Mostly Soft Oils/Replacing Palm Oil?

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PixellVixen

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Hi there! I'm new to this hobby and gearing up to make my first batch of soap when the last few bits of material get to me in the mail, and I was having a hard time figuring out if what I plan to do on my first batch would make a decent enough bar of soap- my skill level allowing hahaha.


This is the basic recipe I was looking at, however since I have not done this before and am not sure how much I will enjoy it, I'm only buying things that are easy to come by and can be repurposed if I end up finding soaping to not be my 'thing'. I dont have easy access to palm oil, and I know from reading around that that material assists in making a harder bar.

What I do have is olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil, and honey or sugar for lather (low amounts help that from reading around in here, like 1 tsp per pound or am I misremembering?)

My main question is, can I replace the palm oil in this recipe with avocado oil and up the coconut oil a bit and still have a decent soap?
My mock-up recipe was something along the lines of:

Avocado oil 25%
Coconut oil 35%
Olive oil 40%
5-6% superfat

With lye at 33% to the water measurement

I know that is fairly vague- I had it written down but don't have it with me at work but I'm pretty sure those are approximately the amounts I had written.

When I ran this through a soap clac it was showing below recommended hardness and lather. I have read that coconut oil can be rough on the skin at too high a concentration as well, so I'm worried to increase that too much to balance out that stat.

I just want a little feedback before I jump into it on this oil replacement recipe, or if someone has made a soap with these three basic oils an insight to how their soap turned out :). I know there's no better teacher than experience in the end, but I'm hoping to at least have a useable batch of soap when I get to it, even if it's not the best bar of soap.

Appreciate any feedback and advice from you fine folk, and I'm sorry for any lack of understanding on my part if my question or recipe doesn't come across clearly!
 

shunt2011

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Hello and Welcome!

Your recipe as written above is going to be a bit cleansing, I don't go over 20% CO except salt bars, different story. Also, using mostly liquid oils your soap is going to require a fairly long cure. If you do a search there are recipes on the forum that are palm free but made with butters like shea and cocoa to have a better formulated soap. If you're not opposed to animal fat, Lard makes awesome soap. 45% Lard, 20% CO, 30% Liquid Oil, 5% Castor will make a great soap. I make both Palm and Lard soaps.
 

PixellVixen

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Hello and Welcome!

Your recipe as written above is going to be a bit cleansing, I don't go over 20% CO except salt bars, different story. Also, using mostly liquid oils your soap is going to require a fairly long cure. If you do a search there are recipes on the forum that are palm free but made with butters like shea and cocoa to have a better formulated soap. If you're not opposed to animal fat, Lard makes awesome soap. 45% Lard, 20% CO, 30% Liquid Oil, 5% Castor will make a great soap. I make both Palm and Lard soaps.
Thanks for the welcome!
I haven't even looked into salt bars. Might do that if I stick with soaping, as it sounds interesting.

I'm not opposed to any particular material, just looking at it from an output perspective on a new hobby is all.

From your experience, is lard easy enough to find in basic grocery stores? I know this will vary on location and store, so just asking generally.
I did look for pure cocoa and shea butter in my area but found none at the department and grocery stores that were open. I may check the natural grocery near me as I haven't been in there yet.

In any case, I really appreciate your advice! I could order some other material as well, I'm just getting impatient to start trying when my lye comes haha. May have to put the brakes on and practice my patience if I just need to suck it up and get a different material that can't be found near me due to this pandemic
 

Arimara

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Thanks for the welcome!
I haven't even looked into salt bars. Might do that if I stick with soaping, as it sounds interesting.

I'm not opposed to any particular material, just looking at it from an output perspective on a new hobby is all.

From your experience, is lard easy enough to find in basic grocery stores? I know this will vary on location and store, so just asking generally.
I did look for pure cocoa and shea butter in my area but found none at the department and grocery stores that were open. I may check the natural grocery near me as I haven't been in there yet.

In any case, I really appreciate your advice! I could order some other material as well, I'm just getting impatient to start trying when my lye comes haha. May have to put the brakes on and practice my patience if I just need to suck it up and get a different material that can't be found near me due to this pandemic
Shea and cocoa butters are more specialty items so I don't imagine you being able to find them in regular stores. For me, before March, I was able to go to some Middle Eastern/African stores to get both. Now, I'm stuck ordering them online.

