How to get Palm-free & Vegan Conditioning Bubbles? - Please Critique

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DeeAnna

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@DianaMoon -- "...Interesting contrarian take - I've always read that castor oil does add lather...."

You're right that this is the most common line of thinking, but Carolyn @cmzaha isn't being contrarian on this point; she's just being accurate. Like many other tidbits of "common soap making wisdom" this idea that castor makes or adds lather is not strictly correct.

New soap makers often design recipes that have a large % of castor in them but are otherwise rather unbalanced recipes that won't lather well with or without the castor. They have gotten the impression that castor is this amazing lather maker, and they want to know why their soap doesn't explode with bubbles.

It's best to think of castor in soap as a lather enhancer rather than a lather maker. Using a small % of castor in a soap recipe will increase the water solubility of the soap as a whole. It also increases the wall strength of the soap bubbles that form so the bubbles survive longer before they break. The net effect is the soap lathers a bit easier and the lather lasts a bit longer. But if your soap doesn't lather well to begin with, adding castor won't perform great miracles.

A soap high in lauric and myristic acids (coconut oil soap, for example) lathers well but the bubbles are weak and don't last long. You don't need castor to increase the water solubility of this type of soap, but it will help the bubbles stay bubbly longer.

A soap high in palmitic and stearic acids (lard soap, for example) doesn't lather well, but the bubbles that do form are stable and long lasting. Castor would be helpful in a soap like this to increase solubility so the lather develops more easily with less work and in cooler water.

My advice is to start with a recipe that lathers pretty well without castor, then tweak the formulation by adding a small % of castor and compare the castor and no-castor versions.
 

DianaMoon

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You're right that this is the most common line of thinking, but Carolyn @cmzaha isn't being contrarian on this point; she's just being accurate.

I meant "contrarian" in this sense, and wasn't trying to fuffle* feathers:

con·trar·i·an
/kənˈtre(ə)rēən/
Learn to pronounce

noun


  1. a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion, especially in stock exchange dealing.
    "it has become fashionable to be a stock-market contrarian"
    adjective
  2. opposing or rejecting popular opinion; going against current practice.
    "the comment came more from a contrarian disposition than moral conviction"

If "castor oil creates lather" is a common line of thinking then it's contrarian to go against it. Not a knock on being contrarian: I consider myself a born contrarian.

*"Fuffle" is a mistype that I like & will keep.
 
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Like many other tidbits of "common soap making wisdom" this idea that castor makes or adds lather is not strictly correct.

If "castor oil creates lather" is a common line of thinking then it's contrarian to go against it.

*"Fuffle" is a mistype that I like & will keep.

I think we all have to keep in mind, many concepts in soap making are simplified so that beginners don't have to have a degree in chemistry to understand them. Saying that castor oil adds bubbles isn't correct. It's not a good bubble maker on it's own. Only when combined with other oils does it help to stabilize the lather of the soap. I feel it becomes like a game of telephone, people read "it stabilizes lather" and they will say "it adds lather"...which semantically, is not untrue...but it makes it seem like then castor oil by itself should make a great soap (which is untrue).

See this article which has a 100% castor oil soap, the lather is not great.
 

DianaMoon

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Seems to me that castor oil is great for shaving soap bars, but not necessary in regular bars. You don't really create a lather with a regular soap and go, "I need to wait for this to stabilize," you just wash your hands.

I am a huge fan of bubbly lather. I put that quality above all else in soaping.
 
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Seems to me that castor oil is great for shaving soap bars, but not necessary in regular bars. You don't really create a lather with a regular soap and go, "I need to wait for this to stabilize," you just wash your hands.

I am a huge fan of bubbly lather. I put that quality above all else in soaping.
IMO There are advantages in using it in any soap, but the only soap I would use in “high” concentrations are liquid soaps and clear soaps.
For shaving soap, from what I understand (I have no need to make it myself), the lather stability comes from stearic acid. If anyone who knows a thing about shaving soap could chime in that would be great.
 

DianaMoon

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I just learned of a new item (new to me, that is, not to soaping):

Castor Wax, or hydrogenated castor oil. It's readily available and not expensive. But it isn't on Soap Calc, or Soapee.

Might this not kill two birds with one stone (hardness and lather stability) or is it a whole different chemical profile? I can't find the lipid profile anywhere. SAP value is 179-185.

I've written to some dealers on Etsy & if they respond, I'll report back here. I also wrote to an industrial supplier.
 
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I just learned of a new item (new to me, that is, not to soaping):

Castor Wax, or hydrogenated castor oil. It's readily available and not expensive. But it isn't on Soap Calc, or Soapee.

Might this not kill two birds with one stone (hardness and lather stability) or is it a whole different chemical profile? I can't find the lipid profile anywhere. SAP value is 179-185.

