Is sodium lactate the answer??

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Meldoesasoapy

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Hey there! I usually use a recipe of 30,30,30,10 percentages with olive, palm, coconut, and sweet almond oil. It is not the best recipe for designs because it traces fast but it's my go to recipe because it makes a hard bar.
Here's the dilemma, I want the hardest possible bars that won't melt badly in the shower, but still want to do designs....is sodium lactate the answer? Is there another recipe out there that gets really really durable bars but still goes slow enough to do swirls?
Any help is so appreciated!
 
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You could replace some 10% of the coconut and/or olive with cocoa/mango/kokum/cupuaçu butter, (soft) soy wax, or tallow. Also expect the cult of lard-ism to tempt you. Either option will boost the low content of stearic acid in your recipe. Palmitic acid (from palm oil) and the shorter saturated FAs (from coconut) are also making hard soap, that however will dissolve upon usage/mush up more readily than a high-stearic soap.

The “hardness” that sodium lactate is adding to soap is mostly about how rapidly a soap hardens up (important for unmoulding/cutting), but not so much about the final hardness (aka longevity) after cure. At least that was my impression that I couldn't tell if a bar has lactate depending on how quickly it “melts”.
 
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Are you being conservative with your stick blender? My beginner recipes were very similar to yours, my current recipe is not too far off. When I was a noob, I stick blended like crazy. Now I use just a few short periodic bursts and mainly use the blender as a stirring spoon. I also soap when my lye solution and oils are at room temp or just warm to the touch (not sure what role temp plays, just sayin'). Now when I'm working on a design or swirl, my trace is at emulsion or very light trace. I don't have time to share the links now but there are a couple of real good YouTubes on emulsion and trace. Good luck!

EDIT: I also use sodium lactate at 3% of oil weight and the role it plays is that you can unmold at 24 hours instead of waiting longer.
 

Meldoesasoapy

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Are you being conservative with your stick blender? My beginner recipes were very similar to yours, my current recipe is not too far off. When I was a noob, I stick blended like crazy. Now I use just a few short periodic bursts and mainly use the blender as a stirring spoon. I also soap when my lye solution and oils are at room temp or just warm to the touch (not sure what role temp plays, just sayin'). Now when I'm working on a design or swirl, my trace is at emulsion or very light trace. I don't have time to share the links now but there are a couple of real good YouTubes on emulsion and trace. Good luck!

EDIT: I also use sodium lactate at 3% of oil weight and the role it plays is that you can unmold at 24 hours instead of waiting longer.
So with the recipe you use now, do you have a hard bar that doesn't melt in the shower? That's a problem I'm having even with a hard recipe, it still gets a bit melty in the shower...
 
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Cutting down on the CO will help with the solubility of your bar since CO is highly soluble and that is why it lathers well. If you are not opposed to lard you could cut your CO to 20% or less and cut your OO to 20% making the difference with lard giving you a longer-lasting bar of soap that will slow trace, even with your 30% palm. I love Lard and Palm or Lard, tallow and Palm or tallow/lard combinations etc. I tend to use 17% or less CO and add Sorbitol to up lather although I do not necessarily get big bubbles I get a nice creamy thick lather with a long-lasting bar. For initial hardness and faster unmolding I soap with vinegar for water replacement, but that takes a new set of calculations such as lye adjustments.
 
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So with the recipe you use now, do you have a hard bar that doesn't melt in the shower? That's a problem I'm having even with a hard recipe, it still gets a bit melty in the shower...
I used to use coconut oil in the high 20s and me and my family didn't experience our skin drying, unlike many other soapers here. I have now gone to using coconut oil in the low 20s but add sugar to boost the lather. My bars are hard -- but in my shower, I have two or three bars on rotation and use soap saver pads. My soaps are not melty. My ratio of hard:soft oils is generally 60:40.
 

Cat&Oak

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I used to use coconut oil in the high 20s and me and my family didn't experience our skin drying, unlike many other soapers here. I have now gone to using coconut oil in the low 20s but add sugar to boost the lather. My bars are hard -- but in my shower, I have two or three bars on rotation and use soap saver pads. My soaps are not melty. My ratio of hard:soft oils is generally 60:40.
My recipe is also 60/40 for me that really is the sweet spot.
 
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