Newbie Soaper Seeking Recipe Advice

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QuirkyBlossom

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After researching oils, I have started putting together recipes to test in my quest for a base. I'm going to be ordering supplies soon, but wanted to reach out for some advice before beginning to purchase items.

I have attached the SoapCalc information for my first test batch. I would love to hear your feedback.

Thanks!

Test A.jpg
 

DeeAnna

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My first reaction is eight fats in a recipe is far too many variables to be able to learn what's important and what is not. Why not start with fewer key soaping fats -- maybe four -- and see what you can create with them? And then introduce an exotic/unusual ingredient and see how the soap changes?

Regarding the rice bran, olive, and avocado oils -- Can you explain your thinking about why you have chosen to use these three? They are all high oleic fats so they fill somewhat the same niche. I personally would use either RBO or olive, but not both. Avocado is a relatively expensive oil that might best reserved for use once you have some perspective on what you like and dislike in your soap.

I would save the jojoba for lotions and such. Again, it's another expensive ingredient. At a mere 1% it's also not likely to add much to the character of the soap.
 

QuirkyBlossom

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The reason why I selected rice bran was because I had read it was good for dry or mature skin. Avacado was selected because I had read it is good for superfatting. So while they are all oleic fats, it seems as though they do have some different properties.

From what I've read jojoba's recommended usage is up to 2%, which is why I selected just 1%. Jojoba can be used to increase the shelf life of the soap. I wanted to see if 1% would make any difference, so I plan to make two batches of this recipe, one with the jojoba and one without.
 

shunt2011

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One thing to remember is that oils by themselves are totally different than once they are in soap. Also, if you are doing CP you can't pick which oil is going to be your super fat. The lye is active and will take what it wants. You would need to so HP and add you preferred oil to SF after the cook. You can certainly try your recipe but as DeeAnna said anything less than 5% isn't worth it to me.
 

DeeAnna

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^^^ What Shari said.

You clearly have studied the differences between these fats, but I don't know that you're going to find an RBO soap any milder or better for dry skin than a comparable olive oil soap or a soap made with a mix of both. As Shari mentioned, what might be true when using a fat directly on the skin doesn't necessarily mean as much when the fat is converted into soap.

Jojoba can increase the shelf life of lotions and salves -- I can verify that is true. But even in lotions and salves, I'd use more than 1% to slow the development of rancidity. As far as jojoba being an antioxidant for soap, I am not aware of any studies, formal or informal, that test this theory, so I'm skeptical at this point.

I suspect the real reason why you're seeing jojoba recommended at such a low dose in soap is that jojoba does not saponify well, and the unsaponified components in the jojoba will cause the soap to be soft.

To prevent rancidity, you might instead want to consider using rosemary oleoresin (ROE) in your stored soaping fats. This is a proven antioxidant that really helps to reduce rancidity in fats and also in the soap made from the fats.

The reason why I selected rice bran was because I had read it was good for dry or mature skin. Avacado was selected because I had read it is good for superfatting. So while they are all oleic fats, it seems as though they do have some different properties.

From what I've read jojoba's recommended usage is up to 2%, which is why I selected just 1%. Jojoba can be used to increase the shelf life of the soap. I wanted to see if 1% would make any difference, so I plan to make two batches of this recipe, one with the jojoba and one without.
 

IrishLass

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Going by the fatty acid profile on SoapCalc (which is much more revealing than the 'soap qualities' numbers on SoapCalc), you can narrow down your oils without changing the fatty acid profile, which would give you pretty much the same outcome in the soap. If it were me, this is how I would tweak it:

45% Olive Oil
18% Coconut Oil
12% Cocoa Butter
10% Shea Butter
10% Rice Bran Oil
5% Castor Oil

I know most folks consider adding olive oil and rice bran redundant, but call me weird- I actually like using them together in my olive oil soap because of the higher linoleic acid content that's present in rice bran oil compared to olive oil.

I agree with the others, though, that the 1% jojoba is not worth adding. It doesn't bring anything to the table at that low of a %, and it won't help to give soap a longer shelf life (I'm not sure where you heard about it being able to do that, but unless I've missed something over the several years I've been soaping, I would file that under 'soaping myths'). For what it's worth, lye-based soap has a very long shelf life. I have soaps over 10 years old and none of them contain any jojoba.


IrishLass :)
 

cmzaha

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Going by the fatty acid profile on SoapCalc (which is much more revealing than the 'soap qualities' numbers on SoapCalc), you can narrow down your oils without changing the fatty acid profile, which would give you pretty much the same outcome in the soap. If it were me, this is how I would tweak it:

45% Olive Oil
18% Coconut Oil
12% Cocoa Butter
10% Shea Butter
10% Rice Bran Oil
5% Castor Oil

I know most folks consider adding olive oil and rice bran redundant, but call me weird- I actually like using them together in my olive oil soap because of the higher linoleic acid content that's present in rice bran oil compared to olive oil.

I agree with the others, though, that the 1% jojoba is not worth adding. It doesn't bring anything to the table at that low of a %, and it won't help to give soap a longer shelf life (I'm not sure where you heard about it being able to do that, but unless I've missed something over the several years I've been soaping, I would file that under 'soaping myths'). For what it's worth, lye-based soap has a very long shelf life. I have soaps over 10 years old and none of them contain any jojoba.


IrishLass :)
Canola also brings Linoleic to the party. Yes, I know what all say about dos and Canola, but I have never even had a problem with regular Canola although now I tend to use Canola HO now
 

lenarenee

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That is an intriguing recipe Irish Lass; its been been a long time since I've done a whole different formula so I'm going to put that on my long list of things to get done.