Lard should be found in the meat section of your grocery store. You can also get it from a butcher. Tallow is a little more tricky to source and more than likely would be an automatic trip to a butcher.
 

cmzaha

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To add in my 2 cents worths I would hate that recipe and it would be a waste of expensive Avocado Oil. Of course, I totally dislike OO, but that is just me, and the CO is much higher than I can tolerate. I would at least lower the CO to 20% for the lather factor (still higher than I like), lower the liquid oils to a total of 30-35%, and use either lard, tallow, or palm, with 10% butter if you like and 5% castor. A Lard tallow split or lard/palm split works nice. But not palm split with tallow.
ETA: I see you mentioned not having easy access to palm. Isn't the new Crisco made with Palm?
 

shunt2011

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Our lard is in the baking isle at Kroger and Walmart. Coconut oil you can find there as well. Castor oil in the laxative section of the pharmacy. Olive, Ho Sunflower also. So you can make a simple soap from most grocery stores. Maybe not all. Hispanic groceries has lard (Manteca).
 

earlene

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You can add palm if you have or purchase Crisco or other Shortening that includes palm. Great Value shortening (Walmart) and Crisco vegetable shortening are both on the list of oils on many (not all) soap/lye calculators. Just look at the label of the shortening to choose the one that includes palm. I know these are not always carried at all grocery stores, though, so you may not be able to find them. Another option for palm oil is Spectrum brand Shortening. It is made with palm oil and no other vegetable oil, so you get more palm for your buck, but it is more expensive than the other two listed. And it's harder to find in some areas. Some grocers that carry Spectrum Shortening are: Target, Whole Foods, but also the Vitamin Shoppe carries it and they have the best price per their website.

That is, if you want to include palm.

Castor Oil is another common oil for use in soap, and it is usually easily obtainable at some grocery stores, many pharmacies and even Dollar Stores; also in many Health Food Stores. It tends to be sold near the laxitives in small bottles about 2 or mores ounces in size. This one at Walmart is 6 ounces for a total of $2.64 plus tax. Castor oil supports bubbles.

For your first soap, I suggest you make a small batch, about 1 pound of soap or 450 grams of oil. That makes 4 regular sized bars of soap. Then if something goes terribly wrong, you haven't wasted a lot of supplies. And making a few small batches gives you more practice than making only one large batch, and practice is what is needed when you are new to soap making.

I also started out with only locally available oils, plus the added issue of an aversion to using animal fats. I was actually very happy with some of the soaps made with those oils. I bought cocoa butter at the Dollar Store in little roll-up containers much like a super-fat lipstick container. But that was the only luxury oil I used as none of the others were obtainable locally. I got Castor oil at Walmart or Dollar General. I used Crisco shortening sometimes, and also the Walmart brand, just to see if I liked them in soap, since they are listed on the Soapee.com calculator.

I tend to agree with the others about the high cleansing value of Coconut oil being a potential problem in your final product, but it depends on the skin of the recipient. I initially used higher amounts, too because that's what so many recipes I found both online and in soap making books suggested. However, through trial and error, I discovered that for me, high CO soap dries out my skin too much and it takes too long for my skin to recover.

I'd rather use Almond oil than Avocado oil, but it has become harder to find in grocery stores where I shop. So I have used Avocado. Still I'd rather use an HO Sunflower or HO Safflower oil instead. They are usually less costly and the High Oleic content helps to produce a harder bar of soap than the regular (non-HO) versions. Although any oil high in oleic acid will take a bit longer to cure when used in larger percentages of the total oils.

So this is what I would suggest with the oils you have AND if you can buy some vegetable shortening that includes palm AND if you can buy some cocoa butter at Walgreens or a Dollar store AND Castor Oil:

With 5% SF (super fat) and 33.33% Lye Concentration ( 2:1 water:lye ratio ) and where the
Total oils = 450 grams and Total batch is about 650 grams. This will make 4 regular sized bars of soap.