I've written to some dealers on Etsy & if they respond, I'll report back here. I also wrote to an industrial supplier.
Melt point is 88 degrees Celsius from what I see on Jedwards...it is not going to be easy to work with.
 

DianaMoon

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Bear in mind that once you've added the other oils to a 'high melt point' wax, the need to keep the temperature so high is not as great. The melt point of my soy wax (usage rate 20% of recipe) is around 50 degrees but I tend to soap around 40 and as low as 36 with no bother.

I learned about this wax as a result of an exchange between you and someone else, here (I think his name was Andrew but I can't find it).

I thought, "wow, interesting."
 
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Update on my new recipe:

So far I really like all 3 versions, although the one with added Citric Acid is my favorite. They've only been curing for 5 days, so I'm excited to see how they turn out after a full cure.

Batches A (+Aloe Vera Juice) and B (Base Recipe) both seem to have gotten Stearic Spots. Batch C (+Citric Acid) does not seem to have these spots.

Does Citric Acid usually counteract Stearic Spots, or is this just a weird one-off?

I've read to soap at a hotter temperature to avoid Stearic Spots. I soaped each batch at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The soap was already quite fast moving. Would more heat really help?

My Stearic number is pretty high (23), but I thought that was a good thing to balance out my slow Palmitic (9). Am I just doomed to get Stearic spots with this formulation?

ETA: I just went back through my recipe in SoapMakingFriend. It seems that Soy Wax (hydrogenated soybean oil) is the main contributor to stearic in my recipe. I used it at 20%, which is what I've seen recommended here numerous times. Is it common for soy wax to cause stearic spots?
 

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Bear in mind that once you've added the other oils to a 'high melt point' wax, the need to keep the temperature so high is not as great. The melt point of my soy wax (usage rate 20% of recipe) is around 50 degrees but I tend to soap around 40 and as low as 36 with no bother.
When you are soaping at 40, do you find that your oils look turbid because of the soy wax then? I've always tried to soap with a pot of clear oils to avoid stearic spots but my highest melt point ingredient is palm, so around the same temp as you I will still have clear oils. I know it's probably the same as people soaping at room temp but including palm or butters and that never worked for me personally.
 

DianaMoon

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Maybe I should start a new thread, or if it's been addressed here (but I can't find it) - I'm confused about SAP values. I know what a SAP value is, in a non-specialist way. I thought they were indicated in percentages.

Yet when I look up castor wax it's given in a number (180 or so).

:confused:
 
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Yet when I look up castor wax it's given in a number (180 or so).

:confused:
That is the KOH SAP. Divide the KOH sap by 1.403 to get the NaOH sap. The NaOH SAP is a multiplier for determining how much NaOH you need by wt to saponify a given weight of a fat.

From what I’ve read, hydrogenated castor oil, also known as castor wax, is very high in 12-hydroxystearic acid which probably helps to explain the high melting point. I’ve seen slightly different melting points given for different products/suppliers. The variation likely reflects differences in the degree of hydrogenation. You will probably need to play around with it to find the sweet spot, but I think it would be safe to assume that it’s pretty low in PUFAs and oleic.

Edited to add the chemical name of the stearic acid.
 
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DianaMoon

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That is the KOH SAP. Divide the KOH sap by 1.403 to get the NaOH sap. The NaOH SAP is a multiplier for determining how much NaOH you need by wt to saponify a given weight of a fat.

When I key in any oil into Soap Calc I get a percent.

1649944772815.png


Still confused.

Dividing 180/1.403 = 128.3

Again, still confused. Not trying to be difficult. Just confused.
 
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Maybe I should start a new thread, or if it's been addressed here (but I can't find it) - I'm confused about SAP values. I know what a SAP value is, in a non-specialist way. I thought they were indicated in percentages.

Yet when I look up castor wax it's given in a number (180 or so).

:confused:

When I key in any oil into Soap Calc I get a percent.

It's not percent...
Basically, it's written this way (179 instead of .179) because it's mg of KOH to saponify a g of whatever oil so you will have to divide by 1000 to get the conversion factor in terms of "grams"

This conversion factor is for KOH not NaOH...you will have to convert this as mobjack says...but you have to divide by 1403, not 1.403 to get the value for NaOH

Edit: Saponification Chart
Here is a nice chart kind of explaining it (but ignore the oz. unit they put in there...it's a conversion factor...you just have to make sure the units you use for NaOH (or KOH) are the same units you are using for measuring your oils)...they say this and still mark oz. as the units for the chart.

but as you can see...take sweet almond oil....the KOH SAP value is approximately 195 or .195 divide that by 1403 or 1.403 respectively and you get .139.
 
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