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How Much Exfoliants in Soap?

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Garden Gives Me Joy

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Are undissolved salt crystals really the only way of getting a good scrubby exfoliating bar? What if I wanted good scrubbiness that is less scratchy?

Does anyone have experience using any of the following exfoliants in soap (for oily, acne-prone skin)? Would love to hear about your opinions, experiences and suggestions please.

- RICE. On 22 Aug (ie 9 days ago), I made a CP 25% brine soap with the water discount at 34% and reasoned that, since the recipe renders a very firm soap, I might be able to add up to home ground & strained uncooked rice at 50% oil weight, so I did just that. However, apart from browning the soap to its current beige colour (which I guess is a sign of sugars), the rice is the only non-usual ingredient to explain the softness of the soap of this otherwise usually very hard, chalk-like soap. While the bars without rice from the same 22-Aug batch of batter are already rock hard, I can dent or even mash the rice bars with a little pressure. What is the maximum I should use? Is cooked rice better? Any experiences or ideas? Rather than toss these soft rice soaps, I figure I could still use small chunks to exfoliate occasionally. However, to what extent should I worry about the rice going off, ie despite the soap's high alkalinity?

- CORN FLOUR (not starch). What is the maximum I should use? I am fine with the change of colour to pink. Curious why the colour change occurs though. Should 2 tbsp ppo suffice?

- GARBANZO BEAN FLOUR (homemade). To my surprise, when I rub it between my fingers, it does not appear too scratchy at all. Rather, it feels cushion-like. Happy for your thoughts re max usage and any other noteworthy points (workarounds re potential spoilage, etc).

- BLACK PEPPER.

- CINNAMON. Thinking of adding a tiny bit of this spice only because it is a trace accelerator. However, can trace acceleration help to harden the soap permanently, thereby counteracting the softening effect of sugars in rice, corn flour or other exfoliants?
 
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Arimara

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Are undissolved salt crystals really the only way of getting a good scrubby exfoliating bar? What if I wanted good scrubbiness that is less scratchy?

Does anyone have experience using any of the following exfoliants in soap (for oily, acne-prone skin)? Would love to hear about your opinions, experiences and suggestions please.

- RICE. On 22 Aug (ie 9 days ago), I made a CP 25% brine soap with the water discount at 34% and reasoned that, since the recipe renders a very firm soap, I might be able to add up to home ground & strained uncooked rice at 50% oil weight, so I did just that. However, apart from browning the soap to its current beige colour (which I guess is a sign of sugars), the rice is the only non-usual ingredient to explain the softness of the soap of this otherwise usually very hard, chalk-like soap. While the bars without rice from the same 22-Aug batch of batter are already rock hard, I can dent or even mash the rice bars with a little pressure. What is the maximum I should use? Is cooked rice better? Any experiences or ideas? Rather than toss these soft rice soaps, I figure I could still use small chunks to exfoliate occasionally. However, to what extent should I worry about the rice going off, ie despite the soap's high alkalinity?

- CORN FLOUR (not starch). What is the maximum I should use? I am fine with the change of colour to pink. Curious why the colour change occurs though. Should 2 tbsp ppo suffice?

- BLACK PEPPER.

- CINNAMON. Thinking of adding a tiny bit of this spice only because it is a trace accelerator. However, can trace acceleration help to harden the soap permanently, thereby counteracting the softening effect of sugars in rice, corn flour or other exfoliants?
I've used fine and course cornmeal in soap. I say 1 tbsp at most ppo would be a good start for the fine one. Course would be a hard pass- I won't make that mistake again (it's not as scrubby as coffee but it is ugly if you used 2tbsps of that and overall not as pleasant as fine cornmeal or corn flour).

Please don't add black pepper or cinnamon to your soap. In fact, anything that is a spice is better left out of the soap for your skins safety. I could be wrong on that but until someone corrects me, I count that as risky. Safer alternatives can include poppy seeds, in place of black pepper, and jojojba beads or ground apricot for cinnamon.
 

SeaSuds

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Ive made salt bars with fine pumice powder which are nice and another salt one with pumice and poppy seeds for exfoliating my feet...the latter is very scrubby! That's them there in my profile pic...
 

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Cinnamon I know will burn you, I've never put black pepper on my skin, so I can't confirm that, but in general, leave spices for cooking.