40% Palm (in the form of Spectrum Shortening, which is Palm oil)
25-30% Avocado or Olive oil
15-20% Coconut oil
10-13% Cocoa Butter (see below) (13% of a recipe with 450 grams of oil is 2 tubes)
5 % Castor oil

If you cannot obtain Spectrum shortening, but can obtain GV vegetable shortening, this one would at least give you some palm, but also a lot of soybean oil (part of the GV shortening) so it would not be as hard & would also require a longer cure)

30-35% Crisco (old with palm)
15-20% Coconut oil
20-25% Avocado
15-18.6% Cocoa Butter (18,6% of 450 grams equals 3 tubes - see below)
5% Castor oil


If you cannot obtain any of the above, then I'd follow previous advice.


Cocoa Butter from Dollar General, Dollar Store, Walgreens, and other places often looks like one of these:
1589998928467.png1589998967080.png
At $1.00 or $1.29 plus tax, it doesn't seem like much when only using one or two ounces in a small batch of soap.
 

PixellVixen

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Hoping the natural grocers close to my home will have either shea or cocoa, but wow thanks for all the tips everyone! I appreciate the feedback.

I really appreciate the suggested recipes as well. I'll see if I can find some of those options you gave, earlene, if I can't find a bit of what I want at the other store.
 

PixellVixen

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Yay! My Natural Grocer's had shea and a 75%cocoa/25%jojoba oil in a small quantity at a decent price. Glad I can buy locally. Looks like they had tons of other oils that are harder to find in the big box stores which'll be good if I end up wanting to play with things more later on. No palm oil still but with these hard oils to pick from it shouldn't cause an issue now. I didnt get a chance to go over to other stores to look for spectrum shortening to experiment with as well.

Edit: typo, mobile typing is the worst sometimez
 

David James

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Since you are in Oregon, I think you should take a good look at ordering from Amazon, Wholesalesuppliesplus, Brambleberry, bulkApothecary, ElementsBathAndBody, many others.

Look thru the Shopping Rec forum here, and search for "suppliers" across all of the boards here.

If you are anywhere near Portland, you should call Shay and Company there. Or if you visit Portland every once in a while, there is a lot of soapy tourism there to keep you very busy.

Amazon Prime has free shipping and it has been a real blessing for:
Shea Butter from Yellow Brick Road,
Cocoa Butter,
Coconut Oil from Nutiva,
Red Hot Devil (brand) lye,
Avocado Oil from Baja Precious,
Castor Oil from Horbaach,
Puritan's Pride Flaxseed Oil, and
Iberia Extra Virgin Olive Oil (20%) Sunflower Oil (80%) blend.

SoapGoods is the best I have seen for gallons of Castor Oil and Flaxseed Oil, and it might be where everyone gets their Rosemary Oleoresin Extract ("ROE") from. Bigger orders make for much cheaper shipping here.

Getting oils like this CAN result in fresher supplies. Oils do not like to sit on a shelf forever. And oils that never go bad in a grocery store might have stuff in them that you don't want.
 

PixellVixen

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Since you are in Oregon, I think you should take a good look at ordering from Amazon, Wholesalesuppliesplus, Brambleberry, bulkApothecary, ElementsBathAndBody, many others.

Look thru the Shopping Rec forum here, and search for "suppliers" across all of the boards here.

If you are anywhere near Portland, you should call Shay and Company there. Or if you visit Portland every once in a while, there is a lot of soapy tourism there to keep you very busy.

Amazon Prime has free shipping and it has been a real blessing for:
Shea Butter from Yellow Brick Road,
Cocoa Butter,
Coconut Oil from Nutiva,
Red Hot Devil (brand) lye,
Avocado Oil from Baja Precious,
Castor Oil from Horbaach,
Puritan's Pride Flaxseed Oil, and
Iberia Extra Virgin Olive Oil (20%) Sunflower Oil (80%) blend.

SoapGoods is the best I have seen for gallons of Castor Oil and Flaxseed Oil, and it might be where everyone gets their Rosemary Oleoresin Extract ("ROE") from. Bigger orders make for much cheaper shipping here.

Getting oils like this CAN result in fresher supplies. Oils do not like to sit on a shelf forever. And oils that never go bad in a grocery store might have stuff in them that you don't want.
I did Amazon for the Lye, and I am waiting on a fragrance oil order from Brambleberry as I shopped with them after I got the lye from Amazon while trying to find more reasonably priced fragrance oils. I have seen Bulk Apothecary mentioned, and I also was looking at The Sage since their prices seem really fair as well.

