Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Drew Ackerman, Nov 29, 2019.
@Obsidian Did you strategically pick that mold so you could test a batch during a 3 year cure?
Nope, it just worked out that way. I don't test cure for three years either, a year is good enough for me.
I do have soap that old, older even but just because we can't use it fast enough.
Howdy from Colorado USA! There are many Newbies and Semi-newbies here so you are in good company. You might want to take some time to read info posted on the Beginner's Forum -- especially the Stickies. There's lots of good information there to help you.
If you have problems, feel free to contact our Administrators by clicking on their names or avatars: Angie, Irish Lass, lsg, Relle, Shunt 2011
And to save time, money, and frustration, this is a good read for a soaper at your stage of experience:
Q: What advice would you give to your beginning soaping self?
Bad smell - the scent is either due to CPOP, or mixing badly with my base oils, or it just does not hold up in CP. It was an on sale buy from a supplier and I bought two lbs of it. I like it, but it’s proving to be a bit fiddly.
Hand stir - I’ve done very very similar batches (your recipe) in the past, and this one should be fine to hand stir (vigorous stirring, make sure you get bottom and corners and edges scraped as you stir very well, leave no oil and lye unstirred)
When I started, I wish someone had taken me aside and said, “stir your first few batches.” If you have tons of soft or liquid oils, you do not, then I would say, yes stick blend a bit, but you have a pretty standard recipe, it should be good to pour more quickly than you think, and you’ll get to see trace develop without it speeding by you like a freight train. it’s surprising how quick soap traces with a stick blender.
With some recipes, it can mean the difference between pouring it into a mold and scooping it into a mold, or having a bowl full of solid soap and soap stuck to your stick blender.
Stir it until it gets to ‘hot thickened cooked pudding but still runny and not quite ready to set’ and still pourable stage. Not temperature wise, but in thickness. With your recipe, you should be ok and ready to pour in less than ten minutes, depending.
But this is why it’s important to make lots of small batches of soap when you’re starting out, and start out with hand mixing, and then move onto fancy things and try out scents and colors not in large batches. Like my giant 22lb slab soap (slight disaster) with purple tops. (They are supposed to be blue, but morphed horribly. The color is fine, they have good scent, but the color is completely different than what I designed it to be.)
From one over planner (my goal was to never fail and have perfect soap from the start) to you, it’s ok to fail. Failing is part of the process. You will learn great things from failing, mostly perseverance and ultimately how to succeed. Do not be distraught when you do fail, keep going. It’s ok to make a mistake. Look at your mistake, see what went wrong and how to improve. Take notes.
You will be a fine soap maker, but be patient and enjoy the process.
Remember, slow is fast.
@Obsidian I'll be happy if I can wait 4 weeks. I was really hoping to have my soaps ready for the summer market. However I want yo produce quality soaps and if that means waiting till 2021 to even consider selling then wait I shall. I'm just worried if I can go through my gallons of oils. I admit I went overboard.
Does soap always get better with time or does it start to degrade after a certain point? I'm assuming 1 year isnt an issue.
@Zany_in_CO Thank you for that education thread! Its nice having people in a neighboring state. Enjoy the snow
I'll be sure to introduce myself in that forum, as soon as I make my 1st batch.
@SoapySuds I will be sure to take everything in stride and try my best to
be patient with my first few batches. I have to admit, with the mica and fragrances I have coming in I'm just incredibly excited to do the designs I want. I am also interested in CPOP because of the colors it makes. Just ooo!
Of course I do hope I could possibly sell my soaps locally. If that doesnt work out I'm thinking this can be my creative outlet, along with a multitude of other reasons for wanting to pursue soaps.
I've ordered a cactus fragrance and Sedona fragrance from brambleberry, I really hope they remind me of home.
So you want to sell eh?????)
There are many people here who sell and many who don’t.
I recommend just make soap a little at a time, one batch at a time.
get some testers. Your testers need to be honest, blunt, and picky people. You don’t want the person who tells you they love all your soap and then throws it in the trash once they get home or after you leave. Or the person who says ‘it’s fine’ but doesn’t tell you it doesn’t beat their body wash, because that’s not helpful either.
Your testers need to be dedicated and ruthless in using your soap. Which means you’ll be making soap, letting it cure 4-6 weeks, minimum, and then gifting it to your testers.
