Newbie questions re: recipe

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Siobhan

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I found the Essential Depot Non-Animal Recipe through Essential Soaps website.
I ran their recipe through the Soapee calculator, and the lye/water calculations are different between the original recipe and the soapee calculator.

I hope I can share this website, but the original is:

2oz Stearic Acid
8oz Pomace Olive Oil
13oz Coconut Oil
13oz Palm Oil
13.7oz Water
5.6oz Lye

Super fats

1oz Virgin Olive Oil
1oz Shea Butter
1/2oz Coconut Oil
1/2tsp Vitamin E
1tbsp Glycerin

The Soapee's calculation is attached. But a rundown:

6.24oz Lye
14.63oz Water

I am assuming the reason there is a difference in the lye and water amounts is because I couldn't plug in the tablespoon of glycerin and half teaspoon of vitamin E. Am I right?

View attachment Soapee - Lye Calculator.pdf
 

shunt2011

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It depends on the SF of the recipe. Also, as for the recipe, I personally wouldn't recommend it. I would do 45% Palm, 30% Olive, 20% Coconut and 5% Castor. Keep your first try simple. You don't need stearic , glycerine or Cit. E. Stearic will make your soap move fast.
 

DeeAnna

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No. Vitamin E and glycerin do not saponify, so they do not consume any NaOH. You won't find them included in a soap recipe calculator for that reason.

Soap contains very roughly 10% glycerin due to the saponification of your fats, so adding yet another tablespoon of glycerin to this recipe is not needed. The only time I add extra glycerin is when I make shave soap that has a very high % of stearic acid. Regular bath soap doesn't need it.

The difference is that your recipe from Soapee calls for 13 oz fractionated coconut oil and 0.5 oz regular coconut oil. The original recipe calls for 13 oz of regular coconut oil. FCO has a higher saponification value than regular CO, so your variation requires more NaOH to saponify the fats. And I think you included the separate superfat ingredients in the calculations (and correctly so!) and I get the feeling the original recipe did not.

Is there a reason why you want to use FCO in this recipe? FCO will also make a harsher soap than regular CO due to its shorter chain fatty acids which are more stripping to the skin. I don't think it's really a good choice for using in soap -- better to use FCO in lotions, scrubs, and other B&B products instead.

I will also add that I think a beginner recipe should not include an ingredient like stearic acid. It can be rather tricky to use and you're going to be challenged enough just making a classic soap without adding any tricky stuff to the party.

If you plan to use a cold process method, then there is no point in using a separate superfat at trace, because saponification has only just begun at that point. Add all of the fats right up front and make your soap. Less chance for error and it's going to come out the same in the end.

Looking at the extra superfat ingredients -- If you're using pomace olive oil as a main fat, I'm not sure virgin OO will bring anything more to the party. The shea is only around 1% of the total fats. That's probably not enough to make much of a difference to the quality of the soap.

I suggest you KISS your first recipe (keep it simple, Soaper!) and not use so many different kinds of fats and not use stearic acid. That can surely come later, for sure, but not right now.
 
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doriettefarm

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DeeAnna - I think the 13oz FCO in the Soapee calc was an oops instead of intentional. Either way everything you & shunt said about stearic acid not being beginner-friendly is true. I would ditch the stearic, glycerin & vitE completely and throw in some castor to make up the difference.
 

DeeAnna

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Might well be -- I hope Siobhan will set us straight! :)

I think Shari's recipe would be a good one to use. If castor oil isn't available, I'd omit it and add that 5% to the olive oil. With or without the castor, that recipe will make a lovely bath bar.
 

Siobhan

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It depends on the SF of the recipe. Also, as for the recipe, I personally wouldn't recommend it. I would do 45% Palm, 30% Olive, 20% Coconut and 5% Castor. Keep your first try simple. You don't need stearic , glycerine or Cit. E. Stearic will make your soap move fast.
Thank you for this simple recipe. It seems much less intimidating than the other. I was under the impression (from looking at Essential Soap) that I had to add oils in two stages.

I'm going to look other soap-making tutorials to get a better idea of different styles.

