One more salt question... Am I making this more complicated than it really is? :)

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JayJay

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Hi everyone,

I have been reading a few salt threads and I am still a little fuzzy about how varying levels of salt effect soap. Some of the things I have read confuse me a bit. Please help me to understand by correcting the statements below and/ or answering the questions.

Things that I have read:

1. Salt decreases lather, so lots of CO is needed to get lather.
2. Salt bars are incredibly rich with lather.
Question- are salt bars lathery because of the CO or because of the salt CO combo? A the salt bars more lathery than 100% CO bars or less lathery than a 100% CO soap.

3. Salt makes the soap more mild.
4. Higher levels of salt make soap more drying.
Question - Does salt really make soap more mild or just less lathery?

5. More salt makes a harder bar.
6. Don't use iodized salt.
7. Be mindful of the size/shape of the salt crystals because they can be sharp.
8. Individual cavity molds work best but if you decide to use a log it must be cut within 2 hours.
9. Cure time is 4 months.

I am making a batch for my hubby. He likes scrubby and lathery soap. He doesn't care about (or doesn't notice ) whether soap makes his skin dry. So given this, I want to go for the most lathery version that I can make.

Thanks in advance for your help :D
 

Obsidian

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Question 1: both, the abundant lather is from the high coconut amount but the salt is what makes it so thick and rich.

Question 2: It seems like salt bars might be a bit more mild then my 100% coconut bars but then again, I don't use 100% coconut for my salt bars. Salt will greatly reduce lather in regular soap recipe.

I've found that 80% coconut, 20% OO and 25% salt makes that richest lather, the more salt you add the less lather there will be. If you have soft water, you can use more salt if you wish.
Even if hubby likes scrubby soap, use fine salt. Coarse salt isn't scrubby, its sharp and will slice the skin, I know this from first hand experience. If you want it to be scrubby, add some finely ground coffee or whatever your exfoliant of choice is.
 

not_ally

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From making brine soaps (more salt than regular soaps, less than salt soaps) and regular salt soaps, it does seem like salt cuts the lather, but makes it creamier. I like brine soaps b/c I like the way they look/feel more than regular salt soaps, but I use my regular recipe (w/about 15% coconut but other lather boosters) and just add brine, so they are less lathery than others might be w/more coconut oil. To me, it is worth the trade off so far. Still waiting for the salt bars to cure out, though, it has only been a month or so and according to all the mavens they need at least three for a real test.

The salt does seem to make a harder/less melty bar.

I like logs, always, and like to swirl, but keep a close eye on the log for cutting purposes, w/both brine and salt. Often when I cut they are hard on the outside but still warm and a little soft on the inside, but if I wait for longer they get crumbly.

You didn't ask - and I haven't used it based on wide-spread advice here - but Dead Sea salt will make the soap ooze.

If your hub does not mind drying, I would max out on CO. I am sensitive to it so don't - and use a higher SF than most probably - but if he is a lather fan I would look for some of Irish Lasses' posts, she is as well, and a great, thoughtful soaper.
 
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IrishLass

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1. Salt decreases lather, so lots of CO is needed to get lather.
I've found this to be very true. I use 100% coconut oil in mine.

2. Salt bars are incredibly rich with lather.
Much depends on your salt level, your coconut oil level, and your super-fat level as to how a salt bar will lather. Also the quality of the water you bathe in (i.e., hard or soft water) For what it's worth, 100% coconut oil salt bars with 100% salt and a 15% superfat gave me more of a foamy-type lather rather than a rich, bubbly-type lather. Lowering my superfat to 10% with the same formula gave me more of a bubbly lather rather than foamy lather. I use a totally different salt bar recipe than that nowadays that I like much better, though: 100% CO, 100% coconut milk as my water amount, 25% salt ppo and a 13% super-fat.

Question- are salt bars lathery because of the CO or because of the salt CO combo?
Definitely the coconut oil. Salt is a lather inhibitor and can actually kill lather, depending how much you use. If you use a lot of salt, the soap will still lather (if you use a high amount of coconut oil), but it won't be the typical lather you get from a soap without salt. It's more of a foamy-type lather.

Are the salt bars more lathery than 100% CO bars or less lathery than a 100% CO soap.
I find salt bars to be much less lathery than plain 100% coconut oil soaps without the salt.

3. Salt makes the soap more mild.
I have found this to be very true in my salt bars.


4. Higher levels of salt make soap more drying.
I personally have not found this to be true, but everyone's skin is different in what it can tolerate/not tolerate.

Question - Does salt really make soap more mild or just less lathery?
For me, the answer to that question is both- it makes it more mild and less lathery. :p

5. More salt makes a harder bar.
I've found this to be very true in my salt bars.


6. Don't use iodized salt.
I use iodized salt in mine with no problems. The salts to keep away from are Epsom salts and Dead Sea salt (unless you want really weepy, mushy salt bars).


