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Galaxy

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I'm a newbie at soaping, I've done about 4-5 batches of CP soap. My first batch, I followed a recipe and procedure I found online, and it turned out great. I had some overheating /cracking/alien brains before I unmolded, but that was the only issue.

My first batch was straight from http://smallnotebook.org/tutorials/beginner-soapmaking/ingredients/ :

18.5 ounces Olive oil

12 ounces Coconut oil

9 ounces Palm oil

1 ounce Shea butter

5.8 ounces Lye

13.5 ounces water

Like I said, it turned out great, and I haven't messed with the ratios of oil/lye/water in my other batches, and they've all turned out well.

The only thing I did later was I added some colorant (mica and TiO2) and some EO, and those turned out well also. The soap cures in 3 weeks, nice and hard, lasts pretty well in the shower, and plenty of lather. Skin feels great.

Also, I do have a friend who owns a brewery, so in one batch I replaced the water with beer. Other than accelerating a LOT, it turned out great.


My question is, why would I mess with this "base" recipe?

Thanks in advance!
 

lenarenee

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Hi Galaxy and welcome to the forum.

Why would you mess with that recipe? Namely because you don't yet realize what a huge question you just asked. Learning to soap well takes tons of trial and error and time. There are no shortcuts.

And also because of this very interesting experience you had, " I had some overheating /cracking/alien brains before I unmolded, but that was the only issue."

Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie/pasta/or chicken recipe? What makes it a favorite? It's the combo of ingredients and flavors that work together to make the perfect taste and texture for you. It's the same for soap - looking for that perfect combo of oils/fats/butters that give you the texture/appearance/results that you love.

Have you been to the beginners section yet? Reading through some of that might help pique your curiosity and help you answer your question.

It was three years ago that I was a beginner - and the very first recipe I made and abandoned - is very similar to my favorite recipe today.

Enjoy the adventure!
 

dibbles

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Hi Galaxy! Isn't soaping great?

If you are happy with your recipe as it is, there isn't really any reason to change it. You do have a fairly high amount of coconut oil which can be drying for many people. I also think that less than 5% of an oil or butter isn't enough to really be able to tell what it is bringing to the soap, the exception to that, for me, is castor oil. I use it in every soap I make at 2-5% as I do think it helps with the lather.

Spend a little time playing around with a soap calculator (soapcalc.net and soapee are popular ones).

I've been making soap for almost 2 years now, and I still play around with different oils. My first recipe was fine, but the soap I make now is even better. I found that I really like avocado oil, among others, that replaces part of the olive oil in that first recipe, and that lard in place of palm makes wonderful soap. I would have never known if I didn't try new things.
 

Gerry

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There is nothing wrong with that recipe, especially if you're like me and have an oily skin type. By eyeballing it, looks like the balance of oils was chosen to achieve 160 INS (or as close as possible) at a standard superfat level. It certainly will be technically well-balanced in all soap characteristics (cleansing, conditioning, bubbly, creamy, etc.). If you like it, there is no reason why you couldn't continue to use this recipe forever and only vary colorants and scents.

However the problem with soap recipes is that we're always playing a game of compromise. While the high percentage of coconut oil has given you points in the cleansing power and bubbly categories, a lot, if not most people might find that amount of coco oil to be too drying and harsh on their skin. That's why I mentioned your recipe being good for "oily skin types" like mine. However my mother couldn't even get near a soap of this type. She's getting older and needs a much gentler touch.

There is no holy grail of soap recipes. The most we can hope for is to achieve a balance of characteristics that produces a product acceptable to most people (if that's what we're after with a particular batch). My sister's friend has severe dry skin, and store-bought soaps will literally cause injury. In my quest to help, I came up with a recipe for both her and my mom: 55% olive oil, 35% lard, and 10% castor oil - with an 8% super fat! Some soap makers might faint when they plug the numbers into SoapCalc. Heck, my face breaks out in pimples just thinking about this soap! But they like it, while finding all the soaps I love and use myself completely unacceptable.

Some oils like castor oil add a quality that doesn't give you big points in the technical characteristics, but does other things. I use about 5% to stabilize lather in many of my recipes. If you lowered your CO oil by 5% and put it towards castor, you might find your soap even better.

I also adjust my recipe when adding certain additives that themselves must be counteracted by altering the balance of your oil. A good example is pine tar. I also adjust my recipe when I need a very slow moving soap batter for projects that involve lots of colors, swirling, etc. I also adjust my recipe just for the heck of good ol' experimentation! And if you run out of shea butter, what will you do? Some of us adjust our recipe because of what we have on hand, or take into consideration of what oils we're getting low on. Some avoid palm oil because of the environmental impact of the type of agriculture that produces it. Some avoid lard and tallow because they're vegan.

