Let's Talk 'Fatty Acids'

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I'm down the rabbit hole on this soapy stuff. I have made some nice soaps but the more I make, the fussier I become (some might say nit-picky🤣).
I have taught myself to use the fatty acid profiles to get the qualities I'm looking for. I don't use animal fats and I'm on the fence about palm oil, but so far have never used it. I'm also very cost conscious. All my soaps are a little bit different as I try different tweaks. I'm close now to my perfect-to-me soap.
My question is, which fatty acid is responsible for the very slightly slimey factor in the lather. I love bubbles and most of my soaps start off nice and bubbly. Then as I continue to suds up, they become creamy. That's okay and probably unavoidable. But some cross over into becoming slightly snotty (sorry!). I know olive oil is that way in castile -- unless it is Zany's. That would make one think oleic is the culprit, but in the soap calcs OO is listed as being low in creaminess. So, is it the level of conditioning or the level of creaminess? Is it the specific oil and its unsaponifiables? Is it the ratio of saturated to unsaturated? Could it be the added sugar, or aloe? Perhaps it is the ricinoleic used at 6-10%. I like a little bit of linoleic. That one has been in my soaps between 2% to 12%. I'm thinking maybe the GW415 since we found out what is probably in it (thanks @Mobjack Bay), about 55% oleic. I have used that at 20% to 50%. I do keep exact records and have a soap museum with 19 specimens, but my hands are getting sore from all the testing.
Here is one recipe:
GW415 24%
Coconut oil 20%
Castor oil 7%
Canola oil 25%
Olive oil 24%

Another one:
GW415 23%
Coconut oil 18%
Castor oil 8%
Olive oil 19%
Canola oil 19%
Avocado oil 13%

One more:
100% hydrogenated Soy wax 20%
Coconut oil 21%
Castor oil 7%
Avocado oil 35%
Canola oil 17%
Distilled water always used, 3% superfat.
As I said, all the soaps are nice enough and quite useable, but if you can hear my voice echoing from down this rabbit hole, let me know if there is a known culprit for this phenomenon.
:computerbath:
 

DeeAnna

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The slimy gel-like nature of the lather is mainly due to oleic acid.

I also think linoleic acid can contribute to this as well, but since linoleic isn't usually a major component in typical soap, it's not something most people focus on when talking about slimy lather.

I don't know that I would use the "creaminess" number or the "conditioning" number as defined by Soapcalc as an indicator of oleic slime. Several fatty acids are used to define each of these numbers. A soap that has a high creamy or conditioning number doesn't necessarily have to have a high oleic acid content, depending on the person's recipe.

I also think the names are misleading, but that's a story for another thread.
 

Zany_in_CO

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My question is, which fatty acid is responsible for the very slightly slimey factor in the lather.
I don't use animal fats and I'm on the fence about palm oil, but so far have never used it.
In addition to what @AliOop and @DeeAnna wrote above, I see one missing feature from the Basic Trinity of Oils that animal fats and palm oil provide.

Coconut + Liquid Oil(s) of choice + shea butter (which has a similar FA profile to lard/palm) would make a difference in your bars that may be just what you're looking for. 👍 😉
 
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In addition to what @AliOop and @DeeAnna wrote above, I see one missing feature from the Basic Trinity of Oils that animal fats and palm oil provide.

Coconut + Liquid Oil(s) of choice + shea butter (which has a similar FA profile to lard/palm) would make a difference in your bars that may be just what you're looking for. 👍 😉
Soy wax helps to increase the percentages of palmitic and stearic fatty acids, and ideally without having to use palm, butters or animal fats, but GW415 doesn’t have enough p+s to use it alone (IMHO). I use GW415 in the range of 20-25% and then use lesser amounts of cocoa butter and/or shea, plus liquid oils that contribute stearic or palmitic, like rice bran or avocado, to up the s+p more.

edited for clarity
 
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Zany_in_CO

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FWIW, I used hydrogenated soy oil (Crisco) and soy wax for a time early in my soaping career. I believe it retains scent and holds color well. While it adds creaminess to the batch, I'm not as big a fan of it as I am for lard and palm for balancing a formula. But that's just me. ;)
 
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Soy wax helps to increase the percentages of palmitic and stearic fatty acids, and ideally without having to use palm, butters or animal fats, but GW415 doesn’t have enough p+s to use it alone (IMHO). I use GW415 in the range of 20-25% and then use lesser amounts of cocoa butter and/or shea, plus liquid oils that contribute stearic or palmitic, like rice bran or avocado, to up the s+p more.

edited for clarity
EXACTLY what I do :)
 
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I found this. WOW! Thanks @DeeAnna.
Soapcalc numbers | Soapy Stuff

