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Doutor2

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Hello,

I'm going to explain what I do to make soap and I would like to have some advices from you to get some improvements.

This is what I do:

10% Castor; 20% Coconut; 35% Sunflower Oil (Non High Oleic); 35% Palm Kernel Oil. Soap calculator says its properties are good.
5% superfat; about 10mL of fragrance/1kg of soap (even if it recommends 20mL); 40ºC for the temperature of the oils (they say higher speeds ups the trace); I use grape seeds for exfoliation; than I mix until light trace; when I use eucalyptus fragrance my soap remains liquid for me to pour it well in the mould; when I use lavender or marine fragrances it solidifies quicker.
Than... I was trying to use a color pattern in my soap... such as: coloured layer, white layer (in the middle), and another coloured layer. Do you know better one which is easy?

Other thing I would like to say... than I leave my soap in the mold for 1 month; in the first days I just leave a towel to cover it; in the days after I cover it with plastic not to let it contact with oxygen; of course I don't leave it to light.

Than, I cut it in 2cm slices, I wrap it in celofane and seal it in vacuum and I place it in a box made of thick paper (220g/m3) that I make by myself.

I think it costs me about 0,50€ to make and I sell them for 1€.

I'm looking for advices and...that's it :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Stop selling.

Invest time in learning how to make soap properly before you make another batch, which will be for personal use.

Test recipes (once you have learnt about oils and what they bring to soaps) for at least 6 months before starting to sell.

Get business advice on how to calculate retail costs (hint, it's not ingredients cost x 2!)

Take this in good faith, as it's not meant to hurt, but to be a frank and blunt wake up call
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Not to mention - if you are in the EU you need to have your recipe assessed by an approved chemist. Have you had that done? If not, you are almost certainly breaking the law.
 

kumudini

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So much of what you do is not right, I wouldn't know where to start, but for starters your recipe is going to give a very drying soap. You really do need to read a lot about different oils, their properties and learn how to formulate a good recipe. Watch a bunch of beginner videos, read the beginner section of this forum. Hope you'll do your homework if you really want to sell or even make soap for yourself and family.
 

Kamahido

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We here on the forums see this kind of post all the time. It usually goes something like this...

January: Just made my first batch of soap from a recipe I found online! Was so much fun! I am totally hooked!

February: That soap I made last month was awesome compared to the stuff at the store! A small boutique shop in my town bought the last of it!

March: Uh... can someone tell me what rancid soap smells like?

April: Okay, what is the proper way to make soap?

Problem is, people buy this stuff and think that all handmade soap is like that. Whole industry then loses a customer (or ten). I won't even get into the liability aspect of this...

I agree with everything the Efficacious Gentleman said, "Get business advice on how to calculate retail costs". What I would add to that statement is based on what you said "I think it costs me about 0,50€". No... you need to know exactly what it costs. Do you think the billion dollar corporations say "it costs about .50 to make"? Nope! They have it down to a fraction of a cent per unit (i.e. $0.514 per unit).

Time to back this train up. Forget selling and start with you recipe. That recipe is insanely stripping! What soap calculator said it was okay? Did you formulate it yourself or read about it online/in a book? If you plan to sell you must learn how to formulate a recipe. No one is going to post a top notch recipe (one that they spent hundreds or even thousands of dollar perfecting) on the internet for free.

And the testing phase. The European Union REQUIRES that your recipe be tested, not because they are mean or trying to oppress small business, but because there are too many people out there who think they know how to make soap because they watched one YouTube video.

"Other thing I would like to say... than I leave my soap in the mold for 1 month; in the first days I just leave a towel to cover it; in the days after I cover it with plastic not to let it contact with oxygen; of course I don't leave it to light".

If your soap is in the mold only one side of it can breathe. The sides touching the mold are not. The towel I can understand, but if you cover it with plastic how is the excess water supposed to escape? Then you vacuum seal/shrink wrap it... again, how is the excess water supposed to escape? This is just asking for rancidity.

Many people on this (and many other) forum(s) take a rather dim view of those individuals that put their own personal profits ahead of the safety and well-being of their customers and the rules and regulations we all must follow.
 

redhead1226

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When I started I studied a a lot! And I also made a lot of soap. I loved making soap but I didnt want to just make soap. I wanted to make good soap. And I didnt want to make what other people thought was a good soap. So I started with recipes I saw online. I never sold one single bar of soap. I just kept making different ones to see what "I" thought was good. I started making designs as practice and was always anxious to cut them to see what I made! All of this was just practice. Over a year went by before I clearly could see how certain combinations worked and how some didn't. Yes I spent a lot of $$$ on practice but I knew that was very necessary. My soap was used primarily by me and my friends and family as "feedback" for me to know about what I was making. I didn't feel I was the opinion I needed. I think people were getting sick of me saying - hey try this one! lol . But I was learning the ranges of Lauric, Oleic, Myristic, Linoleic, Stearic etc. that I liked and what qualities these brought to the soap and the oils that brought them.