7. Be mindful of the size/shape of the salt crystals because they can be sharp.
I've found this to be true. I only like to use fine-grade in mine.


8. Individual cavity molds work best but if you decide to use a log it must be cut within 2 hours.
Yes- indy-molds are great for salt bars, but if you are diligent in keeping a look-out for the gel stage after pouring your batter into a loaf mold, you can cut them fairly nicely if you unmold and cut right after they have firmed back up enough from the gel stage. I press on the top of mine to test if it's firm enough to stand up to cutting without turning to mush. The soap will still be hot, so use gloves. The amount of time it takes for a salt batch to go through gel will vary. I've had some batches firm back up from gel within 1 hour after pour and other batches that took 4 hours. I know of several soapers that cut their soap in 2 hours without really knowing if their soap went through gel or not, but for me, gel is the determining factor as to when I cut.

Cure time is 4 months.
This will depend entirely on you. I'm fine with using mine earlier. Although they do get even better with a longer cure (as do all soaps), my skin is fine with them at 4 weeks.


IrishLass :)
 
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Seawolfe

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I'm the same as IrishLass, I start using mine at 4 weeks and am happy with them.

You really just need to make a basic salt soap batch :)
 

Susie

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JayJay, you just need to make the soap and see how it works with how hard or soft your water is. No one can tell you that. Start with the lowest amount of salt that you think you ought to try, and increase it each subsequent batch. Make small batches. You should find your "Goldilocks" amount soon.
 

not_ally

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J, I made my first real round of salt bars about a month ago and made three batches, one at 80% salt, one at 50% and one at 30%. They take so long to cure that I didn't want to wait to do them sequentially, and I figured that someone would like the ones that were not my favorites, plus I wanted to test them side by side. Still somehow resisting testing them, although IL and Sea are tempting me :)
 

Seawolfe

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A month ago NA? Pffft give them to me - Ill test 'em!

I so rarely argue with any of the good sense that Susie shares, but I would actually start with a high salt bar and work down - or try what not_ally is doing. You may fall in love with your first batch and not move on (says the girl who keeps making 80% salt to oil weight salt bars and cant seem to stop :))
 

JayJay

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Thank you everyone for the detailed information and advice. I think that I have a better understanding now. I like to experiment but I think that I do better better when I base it in a theory. I made a 25% salt batch last night for the hubby who likes lather and isn't sensitive to dryness. I will make a 100% batch next. That should give me a good contrast.

Irish Lass - I will try your recipe next. Foamy lather sounds amazing. And I will be very happy to test at 4 weeks. ...but I won't hold my hopes too high. Also thanks for explaining the cutting process in more detail.

You all rock! Thanks for the help.
 

TeresaT

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I just tried my salt bars this morning on my very itchy poison ivy (and my face). It was pure heaven. I used the salt at 25% with 100 CO and SF at 20%. I cured them six weeks. The lather was lovely. Not bubbly (not my favorite) or creamy (is my favorite) but more of a foamy velvety texture (my new favorite?). I'm definitely making more of these bars. I'll try the same formula but a different type of salt.
 

JayJay

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I just tried my salt bars this morning on my very itchy poison ivy (and my face). It was pure heaven. I used the salt at 25% with 100 CO and SF at 20%. I cured them six weeks. The lather was lovely. Not bubbly (not my favorite) or creamy (is my favorite) but more of a foamy velvety texture (my new favorite?). I'm definitely making more of these bars. I'll try the same formula but a different type of salt.
Yay! Thanks for sharing. I unmolded my soaps this afternoon. I stood there in front of them imagining what they will feel like in the shower. I sniffed them and held them in my gloved hands, grinning. This is the hardest part of soaping for me-- the patience part! But now, somehow I feel like I have tried it after reading your descriptor.



What type of salt did you use and which will you try when you make more?

image.jpg
 

Seawolfe

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Oh my so pretty JayJay!! How did you get that dreamy dove grey color?
 

JayJay

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Thanks ladies! I get so excited when I unmold! I feel like a proud mama. And the soaps are my babies. I just can't wait to use them.

I used just a tiny bit of ultramarine blue oxide from BB.
 

shunt2011

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Those turned out lovely! I love salt bars.
 

TeresaT

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They are beautiful. What salt did you use? I used pink Himalayan, so I added just a touch of pink ultramarine to enhance the color. I really like the color of yours and I do have some blue ultramarine in the house, although it is not BBs.
 

JayJay

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They are beautiful. What salt did you use? I used pink Himalayan, so I added just a touch of pink ultramarine to enhance the color. I really like the color of yours and I do have some blue ultramarine in the house, although it is not BBs.
Thanks Teresa!

I used sea salt from Costco just because I had it on hand. It is slightly bigger sized crystals than regular table salt but still fine enough to go inside of a salt shaker.

Did you take pics of your pink soap? I would love to see it. I bet it's pretty.
 

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