Thanks for responding @Zany_in_CO. Looking at the shea butter, it has a very similar fatty acid profile to the new GW415 (the new profile that @Mobjack Bay described). With both in the recipe it ends up with a lot of stearic, plenty of oleic, and not enough palmitic. I have recently tried the 100% hydrogenated soy oil. It is mostly stearic so I can get the longevity I need for softened water from it. Since a little bit goes a long way, I have plenty of space to add a variety of other oils and butters --including shea-- to bring up the palmitic. I made such a batch yesterday and it looks promising. I have to soap hot to prevent stearic spots or false trace (been there, done that). There is no time for intricate swirls, but I am still making plain soaps in one color, and that's ok. I will learn to tweak and swirl later. I just want a good basic soap that meets my criteria.
It would make life much easier if I would just use palm oil 🤣. Animal fats are out for me, and I haven't exhausted all the possibilities to avoid palm yet. I aim to use Costco oils as far as possible because they are reasonably priced, fresh, and about 15 minutes from my house--that's olive, canola, coconut, and avocado. The shipping for the hard butters is killing me! A necessary evil I suppose.
One more question: Palmitic and Stearic are better above 30 as far as I have heard/read. Is it better if they are equal? So far I have their combined numbers at 30 to 33, but have not been able to equalize them. Is that important?
 
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Thanks for responding @Zany_in_CO. Looking at the shea butter, it has a very similar fatty acid profile to the new GW415 (the new profile that @Mobjack Bay described). With both in the recipe it ends up with a lot of stearic, plenty of oleic, and not enough palmitic. I have recently tried the 100% hydrogenated soy oil. It is mostly stearic so I can get the longevity I need for softened water from it. Since a little bit goes a long way, I have plenty of space to add a variety of other oils and butters --including shea-- to bring up the palmitic. I made such a batch yesterday and it looks promising. I have to soap hot to prevent stearic spots or false trace (been there, done that). There is no time for intricate swirls, but I am still making plain soaps in one color, and that's ok. I will learn to tweak and swirl later. I just want a good basic soap that meets my criteria.
It would make life much easier if I would just use palm oil 🤣. Animal fats are out for me, and I haven't exhausted all the possibilities to avoid palm yet. I aim to use Costco oils as far as possible because they are reasonably priced, fresh, and about 15 minutes from my house--that's olive, canola, coconut, and avocado. The shipping for the hard butters is killing me! A necessary evil I suppose.
One more question: Palmitic and Stearic are better above 30 as far as I have heard/read. Is it better if they are equal? So far I have their combined numbers at 30 to 33, but have not been able to equalize them. Is that important?
That's a good question for @DeeAnna maybe? My palmitic is at 13 and stearic at 23 in my recipes.
 

DeeAnna

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I don't know whether a 50:50 mix of palmitic and stearic acids is significantly different in soap than say a 25:75 or 75:25 ratio. Most of the fats we use for soap making don't allow us to easily control this ratio, so I've never looked into it.

It's been more important for me to explain why soap makers should pay attention to using a decent amount of these fatty acids in soap, regardless of the proportion.

But if you learn more about the usefulness of controlling the proportions of these two fatty acids, I'd be fascinated to hear what you find..

I gave a fuller answer in the thread mentioned by Mobjack (above) -- The (overly) Cartesian Soaper: Palmitic vs Stearic Question
 
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Here’s a good read 😉
Thread 'The (overly) Cartesian Soaper: Palmitic vs Stearic Question'
The (overly) Cartesian Soaper: Palmitic vs Stearic Question

If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get 100% hydrogenated soy in the US?!?
Thanks @Mobjack Bay, I went over and read the whole thread. I discovered a lot more people are down this rabbit hole with me as I stumble around in the dark. LOL!😂

I bought my 100% hydrogenated soy here. (TheSage.com. also known as Majestic Mountain Sage or MMS) It is listed under "Fixed Oils" and they call it "Soy Wax".
I bought it by accident because I thought it was GW415--Soy Wax. It is easy to get them confused. My soap was a mess so I wrote to them and they confirmed it is 100% hydrogenated soy oil. It is not the GW415 we have all been talking about. Once I knew that, I was able to make some nice soaps with it. I plugged it into the calculator as "Soy 100% hydrogenated". As I said, a little goes a long way because it is mostly stearic acid. It is the answer to a maiden's prayer for longevity without animal fats. I should add, they also carry something called "Soy Oil-Hydrogenated". I have no idea what's in that. I will ask them later on; I don't want my head to explode with all this info.
:smallshrug:

My palmitic is at 13 and stearic at 23 in my recipes.
Hi @KiwiMoose, thanks for your response. I admire you so don't take this the wrong way. With the new profile that @Mobjack Bay discovered, isn't your fatty acid different now? With the 100% soy profile it is P13 and S23 as you stated. With the new custom oil profile suggested by Mobjack, it looks like P13 and S13. Am I off track here? If so, I apologize. If not, then you already have equal amounts of palmitic and stearic. Let me know because just for kicks and giggles I am working on an equal P to S recipe. (One that's vegan, palm-free, cheap, lasting, easily available, and very light colored. Can anyone tell me why I torture myself like this?)
:computerbath:

