Less number of different oils vs high number of different oils

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

sephera

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
142
Reaction score
11
Is there benefit of using a high number of different oils in a soap formula vs lesser or single numbers?

Some recipes call for up to 7 oils in COLD process soap.

For example a base of 30% Coconut, 30% Palm, 30% Olive, then 10% you can add 3 or 4 luxury oils like Shea, Castor, Jojoba, Almond.

What are your thoughts.
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,497
Reaction score
2,645
Less is more, IMO. I'd have to check but I don't think I've ever gone over 5 oils in a soap. Some may feel that may be a little much but then it comes to olive oil, I almost always use avocado oil with it.
 

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,448
Reaction score
9,744
Location
Michigan
I agree that less is better. Many high end oils are for label appeal more than anything. 5 is my magic number.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,746
Reaction score
9,294
Location
Texas
4 is my magic number. 5 if I am trying to get rid of one of those expensive oils I thought I had to have before I learned better.
 

mx6inpenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
602
Reaction score
608
Location
NW Pennsylvania
I use 5 for standard recipe. I really don't see the need to add more expensive oils for the most part. A seller may want to do so for label appeal, but I don't really see where they add anything in soap. That said, avocado oil isn't particularly cheap, but it is the most expensive oil I use regularly. I use it because I can definitely see a difference when I use 15% Avo and 10% Olive as apposed to 25% Olive.
 

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
7,148
Reaction score
8,351
Location
Minnesota
I use 4-5 oils, and usually 5. Sometimes 6 if I am in the mood to play with recipes.

With the exception of castor, I don't think anything lower than 5% of an oil is enough to really see much difference overall. So in your scenario of 30/30/30, I would choose 1 or 2 at 5% or 10% to let the luxury oil shine. That is just my thinking. I've never added lots of oils at 2-3%, so I don't really know this for sure.
 

Scooter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
637
Reaction score
225
Location
NC
I can definitely see a difference when I use 15% Avo and 10% Olive as apposed to 25% Olive.
A few other people have spoken about avocado oil this way. What does avocado oil add compared to olive?

Thanks!

Scooter
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,569
Reaction score
19,715
Location
USA
Avocado is a high-oleic oil like olive, but it has some important differences. It has a higher % of unsaponifiable chemicals than many of the more typical soaping fats including olive (my notes say 4% to 9% unsaponifiables).

It also has a modest amount of palmitoleic fatty acid (my notes say about 7%), while olive has little to none. You'd have to use expensive macadamia nut, borage, cashew nut, or other exotic oils to get a higher % of this fatty acid.

I don't know if either or both are what make the difference or if it's something else entirely, but I agree there's a benefit to using a modest % of avocado in soap.

Teresa (Howling Hounds) sent me a sample of her soap with avocado oil and avocado puree. My impression is the soap seems especially mild and non-drying to the skin, so I think avocado has value in soap for fragile or delicate skin. Compared to similar soap made with just olive or other high oleic oil, the bar with avocado isn't so super annoyingly slick when wet. The lather is fluffier and lighter, and also less slick feeling.
 

mx6inpenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
602
Reaction score
608
Location
NW Pennsylvania
A few other people have spoken about avocado oil this way. What does avocado oil add compared to olive?

Thanks!

Scooter
I think it feels creamier and definitely bubblier. I also think it makes for a bit harder bar. I'm not positive on that, because I didn't make both recipes at the same time to test it accurately. If nothing else, the avocado oil ones are harder sooner. Just the bubbles was enough for me :)
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,497
Reaction score
2,645
I think it feels creamier and definitely bubblier. I also think it makes for a bit harder bar. I'm not positive on that, because I didn't make both recipes at the same time to test it accurately. If nothing else, the avocado oil ones are harder sooner. Just the bubbles was enough for me :)
I noticed that too with my soaps. That and I just love the way avocado oil soaps feel compared to just olive oil.
 

mx6inpenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
602
Reaction score
608
Location
NW Pennsylvania
My impression is the soap seems especially mild and non-drying to the skin, so I think avocado has value in soap for fragile or delicate skin.
I have to agree with this as well. Many people feel that benefits from oils don't carry over into soap, and I agree with that for the most part. I do think the higher amount of unsaponifiables makes a difference in this.
 

sephera

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
142
Reaction score
11
Thanks for your responses. I was thinking of trying coconut 30% Palm oil 30% Olive 30% Castor 5% and Almond 5%. At 3 % super fat. And then add a 1% Jojoba and 1% Avocado at trace. Otherwise 2% of one or the other. How does that sound?
 