But we soap makers are not Procter & Gamble or Unilever that must use standardized formulations for their products for consistency, supply chain management, and automation. These companies literally put out tons of soap every minute. We soap makers on the other hand have something they can't have: freedom and flexibility. I think freedom is good.
 
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LilyJo

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There is nothing wrong with that recipe, especially if you're like me and have an oily skin type. By eyeballing it, looks like the balance of oils was chosen to achieve 160 INS (or as close as possible) at a standard superfat level. It certainly will be technically well-balanced in all soap characteristics (cleansing, conditioning, bubbly, creamy, etc.). If you like it, there is no reason why you couldn't continue to use this recipe forever and only vary colorants and scents.

However the problem with soap recipes is that we're always playing a game of compromise. While the high percentage of coconut oil has given you points in the cleansing power and bubbly categories, a lot, if not most people might find that amount of coco oil to be too drying and harsh on their skin. That's why I mentioned your recipe being good for "oily skin types" like mine. However my mother couldn't even get near a soap of this type. She's getting older and needs a much gentler touch.

There is no holy grail of soap recipes. The most we can hope for is to achieve a balance of characteristics that produces a product acceptable to most people (if that's what we're after with a particular batch). My sister's friend has severe dry skin, and store-bought soaps will literally cause injury. In my quest to help, I came up with a recipe for both her and my mom: 55% olive oil, 35% lard, and 10% castor oil - with an 8% super fat! Some soap makers might faint when they plug the numbers into SoapCalc. Heck, my face breaks out in pimples just thinking about this soap! But they like it, while finding all the soaps I love and use myself completely unacceptable.

Some oils like castor oil add a quality that doesn't give you big points in the technical characteristics, but does other things. I use about 5% to stabilize lather in many of my recipes. If you lowered your CO oil by 5% and put it towards castor, you might find your soap even better.

I also adjust my recipe when adding certain additives that themselves must be counteracted by altering the balance of your oil. A good example is pine tar. I also adjust my recipe when I need a very slow moving soap batter for projects that involve lots of colors, swirling, etc. I also adjust my recipe just for the heck of good ol' experimentation! And if you run out of shea butter, what will you do? Some of us adjust our recipe because of what we have on hand, or take into consideration of what oils we're getting low on. Some avoid palm oil because of the environmental impact of the type of agriculture that produces it. Some avoid lard and tallow because they're vegan.

But we soap makers are not Procter & Gamble or Unilever that must use standardized formulations for their products for consistency, supply chain management, and automation. These companies literally put out tons of soap every minute. We soap makers on the other hand have something they can't have: freedom and flexibility. I think freedom is good.
Can I just say that if you are selling in the EU you cant make those kind of adjustments or changes as each and every one will need to be safety assessed - part of the reason that established businesses stick to a tried and tested formula. It saves having to retest and reassess every single tweak you do! And yes it does mean there is a lack of freedom.

I would love to be able to change my soap as and when ingredients change in price or I want to try something new and I can but only for personal use. If I want to sell anything it has to be assessed beforehand.

I know I keep banging on about this but I think its important to remember that not everyone is lucky/unlucky enough to have the US FDA rules - large parts of the world work on very diffrent rules.
 

IrishLass

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My question is, why would I mess with this "base" recipe?

Thanks in advance!
Welcome Galaxy! :wave:

There's really no need to mess with it if you are quite certain that you are happy with it and feel it could never be improved upon (if it ain't broke, don't fix it), but since you're new and have not experimented with making enough formulas to be able to compare how different recipes feel from each other to your skin, why not do some experiments with it by adding a little bit more of 'this oil'/fat or less of 'that oil/fat'? Who knows- you may end up liking one of your tweaks even better than the original. You'll never know until you try! :)


IrishLass :)
 

Susie

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Can I just say that if you are selling in the EU you cant make those kind of adjustments or changes as each and every one will need to be safety assessed - part of the reason that established businesses stick to a tried and tested formula. It saves having to retest and reassess every single tweak you do! And yes it does mean there is a lack of freedom.

I would love to be able to change my soap as and when ingredients change in price or I want to try something new and I can but only for personal use. If I want to sell anything it has to be assessed beforehand.

I know I keep banging on about this but I think its important to remember that not everyone is lucky/unlucky enough to have the US FDA rules - large parts of the world work on very diffrent rules.
I'm a newbie at soaping, I've done about 4-5 batches of CP soap.
LilyJo, I certainly hope Galaxy is not selling at this point in their soaping career. I understand that folks in different parts of the world have different requirements for selling, but there is no indication that Galaxy is in the EU or that they intend to sell.

Galaxy, welcome to the wonderful, crazy world of soaping, and congratulations on finding a recipe you love right off the bat! Some of us were not so lucky!

Why mess with a good recipe? If you love it, there is no reason.

