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I am living in Poland at the moment which has put a stop to my soapmaking for a while due to translation problems and lack of equipment but now I have a good set of scales(a birthday present from the other half) and should start up soon.
I just have a problem finding the right ingredients.
Coconut oil so far has proved difficult and I don't want to order from the uk as the shipping will be terrible. Can I use castor oil - I might be able to find it a bit more easily. Is it a good substitute to increase the lather in a olive oil based soap? How would it effect it?
I generally have quite a few problems finding ingredients- are there any substitutes for things like goats milk? or beeswax?
I am just wanting to create a standard recipe for bath soap so I can play with some essential oil mixes for men(which is a whole new problem for me - I don't have a clue!)
Thanks.
Nick
 

IrishLass

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Hi Nick!

I know of many people who make a great Castile using 90% olive oil and 10% castor oil. While castor is a very poor substitute for coconut, it does add a little bit of extra lather to a mostly olive oil soap. It won't be super-bubbly, mind you, but it will make it slightly more bubbly than it would normally be.

A much better substitute for coconut oil is palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil, for they have different soaping properties); and also babassu oil. All of those can be subsituted for coconut oil 1:1.

For fresh goats milk you can substitute with powdered goats milk (reconstituted with some of your soaping water), canned goats milk, or coconut milk (canned or dry) or even cow's milk. I personally have had no luck with cow's milk, but I know of others who have. My cow's milk soap always end up smelling cheesy to me for some reason. :(

I'm not sure of a substitute for beeswax since I've never used it in soap.

If you want, I'll be more than happy to help you forrmulate a good, basic soap recipe to get you started if you let me know what oils or fats you have on hand. You'd be amazed at what wonderful soap you can create with just a few common oils. :)


IrishLass
 

digit

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I have often seen the more experienced soapers say that after playing with the expensive exotic oils, they go back to the simpler 3-4 oil soaps because the soaps are wonderful.

IrishLass makes beautiful soaps and I have no doubt they just as wonderful to use. Take her up on her offer and soon you will be making dreamy soaps. :D

A great place for EO combinations is: http://www.rainbowmeadow.com/infocenter ... select.php
Do a search for aromatherapyand you will find a lot of places.

Good Luck!!
 
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Thanks for the ideas - I will give castor oil a go first as it is the most available to me. Most other oils I would need to order from Germany and UK, which is a pain to be honest. I did have a really nice soap base before but it relied on coconut and palm oil with the olive so I was stuck for a recipe. I will give 10% castor a go and see what happens.
I think I will end up using coconut milk as it isn't possible to buy goats milk in any form in the city.(Although there is a house with a goat nearby - unfortunately my polish is not good enough to ask for some!) I heard that cows milk can give a strange smell so I knew not to use that.
In regards to which oils I have available - basically until I find a supplier here - which I can't, I am limited by the local supermarket and pharmacist - so very simple cooking oils There is loads of lard here but I tried lard and tallow 50/50 and wasn't impressed - but maybe it will be different mixed with olive?
Most of the standard oils I haven't been able to find yet - but maybe I will get lucky as my language improves!
Thanks
 

Woodi

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Hi Nick way over there in Poland! How exciting to be talking to someone so far away, and to me: Poland seems so exotic but so wonderful. My grandfather left Poland when he was 13 years old cuz the Russians came and took over his family farm, while insisting they become communist workers on it. So sad. His older brother ran away first, and after 3 months, so did my Grandpa. He says he stowed away on a ship, but nobody can confirm that. He made it to Montreal, Quebec, Canada and found work in a steel mill.

Long story....

about soap though. 100% olive is supposed to be a wonderful soap for many, but I find the lack of bubbly lather a disappointment. I have tried olive, lard and castor. The castor gives a creamy, rather than bubbly lather. The only 3 oils which give really good bubbles are coconut, palm kernel and babassu....all difficult to procure locally.
but if you add some honey or sugar to your lye water, it may help increase the bubbles.

Good luck!
 

Sholdy

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If you aren't set on making oil soaps without animal fats, lard and tallow make excellent soaps that lather and bubble wonderfully.
 
G

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Woodi said:
100% olive is supposed to be a wonderful soap for many, but I find the lack of bubbly lather a disappointment.
I just made 100% EVOO Castile, because I was curious what kind of soap they had back when Castile was prime, and I wasn't disappointed because I expected it. It's still a nice soap, mild, and you can work up a lather if you put a little effort into it, and leaves my hands feeling good. I made the Castile because I wanted to experience the tradition. :)

Sholdy said:
If you aren't set on making oil soaps without animal fats, lard and tallow make excellent soaps that lather and bubble wonderfully.
I've been making a very nice soap with half lard and a quarter each coconut and either olive or canola. Unfortunately the OP has problems getting coconut, which may be one of the most useful oils in soapmaking.
 

IrishLass

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Nick-

Here is a wonderful recipe I came up with last year when playing around with the 50 pounds of beef tallow I had just bought at that time from Columbus Foods. It makes a great, hard, long lasting bar of soap with decent enough lather (significantly more than a 90% Olive Oil/10% Castor Oil soap could ever give, as nice as that kind of bar can be to certain skin types), and it only uses 3 oils/fats: Tallow, Castor Oil, and Olive Oil:


Beef Tallow 65%
Castor Oil 23%
Olive Oil 12%

I also added 1/3 of my liquid amount as fresh goat milk, but you can substitute coconut milk for the goat milk. I also added 1 tablespoon of sugar per pound of oils/fats.

