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My first soap using multiple oils (lard, oo, co)

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notapantsday

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I have just started out making soap. So far, I have made one batch of 100% coconut soap with 20% superfat a few days ago. That was really fun and easy.

Some people seem to love that soap, others have reported that it still dries out their skin, despite the 20% SF. So I would like to try another batch in case I don't like the coconut soap.

Especially since I'm just starting out, I want to keep it simple and not use more ingredients than necessary. I personally don't need fragrance or color and I'd only start using more fancy and expensive oils once I actually know what I'm doing.

So this is a simple recipe I put together:

50% lard
30% olive oil
20% coconut oil
5% SF

I often found a combination of palm oil, olive oil and coconut oil recommended for beginners. But since I don't want to use palm oil, I'm substituting it with lard.

Another inspiration came from this thread about 80% lard soap, so I thought using a little more lard wouldn't hurt. But I still wanted to add some olive oil, hoping for better conditioning properties.

I tend to have slightly dry skin, especially in winter and I take a shower every day, so I want to have a soap that isn't too harsh on my skin.

What do you think? Could or should I increase the superfat? Is the olive oil actually helping with the conditioning or is it just unnecessarily increasing the curing time? What lye concentration would you recommend?

I would be really happy for some feedback!
 

Susie

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Lard is a perfect example of how the numbers on SoapCalc.net fail to show the true properties of the oil. Lard soap is a VERY conditioning oil for soaps. That is why I started the thread about high lard soaps. The higher the percentage, the richer and creamier the lather, and the more conditioned my skin feels when I get out of the shower.

Your recipe is fine. I, personally, find lard more conditioning (albeit a different feel of conditioning) than olive oil. That could be just me, though.

I agree with the 15% CO, and 5% Castor Oil. I would also add a tablespoon of honey or sugar to the recipe to boost the bubbles. You will need to watch for overheating, though.

You can also boost the SF to 8% if you need to. I do for all my winter soaps.
 
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notapantsday

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Thanks a lot for your feedback!

I'll definitely reduce the coconut oil to 15%, since you both recommend it.

Not sure about the castor oil, though. I have nothing against it but I think I'd have to get it online and that would mean waiting at least until monday to make my next batch :shock:. Maybe if I can find it in a store today, I'll use it, otherwise I think I'll just use more lard.

Lard is a perfect example of how the numbers on SoapCalc.net fail to show the true properties of the oil. Lard soap is a VERY conditioning oil for soaps.
That's the thing that actually confused me a bit. I tried lots of different combinations on soapee, but I could never get really high conditioning values with lard, still many people were praising it for its conditioning abilities.

I, personally, find lard more conditioning (albeit a different feel of conditioning) than olive oil.
So would you recommend to drop the olive oil completely in favor of more lard? I wouldn't mind at all because olive oil means longer curing time and I'm about as patient as a six year old in a water park.
 

DeeAnna

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Also, remember you cannot ... simply cannot ... judge the quality of a soap only a few days after it was made. You're honestly jumping to conclusions that may or may not be accurate. Maybe in a month or two, you will still draw the same conclusions regarding the coconut oil soap being drying to the skin, but it will be based on a more mature soap, not a "baby".
 

Obsidian

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Thats very similar to the recipe I make and I have dry skin. Castor really helps add lather and its super conditioning, if you can find it adding in 5% will really add to your soap. Try checking at a pharmacy, its often used as a laxative.

I use 25% olive oil, a low amount like that won't increase cure time and it adds to the conditioning properties of the soap.

I missed that you are using soap only a few days old. Some soaps need a longer cure to become mild, for me that includes a 100% coconut soap. Give it 8 weeks then try again, longer will be even better.
 

notapantsday

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The first time I used my coconut soap (just for my hands) was maybe 12 hours after pouring it. It was already solid enough to cut it and the zap test was negative, so I thought what's the worst that could happen... I was so proud that it behaved more or less like actual soap, with foam and everything. I didn't expect it to be good for my skin at that point.