However, in my case at least, even when I found a recipe I liked, I still wondered "what if?"

What if that little bit of tight skin while bathing could be avoided?
What if I could get more bubbles/lather?
What if I could get my bar to last longer?
What if I could stop it from overheating?
What if it could be....?

Then there were all the "why" questions:

Why do they love goat's milk in soap?
Why do they love gelled soaps?
Why do they say that 25% CO is too cleansing?
Why ...?
 
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LilyJo

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LilyJo, I certainly hope Galaxy is not selling at this point in their soaping career. I understand that folks in different parts of the world have different requirements for selling, but there is no indication that Galaxy is in the EU or that they intend to sell.

Galaxy, welcome to the wonderful, crazy world of soaping, and congratulations on finding a recipe you love right off the bat! Some of us were not so lucky!

Why mess with a good recipe? If you love it, there is no reason.

However, in my case at least, even when I found a recipe I liked, I still wondered "what if?"

What if that little bit of tight skin while bathing could be avoided?
What if I could get more bubbles/lather?
What if I could get my bar to last longer?
What if I could stop it from overheating?
What if it could be....?

Then there were all the "why" questions:

Why do they love goat's milk in soap?
Why do they love gelled soaps?
Why do they say that 25% CO is too cleansing?
Why ...?
My comment wasnt directly addressed to Galaxy but to the comments made by Gerry which was why I quoted it.
 

Gerry

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I know I keep banging on about this but I think its important to remember that not everyone is lucky/unlucky enough to have the US FDA rules - large parts of the world work on very diffrent rules.
I don't know anything about US FDA or EU rules for selling. I don't live there. I also don 't sell soap, nor am I associated with any cosmetics business. But I bet even Unilever has an R&D department where they fool around with formulations.

Thanks. It's interesting to know that in the EU you're stuck with a single recipe, single colorant, single EO formulation if you're a seller and that changing anything might be costly and time consuming. I'm into this because soap making for me is a craft. If all the fun, creativity, and experimental value was removed from this activity I wouldn't be here.
 
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TeresaT

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I'm a newbie at soaping, I've done about 4-5 batches of CP soap. My first batch, I followed a recipe and procedure I found online, and it turned out great. I had some overheating /cracking/alien brains before I unmolded, but that was the only issue.

My first batch was straight from http://smallnotebook.org/tutorials/beginner-soapmaking/ingredients/ :

18.5 ounces Olive oil

12 ounces Coconut oil

9 ounces Palm oil

1 ounce Shea butter

5.8 ounces Lye

13.5 ounces water

Like I said, it turned out great, and I haven't messed with the ratios of oil/lye/water in my other batches, and they've all turned out well.

The only thing I did later was I added some colorant (mica and TiO2) and some EO, and those turned out well also. The soap cures in 3 weeks, nice and hard, lasts pretty well in the shower, and plenty of lather. Skin feels great.

Also, I do have a friend who owns a brewery, so in one batch I replaced the water with beer. Other than accelerating a LOT, it turned out great.


My question is, why would I mess with this "base" recipe?

Thanks in advance!
Hi Galaxy, and welcome! I had to laugh at your total cheerfulness and positivity. Except for some overheating, cracking & alien brains, everything was perfect! That is awesome thinking that will get you far in life.

Why change the recipe? Simple. Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every single day? What about lunch? Dinner? Probably not. Just as we like to have a variety in our diets to provide a balanced supply of nutrients to our bodies and excitement to our tastebuds, we want to do the same thing for our skin. You may have found the "perfect" soap formula for your skin type, but have you really found the Holy Grail of soap? You don't have lard in this recipe. Unless you have religious or lifestyle reasons that would preclude you from the use of animal fats, I would highly suggest you try lard and tallow. They make amazing soaps. I use a minimum of 40% lard in my standard recipe and have gone as high ad 100% lard. In fact 100% lard was my first soap and I thought that was amazing until I started experimenting. I love hemp oil, karanja oil, kokum butter and avocado oil in soap. Babassu oil makes a great soap, too. It has similar qualities to coconut oil; however it is not as stripping when used in high quantities. There are literally hundreds of oils and butters out there waiting for you to try and experiment with. Limiting yourself to one recipe that you found online or in a book is doing yourself a disservice.

You can join an online community that offers oils and butters in small quantities so you can try things out without buying in bulk. Facebook has tons if them. I'm in several. You can always hit me up for a sample of something that I've got. If I ever post about something that you find interesting, send me a private message; I'm usuall pretty quick to answer. I don't mind sharing if I've got enough to share.

Anyway, that's why I think you should change the recipe. Slowly. One fat at a time. In small batches and see how the change affects (good or bad) the recipe. Don't forget to keep really good notes.
 