QuirkyBlossom, you can certainly make that recipe. But then slow down, start experimenting with one or two new ingredients at a time and notice how it works for you. For example; 40% lard/palm/tallow, 20 coconut, 5 castor, 35% olive oil or rice bran oil or high oleic sunflower, etc.

It fun to see the difference, and its a great reason to make more, and more soap!
 

QuirkyBlossom

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Thanks for all of the input. I love this forum and everyone's willingness to share what they have learned.

Taking many of the things mentioned into consideration I have changed the recipe.

Thoughts on the new recipe?

Test B.jpg
 

QuirkyBlossom

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I just saw Irish Lass' tweak to the recipe. I think I'm going to try keeping the olive and rice bran in a recipe. I will make two where the only difference is the rice bran vs more olive.
 

Susie

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Why don't you use the opportunity to make one with only olive oil, and one with only rice bran oil, then one with both so you can see what each bring to the soap as well as the contrast of the blend. This sort of experimentation will teach you far more than making one recipe and sticking to it without trying anything else. (It also gives you a valid reason to make three batches rather than just one!)

Do get in the habit of saving those recipes with dates and notes on what you thought of it. This will be an invaluable resource later.
 

QuirkyBlossom

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Why don't you use the opportunity to make one with only olive oil, and one with only rice bran oil, then one with both so you can see what each bring to the soap as well as the contrast of the blend. This sort of experimentation will teach you far more than making one recipe and sticking to it without trying anything else. (It also gives you a valid reason to make three batches rather than just one!)

Do get in the habit of saving those recipes with dates and notes on what you thought of it. This will be an invaluable resource later.
I am going to do that for the very reason you mention. :) I grabbed a binder to start organizing all my notes tonight. I'm excited to begin testing soon.
 

dibbles

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Do get in the habit of saving those recipes with dates and notes on what you thought of it. This will be an invaluable resource later.
Good advice, and I wish I had done that from the start. Although I was so excited to make soap, I pretty much thought everything was excellent.
 

mx6inpenn

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If you are going to make many recipes to test, I would suggest a 1# recipe. It will give you approximately 4 bars, depending on how you cut. You only need one test bar initially. Use it once every week or 2 for a couple months. I would suggest after a 3 month cure, storing 1 bar from each recipe for a year. This will let you see the difference that amount of time can make (huge in many cases) and you can monitor for DOS.
 

DeeAnna

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I've used some olive, RBO, and avocado at various times. Different strokes for different folks, your mileage may vary, and all that, so I hafta say -- I don't see a lot of difference between RBO and olive, but I do think a modest amount of avocado adds to the lather quality and mildness. Avocado contains palmitoleic acid, unlike RBO and olive and most other common soaping fats. Avo also has a higher % of unsaponifiable chemicals. Not sure what causes the magic to happen with avocado, but there's something to it.

While we're critiquing, I'd like to bring up something I mention often -- please start using lye concentration (or water:lye ratio), rather than the default setting of "water as % of oils." As you try different recipes, you're going to see more consistency from batch to batch by using lye concentration. Typical lye concentrations for most recipes and most soapers range from about 28% up to 40%; I'd say a lot of people use 30% to 33% lye concentration as their norm. Start at 30% for your first few batches if you want a suggestion, although there's no one right answer.
 

QuirkyBlossom

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While we're critiquing, I'd like to bring up something I mention often -- please start using lye concentration (or water:lye ratio), rather than the default setting of "water as % of oils." As you try different recipes, you're going to see more consistency from batch to batch by using lye concentration. Typical lye concentrations for most recipes and most soapers range from about 28% up to 40%; I'd say a lot of people use 30% to 33% lye concentration as their norm. Start at 30% for your first few batches if you want a suggestion, although there's no one right answer.
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will start at 30% like you suggested.
 

penelopejane

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I've used some olive, RBO, and avocado at various times. I don't see a lot of difference between RBO and olive, but I do think a modest amount of avocado adds to the lather quality and mildness. Avocado contains palmitoleic acid, unlike RBO and olive and most other common soaping fats. Avo also has a higher % of unsaponifiable chemicals. Not sure what causes the magic to happen with avocado, but there's something to it.
I have to agree with DeeAnna that I don't find much difference between RB and OO except that RB makes a soap a little bit softer. I still use it at 10% because that doesn't make it noticeably softer and it is really, really, really cheap here.

I love Avocado oil and Almond oil makes a similarly lovely addition to soap.
Some of my testers like Almond over Avocado oil but I think Avocado has greater label appeal.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I would also try it without butters, putting Palm or lard or tallow in instead and seeing the difference. Also with just one butter at the total amount of both and then the other one - that way you can really experience what each ingredient brings to the soap.

One tip - try to change as little as possible, so you have a reference. If you swap out the butters for lard and change the coconut amount, you won't know whether or not a good or bad aspect of the soap is from which change (or a combination of both!)
 

Susie

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I would also try it without butters, putting Palm or lard or tallow in instead and seeing the difference. Also with just one butter at the total amount of both and then the other one - that way you can really experience what each ingredient brings to the soap.

One tip - try to change as little as possible, so you have a reference. If you swap out the butters for lard and change the coconut amount, you won't know whether or not a good or bad aspect of the soap is from which change (or a combination of both!)
^^^This! Make ONE change at the time. That way, you know what you like. You will end up making lots of soap, but what that teaches you is just unable to be obtained any other way. But, with a 4-6 week cure period, what else are you going to do while waiting?
 
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