The others I haven't heard of yet and I'll definitely take a look at them, thank you for the recommendation. Shay and Company I had heard of but never investigated what it actually was, it's cool to hear there's a local supplier for some of the bulk stuff as well!

I would like to do some of those other options eventually, instead of grocery store-bought. Just didn't want to put out the cash for bulk supplies when I haven't even made my first batch of soap yet 😂 But those are still great resources and I'll check out the ones I've not looked at yet. I basically only have enough cocoa butter and shea butter for one batch of soap with 16oz combined weight of everything together. They were cheap enough from the Natural Grocers for trying something new out though, so I can't complain about that as I was looking for a small bit for now. Definitely not where I'll go if I continue on after the batch I make once the last bit of stuff gets to me though! Not very economical for bulk at all.
 

Cbachand

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I did Amazon for the Lye, and I am waiting on a fragrance oil order from Brambleberry as I shopped with them after I got the lye from Amazon while trying to find more reasonably priced fragrance oils. I have seen Bulk Apothecary mentioned, and I also was looking at The Sage since their prices seem really fair as well.

The others I haven't heard of yet and I'll definitely take a look at them, thank you for the recommendation. Shay and Company I had heard of but never investigated what it actually was, it's cool to hear there's a local supplier for some of the bulk stuff as well!

I would like to do some of those other options eventually, instead of grocery store-bought. Just didn't want to put out the cash for bulk supplies when I haven't even made my first batch of soap yet 😂 But those are still great resources and I'll check out the ones I've not looked at yet. I basically only have enough cocoa butter and shea butter for one batch of soap with 16oz combined weight of everything together. They were cheap enough from the Natural Grocers for trying something new out though, so I can't complain about that as I was looking for a small bit for now. Definitely not where I'll go if I continue on after the batch I make once the last bit of stuff gets to me though! Not very economical for bulk at all.
Soapers Choice for bulk oils
 

Lori H.

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When I first tried soaping, other than lye, I got everything I needed from the DollarTree, 99¢ Store and either Costco, grocery store or local natural foods store (Sprouts). Oh, I bought a second stick blender at Walmart because I didn’t want to use my kitchen one for anything other than edible stuff :). I used the tops of plastic butter dishes from DollarTree that I lined with parchment (also from DollarTree) for my mold. My hard oils were either lard from the grocery store, as others have mentioned, or Shea butter from the natural foods store. I did stay away from any blends, like the 75/25 cocoa/jojoba since those are a little harder to run through a soap calculator. Oh, and I used essential oil for fragrance from the natural foods store vs investing in fragrance oils and I either left my experiments uncolored or I dabbled with using turmeric and spirulina. Now I just use micas or titanium dioxide, though. :)
 

PixellVixen

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When I first tried soaping, other than lye, I got everything I needed from the DollarTree, 99¢ Store and either Costco, grocery store or local natural foods store (Sprouts). Oh, I bought a second stick blender at Walmart because I didn’t want to use my kitchen one for anything other than edible stuff :). I used the tops of plastic butter dishes from DollarTree that I lined with parchment (also from DollarTree) for my mold. My hard oils were either lard from the grocery store, as others have mentioned, or Shea butter from the natural foods store. I did stay away from any blends, like the 75/25 cocoa/jojoba since those are a little harder to run through a soap calculator. Oh, and I used essential oil for fragrance from the natural foods store vs investing in fragrance oils and I either left my experiments uncolored or I dabbled with using turmeric and spirulina. Now I just use micas or titanium dioxide, though. :)
Hopefully I'm doing the numbers right for the cocoa/jojoba. Seems simple but I also might have miscalculated. I did a total weight (2.4g as an example) and just multiplied that by 0.25 to get the weight that would be jojoba out of it, so 0.6g. I just entered in the two ingredients as separate entries. I'm hoping doing that will be accurate enough to not mess up the batch.

I would have went for straight cocoa butter, but the little tub of that was out of stock and the other option was double the amount in both weight and price, which I just didn't need at this time. I'll have enough to get me started and then I can just order what I like online after that for better amounts and prices.

