Newby Recipe-Does this look ok?

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Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2008
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Most of my CP stuff is here. Going on vaca to Seattle Sat, so I'll try my first batch when I return. Here's the recipe I want to try. I ran it through soapcalc, too. Does this look like it needs any adjustments?

4 lbs-2 TOG Molds
Castor oil 3 ounce - 4.68%
Cocoa Butter 6 ounces - 9.37%
Coconut oil 15 ounces - 23.43%
Olive oil 27.01 ounces - 42.21%
Palm oil 13 ounces - 20.31%
Water 24.32 ounces
NaOH/Lye 8.9 ounces
1 oz pp EO at Trace

5% superfat
38 water as % of oils

Hardness 41
Cleansing 16
Conditioning 55
Bubbly 20
Creamy 29

Thanks for any advice you want to offer!!!

(editted by mod)

ok just looking at your recipe, I see a few things wrong with it,

Castor oil 3 ounce - 4.68% <--- a little low
Cocoa Butter 6 ounces - 9.37% <--- a little high
Coconut oil 15 ounces - 23.43% <--- a little low
Olive oil 27.01 ounces - 42.21% <--- a little high
Palm oil 13 ounces - 20.31% <--- a little low

how about trying this....... instead
Castor Oil 8%
Cocoa Butter 5%
Coconut Oil 30%
Olive Oil 20%
Palm Oil 25%
Safflower Oil 12%

and your numbers come out to
Hard 43
Cleansing 20
Conditioning 52
Bubbly 28
Creamy 30

What do you think? I did add safflower oil which can be purchased in a super walmart pretty cheap and most other grocery stores also carry it.
ok you are going to get different opinions on this from different soapmakers.

we tend to make soap we like, lol.

i would would pretty much leave your formula as is, except sub out the cocoa butter with soybean.

it gives you
hardness 37
clean 16
conditioning 60
bubbly 20
creamyness at 25
iodine 64

ins at 146

the soybean will up your linoleic which is a conditioning. at at 146 the bar will be hard and you should have enough bubbles to make you happy. they may not be huge big bubbles but you will have plenty and you will get clean.

this is pretty close in numbers to what my basic formula runs, even though i do use a couple of different oils.

the oil i use in the highest amount is olive, i like coconut and pk ( half and half) at a total no higher then 25 %, but then again that is what i like.

i wouldn't make such a big batch of soap to start out with, make smaller test batches with different combo's of oils till you hit on a formula that you like.

now this goes hand in hand with your other post. if it were me and i was just starting out i would not feel comfortable selling soap at a show in august of this year. i didn't sell for a year and a half after i started making soap, and perfected my technique and my soap formula. but again that is me.

ok you can shoot me now.

Barb said:
ok you are going to get different opinions on this from different soapmakers.

we tend to make soap we like, lol.

Very true!

And just to prove how true that is, here is how I'd do it (just in case you weren't confused enough already :lol: ):

Olive oil.... .....50%
Coconut .........25%
Cocoa Butter.....4%

Hardness 35 (it'll actually be much harder than 35 in reality)
Cleansing 17
Conditioning 61
Bubbly 26
Creamy 27
Iodine 59
INS 151

This comes very close to to my 50% Castile-type recipe that I use as one of my bases, only some of my fats/oils are a little different from what you have posted for yours. The soap quality numbers are almost the same as my base, too. The only thing noticibly different is that my own base's cleansing is 16 instead of 17, and the Bubbly and Creamy numbers are reversed. Anyway, I can vouch that it makes an awsome soap that is hard; nice and conditioning; cleansing- but low on the skin stripping scale; and has plenty of good bubblage.

Your recipe actually sounds pretty good to me as is except for your bubbly/creamy numbers, and the water amount. As a rule, I personally like my bubbly lather and my creamy lather in the 20's (like yours is), but with the bubbly always being one point or two higher than the creamy; and I use a 33% lye solution, which means the water as % of oils would be at 28 instead of the 38 that you have yours set to. I really like your condiioning and cleansing numbers. I always use a conditioning level of 55 or higher, and I like my cleansing to be around 16, just like what you had for yours.

Like Barb said, you'll get a lot of different opinions because we all make soap that we tend to like ourselves. :)

I'd probably do

Olive Oil (I use Pomace) 30%
Coconut Oil 27%
Palm Oil 15%
Sunflower Oil 12%
Castor Oil 8%
Cocoa Butter 8%

Which yields:
Hardness 40
Cleansing 18
Condition 58
Bubbly 25
Creamy 28
INS 151

Sorry, I had to go back and look at my notes. The original percentatges/yields were wrong. This one is right.

I made a similar soap to this one — with a slight variation. I'm a newbie, so...
:p Thanks sooooooooooo much!!!!! I did some adjustments based on replies from you all & this is what I came up with. My conditioning, bubbly & creamy are much higher now.

Olive - 48%
Coconut - 25%
Palm - 11%
Castor Oil - 12%
Cocoa Butter - 4%

Hardness 35
Cleansing 17
Condition 61
Bubbly 28
Creamy 29

That looks waaaaaay better to me. Of course, I'll know more when I try it out, huh?

Leaving for Seattle tomorrow, & I'll be gone a week, so I won't get to try my first batch til then. Waaahh!!