Accelerating trace just means the soap reaches it's saponified hardness faster. Depending on why the substance accelerates the batter, it may also cause it to heat up and gel, but getting batter to gel is pretty easy without an accelerant. While both create a harder substance in the short term, neither creates a harder or longer lasting bar in the long run.

Rice absorbs water. If you're familiar with potting soil, it often contains beads that absorb water quickly and release it slowly, keeping it moisturized. I imagine that's what the rice is doing for your soap, so it will probably take quite a bit longer than normal to dry out. For the same reasons, I don't think cooked rice would have been better, but I've also never used absorbent materials as exfoliants.
 

Zing

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I haven't used cinnamon spice but have a horror story about cinnamon essential oil. I made one of my best looking and best smelling soaps with cinnamon essential oil. When my entire body turned bright red with a slight burning sensation, I had to chuck the whole batch.
I've had good scrubbiness with poppy seeds at 1 Tbsp ppo and coffee grounds (new not brewed) at 1 Tbsp ppo.
 

GemstonePony

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Garbanzo bean flour intrigues me- 1 TBS PPO is the maximum I'd put in to start with. I'm sure it won't exfoliate, but the lye might eat it and the sugars and proteins might add some richness to the lather.

Are you using any chelators or antioxidants in your recipe at the moment? And what is your superfat? These things impact how much sugar/protein your soap can preserve, and also how well your soap can preserve itself.


It's not exfoliating, but if you wish to incorporate rice, here's how @Dawni did it:

I've used coffee, I recommend getting the finest grind you can find.
 

TheGecko

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Jojoba beads are nice and come in all kinds of colors.

I use pumice powder in my trades soap...not as harsh or messy.

Would not use cinnamon or pepper (either white of black) in case someone decided to use it on their lady bits.
 

AlexanderMakesSoap

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We recently made a soap with finely ground apricot shell that is quite nice, though perhaps right on the limit of being too scratch for the face - I'm going to use a bit less next time.

I've used pumice, but overdid it and it was rather scratchy and ticklish.

My Wife loves the salt soap I made using finely ground himalayan salt.

I haven't tried any of the ones you've got in mind.
 

atiz

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I really like dried orange peel (the spice kind that you can get, but you can also home-make it I guess). I like poppy seed as well, although it's a bit too black for me (rinsing the sink).
Pumice -- pay attention to the size. Mine is ultra-fine (or however it's called; it was the smallest), and cannot really notice it at all.
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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Are you using any chelators or antioxidants in your recipe at the moment? And what is your superfat? These things impact how much sugar/protein your soap can preserve, and also how well your soap can preserve itself.
I have begun to use 1% citric acid as the chelator / anti-oxidant immediately after someone suggested it when I reported on my first case of rancidity with D.O.S with a CP 25% brine soap (which has an 11% superfat because of the high cleansing score). However, I still struggle to fully grasp the concept of chelation as a whole but especially as it relates to 'preservation'. The fact that soapers apparently disagree on its preservation ability makes my understanding all the harder, especially since I do not really understand the chemistry. ... Or is it that persons who say it is preservative do so based on defining 'preservation' also as the prevention of rancidity (of free superfats)? ... or is there more to citric acid than avoiding scum and rancidity? So wish I could figure that out once and for all.

Happy for some pointers re how I might better understand the processing of protein and sugars in soap to inform my choices re ingredients and methodology. Should I be reminding myself of how soaping interacts with oats and animal milks for guidance?

After @GemstonePony mentioned about how these exfoliants could be very absorbent (like sponge-like garbanzo); I thought of combining them with 5% superfats and then adding the mixture after the HP cook. ... but again, I do not know whether not cooking them or using CP to expose them to lots of NaOH will be problematic re 'preservation'. ... or Will the citric acid take care of things? ... or, when in doubt, should I even increase the citric acid, ie along with my upward adjustment of NaOH?

Thanks so much for your thoughts.
 

Dawni

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First thing to note is that critic acid isn't an antioxidant. It's not a preservative either. It helps reduce soap scum.

Lye based soap don't need preservatives BTW, and if the additives you've used are well incorporated into the soap mix, you shouldn't have a problem with mouldy soap. I've used fruit purees, rice puree and powder, and others have used similar things with good results.