It's still great to know its possible to do this hobby on a budget. With not being able to go out with my husband as much as before, I have a little more play money for this to start- which is good since it seems like the starting cost is higher than the maintenance cost of just replenishing stuff as it gets low. Especially since I didn't have stainless steel cookware, a kitchen scale, or a stick blender. While I'll probably get some simple rectangle silicone molds in a little wooden box, I think I will do my first smaller batch into a milk carton that's been cut in half.
 

Steve85569

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Freezer paper will line almost anything to make a mold for soap.
Ace/ TrueValue sells lye in the drain cleaners ( Household 100% Lye Drain Cleaner).
Dollar store for coconut oil (7.5 ounce for a buck)
BiMart for the stick blender.
WalMart sells 4 cup measuring cups for less than a dollar each.

Start small with recipes. I still only make batches with 24 to 26 ounces total oils.

I'm a lardite. I am not ashamed of being a user of animal fats in soap and I really like the results.
What part of Oregon are you in? If you're close I can share some shea. I did not use shea butter until we did an exchange a couple of years back. Trying one bar changed my mind.

My latest kick:
Lard at 55%
Coconut at 12%
Avacado at 10%
Soy wax at 10%
Shea Butter at 8% castor oil at 5%

I have a bottle of avacado oil that is near it's expiration date and soy wax to use. The soy can be replaced with lard with only a small change in the final soap.

Welcome to the forum!
 

PixellVixen

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Freezer paper will line almost anything to make a mold for soap.
Ace/ TrueValue sells lye in the drain cleaners ( Household 100% Lye Drain Cleaner).
Dollar store for coconut oil (7.5 ounce for a buck)
BiMart for the stick blender.
WalMart sells 4 cup measuring cups for less than a dollar each.

Start small with recipes. I still only make batches with 24 to 26 ounces total oils.

I'm a lardite. I am not ashamed of being a user of animal fats in soap and I really like the results.
What part of Oregon are you in? If you're close I can share some shea. I did not use shea butter until we did an exchange a couple of years back. Trying one bar changed my mind.

My latest kick:
Lard at 55%
Coconut at 12%
Avacado at 10%
Soy wax at 10%
Shea Butter at 8% castor oil at 5%

I have a bottle of avacado oil that is near it's expiration date and soy wax to use. The soy can be replaced with lard with only a small change in the final soap.

Welcome to the forum!
I'm in the Clackamas area, but I did get some Shea, thank you I appreciate the offer :)! If the inside of the milk carton is that glossy cardboard, should I still do freezer paper? I don't mind if I need to rip the carton to get to the soap out after a day or two.

But I think I have my updated to my final recipe with what I was able to get from the natural grocers:

3.2oz Avocado Oil - 20%
2.4 oz Cocoa/Jojoba Butter (1.8~oz cocoa; 0.6~oz jojoba) -15%
3.2oz Shea Butter - 20%
4oz Coconut oil -25%
2.4oz Olive Oil - 15%
0.8oz Castor Oil - 5% (Based on the recommendations I see for 5-10% around the forum)
0.7 oz Fragrance Oil, about as recommended for the Cucumber melon from Bramble berry's calculator for a medium scent.

After running through a few calculators to get a good idea of the Lye solution:
2.18oz Lye
3.82oz H2O

Per Soapcalc, the bar should come out with these properties, though I have yet to experiment so I am unsure exactly how I'll like/love/dislike this bar lol
Soap Bar Quality
Range
Your Recipe
Hardness
29 - 54​
43​
Cleansing
12 - 22​
17​
Conditioning
44 - 69​
49​
Bubbly
14 - 46​
21​
Creamy
16 - 48​
30​
Iodine
41 - 70​
56​
INS
136 - 165​
146​

As long as I'm falling within the recommended ranges for now, it should be fine with how often people recommend SoapCalc I would assume.

I, unfortunately, will still probably need to wait for next week or so to start since the Lye is expected to be here Wednesday and the fragrance is still awaiting shipping since I'm sure Brambleberry is low-staffed right now. Which is fine, but I am excited to start trying lol. Maybe I'll experiment with like an oatmeal honey soap before the fragrance gets to me, that seems to have a lot of recipes available to try around the internet.
 