But. I'll be with my grandkids, & there's nothing more fun, not even soapmaking!
I haven't done it myself but other soapers say that castor oil anything above 10-11% will give you a STICKY bar.....

I keep mine between 5-8 % based on the other ingredients.

You need to look at the overall ingredient list and individual properties of those oils rather than the whole picture (numbers) as well.
faithy said:
I haven't done it myself but other soapers say that castor oil anything above 10-11% will give you a STICKY bar.....

I keep mine between 5-8 % based on the other ingredients.

You need to look at the overall ingredient list and individual properties of those oils rather than the whole picture (numbers) as well.

Faithy makes a good point.

For my soaps with a low proportion of hard oils, I go 10% or lower on the castor; but for my soaps with a higher percentage of hard oils, I can go anywhere from 14% to 23% with awesome, non-sticky results. One of my 'keeper' bases has 23% castor in it. It's rock-solid hard without a single iota of stickiness to it whatsoever.

Mandolyn- this is just my opinion based on what I personally like myself, but your revamped recipe looks great to me. In looking at your oils/fats, I see a high percentage of hard oils/fats to soft (olive is also considered by most soapers to be a hard oil), so it very well might be that 12 would be just fine. I say that based on my 60% Olive Oil Castile-type soap. I use 11% castor in it with no issues. Hopefully, 12% castor does not end up being the one point extra in your formula that breaks the camel's back. :lol: There's only one way to find out, though :wink: : you know.....experiment, experiment, experiment! :)

I did some google searches on this and found the following info...

Castor Oil: Ricinus Communis
In a class of its own! Use Castor in combination with other vegetable oils to produce a nice soap with wonderful long lasting lather. However, use it on its own, and the result will be a soft bar of soap. Castor oil added to your soap will increase lather significantly, but I find its best to stick at 15% or under. Superb addition to shaving soaps. Castor Oil is known to be of help to dry and aging skin because of its humectant properties. Good for all skin types. Use in lip balms for a glossy “smacker” type balm.
Recommended Usage Levels: for Soap: Up to 10%, up to 20% for CP Shampoo Bars, Lip Butters & Balms: 5-15%

Castor oil, from the seed of the castor plant, by itself, would make a very soft, sticky bar with sparse lather. In combination with other oils, it makes an emollient, rich, conditioning bar. It is quick to trace. Limit castor oil to less than 12% of total oils. It is great when making a shampoo bar because it moisturizes and makes a creamy, frothy, stable lather. Castor oil is great for superfatting.
I have to admit that with my first two batches I was using 20% castor and when I unmolded the soap it was slimy and sticky. After a day or two it was fine and the bar has hardened up but since It is still curing I have not tried it.

I made my third batch, after reading this post:), with GM and only 7% castor and the bar felt great when I unmolded it....
I've read many of the low recommedations of castor that some soaping sites mention, too, but I guess I'm just a rebel at heart that likes to put some of the 'orthodox' soaping rules to the test. :) I know, I know. :wink: I think the catalyst that got me started with challenging some of those 'soaping rules', and experimenting to see whether or not they held true across the board was the 'Breaking The Rules Soap' over at TeachSoap:

It spoke to my mad scientist heart, as did other info I was reading at the other soaping forums I am a member of. I decided to challenge the castor 'rule' when I saw that a handful of others on those forums were using castor at much higher percentages than recommended by the 'rules' with great results, so I gave it my own schoolgirl try. The recipe I came up with and use with great success is Tallow 65%, Castor Oil 23%, and Olive Oil 12%, along with 1/3 of my water amount as fresh goat milk. I soap it at 5% with a 33% lye solution, and it is quite firm and velvety smooth right out of the mold, and gets rock-solid hard within only a week or two, if that. One thing that it most definitely is not is sticky or soft (okay, that's 2 things it most definitely is not! :p )

Anyway, it really and truly makes a really nice, hard, non-sticky, mild bar of soap. I made my first batch of that recipe almost a year ago and I still have one bar from it that I kept aside for testing purposes. No DOS or stickiness and it's holding up great. Its so hard that it almost gives my salt bars a run for their money! 8)

As far as certain oils causing problems, at high/low percentages, I would guess it's all about what other oils/techniques/additives you're using — which Irish Lass explained wonderfully.

That's why even as a newbie, I try things to see for myself. According to the rules presented by many experienced soapers, I should have a trail of failed/substandard soap in my path, based on the "rules" I've violated (and continue to violate). The "temp" rules (both oils and lye water have to be the same temp, or the oils have to be the warmer of the two) are a great example.

Also, two people can make the SAME recipe (with the same temps), and the soap results will be DIFFERENT. Now, that's a mind-blower, but it's very true.

Also, when it comes to recipe feedback, everyone's idea of a "great soap" is different, and very biased. Everybody thinks they make the best soap — and they probably do...for them and others who like their way of soapmaking. Everybody has their little "issues" with soap, and I try to leave mine with me. Do your own thing, and make soap you like. I love to experiment, so that's what I do. If you start to sell, then you have to be more accomodating to other's tastes/preferences.

NOTE: This post was not directed towards anybody in particular. It is a general reply, based on lots of stuff I've read online.
Thanks again everyone!! Just got back from Seattle & thought I'd see if there were any more responses. I was happily surprised to see some more & some verrrry interesting info.

I'm considering it all. I'll be looking for something to use as a temp mold to do a small tester batch this Sat.

I'll post my progress.


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