DeeAnna - I think the 13oz FCO in the Soapee calc was an oops instead of intentional. Either way everything you & shunt said about stearic acid not being beginner-friendly is true. I would ditch the stearic, glycerin & vitE completely and throw in some castor to make up the difference.
I was under the impression that the fractionated coconut oil was the liquid kind (which I already have), so I was going with that. However, I see that I have to take back the Vitamin E and glycerin, so I'll pick up coconut oil from the soap-making store.

No. Vitamin E and glycerin do not saponify, so they do not consume any NaOH. You won't find them included in a soap recipe calculator for that reason.

Soap contains very roughly 10% glycerin due to the saponification of your fats, so adding yet another tablespoon of glycerin to this recipe is not needed. The only time I add extra glycerin is when I make shave soap that has a very high % of stearic acid. Regular bath soap doesn't need it.

The difference is that your recipe from Soapee calls for 13 oz fractionated coconut oil and 0.5 oz regular coconut oil. The original recipe calls for 13 oz of regular coconut oil. FCO has a higher saponification value than regular CO, so your variation requires more NaOH to saponify the fats. And I think you included the separate superfat ingredients in the calculations (and correctly so!) and I get the feeling the original recipe did not.

Is there a reason why you want to use FCO in this recipe? FCO will also make a harsher soap than regular CO due to its shorter chain fatty acids which are more stripping to the skin. I don't think it's really a good choice for using in soap -- better to use FCO in lotions, scrubs, and other B&B products instead.

I will also add that I think a beginner recipe should not include an ingredient like stearic acid. It can be rather tricky to use and you're going to be challenged enough just making a classic soap without adding any tricky stuff to the party.

If you plan to use a cold process method, then there is no point in using a separate superfat at trace, because saponification has only just begun at that point. Add all of the fats right up front and make your soap. Less chance for error and it's going to come out the same in the end.

Looking at the extra superfat ingredients -- If you're using pomace olive oil as a main fat, I'm not sure virgin OO will bring anything more to the party. The shea is only around 1% of the total fats. That's probably not enough to make much of a difference to the quality of the soap.

I suggest you KISS your first recipe (keep it simple, Soaper!) and not use so many different kinds of fats and not use stearic acid. That can surely come later, for sure, but not right now.
Thank you for the very thorough breakdown. I like the idea of KISS, so I'll be taking back the items I purchased and picking up the supplies for shunt's recipe. I'm glad I found this website. I'm already being saved from some seriously bad mistakes!
 

Arimara

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Thank you for the very thorough breakdown. I like the idea of KISS, so I'll be taking back the items I purchased and picking up the supplies for shunt's recipe. I'm glad I found this website. I'm already being saved from some seriously bad mistakes!
Just don't make it too simple a recipe by using one or two oils. 3 or 4 oils in your soap will better help you learn the process with minimal wait time, as opposed to a 100% coconut oil soap or olive oil soap (the cure time for these soaps is roughly a 6 months to a year if you want a really nice soap). Shari's recipe is simple enough for you to learn to soap and at a later date, tweak to your own preferences or even swap out some or all of a particular oil.
 

Siobhan

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Okay, now I'm curious about fragrances. I purchased peppermint and lavender, as I thought these fragrances blended well. I was originally interested in lavender and chamomile but--holy camoly-I didn't know chamomile essential oil would be so expensive!

I was thinking, is there another way to incorporate chamomile into the soap? Adding chamomile tea leaves? Using chamomile tea as part of the water equation? Or, is that too far advanced for me right now?
 

newbie

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Chamomile leaves or petals will not add any fragrance, nor will chamomile tea. I would first make a simple soap, maybe even without any fragrance so you get a good feel for how the process works and then try with fragrances, teas and other embellishments.

Most people will steep chamomile in an oil, often OO, and then strain and use the oil for a batch but again, it doesn't add fragrance. Some people feel it adds a nice component to the end soap and others feel that lye would rob those benefits and there is no significant difference between steeped and unsteeped oil. That is part of the fun- deciding for yourself if you like one or the other better.
 