Last edited:

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,448
Reaction score
9,744
Location
Michigan
Thanks for your responses. I was thinking of trying coconut 30% Palm oil 30% Olive 30% Castor 5% and Almond 5%. At 3 % super fat. And then add a 1% Jojoba and 1% Avocado at trace. Otherwise 2% of one or the other. How does that sound?
Adding things in at trace makes not one bit of difference than adding them all in together at once if you are doing CP. The lye is still active and will take what it wants from the mix regardless of when added.

The only time it makes a difference is if you are doing HP and add them after the cook.

As others have stated, adding 1-2% of something isn't going to make a difference. I would highly recommend dropping your CO to 25% with a low SF and see if you like it.

Many are sensitive to coconut (not me at 25%).

I've not used jojoba in soap due to price (used in other products). So can't speak to what it may bring to the soap party other than it having a large amount of unsaponifiables due to it actually be a wax.
 

sephera

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
142
Reaction score
11
Oh I see I just have read tutorials here and other websites that they add spoon full per pound of luxury oil of choice at trace and then it would sponify
 

navigator9

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
2,713
Reaction score
3,093
Location
New England
When I see a recipe using a long list of oils, I always feel that the ones at the end of the list have to be in such small amounts that they're there for label appeal alone. My standard recipe uses three oils. When I first began making soap, I experimented with recipe after recipe, and every ingredient I could get my hands on. After many batches and much tweaking, I came up with my standard formula, and I really believe it's all about balance. Enough conditioning, but still enough bubbles and a bar that's hard enough. It can be done, and it doesn't take a laundry list of oils and butters. I do have other recipes, but my standard still sells the most. I think there are other ingredients like finely ground oatmeal, and milks that can make a nicer bar. I also believe that it's necessary for each soapmaker to do their own experimenting along the way, so that they can see for themselves the results when you add or subtract an ingredient, or increase or decrease the amount being used. My favorite recipe may not be yours, everyone's skin likes something different.
 

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,448
Reaction score
9,744
Location
Michigan
Oh I see I just have read tutorials here and other websites that they add spoon full per pound of luxury oil of choice at trace and then it would sponify
It will saponify so there's no sense adding it at trace just add it all in at the beginning with the rest of the oils.

Hot Process soapmaking you can add your SF after the cook. Then you can choose which oil(s) will be your SF. :)
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,907
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
My basic recipe includes lard, castor, coconut, olive, rice bran and sunflower. Then I often include 5% of an oil I'm trying to use up. I've found that I can include 5% of a funky-smelling, old oil with no problems. I think the sunflower and rice bran really complement the olive.
 

sephera

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
142
Reaction score
11
Is Avocado oil worth getting to sub in for some of Olive in a recipe. Avocado refined oil is $15/L and Olive is is about $5/L
 

mx6inpenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
602
Reaction score
608
Location
NW Pennsylvania
My basic recipe includes lard, castor, coconut, olive, rice bran and sunflower. Then I often include 5% of an oil I'm trying to use up. I've found that I can include 5% of a funky-smelling, old oil with no problems. I think the sunflower and rice bran really complement the olive.
In my opinion, yes yes yes!
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,569
Reaction score
19,715
Location
USA
See my post #8 in this thread. Whether the benefits are worth it or not is something you need to decide for yourself. Maybe it is. Maybe it's not. You just have to try it and see.

But if you want to use one "luxury" oil that really does seem to enhance soap, rather than just be expensive hype, I'd say avocado is about the cheapest and most effective one you can find.
 
Last edited:
Top