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jennyannlowe

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I have gotten over my "I've got to try every additive and every ingredient" newbie stage.

I passed out free samples to my friends and now have a dozen orders.

I am going to take the advice of many professionals and experienced soap makers and make only 3 or 4 recipes and simplify my recipe.

I think a regular bar with no frills, a goats milk bar, and oatmeal bar and maybe a salt bar.

So I'm making my first bulk order shopping list and I need some opinions.

First...I found a local chemical company to sell me a 50 lb bag of lye for $47. So I'm covered there.

Olive oil - Wal-Mart classic grade A 101 FL for $16

So I'm gonna get sweet almond and shea from soapers choice.

My question is.... When it comes to shea...should I get refined or unrefined?

I don't remember if I asked this before...how many of you use sodium lactate or salt for hardness?

I'm trying to buy in bulk where ever possible....should i look for a bigger bag of sugar (lather) or bigger bag of oatmeal? (I have grinder)
 

snappyllama

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For OO, check out Costco if one is nearby - I think you'll find it less there (I think I pay $24 for 6 qts). Ditto to good prices on sugar, oatmeal, sea salt, etc.

For shea, I personally prefer refined since I just do not like the smell of unrefined. That's purely a personal choice though. If you like unrefined - go with that!

I like sodium lactate over salt since I use it for B&B and HP too. It goes in every batch I make.
 

Susie

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Are you planning to sell soap?

(Ducks under table)
 

dibbles

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I don't care for the smell of unrefined shea either. Since I use it for balms, I get the refined and use that for soap as well when I want to add it. I have never made CP with unrefined shea, so I don't know if the smell is still there after saponification or not.

Unless you are planning on making TONS and TONS of soap, sugar and oatmeal are inexpensive enough and I'd just get them at the grocery store. I don't use that much per batch.

I do use sodium lactate (when I remember), and I think it helps to harden the bar for unmolding from silicone molds a little sooner. But, if my soaps gel - which I want them to do - they can usually be unmolded the next day anyway.
 

jennyannlowe

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Ultimately that is the plan. I'm not in a rush and I'm not ordering now. In not ready yet but when I do want to buy more of an item, it makes as sense to get a good deal. Right now I have my friends and coworkers being my testers. Everyday I practice. I'm adjusting my recipe ever so slightly with each test batch. If I sell soap, it would start out just to my friends who have been testing for me. Eventually I would like to branch out. But not anytime soon. I want to really get good at this. But I don't want to buy small bottles that get expensive. I'm still new at this and I'm sure many people get ahead of themselves and start trying to make a business too soon. That isn't my goal right now. I have one recipe I am very comfortable with. Enough to sell a few bars to people I see everyday at work. They know I'm new at this. Actually what I did was put a bar in the restrooms for them to try, with a little note with the ingredients and stuff. It's a small casual office.

But no worries. I don't "dabble". I make soap every day , test every bar, being very careful.

And I decided to forget the vanilla color stabilizer. I do like using it. It has worked for me....but I'll try to work with the brown. It's not worth the expense.

I'm also doing testing on simple soap bars with citric acid and without. Couple more weeks to cure and I can test it. I'd like to exclude it...but will see how it goes. My early batches seem to have this....scummy stuff at the bottom of my tub. But not the later ones. Or maybe I can reduce it to a small percentage. Gonna test for lather stability and soap scum.

I have the same tests planned for sodium lactate vs salt for hardness.

The same for almond vs avocado and for shea vs cocoa butter. I know each has its qualities and I lean towards almond and shea. But I'm gonna have my friends check it out. When I take the bar to Work, once for each bathroom in a dish, (they are single person restrooms) and they know to look in the cabinet below for the feedback form. I tell them If they want to try it to fill out the form and bring back to me for a free sample to take home. Has questions like how do you rate the lather...scent....etc. This is an office of less then 40. People I've known for years and they've watched me teach myself candle making, crochet, oil painting, mixed media...etc.

Anyway....I love making soap! My paint brushes are collecting dust! I do miss painting but com always thinking about my next batch!

Besides my coworkers , you guys are invaluable resource!
 

Susie

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You're just awesome!

I got worried there for a minute when you mentioned taking orders and buying in bulk.
 

earlene

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Two more ideas.

Sam's Club Olive Oil is cheaper than Wal-Mart and they are owned by the same company, so if you have a Sam's Club nearby, it is well worth the annual membership just for the Olive Oil alone.