Quilter99755

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Lots of people use coconut oil at less than 20%, I use it at 10% or less. My skin would itch up a storm at 25%. This is a personal thing though. I keep my cleansing numbers around 5-8 these days and my skin is lots happier. Soap cleans...period. No matter what the numbers are.

I loved my first soap as it was so much better than commercial ones. Now I hate it. My suggestion would be to try small batches until you find the soap you love! After a year or more reading this forum, I'm still into small batches but am getting closer to having a soap I love.
 

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I'm sorry I didn't see your post sooner, PixelVixen, as I'm in Portland and might have been able to help you with some supplies. It'll be important for you to compare prices on products if you continue soaping--and I really hope you continue, as it's a wonderfully fulfilling and rewarding past-time--but another supplier to consider is Shay and Company. In general, I find their prices are on the high side, but they've been expanding their product line and are located in Milwaukie (so they're close to you). IF you're able to pick up your order from them, you can avoid shipping costs, making the pain that accompanies purchasing supplies much less intense. Good luck in your soaping journey!
 

PixellVixen

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Lots of people use coconut oil at less than 20%, I use it at 10% or less. My skin would itch up a storm at 25%. This is a personal thing though. I keep my cleansing numbers around 5-8 these days and my skin is lots happier. Soap cleans...period. No matter what the numbers are.

I loved my first soap as it was so much better than commercial ones. Now I hate it. My suggestion would be to try small batches until you find the soap you love! After a year or more reading this forum, I'm still into small batches but am getting closer to having a soap I love.
I have heard a few things about coconut - mostly not to go over 20-25%- with some recommendations to go even lower. I figured since I was doing some smaller batches to start, I would try and work my way down from the highest recommended to about 10-15% if I didn't like the 25% or it bothers me in some way. I have very oily skin, so I tend to be more tolerant of things that are too cleansing to drier skins. BUT, if I want my husband to like his soap, I'll probably need something a little gentler. I want to make him a psoriasis soap though so he doesn't have to worry about the others being too harsh on the skin. I was hearing coconut, pine tar, neem, and some other ingredients help with psoriasis, as well as green teas. Once I get down exactly how to soap, I'll work on making him a soap to help his poor itchy skin.


I'm sorry I didn't see your post sooner, PixelVixen, as I'm in Portland and might have been able to help you with some supplies. It'll be important for you to compare prices on products if you continue soaping--and I really hope you continue, as it's a wonderfully fulfilling and rewarding past-time--but another supplier to consider is Shay and Company. In general, I find their prices are on the high side, but they've been expanding their product line and are located in Milwaukie (so they're close to you). IF you're able to pick up your order from them, you can avoid shipping costs, making the pain that accompanies purchasing supplies much less intense. Good luck in your soaping journey!
Hey, no worries! It seems like a fun one, with creativity and also useful end results. I love that combo, and the only bad part seems to be the curing time because I'm impatient 😂
I was looking at them, I love that they're in my hometown... Actually I think they're down the street from me after looking at their directions on the website LOL. So close to a soap supplier and knew absolutely nothing about them. Oops. I guess I don't go down Fuller very often, though. Most days it's easier to get onto King from 82nd, or just take 82nd to Harmony. I'll definitely check them out on Monday (provided they're open) or Wednesday since I'll have time after work to go browse for a little bit there!
Thanks for letting me know they're in Milwaukie, I thought they were out more in the SE Portland or closer to the downtown area since that seems to have more of a concentration of these types of smaller companies. I appreciate the wish for luck, I'll probably need it when I start experimenting!
 

M1A10X

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Shay and Company is a small business, so they don't have a "showroom" where products are staged and you can peruse/view them. They're located just off 82nd/King Road, they have a small parking lot, and they're open Monday - Friday (with shorter hours on Wednesdays and Fridays, I believe--be sure to check). The owners and employees are nice, helpful and great about answering questions and also soliciting feedback, and they notify you as soon as your order is ready for pick-up. You can sign up to receive newsletter/product information/sale notifications, too. I'm guessing many suppliers have amended policies and added precautions because of the Covid-19 virus, so if you want to compare things or view them before purchasing or before finalizing your order, just ask in advance how that can be managed. Again, best wishes and happy soaping!
 
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