Here are the quality numbers for this recipe on the SoapCalc:

Hardness- 40
Cleansing- 5
Conditioning- 59
Bubbly Lather- 26
Creamy Lather- 55
Iodine- 59
INS- 130


I know it has a great amount of castor oil in it compared to what most people normally use (even me), but since there is an exhorbitant amount of beef tallow in it, castor's sometimes 'sticky' or 'tacky' feel does not come through in this soap. This soap feels so velvety smooth and non-sticky to me. I hope this helps!


IrishLass :)
 

Sholdy

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I used lard for the first time recently, and I LOVE how it makes the soap so white and the lather is to die for.

I haven't used tallow yet, but I plan to very soon - it's so inexpensive. :D
 
G

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I too have had very nice results with lard. I had originally set out to focus on all vegetable soaps but I was just curious what the lard soap would turn out like, so I made a batch of piggy, coconut and olive and it came out hard and lathered nicely. My next batch I wanted a nice yellow so I decided to go all colorless by switching the olive to canola and got a very mild white which took the yellow mineral really nicely. It too is hard and lathers nicely. So now I'm faced with finding a vegetable substitute for lard or giving up the "all vegetable" idea.

Not only is it inexpensive but I can just pop on down to the market anytime I need some.
 

Soapmaker Man

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Greg, people sub lard and/or tallow for palm oil. In fact, it is commonly referred to in soap talk as the "vegetable tallow" of oils. Many are trying to cut it out of their recipes due to the fact the Orangutans are being starved and their jungle is disappearing. Palm oil and palm kernel oil are 2 very different oils, but both come from the same tree.

I LOVE my lard/tallow fats combo with other oils!

Paul :wink:
 
G

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Thanks Paul, I think I heard that palm/lard comparison before. I'll have to try a palm replacement for lard in the same recipe 50 palm 25 coconut 25 olive or canola. I think I'll go SoapCalc it up and see how the numbers look.

I really like the brag, "all edible vegetable oils." Honestly though, lard makes great soap and it's cheep cheep cheep! ;)


Maybe I should be looking for the animal equivalent of coconut oil. I could sell a soap, "No vegetables were harmed in the manufacture of this soap." ;) ;) ;)
 

Soapmaker Man

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Greg, there really is no animal fat that is equal to coconut oil, palm kernel oil or babassu , like Woodi mentioned. They are the trinity of cleaning oils and big bubbles. Adding a bit of sugar or honey like mentioned, adds a bit more bubbles. Sugar smooths out HP soap also. Adding 1 T. of sugar per pound of oils, helps with bubbles.

Paul :wink:
 
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Thanks for the huge numbers of suggestions here! I really appreciate the help.
I feel kind of stupid now because I went to a shop to get breakfast this morning and just went to check the oils and as I expected there was nothing special, but I went around the corner and found a small oriental food section(very uncommon and expensive here) and sat on the shelf were some small bottles of coconut oil! And also in the long life milk section was....goats milk. I couldn't believe it to be honest after living here for so long and not finding anything, I ask some questions about alternatives and the things I originally wanted just fell into my hands!
I will certainly however be experimenting with the tallow olive and castor recipe, thanks Irishlass - it sounds great - would it work as a shaving soap?(My next project to develop is a shaving soap with bubbles that are small enough, I currently buy all my shaving soap from somebody in the staes who makes them all at home, but now I fancy trying my own ones!)

Woodi - I have heard similar stories since I have been here. Many people escaped during and after the war. It is amazing what stories people tell you. Before I came here I didn't realise how the end of the war for most people was only the beginning of problems over here.
I am living in the old German part of Poland and most of the people here were moved here from what is now Ukraine - it is such a diverse place, everybody has a different story to tell!
 
G

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Soapmaker Man said:
Greg, there really is no animal fat that is equal to coconut oil, palm kernel oil or babassu , like Woodi mentioned. They are the trinity of cleaning oils and big bubbles.
Yeah, I figured out at least the part about the coconut oil mostly because a few of my books said the same thing. Actually I made the comment about an animal equivalent for coconut just so I could make a joke "no vegetables were harmed in making this soap," because some of the soaps I've bought went to such great lengths about how environmentally responsible they were, sustainable harvesting, no animals harmed, biodegradable, soy ink on the label, wrapped in recycled paper, all that stuff. ;)

One nice thing about my living in the big city, I can get as much coconut oil and palm kernel oil as I want, in 5 gallon pails if I like, just drive over and pick it up. I feel sorry for the OP living in an area with no suppliers.

I expect I'll probably use coconut oil to some degree in every soap I make.
 

IrishLass

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nickyspaghetti said:
thanks Irishlass - it sounds great - would it work as a shaving soap?(My next project to develop is a shaving soap with bubbles that are small enough, I currently buy all my shaving soap from somebody in the staes who makes them all at home, but now I fancy trying my own ones!)
I think it would make a great shaving soap, especially if you added a little bit of clay to it (I use 1 teaspoon per pound of oils). I just started using clays in some of my soaps, and my husband loves those to shave with because they provide a really nice 'slip', making for a very smooth shave.



IrishLass :)
 
G

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IrishLass said:
I think it would make a great shaving soap, especially if you added a little bit of clay to it (I use 1 teaspoon per pound of oils). I just started using clays in some of my soaps, and my husband loves those to shave with because they provide a really nice 'slip', making for a very smooth shave.
I've got clay on the way, from Mountain Rose Herbs, and it'll be here mid-week. I ordered it to work on a shaving soap for myself! :)
 
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