But if you learn more about the usefulness of controlling the proportions of these two fatty acids, I'd be fascinated to hear what you find.
Thanks for your reply @DeeAnna. I'm not the intellectual type, but I will find out the difference (if there is one) empirically. I have developed a recipe with equal parts palmitic and stearic. Unfortunately, I couldn't get both of them very high, but probably high enough to compare to another bar with the same combined number. I will make it this week and report back on the findings once cured.
Distilled water, 3% SF, cold process, no fragrance, no color:
28% GW415 using Mobjack's custom fatty acid profile
19% Coconut Oil
5% Castor Oil
12% Olive Oil
12% Avocado Oil
12% Rice Bran Oil
12% Cocoa Butter
:hippo::dance::hippo::dance::hippo::dance:
 
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Hi @KiwiMoose, thanks for your response. I admire you so don't take this the wrong way. With the new profile that @Mobjack Bay discovered, isn't your fatty acid different now? With the 100% soy profile it is P13 and S23 as you stated. With the new custom oil profile suggested by Mobjack, it looks like P13 and S13. Am I off track here? If so, I apologize. If not, then you already have equal amounts of palmitic and stearic. Let me know because just for kicks and giggles I am working on an equal P to S recipe. (One that's vegan, palm-free, cheap, lasting, easily available, and very light colored. Can anyone tell me why I torture myself like this?)
:computerbath:
No - you are correct. I just use the standard profile in the soap calc and not @Mobjack's. However I do use Shea butter as well as other oils high in palmitic (but not palm).
 

earlene

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Thanks @Mobjack Bay, I went over and read the whole thread. I discovered a lot more people are down this rabbit hole with me as I stumble around in the dark. LOL!😂

I bought my 100% hydrogenated soy here. (TheSage.com. also known as Majestic Mountain Sage or MMS) It is listed under "Fixed Oils" and they call it "Soy Wax".
I bought it by accident because I thought it was GW415--Soy Wax. It is easy to get them confused. My soap was a mess so I wrote to them and they confirmed it is 100% hydrogenated soy oil. It is not the GW415 we have all been talking about. Once I knew that, I was able to make some nice soaps with it. I plugged it into the calculator as "Soy 100% hydrogenated". As I said, a little goes a long way because it is mostly stearic acid. It is the answer to a maiden's prayer for longevity without animal fats. I should add, they also carry something called "Soy Oil-Hydrogenated". I have no idea what's in that. I will ask them later on; I don't want my head to explode with all this info.
:smallshrug:
Thank you, @Shirley_D! I have tried to find a source for 100% hydrogenated soy and never ran across that one at the Sage. A few years ago, I really wanted to compare it to the GW415 and see if there was a noticeable difference, but the only source I found could not help me because they do not sell small orders & did not or would not share a source who would/could re-sell small orders. (The only theory I've come up with as to why it was so hard to find was that perhaps it was related to the laws banning partially hydrogenated oils by the food industry in the US because the food industry drives the the majority of imports and purchase of oils in the US.)

ETA: Sadly, the MMS website is currently only showing products can be picked up at their location in Utah, which is certainly not convenient. Hopefully that is a glitch of the process of updating the website and it will be corrected soon. When it is, I hope to be able to order this product to finally test the fully hydrogenated soy oil versus the GW415 soy wax I currently have. I did send a message via the website asking if delivery was going to be an option again soon.
 
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Thank you, @Shirley_D! I have tried to find a source for 100% hydrogenated soy...
ETA: Sadly, the MMS website is currently only showing products can be picked up at their location...
Glad to help @earlene after all the help you and others have kindly given in this forum😊

I just typed a response and it disappeared, so I hope this doesn't go through twice.

TheSage.com seems to be working now. If you cannot get it, I will send you some of mine to play with. I believe it will be very useful to some soap makers, but not everyone will like it because of the 150-160F melting point. Just melt it, mix all the oils, let it cool, add the lye solution, and do a long, very warm CPOP. What concerns me is their web site says, "We have a special deal on soy wax...". It makes me think this is not regular stock but something they happened upon in a special circumstance. Hmm, think I will order 10lbs to stock up. This stuff is as rare as hens' teeth! (It's available in 1lb, 5lb,10lb, 25lb, and 50lb bags.) I still use GW415, both can have a place in vegan or palm-free soaps.

Here is a tip I discovered. This stuff leaves a very thin, waxy residue on parts of my melting pot and on my spatula. I had to scrape it off. Once it is soap there is no problem, but if you melt in one vessel and make soap in another, it can leave a bit of stubborn wax behind. What I do is take some avocado or coconut oil from the recipe and coat the spatula and pot as a barrier. Also try to soap in the same pot if the recipe fits in. Then the clean up is easier.

Hope this helps some of you wonderful forum friends :videovisit::secret::computerbath:.
 

Zany_in_CO

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it can leave a bit of stubborn wax behind.
I have been making wax products for years -- for so long I even forgot to share this TIP:

I add 1 tablespoon of A & H Washing Soda to 16 oz. hot water . Stir to dissolve. Add utensils if they fit, then pour into the container to the very top (make more solution if needed) and let it soak for 5 minutes. Waxy bits rise to the top. Easy peasy. The wax can be skimmed off the surface and the solution can be saved for the next project. Containers and utensils can then be hand washed or placed in the dishwasher.

:computerbath:

ETA: The solution is quite caustic. Be sure to wear gloves.
 

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