My first recipe, feedback is welcomed

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Sep 18, 2023
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San Antonio

I work at a ranch and processing facility where we raise and process our own beef. As a result I have access to a large amount of high quality, pasture raised beef suet, which I render into tallow.
As a result I have been looking into ways of using it and have been wanting to make soap, trying to learn as much as I could in the last couple of months since I’ve been researching and think I’m about ready.
I’ve bought most of my supplies already but I wanted to reach out and see if anyone would be willing to give me feedback on the recipe I’ve crafted?
This is my first time to try making soap so these selections I’ve made are from after listening to many different sources answering one question at a time, though I haven’t tried any of it out yet to see how good my choices are.
Any suggestions or general feedback is welcomed, but specifically I’m wanting to see if I’ve made good estimates with my superfat percentage given the fats intended to be used and the EO fragrance weights for medicinal purposes?
Thank you in advance for any comments and suggestions, I look forward to making this recipe.

HI, I am a newbie as well, so I'm interested in the answers you get. But my real interest is in the beef you raise. I'm up near Fort Worth and would love to know more, I'm willing to make the drive for grass fed natural beef! Right now we buy from butcher box, but would love to find something more local. I am also VERY interested in the tallow/suet!
Hi and welcome, Ron! I love a nice tallow soap, so your recipe looks pretty good to me. The high cleansing number means it would dry out my skin, but men's skin can often handle a more cleansing soap than women's skin. If you wanted to lower the cleansing number, you could drop the CO to 15% and add the other 5% into the OO. Your aloe vera juice and sugar will more than make up for the lower bubbly number. The calculator numbers won't reflect that, but it will happen. :)

I will admit, I'm confused about these instructions:

Melt, mix and add 1 tsp & 1 tsp cocoa butter and Shea butter into the Aloe Vera Juice (Freeze into ice cubes to protect the Aloe) after the lye mixture has cooled down.

First, I've never heard of anyone adding an oil to frozen aloe vera juice, and I don't understand the purpose. You already have a high superfat of 6% built into your recipe; adding more fat in the form of these butters will increase it significantly. All that unsaponified fat - especially in soaps high in animal fats- can create a greasy feel. It will almost certainly leave a lot of soap scum on your sink, too. Leave out the cocoa butter and shea butter for now, and concentrate on making the recipe with the just oils you plugged into the calculator.

Second, using room temp (as opposed to frozen) AVJ has never created any problems for me. While it can be a nice way to keep your lye solution cooler (or cool it down if you are using part DW and part AVJ), it isn't strictly necessary and is a bit of an advanced technique.

As someone about to make your first recipe, my recommendation is to keep it as simple as possible. Once you have the hang of the basic process, then you can start faffing about with ice cubes and the like. ;)
I was advised to add the shea and coca early in the process instead of as part of the oil weight by a soap maker i briefly spoke with at a farmers market. I thought it was interesting that these oils won’t completely saponify, but I was heavily questioning the 6% superfat, though trying to also weigh advice that the higher percentage would offset the harshness from high oleic soaps.

I did just now change my superfat to 3%, This has been one of the decisions I’ve most struggled on making.

The ice cubes were suggested to prevent any heat damage to the Aloe vera juices properties when mixing in the lye and its resulting thermal reactions. It is good to hear you’ve had first hand experience with the Aloe Vera juice and can confirm it survives well, I will also omit this step on your advice.

Thank you for your reply and I hope to be able to share my results soon.

was advised to add the shea and coca early in the process instead of as part of the oil weight by a soap maker i briefly spoke with at a farmers market. I thought it was interesting that these oils won’t completely saponify,
Hi Ron,

Thank you for clarifying your intent and the process that was being described. To clarify my response, you can certainly choose to add oils such as shea and cocoa butter to the soap batter after you have combined the lye with all the other oils.

My primary concern was that you didn't include the shea and cocoa butter in the main list of recipe oils. That means you don't actually know the final superfat of your recipe. You were also mixing volume measurements (teaspoons) with weight measurements (grams). With a few exceptions for very light things like mica and tussah silk, it's really best to weigh everything so your batches will be consistent over time.

Well, have fun making your first soap! Please post pictures of that when you get a chance. :)

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