why (still not 100% sure). I believe it is obviously due to the high water level during making.

My bars are actually not sticky, funnily enough, with the high Castor oil count! And they seem to be hard enough. My design has them in half bars, so each one last approx. 2-2 1/2 weeks ( main bathroom, 6 people in the house) , so I would like to extend that a bit! :)

@TheGecko - I don't want to support crops that have to be justified with 'Sustainably grown' as I think its a greenwash, primarily so, not wanting to support Southern American crops, such as Avocado, Soy, Palm. From my research they are incredibly taking on the environment and Soy and Palm alone are destroying the Amazon, something we will never get back once cut down. I also believe farming practices in South America are not ethical, sustainable and/or well managed. Of course, that's just my preference/Opinion! I don't try to push my opinion around on people ! :) Very cool you have your own avocado tree though! What sort of yield would you get off it a year?

Thanks everyone again! Happy Monday!

Kind Regards,

Brian :)
 

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cmzaha

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As for the 30% CO and bubbles, I realize Zing is a man and men love bubbles, but I never went over a total of 19% in my soaps and my main clientele was men. My soaps lathered well and there are threads in the forum with my comments about how I accomplished good lather with low CO/PKO usage.

As mentioned it takes time to come up with good soap and what I made in my first year of soapmaking I would not consider great today. No way would I ever use 30% CO, I would itch forever and so would my husband. I might as well use commercial soap as it would be more gentle.
 

Zing

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Coconut oil will make a harder bar but will not be long-lasting. I know these two concepts sound the same but they are not. Coconut oil is more soluble and will dissolve quicker than other oils. It's kinda counter-intuitive until you think about it.
My research on castor oil is that you need only a little to get it's miracle powers and more than 10% makes for a sticky, softer bar. I can't vouch for that as I only use 4-6%.
My one experiment with using two butters at 15% each for a total of 30% had surprisingly good lather.
Good luck.
 

AliOop

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Besides castor oil, CO, and PKO, you can also increase lather by adding some form of sugar to your batter. That could be cane sugar, honey, sorbitol, aloe vera juice, milks (coconut, cow, goat), or molasses (it's a heater so watch out). I'm sure I've missed some but you get my point.

There are lots of threads here about using sugar - or additives containing sugar/starch - to up the bubble factor. I put some form of sugar in all my bars except 100% CO salt bars; it's definitely something you want to look into.

IMO, the issue with butters cutting lather can be mitigated somewhat by an extended cure. Just like my high-lard or high-tallow bars, high-butter bars don't lather well at first. But give them 6 months on the curing rack, and the lather is very nice.
 

KiwiMoose

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Also worth commenting that OO creates a very hard bar if it is cured for a long time. My sister has one of my ZNSC soaps in her bathroom which is over a year old and that thing is ROCK hard!
Also worth mentioning that the higher stearic fatty acid (found in some butters) helps to create a nice thick, creamy lather (think shaving soap where stearic acid itself is an ingredient) so don't write it off because it not labelled as being 'bubbly'.
As @AliOop has said - maybe try aloe juice, which i use regularly, to add some extra bubbles. I replace all my water with aloe vera juice (from my own garden) and it's a lovely addition. It creates label appeal too - so no need to include some of those more expensive 'luxury' oils such as hemp and wheatgerm that can also increase your likelihood of rancidity.
I found this to be helpful: What Fatty Acid Profiles in Soapmaking Are the Most Popular? when i was starting out.
 
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Thanks so much again guys for your help!

I have come to the conclusion that i am going to try the following recipe and see how we go! I'll keep you updated :)

Water as percent of oil weight
28.49 %​
Super Fat/Discount
4 %​
Lye Concentration
33.0000 %
Water : Lye Ratio
2.0303:1​
1​
Coconut Oil, 76 deg
25.00​
2​
Olive Oil
23.00​
3​
Shea Butter
15.00​
4​
Cocoa Butter
15.00​
5​
Rice Bran Oil, refined
12.00​
6​
Castor Oil
5.00​
7​
Hemp Oil
5.00​


I am going to try this with the 'Faux Seawater' ( from the ZNSC recipe, thanks @KiwiMoose !! ) in place of water in my recipe, hopefully it aids in shortening cure time/ hardening faster!

What I'm worried is that this recipe is giving a softer bar on Soapcalc, according to 'Hardness' , 'Iodine' , and 'INS' values. hopefully the 6% decrease in Castor and 5.5% decrease in CO help with not being as soft, albeit, the original bars aren't soft, just seem to go quicker than I would have hoped
Soap Bar Quality
Range
Your Recipe
Hardness
29 - 54​
43​
Cleansing
12 - 22​
17​
Conditioning
44 - 69​
53​
Bubbly
14 - 46​
21​
Creamy
16 - 48​
31​
Iodine
41 - 70​
61​
INS
136 - 165​
147​

Would waxes be an alternative to harden the bar? I used once before but didn't notice a difference really, albeit i did only use at 2%...

I have wonder about the Hemp causing DOS, i made my first batch in feb last year, and can now see it is starting to develop DOS, only slightly though. Would you worry about DOS appearing 10months-1Year after? I am hoping that the soap would be used by then (lol)

Thanks again!

Brian :)
 
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