Oils Question

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user 58545

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Hi,

So a quick question, when choosing oils for your soap is it just personal preference ? I mean can you mix any oils you want and whatever percentages you want or are there some rules you should stick to when choosing oils for soap?

So as an example the recent soap I made had cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Could you change all of them for completely different things? The olive oil was 50% of the oils, could you make that 20% and increase other oils. Is there a good way to find out what works together or does anything go?

Sorry if it seems a bit basic, despite the numerous books still unsure how to know what oils I should or should not be using
 
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Monkeying with different percentages of fats to change the properties of the resulting soap is the funnest part of making soap. Definitely learn what the fatty acids are and what they translate to in a bar of soap. And learn how they relate to each other.

During your experiments, make really small batches so you aren’t wasting raw materials as you start to understand how different fats/fatty acids perform in soap. And as you experiment, refrain from using fragrance oils and/or colorants. And have fun!!
 

rperr2011

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You can also think of the different oils as belonging to different "families" of fatty acids. These families are based on which fatty acid predominates in each oil. Here are some examples of different fatty acid families:

Oleic (olive, avocado, rice bran, peanut)
Palmitic (palm, tallow, lard)
Lauric (coconut, palm kernel)
Linoleic (cottonseed, grapeseed, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower)
Linolenic (hempseed, linseed, walnut)
Ricinoleic (castor)
 
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rperr2011

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TheGecko

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Hi,

So a quick question, when choosing oils for your soap is it just personal preference ? I mean can you mix any oils you want and whatever percentages you want or are there some rules you should stick to when choosing oils for soap?

So as an example the recent soap I made had cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Could you change all of them for completely different things? The olive oil was 50% of the oils, could you make that 20% and increase other oils. Is there a good way to find out what works together or does anything go?

Sorry if it seems a bit basic, despite the numerous books still unsure how to know what oils I should or should not be using
Yes. I don't HAVE to use Cocoa and Shea Butters in my soap, but "I" like it. And at least for me, at the end of the day I have to like the soap because if things go bust, I'll be one using all that soap. LOL But you can pretty much use any oil/butter you want though 1) you may not like the results, and 2) using expensive oils/butters in soap is not recommended because there is no benefit to spending that kind of money. Soap is a wash on/rinse off product that isn't on your skin but for maybe 5 to 10 minutes. And a lot of 'benefits' of using those oils are destroyed by the caustic nature of Sodium Hydroxide and/or during the saponification process. You are better off saving them for leave on products like lotions.

I started with a basic recipe of Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor Oils. It made a perfectly good soap, but like most soap makers, I wanted my own recipe...so I played around with different oils and butters until I came up with something I liked. And as noted by @AliOop, every time you make a change to your recipe, you want to run it through a soap calculator to make sure you are using the correct amount of Sodium Hydroxide.
 

CecileBC

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Hi,

So a quick question, when choosing oils for your soap is it just personal preference ? I mean can you mix any oils you want and whatever percentages you want or are there some rules you should stick to when choosing oils for soap?

So as an example the recent soap I made had cocoa butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Could you change all of them for completely different things? The olive oil was 50% of the oils, could you make that 20% and increase other oils. Is there a good way to find out what works together or does anything go?

Sorry if it seems a bit basic, despite the numerous books still unsure how to know what oils I should or should not be using
Hi Juniper12 !

Following all the precious advice I got from people here, I wrote a chart with all the fatty acids in columns, and the oils with their percentage of that fatty acid in each column. In each column note the average percentage of how much of each fatty acid is usually needed in a well balanced soap (see the article sent by KiwiMoose and AliOop about fatty acids profiles).

Starting from there, it is a lot easier to see why you can or cannot interchange an oil.

For example, if you do not want Palm oil, which would appear in your "Palmitic" column, and should represent about 10 to 20% of your recipe, you'd see straight away which other oil is in the "palmitic" column. It helped me a lot to "visualize" things ;)

HTH !
 

Zany_in_CO

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I wrote a chart with all the fatty acids in columns, and the oils with their percentage of that fatty acid in each column.

Brilliant! However, you don't need to go to the trouble of creating your own chart. It's easy to compare oils side by side using SoapCalc. This comes in handy especially when you want to sub one oil for another.

 

Zany_in_CO

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Is there a good way to find out what works together...?
Yes. Get familiar with using SoapCalc or whatever lye calculator you're most comfortable with.

When I first started making soap, I spent 2 weeks messing around every evening by entering Tried & True recipes, mostly balancing the "Cleansing" Value and the "Conditioning" Value and aiming for an ideal INS value 145 - 160. Of course, 100% Olive Oil / Castile Soap defies the guidelines -- and becomes perfectly hard soap over time at INS 105. That's an example of what you can only learn from others or from experiencing it yourself.


Make as many small 500g - 12 oz. small batches as often as you can until you find the combo that suits you and your family and friends best. While you will always get good advice on SMF, what works for one doesn't always work for another. Focus on what makes you happy.

HTH :computerbath:
 
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I'm late to the party but these articles helped me when I started out:
 
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