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doriettefarm

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Ahhh fragrances, now you're going down the rabbit hole! I started with mainly EOs and think the lavender/peppermint combo sounds nice. But stick with the basics for your first batches . . . don't try to get too fancy or I promise it will bite you in the behind.

After you get a feel for the process, then you can start to dabble with alternative liquids like aloe juice, milks & teas. That's probably what I would do with dried chamomile, either brew a tea and use that as the liquid or make an oil infusion as newbie suggested. It definitely won't scent the soap but will be a learning experience.
 

LilyJo

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Just to let you know -we use chamomile in some of our soaps and our suppliers have told us that the crop has been affected by the weather and as such it is very expensive this year.
 

DeeAnna

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The idea that fats need to be added in two stages is a common one in many books and internet blogs, but the idea is not based on any kind of actual testing. The thinking is this: if one adds a portion of fats at "trace", the point at which the soap is beginning to thicken, then those fats won't be turned into soap -- they will become the "superfat" in the finished soap.

Like other "common sense" ideas floating around in soaping, testing shows this idea doesn't work very well.

What trace means is that saponification has formed just enough soap so the batter doesn't need to be blended anymore to stay emulsified -- the newly formed soap is enough to keep the mixture emulsified. Only perhaps 10% of the soap has formed at that time, so the remaining 90% of the fats have yet to be saponified. When you add the "superfat" at trace, these fats just become part of the "saponification party." The lye will react with them just as easily as it will react with the larger portion of the fats added first.

There's no harm done in adding fats at trace if you like, but there's no real benefit to be had either. Speaking from experience, it's really easy to forget to add ingredients at the busy moment when the soap reaches trace. That's the time when most soapers are focused on doing any design work and pouring the soap into a mold.

***

If you use peppermint and lavender in your soap, figure out beforehand how much of each you want to use. Peppermint will completely overpower the lavender in a 50:50 mixture of the two, so most people use less peppermint than lavender.

***

In your climate, regular coconut oil might well be a liquid -- it normally is a soft paste or fully liquid at warm room temperatures. FCO is usually labeled as such, but regular CO is usually just labeled "coconut oil". If you're not sure, you can put the oil into the refrigerator for several hours. Regular CO will become solid, but FCO will still be liquid.
 

kchaystack

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You will also want to be careful with peppermint, as it can cause a tingle on sensitive body parts and skin. It's usage rate in soap is much lower than lavender.
 

Siobhan

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Luckily for me, I use peppermint in the coconut I put in my hair. I actually like the tingling.
 

Susie

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Luckily for me, I use peppermint in the coconut I put in my hair. I actually like the tingling.
If you like the tingling, try menthol crystals. Very cooling sensation. I wouldn't use either peppermint or menthol "down there" as it is quite uncomfortable.
 

tricia819

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I JUST made a Peppermint/Lavender soap 2 weeks ago. I love the fragrance combo. I DID go easy on the Peppermint for the reasons stated above. That said, I do enjoy the combo and would encourage you to try it.
 

Siobhan

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For my second batch, I'd like to use gardenia and vanilla as the scent. I know that Gardenia Essential Oil is difficult to come by. However, I found this seller on eBay who is selling Gardenia Essential Oil (it's a blend of three oils allegedly). Before I order it, I just want to see if this listing raises red flags to veteran soapers. (I hope I can post the link, if not, I will delete it)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151239738706?var=450280020907

Okay to buy? Or avoid it?
 

doriettefarm

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For my second batch, I'd like to use gardenia and vanilla as the scent. I know that Gardenia Essential Oil is difficult to come by. However, I found this seller on eBay who is selling Gardenia Essential Oil (it's a blend of three oils allegedly). Before I order it, I just want to see if this listing raises red flags to veteran soapers. (I hope I can post the link, if not, I will delete it)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151239738706?var=450280020907

Okay to buy? Or avoid it?
It's not a bet I'd be willing to take given my experience with Gardenia FOs. EO will be more expensive and not any more likely to behave in CP. Every single Gardenia FO I've tried in CP either seized or riced like crazy so for the money I'd probably pass.
 
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