Millie

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You can join an online community that offers oils and butters in small quantities so you can try things out without buying in bulk. Facebook has tons if them. I'm in several. You can always hit me up for a sample of something that I've got. If I ever post about something that you find interesting, send me a private message; I'm usuall pretty quick to answer. I don't mind sharing if I've got enough to share. .
Could you share a good one? Thanks for the info, I've spent way too much on oils that were merely ok, and there are many I would love to try but the prices are high.

And in response to the original post, simply for the fun of it! I also came up with my favorite recipe in my first month of soaping, but in the following year and a half I've come up with many others that I love. I have a whole closet shelf full of wonderful soaps I can choose from now on a whim, to suit whatever mood I'm in. I have favorite soaps for shower, bath, hands, body, kitchen, etc. And of course friends and family all have their favorites :) I learn a little more about my ingredients with every new recipe.
 

TeresaT

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Could you share a good one? Thanks for the info, I've spent way too much on oils that were merely ok, and there are many I would love to try but the prices are high.
I have two groups on Facebook that I order from frequently: Misty Magic Supplies has a ton of different oils and butters that you can buy small quantities of to try out (as well as larger quantities). She also carries a variety of botanicals and other things, too. Valerie's Soaping Supplies is my other go-to Facebook group. She's the only place I know of to get laurel berry oil and I love the fragrance oils she carries. (Coconut Lime is to die for!! Tuscan Patchouli and Merlin's Path are also amazing.) She's just received a shipment of LBO. I missed out on the pre-buy; however, I've requested four pounds of it out of whatever she has extra. I'll wait and see what happens. I've got a tiny bit of oil left from last time I ordered, but I'd like to make a few 5 pound batches of Aleppo-type soap.
 

TeresaT

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You're welcome. Steph's Micas and More is another good one if you're looking for micas (and more). She's got a good variety of colors and good prices. She packages in pouches to keep shipping costs down. I believe several members here are on her buy list.
 

dillsandwitch

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Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every single day? What about lunch? Dinner? Probably not.
I've been having the same breakfast and lunch everyday for the last 3-4 years. Why? Because I like it. Does it get boring sometimes? Yes. Does this make me odd? hahaha

Anyhoo back on topic. Galaxy if no one has mentioned it yet if you do decide to make any changes to your recipe just change 1 thing at a time. That way you can easily tell what that change brings to the party and weather you like it or not.

Also there is no shame with finding a recipe you like and sticking with it. In my first year of soaping I was like many newbie soapers where I had to try all the things. Oils, additives etc. But after that experimental phase passed I went back to basics and my main recipe these days is just 4 oils. I occasionally change out the water for milk or aloe juice but thats about it.

Welcome and enjoy the obsession that is soaping :)
 

lenarenee

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You're welcome. Steph's Micas and More is another good one if you're looking for micas (and more). She's got a good variety of colors and good prices. She packages in pouches to keep shipping costs down. I believe several members here are on her buy list.
Her shop is only open a few days out of the month. It's open now.
 

Steve85569

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Welcome to the forum!

"My question is, why would I mess with this "base" recipe?"

Because you can of course. That seems to me to be a part of hand crafting soaps.
For now I would just work on the other things like the overheating.
That's a good place to start and begin to understand why Steve makes several different recipes.

Steve
 

lenarenee

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See Galaxy? With all the opinions given in the responses I think you'll now understand why I said you asked a big question!
 

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Weeeee - I remember my first "base" recipe: 30% coconut oil, 70% Olive oil at 6% superfat. I was SURE it couldn't get any better than that. And you know what? With a good long cure it is a sweet little soap. Then I added 5% castor oil for the bubbles - oooooo. And THEN I discovered the joys of salt soap with 80% coconut! Or the bubblyness of a beer soap. Or 65% lard soap mmmm. Just recently I discovered the joys of a palm/shea soap with avocado pulp instead of water - wow soothing. There is a big soapy world out there :)
 

Gerry

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Just recently I discovered the joys of a palm/shea soap with avocado pulp instead of water - wow soothing.
Just by coincidence I was reading today about shea butter in Frank Gunstone's "The Lipid Handbook". Some soap makers consider shea butter to be some sort of snake oil, but I don't think so.

Being a university chemistry text book, it doesn't go much into skin properties. But it does say that shea butter has a very unusual amount of unsaponifiables - 11% if you can believe it! Some of these unsaponifiables include polyisoprene hydrocarbons. Then later it goes on to say:

"Alendar (2004) reports that shea butter contains an
interesting and useful unsaponifable fraction (2 to 5%)
rich in triterpene alcohols, such as α- and β-amyrins (27
and 10% of total triterpene alcohols), lupeol (22%), and
butyrospermol (25%). These alcohols occur mainly as
esters with fatty acids or cinnamic acid and are bioactive
compounds used in cosmetics "

Very interesting...
 

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