This is a minimum of a year before you start selling soap.
I do not sell soap, but that is my goal, and even though I’ve soaped on and off for about 15 years, making soap for other people is a different animal. I have a growing group of testers, and some people are polite, but when someone comes back the next day and raves about my soap... bingo. That’s a winning recipe. And it wasn’t the first recipe I researched out.
(And no, I’m not sharing it. )
Soap is different for different people and different uses, you may find different soap recipes are better for you and the purpose.
Also, get insurance.
And enjoy the journey!
I wish I had read this thread about two weeks earlier! I'm a total newbie who is now 4 batches in to cold process, 3 unmolded (and using one prematurely before it's fully cured) and 1 created last night. Luckily small batches of 6-8 bars a piece. Phew!
I will be taking the 20% coconut oil guideline to heart. All my recipes to date have been 25% or higher and leave my hands feeling squeaky clean...but I can see how it would be incredibly drying for someone with drier skin.
I also appreciate @Obsidian 's remarks about animal fats versus vegetable. Both from a "market" perspective (I won't be selling but have some vegan friends that I can't gift any attempts to due to my lard use) and also from this fear I have that the lard will make my soaps go rancid quickly. I had fully planned on using palm oil but it's next to impossible for me to get at a decent price (without paying a bundle in shipping, too) up here in Toronto.
Palm adds hardness and longevity to soap but not bubbles. In fact if you do a 100% test batch of palm you will find it produces no lathes but is hard, lasts a very long time but feels a bit waxy. I mainly use it in my vegan recipes although it is nice in low percentages at or below 25% with lard.
@SoapySuds Well looks like my research phase will be longer than I thought at first. What to do with 50 lbs of palm oil. Like I said, I went big. Fortunately I do have people that are testers. Ill have to remind one or two to not be nice because that is their nature.
@cmzaha I thought the palmitic acid added lather? Also all resources I have found before I was given this link https://www.modernsoapmaking.com/the-most-popular-fatty-acid-profiles-in-soapmaking/ were saying that coconut and palm are a great combination because the palm stabilizes the coconuts bubbles. I know I still have a lot to learn about all the different acids though, and the link above will help me with that.
@Drew Ackerman reread the entry about palmitic again. It says it contributes to stable lather, not that it creates bubbles.
Stable lather is when the bubbles that are created last awhile instead of just bursting and going away.
Palm and lard both make a creamy, lotiony lather but not very good bubbles. You toss in coconut to create big bubbles. A little castor also help stabilize and create more bubbles.
Since you already have your palm, try this.
25% olive or your favorite oleic oil
I originally got into soap making for personal use. I didn't want anything 'fancy'...just a good quality bar of soap. And in discussion with some of my persons, I found out that I wasn't the only one. So after talking to my husband, I sat down and wrote a 5-Year Plan. The first year would be R&D...two solid recipes; one for a regular soap and one for a goat milk soap. And I rounded up a bunch of friends across the country to be my testers and after first finding out if they had any allergies, I would send them half bars of soap to blend test. Blind being that they had no idea of the ingredients, additives, colors or scents being used. Each bar came with a postcard for them to fill out and mail back to me. I had no plans to sell any soap the first year, but last month I got an opportunity to participate in a Craft Fair and decided to go for it. I didn't sell out or make a huge amount of money. but I did gain a tremendous amount of feedback which was worth its weight in gold.
Anyone can make soap, but not everyone is willing to take the time to make a good quality soap that brings customers back again and again and again. Those are the customers that you want because they will keep your doors open, they will do the bulk of your advertising for you, and they will bring in new customers because they will buy soap for their family and friends who in turn will buy soap for themselves and for their family and friends and so an and so forth.
@Obsidian In my beginner experience I thought that the Coconut and Palm has some magic properties from being put together - a 1 2 punch. I realize now that that is incorrect and that they have their own properties to balance out. Do palm and lard have a different profile if they both are contributing to palmitic acid? I assume not much of a difference, just different sources. I cant wait to find out!
@TheGecko Exactly, I want to produce high quality soaps to share. I just vastly underestimated the time it would take to get started. I am okay with that though because I am not in a rush.