I get irritated when I see someone come on here and ask whats the best recipe? I didn't want to know. I wanted to find out myself. That's how I would learn. Lots of mistakes is what taught me. Do I now know whats the best soap? Somewhat.... But the day I stop testing and searching is the day I wont want to make soap anymore. So I don't want to know. I want to stumple on it one day all by myself or not. That's what drives my joy in soap making. As I would hope it does for most of you. Personally, I love tallow and lard in my soap but I like many others as well. Merry Christmas All!!! Enjoy!
 

BattleGnome

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Just to overwhelm you a little more. Learn how to properly cure your soaps.

Looking at your other posts you mention that your soap doesn't last long despite your soap calculator saying that it's hard. An actual cure will help that. The amount of water you use will effect how long your soap will last. A very simplified explanation of cure is that all the excess water will evaporate to help your soap last longer. Proper curing does so much more and you will notice a difference, even if you choose to keep this recipe.
 

Susie

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If you are not wanting any more advice, AKA constructive criticism, skip this. You have been warned.

If you really do want to create good soap, read on.

Hello,

I'm going to explain what I do to make soap and I would like to have some advices from you to get some improvements.

This is what I do:

10% Castor; 20% Coconut; 35% Sunflower Oil (Non High Oleic); 35% Palm Kernel Oil. Soap calculator says its properties are good.
5% superfat
That is not a good recipe. You need to toss this recipe. The issues are these:

Too much castor oil. I find that that much castor prolongs cure too much, and it actually decreases the lather.

I, personally, find that too much coconut oil, but others don't mind it. Your own testing will help you decide. However, coconut oil and palm kernel oil serve the same purpose, and using both makes a very stripping soap. Figure out which one is cheaper for you, and stick to 20% of that.

I don't use sunflower oil, but others like it, so wait for them. I use olive oil as the liquid oil component of my soap.

What you are missing: Either palm, tallow, or lard for at least 35% of your recipe. These give your bar hardness, and longevity. If you have no religious, dietary, or cultural reasons to avoid animal fats, lard and tallow are marvelous in soap. If you have reasons to avoid animal fats, then palm will serve the same purpose. These oils all bring very different qualities to soap, so testing is necessary.

All of this requires repeated testing with minor variations of amounts of each oil until you know what YOUR favorite soap is. Then more testing to figure out other awesome recipes. This takes time. Lots of time. Each batch requires 4-6 weeks cure time. Then you tweak that recipe again. Be absolutely sure to keep good notes so that you can refer to them when all those batches start blending together.

about 10mL of fragrance/1kg of soap (even if it recommends 20mL)
You need to follow recommendations on fragrance amounts. We have a whole area dedicated to fragrances and how they act in soap.

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=47182

40ºC for the temperature of the oils (they say higher speeds ups the trace)
Higher temperature does speed up trace. But you need to know what YOUR recipes need to have to perform well. You can only learn that through experience.

I use grape seeds for exfoliation; than I mix until light trace
I would add those seeds after trace to avoid them settling to the bottom, but you go with whatever works for you. Just be sure you KNOW what works, and why.

when I use eucalyptus fragrance my soap remains liquid for me to pour it well in the mould; when I use lavender or marine fragrances it solidifies quicker.
That is absolutely normal. You will really benefit yourself by reading through at least the first 5-10 pages of the Beginner Forum and Lye Based Soap Forum. Read the stickies first. Pay special attention to anything with the word "help" in the title. This is a good intro to troubleshooting. All the issues with fragrances are mentioned in those forums or the Fragrance Oils/Fragrance Reviews Forum.


Than... I was trying to use a color pattern in my soap... such as: coloured layer, white layer (in the middle), and another coloured layer. Do you know better one which is easy?
I would strongly suggest you head over to YouTube and use the phrase "soap making" in the search bar. There are lots of videos there. We also have lots of challenges on this forum. Each one has a video to show a swirl. Just use "challenge" as a search term.

Other thing I would like to say... than I leave my soap in the mold for 1 month; in the first days I just leave a towel to cover it; in the days after I cover it with plastic not to let it contact with oxygen; of course I don't leave it to light.

Than, I cut it in 2cm slices, I wrap it in celofane and seal it in vacuum and I place it in a box made of thick paper (220g/m3) that I make by myself.
I have no idea, whatsoever, where you read that method, but it is so very wrong! You leave your soap in the mold 18-24 hours, cut them, stand them on edge with at least 0.5 cm air space between each two bars. DO NOT COVER OR WRAP THEM! Turn them to another edge in about a week, at which time you need to zap test. Turn in a week, repeat every week. Let cure open to air for four to six weeks. Then, and only then can you package it. If you have a box, I would not use cellophane.

I think it costs me about 0,50€ to make and I sell them for 1€.

I'm looking for advices and...that's it :)
I think you have probably gotten the idea that we think it is a bad idea to sell right now.

To give you some idea, I have been making soap and testing recipes for over three years. I am just now starting to test my soaps on a broader audience, (I give it to people free for their opinions) and entertaining the idea of selling. Why, you ask? Because you need 3-4 good solid recipes that appeal to a wide audience that you can get the same results from over and over, and that takes lots and lots of time making lots and lots of soap.

