Is my recipe going to be OK?

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HappyHayes

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Hi there! My wife and I have begun our Soap Making craze and are constantly learning more about the craft. We've been using the same "base" for about 3 batches now. And I'm just hoping it will turn out OK. I've attached a screenshot of my calculator.

I'm just worried about the high coconut oil count and my cleansing variable being at 26 which is over the recommended. We've decided we don't want to include palm oil and I like the ingredients we're using but am slightly open to other options.

Our first batch has been curing about a week now and it seems to be getting pretty hard some I'm getting nervous. Lol

Any advice or tips or reassuring would be welcome!
 

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HappyHayes

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I've uploaded another screenshot of the percentages. So dropping coconut oil down to say... 34 percent and upping olive oil to 33.5 might help the ratio out?

The numbers seem OK through the calculator, I suppose the answer is simple but I was thinking too high of an olive oil might be a problem as well.
 

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artemis

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So dropping coconut oil down to say... 34 percent and upping olive oil to 33.5 might help the ratio out?

Well, that's not really much of a change from what you're currently at. I would drop CO down to 20 and increase OO accordingly. I like the avocado oil.

Really, though... I personally would add some lard.
 
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Welcome to the forum! You've found a fun hobby to do as a couple!

Coconut oil in soap can be drying. I love coconut oil and my skin can tolerate a lot, I've used it in the high 20s %. but most of my recipes now have it at 25%. A lot of members here use a max of 20%. I use castor at 4 to 6%. Soaps with olive oil are best after a long cure, think months. Keep us posted!
 
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I wouldn't make any small changes until you have used a cured bar - you don't know what things you're not going to like about the bar and so you don't know for certain what you will need to change.

High co can be subjective, what one person finds too high can be fine for the next one. But generally over 30% with just a 5% superfat will feel very harsh for most people. You and your wife might be okay with it, though - again, you need to use a cured bar before you can tell.

If you desperately want to make soap while a soap is curing, try something totally different. A salt bar, for example, or this (if you're not vegetarian):

50% lard
25% coconut
20% olive oil
5% castor
 
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Not to pile on, but the recommended Cleansing range in the soap calcs are really misleading. When you see “cleansing” it’s more accurate to think of “stripping,” as in stripping off skin oil and drying out the skin.

Except for salt bars and mechanic soap, most soapers keep the cleansing value at 15 or below. I’m rarely above 12 and usually at 10. Even a soap with a cleansing value of 0 will still clean - but it won’t strip all the natural oils off the skin.

Hopefully that gives you some background as to why we are all recommending that you significantly lower the CO in your recipe (the same is true of PKO and babassu, btw). The idea of flipping the OO and CO percentages is a good one, as well as adding some lard if you are ok with animal fats. Lard does make wonderful soap, and it is slow to trace, giving you time to make designs.
 
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Well, that's not really much of a change from what you're currently at. I would drop CO down to 20 and increase OO accordingly. I like the avocado oil.

Really, though... I personally would add some lard.

Another vote for lard!

You can use olive oil at 100%. For the oils you have listed, I would start with something like below:

50% olive oil
15% shea butter
20% coconut oil
10% avocado oil
5% castor oil

I.would search the forum for "palmitic" and "stearic" as there's some great info on here on what good target numbers are for a balanced soap.

Hope
 
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Zing,

Did you mean this as written or did you leave out the word "high"? I don't find that soaps with 30-50% olive oil need more than 8 weeks. The higher you go after that, the longer the cure, unless you use ZNSC of course.

Hope
"Best" is subjective. For the first couple of years of my soaping, I would use 30% olive oil and typically cured for 6 weeks. But I discovered when I used some bars that were 6-12 months old, how hard and bubbly they were. But even after 6 weeks, it still beat anything store-bought! I no longer use olive oil so I don't have any recent experience.
 
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Another vote for lard here. Or RBO...rice bran oil. I started my quest with the trinity of palm, coconut and olive oil and my skin was very happy to be done with commercial soaps. But as I used it, little by little it was again drying out or becoming itchy. I tweaked it in all sorts of ways, always upping the olive oil because people raved about castile soaps, until one of the members of this forum mentioned they could no longer use olive oil. So I made a batch of soap using lard instead of olive oil and have never looked back. I mainly use lard and rice bran oil along with whatever butter I have on hand and a little CO for bubbles. I've used as much as 80% lard or as much as 70% RBO without DOS. But all of my recipes now use some combination of the two. My skin loves just about any of the combos that I come up with. I usually cure for 4-6 months...it is torture for me to wait that long to try out new recipes but it's worth it.
 
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"Best" is subjective. For the first couple of years of my soaping, I would use 30% olive oil and typically cured for 6 weeks. But I discovered when I used some bars that were 6-12 months old, how hard and bubbly they were. But even after 6 weeks, it still beat anything store-bought! I no longer use olive oil so I don't have any recent experience.

Very interesting. Of course a longer cure generally benefits most any soap. I would be curious though the rest of the formula. I do notice that some lipids like lard particularly seem to benefit from a longer cure. The geek in me is curious now to see if the change was synergistic, from other lipids in your formula, from olive oil, or from the oleic percentage. That is the fascinating yet aggravating aspect of soapmaking for me - breaking it out all to find which part really did what. This is where I tie myself in knots wanting to follow all those bunny trails. 😀

Hope
 

DeeAnna

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I can't cite definitive double blind studies complete with statistical analysis for you to read, @Hope Ann. :) But purely IMO, I think a blend of fats is synergistic -- soap made with a blend of fats often performs better sooner in its life than soap made from just one fat. I also don't think this is correlated to the oleic acid content alone.

For example, I found a 100% coconut oil soap, which is very low in oleic acid, changed quite a bit during a long cure, especially its skin feel and my perception of its mildness.

A 100% olive oil soap or 100% HO sunflower soap (both high in oleic acid) lasts longer and is less drying to my skin after a long cure. Some claim a well-aged OO soap also doesn't make slime or makes less slime, but I've never found that to be true, however.

A 100% lard soap (moderate in oleic acid) lathers decidedly better after some months of curing.
 
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I can't cite definitive double blind studies complete with statistical analysis for you to read, @Hope Ann. :) But purely IMO, I think a blend of fats is synergistic -- soap made with a blend of fats often performs better sooner in its life than soap made from just one fat. I also don't think this is correlated to the oleic acid content alone.

I think so too!

I can never wait for my soap to fully cure when testing a new recipe. I test a piece every week and made a note of when it magically transforms, ie goes from "nice" to "wow". It's really helpful for me to see how it changes over time, especially when I'm using similar formulas with just one change of oil, or one percentage tweak between 2 oils. I suggest this to new soap makers.

Hope
 

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