This is 100% correct. Even though I complained the first day of my market last week was poor the 2 remaining made up for it. I have built a customer base that purchases enough bars to last them the next market in May. Listening to the comments to others is worth the effort of my years of tweaking. Comments such as the best soap I have ever used to the longest-lasting handmade I have ever tried. This is what you aim to accomplish. It does not happen over-night but takes a few to many years of tweaking and refining one's recipes.
@Drew It you are in a "neighboring state" to Colorado, you might want to order smaller sizes (5-7 lbs) of oils. When I first started I ordered everything I needed from Majestic Mountain Sage in Utah. High quality products and with "ground shipping" I get my order in 3 days:
I also find MMS Fragrance Calc to be spot on. They have a library of Tried & True soap recipes as well as other bath & body things to make. Their "Amazing Dozen" deal on the FO page is a good buy and you get FREE shipping: 12 one-ounce bottles of Fragrance Oils, Essential Oils, Extracts or Flavor Oils, mix & match. They aren't the cheapest around but it's only a matter of time before you can order from Soaper's Choice to get the best price + quality oils/butters/fats + fast and competitive prices on shipping when you order 3-4 items at a time.
From the Menu at the top, choose "Products" and then "Product List" for a List of all the oils they sell. I hate slogging through all the pictures, etc. to find what I want to order. Ever since "the girls" took over that site is not as "user friendly" as it used to be.
@cmzaha Although I want to provide the best product I can I dont think I can wait years to find the perfect recipe. This doesn't mean I will sell bad soap though. Ill wait until I produce soap that I would want to buy. The kinds of soaps I see from experts.
@Zany_in_CO Yes I went a bit overboard with how many things I have bought in this first round. Ill look at fragrance oils and see if there are any that look amazing , I like that amazing 12 offer. I ordered from Bulk Apothecary for some oils, the webstaurant for the coconut oil what the bet price i could find anywhere. And then various places for colorants and fragrances and molds and the such. Again, overboard, but I cant think of doing it any other way! Soaper's choice however has been an underwhelming site to me. Not a fan.
Dude! Webstaurant has some deals!
If you have a smartfoodservice near you, it too has good places to purchase larger quantities of oils.
Coconut oil has a really really really long shelf life, you're good with keeping that around for a while.
If you store palm oil in a low humidity, low temp, consistent environment, away from light, like a basement up off the floor on some wood slats, you'll keep it for a while. Air and heat are the enemies of oil.
Ummm in the meantime, palm oil is fantastic for frying doughnuts in and as a shortening in cooking!
Have you thought about selling donuts?
They have similar qualities in soap but their profile is different. I'm not quite sure how as I've not really looked into. I rarely use palm.
I did do a head to head test with palm and lard if you are interested.
@SoapySuds Yeah they do! $35 for 5 gallons of coconut oil?! Count me in! The shipping is what kills me though, such a shame. Ive made doughnuts once. They were not great. Also, we have a doughnut seller at our market, and they are SUPER good.
I think ill be able to use all thee oils in time, 1 lb batches every 2-3 days really adds up!
@Obsidian Those results you got testing the three different makeups was interesting. It makes me more excited to try Lard/Tallow in my soaps.
What an awesome idea! (as is sending only 1/2 bar of soap!) Wow, can you see my brain exploding! That's been my major complaint, that my 'testers' don't let me know what they like and what they don't like. You've solved that for me! I'm sure not everyone sends back the postcard - but then you know who NOT to send another test bar too, eh? Thanks! GENIUS!
They did, I included postage. I had simple questions: Do you like the look of the soap? Y or N Did you like the smell of the soap? Y or N Did you like the feel of the soap? Y or N How did your skin feel after washing with it? Slimy Dry Meh Would you buy this soap? Y or N How much would you pay? $5.00 $6.00 $7.00 Comments:
With regards to the 'slimy', it's important to let your testers know that REAL soap is different than commercial soap. While you want your windows and dishes 'squeaky clean', you don't want your skin that way. Soap is supposed to clean the skin, not strip all the natural oils and leave it defenseless.
Right now I have a few folks testing a 'trade' soap for me. One soap is my regular soap with a little bit of pumice and the other I increased the Coconut Oil 10% with a little bit of pumice. I colored them a medium dark blue and green, but didn't had any fragrance (based on a accidental test by my nephew and some of his friends).
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