Every factor changes the soap. I got a batch of olive oil that made two batches of soap fail. Same manufacturer, same brand, same store. Tiny differences of quality.

I hope you realize that none of us were born knowing how to make soap. We all had to learn the hard way. And we have lots of members that started trying to sell too early, so don't feel alone.
 

Doutor2

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Thanks for all the comments and advices.
About the fragrances... Yes, I'm learning with the experience the effects they have on trace and if their smell is strong enough.

Aspects I will correct: maturation...I'm going to leave it in the mold for one day; than cut it; than leave it in contact with the air, just with a towel as cover for 1 month; than I'll seal it.
About the recipe: I would like my soap to be a little more conditioning and with a more moist external appearance; I think it's hardness is good, it's bubbly is good; I don't know how to know if it cleans very well...
About selling it: I sell it in a store of my mother to customers that are familiar to us...so...I don't care if it is illegal; the cost per soap 0,50€ is what I have calculated... I don't need a deep financial analysis... just to know if the value is right.
 
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ibct1969

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Doutor2, I do not mean to sound rude, but wit the exception of removing it from the mold after a day, you seem to be ignoring the advice that you asked for. Re-read what the experts have written above, about your recipe, cure time and selling. Start with a basic recipe and master that before adding colors, additives and/or fragrance and selling. Best of luck.
 

Dahila

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Dotour do not seal your soap, it has to breath, and it is going to be milder and better with time. I pack my soaps so sides are open. Where did you get this idea about sealing?
go on Soapcalc and study the oils the properties, I am selling mine but the first soap was probably done 3 or 4 years ago. I registered the business and started to sell after testing soaps for 2 years. You need to read carefully what people are telling you.
I hate when customers come to my booth and they tell me that they got soap and they hate it, I waste a lot of soaps to give away the samples, so they can see what I do.
People like you ruin my market .................I am so mad now
 

lenarenee

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Here's the first and most important soap lesson every beginner needs to memorize:

A badly made bar of soap can harm someone.

Since you have chosen to take on the responsibility of making soap to sell - then you need to educate yourself on the chemistry of soap making. If one of your mom's customers buys your soap, then returns 2 days later with lye irritation or burns on their skin, demanding that your mother pay for the doctor's visit and prescription medication to treat their skin - then you're in big trouble.

If you are interested it learning - this forum will be very happy to help you with that process. In fact - we love to help new people become addicted to making great soap!

If you do live in the EU, and do not follow the proper regulations you will also put you, your mom, and her business in great legal and financial danger.

A bad bar of your soap can cause disaster. And YOU will be responsible.

ETA: In case it helps you realize the amount of safety responsibility a soap maker has, I'll share a recent experience I had with a very good friend. (I'm in the US, do NOT sell, just make soap for a hobby) My friend "B" has used dozens of my soap. She calls me several weeks ago, cursing me out because I gave her a "bad" bar of soap that caused her face and neck to turn red, peel, and swell her eyes shut. Her sister tried to get her to sue me for medical bills. She wouldn't talk to me for weeks.

Finally, she came to see me and brought the soap. I showed her my printed recipe, explained superfat and why my soap had no excess lye, and washed my hands, arms and face with the same bar she used to show her it caused no reaction to me. Since she had showered her entire body with the soap, but only her face and neck were affected, she started considering that instead of my soap, it could have been a reaction from a facial moisturizer or sunscreen she'd also used that day.

Without my knowledge of soap chemistry, and without my soap making records, I wouldn't have been able to defend myself from her accusation.
 
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Relle

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About selling it: I sell it in a store of my mother to customers that are familiar to us...so...I don't care if it is illegal; the cost per soap 0,50€ is what I have calculated... I don't need a deep financial analysis... just to know if the value is right.
Don't bother asking for help, if you aren't going to take in, the advice given. It's a waste of everyone's time. You don't care if it's illegal, we don't care if you get into trouble - you have been told.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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And if you don't care if it's illegal, I don't care to help you on any aspect of your soap making. I will not spoon feed you information when I know what it will be used for.

I am more than happy to spoon feed people who are babies when in regards to soap making, but then they shouldn't be selling. If you want to sell, you should know all this information already.

Edit - by the way, what is the name and address of the shop? :)
 

Susie

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Yep, I'm done. I tried to be helpful, but when someone asks for help, then states that they are going to ignore it, they can't be helped.

By the way, no, your soap is not worth what you are charging for it. And you are breaking the law, so I hope your mother is not the one that suffers for your arrogance.
 

fuzz-juzz

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Mind boggling really...
You don't know how to properly make and cure soap and you're already selling.
And yet you say you don't care if it's illegal.

Price is what you are selling your soap for. One euro, two or whatever, those poor customers aren't getting the "value" they are paying for.

I don't think you're worth advice and time SMF have given you... sorry.
 

Relle

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Just letting members know, this person has been in on the 29th Dec, but has not posted, so obviously they have read the above posts, but have not bothered to answer.
 

Susie

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Thank you for letting us know.

It is sad when someone who could make excellent soap chooses not to. And the worst part is that he/she is risking their mother getting fined and possibly losing a business license without remorse.
 

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