As for rancidity.... Try n use newish oils, not ones that may have been sitting on the shelves for a long time, especially in hot places. Others also add rosemary oleoresin - this is the antioxidant - to the oils to slow rancidity. Learn also the linoleic and linolenic properties of the oils you do use. The higher these two numbers are in a soap recipe, the most likely for dreaded orange spots or overall rancid soap.

I have been making and using the above linked rice soap for 2yrs now, selling for close to a year. I have a bar from the very first time I made that soap and no sign of spoilage yet. On another note, this is my hardest bar of soap - I think it's all the starch from the rice additives but I could be wrong. I'm not sure why yours is soft, but then again I've not used whole rice in mine yet. Your chickpea flour could act the same why my rice flour did, as in there shouldn't be any noticeable effect in the process of making it.

As far as the heat is concerned I don't think there is much difference whether you CP or HP an additive because they will both be exposed to heat and lye. Granted, the claim of adding stuff after HP cook is that its already saponified but I personally wouldn't say it is 100% of the way. Also, adding some things after cooking your soap increases the chances of those things spoiling since they've not saponified with the rest of it. Of course, there will be several things you could add after - your colorants, clays, botanical exfoliants, anything dry/dried I would think. I've added reconstituted coconut milk - but then again I don't cook my HP all the way through now.

As for exfoliation.. I've not looked much into it coz it's not a preference of mine. I should I think lol. Although the charcoal I have isn't fine, and does provide a lil scrubby action. I have another soap with basil seeds, does the same thing poppy would I suspect. I've used powdered moringa and tulsi and those soaps are a lil on the exfoliating side too.

Wow this ended up long... I hope some of it helps you at least. Keep on going with the questions though :)
 
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KiwiMoose

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I made a pumice powder and poppy seed soap - I was disappointed that the pumice wasn't more scratchy to be honest. It was too fine.

I've made soap with black sand in it - i got it off the beach on the west coast. Even that was pretty fine.

I regularly make a soap with ground oatmeal and flaxseed in it (I use the coffee grinder to grind them up) That's quite a good exfoliant and the flax seeds give it some good scrub.

I've used ground orange peel in a few soaps.

They reckon activated charcoal is good for acne prone skin? I use a lot, mostly as a black colourant. I don't find it scrubby at all.

Aaaaaarrm, I think that's it. Oh, coffee grounds is an other one. I brewed some very finely ground coffee - used the water for the lye solution and the grounds themselves in the soap. Some people like it and have re-ordered. I personally don't like it. Don't like the smell of coffee soap.
 

Todd Ziegler

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We recently made a soap with finely ground apricot shell that is quite nice, though perhaps right on the limit of being too scratch for the face - I'm going to use a bit less next time.

I've used pumice, but overdid it and it was rather scratchy and ticklish.

My Wife loves the salt soap I made using finely ground himalayan salt.

I haven't tried any of the ones you've got in mind.
Where did you get your ground Apricot? I found one place but they were expensive.

I have used poppy seed, pumice, ground walnut shells, ground soybean,jojoba beads.

The pumice is by far the best that I have used. Then poppy seed and ground soybean are a close second.

The walnut shells became soft and useless.

I only used jojoba beads in melt and pour because they would melt going through my gelling process.

I use different sizes of pumice depending on what I intend the bar of soap to be used for. More gritty for a mechanics soap and very fine for a daily exfoliating soap.
 

shunt2011

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I've use jojoba beads and wasn't impressed. Not enough scrubby. They don't melt in CP. I like pumice, coffee and cornmeal. Walnut hull works well too. I've been making a mechanics scrub and use more gritty pumice in it and is well liked by my ex-husband and his fellow workers which are machinists and my brother-in law and his co-workers as well. I have several women who love it for their feet as do i. My gardener's soap I use coffee grounds and cornmeal and sometimes walnut hull. I also use oatmeal. Which is a favorite as well.
 
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DeeAnna

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Off topic, but since the OP was wondering --

People put different meanings on the words antioxidant, chelator, and preservative.

You can argue the word "preservative" is an umbrella word that covers all of these things, and that meaning is generally true if talking to the general public. But we use the word in a more specific way.