A member here, suggested Popcorn Salt for soap instead of regular table salt. Wal-Mart sells it, but you might have to order it online from Wal-Mart. Depends on how large your local store is. Mine is small and doesn't carry anywhere near the inventory people tell me they can find at their local store, so I often order online & either they deliver to my home or I pick it up at my local store when it comes in.
 

jennyannlowe

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Popcorn salt sounds interesting!

I did go to Sam's....and the the size they had was the same amount and price that I got at Wal-Mart. ....hmmmm....maybe I should look at Sam's online and place an order to pick up at the store so I don't pay shipping.

For every batch I make, I print out the recipe on soapcalc and put it in my binder with sheet protectors. When I have a few more batches ready, I'm gonna take one bar from each that I want to test and Mark them A, B C.... And have my friends rate each bar on a scale of one to ten.

Then I'm gonna create a spreadsheet and enter the ingredients in and then enter the rating. Then create a chart from this and are how they compare.
Might be interesting. I'll share it when it's done.
 

snappyllama

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Oh, I saw you mention Avocado Oil - Def. check out Costco for that - especially while working out your recipes. I think I pay $10 a liter there. I like to pan fry with it since the smoke point is very high.

If you don't have/want a Costco membership, sometimes you can shop if someone buys a gift card there for you!
 

penelopejane

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I would really think about it before buying 50lb (25kg) bag of lye.
I obviously don't make as much soap as you (about 2-3 batches a week). I buy 2 kg (about 5lb) and by the time I am getting to the end of the well sealed bottle it starts to clump a tiny bit. I think you would have to be able to use your lye up very quickly to avoid throwing half of it away and not making it cost effective. There seem to be a lot of posts about old lye that failed.
 

topofmurrayhill

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In my mind, stability is a big consideration when you sell to someone and don't know what the lifespan or environment of the product is going to be. I don't think there's any compelling reason to use unrefined shea butter. The refined version is much more consistent and usually in very good condition when you get it. Unrefined is more hit and miss. Traditional extraction methods can damage the oil, and it can have a higher peroxide value and FFA percentage than the refined oil by the time you receive it. Those are measures of rancidity and imply a shorter shelf life for the oil and probably for the soap.
 

TeresaT

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In my mind, stability is a big consideration when you sell to someone and don't know what the lifespan or environment of the product is going to be. I don't think there's any compelling reason to use unrefined shea butter. The refined version is much more consistent and usually in very good condition when you get it. Unrefined is more hit and miss. Traditional extraction methods can damage the oil, and it can have a higher peroxide value and FFA percentage than the refined oil by the time you receive it. Those are measures of rancidity and imply a shorter shelf life for the oil and probably for the soap.
Interesting. I buy the raw shea butter because (1) I actually like the smell and (2) it's usually a little cheaper than the refined. Since I use it in every batch, it makes sense to me to buy the cheaper one. (3) I had assumed the raw would be more stable since there wasn't any type of chemicals added or processing done to it to get the smell out. (You mean they don't just squash it like olives?)

Once again, another myth busted. I wish you would stop destroying the delusional world I've created for myself. :crazy:
 

jennyannlowe

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For the lye, I think $47 for a 50 lb bag is too good to pass on. Hardware stores have 5 lbs bags for almost the same price. But I hear what you are saying about it going bad. I'm going to portion it out in gallon freezer bags and seal them in a 5 gallon bucket with tape around the lid to keep out moisture.

U refined vs refined.... Seems like it's each person's personal preference.

You know my Sam's club didn't have almond or avocado? I was disappointed! Gonna see if I can order Sam's online and pick up at store. If not I'll find a Costco. Thanks everyone for advice!
 

JBot

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. . .a higher peroxide value and FFA percentage than the refined oil by the time you receive it. Those are measures of rancidity and imply a shorter shelf life for the oil and probably for the soap.
Now I'm wondering if HP that's superfatted post-cook with FFA would have a shorter shelf life? I'm thinking about our discussion/speculation about the acid whey in yogurt leading to FFA in the superfat.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Now I'm wondering if HP that's superfatted post-cook with FFA would have a shorter shelf life? I'm thinking about our discussion/speculation about the acid whey in yogurt leading to FFA in the superfat.
I suppose it depends on which acid. The ones that are very stable as part of oils seem to be stable as free acids. They have been used as superfatting agents in commodity soaps. Saturated ones like lauric, myristic and stearic. The unsaturated ones, not so stable. The method of superfatting by acidifying soap to release free fatty acids produces a mixture of both according to what oils you used.

