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I have a few questions about cold process soap!

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Laurin

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So i am a beginner to soap making and i just had a few questions as i am having trouble finding videos or websites that explain stuff in good detail.

1) I was wondering how do you know what percentage of your chosen oils to use? How do i know which oils to use? Also how do i know how many ounces or grams of total oil to use? I know i can followe a recipe but i want to be able to learn to create my own recipes!

2) What is superfatting and is it necessary in soap making? Also how do i calculate it?
 

earlene

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Using a soap/lye calculator is highly recommended when formulating recipes; even when using someone else's recipe, a soap/lye calculator should be used. The calculator will do all the necessary calculations for you including for the superfat.

Superfat only means the excess fat that is not consumed by the amount of lye present in the formula.

I suggest using grams as your measure (weight) in your soap formulas for greater accuracy. I suggest doing all your test and practice batches in small sizes - about 500 grams total batch size is good. You can do either 500 grams of oils to start or scale down to about 350 grams of oils to obtain a total batch size of about 500 grams, depending on your other ingredients. Total batch size is the total of all ingredients.

That will fit into a one-pound mold. If you don't have any molds yet, you can use something from your recycle bin for your test batches. One pound of soap may be 4 or 5 bars of soap, depending on how big/thick you cut the soap.

There are many good resources for choosing what oils to use, what fatty acid profiles to strive for and so forth. But if you start reading here in the Beginner's section, you will run across many useful links recommended by experience soapers here at SMF. I'd start by reading in the Beginners Forum here, clicking on those links and gleaning what you can from them.

But to get you started here are a few links

soap making oils (not complete, but none I find seem to be complete):

https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/qualities-of-soap-making-oils-517120


formulating a recipe:

https://www.modernsoapmaking.com/secret-to-the-best-soap-recipe/






One caveat: Although Soap Queen does have some really good tutorials, she uses glass pyrex in making soap and glass is really not a smart choice when making soap. And she pushes only her own products (Bramble Berry). But other than that, her videos are useful.

Soaping 101 has a very good series of soapmaking videos that I believe are less brand biased, so would recommend them with more ease of mind: http://www.soaping101.com/
 

lsg

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SoapCalc lets you enter percentages along with the total amount of oils you want to use.
For a start, I suggest trying 25% coconut, 30% Palm 30% Olive and 5% Castor oils. A 5% superfat is usually the standard for a good bar. After you have soaped for a while, you will know how you want to adjust your oils and the superfat. Starting with small batches will lead to less waste if a recipe doesn't turn out as you desire. 16 oz of soap is a good place to start. That will give you 4 - 4 ounce bars.
 
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Iseleigh

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So i am a beginner to soap making and i just had a few questions as i am having trouble finding videos or websites that explain stuff in good detail.

1) I was wondering how do you know what percentage of your chosen oils to use? How do i know which oils to use? Also how do i know how many ounces or grams of total oil to use? I know i can followe a recipe but i want to be able to learn to create my own recipes!

2) What is superfatting and is it necessary in soap making? Also how do i calculate it?
Try googling "best fats/oils to use for soapmaking", "oil properties in soapmaking", and "oil substitutes in soapmaking"- those will get you started and provide some info about the oils themselves. You'll find over time you may or may not agree with the websites, which is where experience comes in. Some sites have side by side comparisons for different oils so if you don't have (or want to use) one oil you can sub another similar one. There is a lot to learn about soap! I def second the suggestions for using a lye calculator (I use soapcalc.net) and once you play around with it a bit you will start to understand how the fats/oils and lye react and how you can use those reactions to make soaps with specific things in mind.
 

dixiedragon

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I agree with watching/reading Soap Queen. Soaping 101 on YouTube is also very good.

Here is a good general starting guide:

40-60% tallow, lard or palm. These three are roughly interchangeable, but always run through a lye calculator!
10-20% coconut (not liquid coconut) or palm kernel (not palm). This adds bubbles and cleansing ability.
20-30% liquid oil - I prefer a mix of olive, sunflower and rice bran. You could use any one of those three. I personally don't care for canola or soy - I don't think they bring anything special to the table. But some folks love them.
5% castor - Castor is special in that it will make your lather longer lasting. More than 8% and you'll start seeing your bar be too soft, and slimy lather.

Super fat - super fat is just the percentage of oil that doesn't become soap. The standard is 5% - enough to cover up a minor measuring error, but not enough to impede lather. Some people like lower than that, and some much higher. I suggest starting at 5%. It's already the default in most (if not all) lye calculators.

In hot process, "superfat" often refers to a special oil that you add at the end of the cook. The idea is that all of your "regular" oils get saponified (turned into soap), so your "special" oil is the one that remains unsaponfied in the final product. Your "special" oil can be anything - sweet almond and avocado are popular choices. However, i suggest you don't use castor as your "special" oil - it needs to saponify to give you the lather boosting benefits you want.

I know this seems like a LOT of information. Don't let it intimidate you!
 

NZ doll

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Thanks dixiedragon. As a newbie that's a great synopsis of percentages that I can use. Awesome
 
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