Preservatives, as the word is used here, are chemicals that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. You can't pick any preservative at random and get great results. Some preservatives are specific for certain microbes, so you might need to use 2 or more of these to get good results. Others give broad spectrum results. Most preservatives are sensitive to pH and temperature. Soap is not generally thought to need a preservative, as long as a few easy guidelines are followed (one big one -- don't put big chunks of food or other veg matter in or on the soap).

Antioxidants slow the overall oxidation of fat and thus slow the overall development of rancidity. You have to balance the amount of antioxidant you add, because there are often antioxidants naturally present in your ingredients. Too much of a particular antioxidant can actually increase the rate of oxidation, not inhibit it, which is why I always cringe when I see people squeezing vitamin E (tocopherol) capsules into lotions or salves made with fats naturally high in tocopherol.

Chelators immobilize certain types of metallic ions that can catalyze (greatly increase) the rate of oxidation and rancidity. Free metallic ions in soap can cause DOS (dreaded orange spots of rancidity), overall rancidity, and soap scum. If you have to use either an antioxidant or a chelator in your soap, choose a chelator. Metallic contamination is hard to control and is often the main reason for rancidity in soap.
 

GemstonePony

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I have begun to use 1% citric acid as the chelator / anti-oxidant immediately after someone suggested it when I reported on my first case of rancidity with D.O.S with a CP 25% brine soap (which has an 11% superfat because of the high cleansing score). However, I still struggle to fully grasp the concept of chelation as a whole but especially as it relates to 'preservation'. The fact that soapers apparently disagree on its preservation ability makes my understanding all the harder, especially since I do not really understand the chemistry. ... Or is it that persons who say it is preservative do so based on defining 'preservation' also as the prevention of rancidity (of free superfats)? ... or is there more to citric acid than avoiding scum and rancidity? So wish I could figure that out once and for all.

Happy for some pointers re how I might better understand the processing of protein and sugars in soap to inform my choices re ingredients and methodology. Should I be reminding myself of how soaping interacts with oats and animal milks for guidance?

After @GemstonePony mentioned about how these exfoliants could be very absorbent (like sponge-like garbanzo); I thought of combining them with 5% superfats and then adding the mixture after the HP cook. ... but again, I do not know whether not cooking them or using CP to expose them to lots of NaOH will be problematic re 'preservation'. ... or Will the citric acid take care of things? ... or, when in doubt, should I even increase the citric acid, ie along with my upward adjustment of NaOH?

Thanks so much for your thoughts.
@DeeAnna 's response was better.
I was simply using "preserve" to mean anything working against rancidity and mold, be it chelators, antioxidants, soap pH, etc.
Anything that isn't soap generally works against the soap ph's ability to keep out mold and bacteria including superfat, high amounts of unsaponifiable oils, and very high amounts of fruits and veggies.

Soap is by definition an alkaline salt, and salt preservation is an old concept, but if the soap has too many things in working against it, it can struggle to preserve everything. I'm not advocating chemical mold inhibitors or anything, only suggesting being mindful of how much work you're asking salt to do.

For Chelators, I use citric acid at 2% PPO, and will be experimenting with Sodium Gluconate (a sugar alcohol derivative) at .5-1%. Both do about the same thing, SG is supposed to do it better. I've heard chelators can make your soap a bit softer, but since everyone I know has liquid rock I've never made a batch without it to compare.
Rosemary Oleoresin Extract is a very popular antioxidant, suggested use rate at around .5%PPO, but if any of your oils come with additives you might lower that slightly. Better to have too little than too much.
 

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For Chelators, I use 0.5% EDTA and 0.5% Sodium Gluconate which work very well together for me without making my soaps soft and no crystals form on the outside. This combination really helped in a very hard water situation.

As for exfoliation in Salt bars, undissolved salt should not be used for exfoliation. Salt can be sharp, especially if it has been put through a grinder, and lacerate the skin. A really nice salt bar will become smooth like a river rock during use. Saltwater is a natural exfoliant and salt acts as a softener for water so in a well-made salt bar the salt will melt when the bar is used, which is why I use oatmeal in my salt bars to add exfoliation.

I and my customers only preferred oatmeal as exfoliants in soaps, everything else was always to scratchy. Charcoal was okay, fine rosehip powder in small amounts, cranberry powder, and green tea powder worked for my customers but none like anything more scratchy. It takes very little to add scratchy to soap.
 
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