I will still have lots of my coconut soap left in a few months, and that's when I'll decide whether I like it or not. But in the meantime, I just want to use my first soap because I'm proud of it and I like the bubbles.

The reason why I made this thread is basically because my usual approach of trial and error doesn't work well when I have to wait weeks or months for a result, so I'm hoping to use some of your experience and skip the beginner's mistakes.
 
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dixiedragon

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Your recipe is very close to what I use. Just a note, though, that soap improves vastly over time, so your 100% coconut soap that you made a few days ago will be very different in 6 weeks. So don't make a final judgment on any recipe until you have tried a bar that is at least 6 weeks old. Some soaps - such as a high olive oil recipe - may be better at 3 months than they were at 6 weeks.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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You can't use our judgement - we don't have your skin! What works for one person can be utterly horrid for another, so while some guidelines can help, you still have to try it out to see how you get on with it.

The waiting is hard, but so very worth it - what is a 'meh' soap today can be wonderful in a month or so
 

notapantsday

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Yes, but I have to start from somewhere. I can't just try every possible combination to find out which one is best for me. I mean, even if you only vary the oil percentages in 5% steps, there still have to be billions of combinations.

So why not take some advice first, so I end up with something that at least works for some people?

I think I'll try to get some castor oil and start with my original recipe but reducing co to 15% and adding 5% castor oil.

Any recommendations on lye concentration? That's one part that I can't quite figure out yet even though I read that long post about it.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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When I made something similar to this the other day, I did a 33% concentration, or a 1:2 ratio. I wasn't colouring or using any scents that cause me trouble and it let me get to trace quite quickly.

As for the recipes, absolutely get some guidelines, but at the end of the day until you have tried it after a good cure it is never sure that you'll get on well with it yourself.

As for filling the wait, if you make soap once a week then you can make a very different soap once a week for 4 weeks and then the first has had 4 weeks to cure for testing, then you can start again with some tweaks on the first recipe.

I am not one of those who HAS to make soap - I make what I need as I need, enjoying it immensely but not to the extent that I soap for the sake of soaping, so I also don't make lots of slight variations of a recipe unless I know what the previous version was like and am playing with it slightly.
 

Obsidian

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For my similar recipe, I use 33% lye concentration. I prefer to think in ratios though so its 2 parts water, 1 part lye, there is a place on soapcalc to change your water to ratios.
 

notapantsday

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33% it is, then.:thumbup:

I got some castor oil at the pharmacy. It's not much (100ml/3.4oz) but it will be enough for 4 batches and after that I can hopefully decide if I want to order more.
 

Dahila

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I use a combination of lard , tallow , olive oil no more than 25-28% of it, usually 5% castor and sugar if I do not add milks. Lard is on the first place, people love my soaps and come for more. My grandchild eczema completely cleared out.
My old skin loves lard. I do not like vegan soaps, even I make them. They are really not comparable with lard or tallow soaps. The benefit of that is no DOS, at least I had never Dos with that kind of soaps
 

notapantsday

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I've read a blog post from a vegetarian who still advocated using lard for soap, arguing that we should at least make the most of the animals that die for us, instead of throwing away huge parts because they're not as desirable.

Just like I use chicken carcasses and necks to make stock, I like to use animal fat for soap. I truly believe it's the right thing to do, it reduces waste and saves valuable resources like water and arable land that are needed to produce vegetable oil.

I'm finding it hard to understand why some people oppose using animal fat and then use palm oil instead.

But that's a little off topic and I'm sure it's been discussed ad nauseam around here.
 

notapantsday

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I just poured my new soap and I'm really curious how it turns out. But I think I will let this one cure for as long as it needs and keep using my coconut soap in the meantime.

By the way, did anyone else find that the combination of lard and olive oil smells exactly like wild boar? Even though the finished soap will probably smell different, I'm calling it "Wildschweinseife" (wild boar soap) from now on.
 

Susie

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It does not smell like the wild boars down here, but I can somewhat understand the association.
 

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