Free fatty acids represent hydrolytic rancidity, like when oil is heated in the presence of water as in frying -- or in the traditional method of boiling shea nuts to extract the oil! This hydrolysis reaction breaks up the oil molecules into free fatty acid and glycerin. This might hasten problems or is at least a bad sign for the quality of the oil, but the bad smells and discoloration come from oxidative rancidity.

I'm guessing a dollop of yogurt isn't going to be a big deal, but with a product for sale you want to start with oils in good condition and preferably use stabilizers like a chelator to deal with metal ions and an antioxidant.
 

JBot

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I'm guessing a dollop of yogurt isn't going to be a big deal, but with a product for sale you want to start with oils in good condition and preferably use stabilizers like a chelator to deal with metal ions and an antioxidant.
I like using sodium citrate as a chelator. I haven't found an antioxidant I like yet. BHT was a disaster for me. I don't have Dunn's book handy at the moment, but as I recall, there isn't much that goes well with sodium citrate. I think the results of citrate/ROE were actually worse than ROE alone? I'm no chemi-phobe and I would happily use EDTA, but people balk when they see stuff on a label that doesn't look "natural."

What do you think is the highest I can heat the oils (by themselves, no water) without damaging or oxidizing them? Assuming a somewhat typical trifecta recipe, a little heavy on the stearic, minimum linoleic/linolenic.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I like using sodium citrate as a chelator. I haven't found an antioxidant I like yet. BHT was a disaster for me. I don't have Dunn's book handy at the moment, but as I recall, there isn't much that goes well with sodium citrate. I think the results of citrate/ROE were actually worse than ROE alone? I'm no chemi-phobe and I would happily use EDTA, but people balk when they see stuff on a label that doesn't look "natural."

What do you think is the highest I can heat the oils (by themselves, no water) without damaging or oxidizing them? Assuming a somewhat typical trifecta recipe, a little heavy on the stearic, minimum linoleic/linolenic.
There's no real answer to that. Heat, oxygen, moisture all have some effect but it's not worth worrying about in the context of your question. I say do what you need to do to make soap and try not to treat it rougher than necessary. Hopefully the oil is in good condition and your soaping session will be the only trauma of its life, besides becoming soap and having to clean someone's...er...armpit.
 

penelopejane

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Interesting. I buy the raw shea butter because (1) I actually like the smell and (2) it's usually a little cheaper than the refined. Since I use it in every batch, it makes sense to me to buy the cheaper one. (3) I had assumed the raw would be more stable since there wasn't any type of chemicals added or processing done to it to get the smell out. (You mean they don't just squash it like olives?)

Once again, another myth busted. I wish you would stop destroying the delusional world I've created for myself. :crazy:
That's amazing. Refined is actually a lot cheaper for us than unrefined! Refined is $60 for 5 Kg and unrefined is $80 for 5 kg. The methods used to refine Shea Butter are all natural and involve no additional chemicals. The nuts are ground to expel the oil and butters. That fatty product is then heated to 80-90C under high pressure to remove any impurities. The mix is then filtered through cloth.
 

penelopejane

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For the lye, I think $47 for a 50 lb bag is too good to pass on. Hardware stores have 5 lbs bags for almost the same price. But I hear what you are saying about it going bad. I'm going to portion it out in gallon freezer bags and seal them in a 5 gallon bucket with tape around the lid to keep out moisture.
Oh that makes a big difference. Our Lye is much cheaper. It would be worth it and just make sure you don't worry if you have to throw out if it starts to clump. It would be really worse, to ruin a few mixes of oils than throwing out what is "cheap".
 

TeresaT

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That's amazing. Refined is actually a lot cheaper for us than unrefined! Refined is $60 for 5 Kg and unrefined is $80 for 5 kg. The methods used to refine Shea Butter are all natural and involve no additional chemicals. The nuts are ground to expel the oil and butters. That fatty product is then heated to 80-90C under high pressure to remove any impurities. The mix is then filtered through cloth.
I just went back to the WSP website (where I bought my last batch) and looked. 5 lbs of "high melt ultra refined" shea butter is $58.95 and natural is only $28.95. I bought the natural. However, what I have just discovered is they have an "unrefined" for $26.95. I don't remember seeing that before; although even if I did, I don't think the two dollars would have mattered to me. I do like the smell of raw shea butter, but not raw cocoa butter. Weird, huh?
 
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