palm oil and stearic acid

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MGM

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So....a year ago when I started soaping, I bought a big tub of palm oil. Then I learned more about sourcing of palm oil and decided I wasn't going to use it anymore once I ran out, and indeed, I ran out this very weekend and had to tweak a recipe on the fly :p

My problem: I need new recipes. And, I maybe need soy wax (and a trustworthy supplier for it). But in reading about palm, I'm coming across "stearic acid" and remembering that I bought a bag of it a number of months ago. Of course now I see that this also comes from palm (d'oh!) but now I'm thinking I can perhaps use the stearic acid to impart some of the hard oil properties of palm? Warnings seem to be around acceleration and spots, but is this even a useful thing to try to replace palm oil, or should I just use lard?

tnx!!
 

bookreader451

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I have never used it but a fellow soaper I know, that doesn't use palm, does. I don't know what amount she uses but, it is listed on soapcalc and I bet you can play around and get a decent recipe.

She owns a goat farm and uses her own goat milk and I love her soap.
 

Obsidian

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Even at 5%, stearic acid can seize soap. I use it in a vegan recipe at 5% with no other hard oils and it behaves ok but the soap isn't very good.
If you are ok with lard, I'd just go that route. It make great soap. You can swap the palm for lard straight across, just adjust your lye.
 

Kcryss

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Even at 5%, stearic acid can seize soap. I use it in a vegan recipe at 5% with no other hard oils and it behaves ok but the soap isn't very good.
If you are ok with lard, I'd just go that route. It make great soap. You can swap the palm for lard straight across, just adjust your lye.
I agree with @Obsidian. Lard makes amazing soap!

On of my kids refuses to use the lard soap though so trying to come up with something animal free for her. I was thinking about stearic as well, but don't really know how/when to use it in HP.

This is what I've come up with so far, but not really happy with the numbers yet.
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MGM

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Thanks for the advice! I don't mind lard at all; easily available and makes good soap at 100%, I know. I didn't know you could swap straight for palm; that's very easy!
I've still got a pound of stearic acid to do something with :p
 

Kcryss

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Thanks for the advice! I don't mind lard at all; easily available and makes good soap at 100%, I know. I didn't know you could swap straight for palm; that's very easy!
I've still got a pound of stearic acid to do something with :p
I use it in lotions, shampoo, and conditioner. :) I hear it's great for candles too but I've never made one.
 

Mobjack Bay

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For an animal fat soap, I love my lard-based recipe. Other than 100% OO, it’s the whitest base recipe I make. It’s easy to work at temps in the low 80s, which makes it super user friendly for swirling and complex designs where the soap needs to sit around waiting to be used. I could get that much time out of a palm-based soap at 20-25%, but anything above that always seems to move fast for me. I can use lard at 100% and it’s still user friendly. The one downside of lard for for me is the odor. It’s subtle and I didn’t notice it much at the beginning, but it’s becoming more obvious in my older soaps and as I make more vegetable fat based soap. Right now I’m using a lard/tallow blend instead of lard to see if I can cut down on the piggy smell, but I won’t know if it’s making a difference for a few more months. For an all vegetable fat recipe I’m falling in love with soy wax (GW 415) as I wean myself off palm. Based on the research I’ve done, I don’t think it has nearly as much palmitic & stearic as the “soy wax” given in the soap calculators, but it’s making a soap I really like at 20% with 10% Shea, 20% RBO and olive oil adding additional palmitic & stearic. The only downside for me is working at a higher temperature. Now that I’m over my fear of making soap at 125F I’m finding it pretty easy to work with. I can’t leave it sitting on the counter forever like I can with lard, but I do get plenty of time for mixing and swirling.
 

MGM

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Thanks! I'll probably go with lard primarily, stearic acid in lotions and maybe find some soy wax. But how can I tell which is the right soy wax? Just GW 415? My supplier sells Eco SoyWax Q210, Q220, and Q230 but that seems to mainly be for candles? Mind you, when I read the GW 415 description, it's all about candles too...
 

KiwiMoose

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Thanks! I'll probably go with lard primarily, stearic acid in lotions and maybe find some soy wax. But how can I tell which is the right soy wax? Just GW 415? My supplier sells Eco SoyWax Q210, Q220, and Q230 but that seems to mainly be for candles? Mind you, when I read the GW 415 description, it's all about candles too...
I use 415 because it has the lowest melting point, and there are no other additives. There is a near equivalent in the Eco range, but it has a higher melting point so I've stayed away from it.
 

Anstarx

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Lard and tallow are always good for hardness if you don't mind animal product. Soy wax is good to so I have yet to find a pure soy wax that doesn't require international shipping.

However, if you want to use stearic acid, maybe you can try calculate the amount of stearic acid and palmitic acid in your usual palm recipe and sub that part with pure stearic acid?

For ex. If you use 20% palm in your recipe, palm is 5% stearic and 44% palmitic acid according to soapcalc, which add to 49% hard fatty acid. Stearic acid is harder than palmitic acid as far as I know so you can start with a 3 palmitic: 1 stearic ratio, which means :
pure stearic acid=(5%+44%/3)x 20%, which means roughly 4% pure stearic acid and you can sub the rest 16% with other soft oil.
(Boy do I love to do calculations)

I've never used stearic acid in soap before but I think it could be fun to try in small batches and see how it goes and make change from there.
Stearic acid has a higher melting point so it could raise the batch temp and trace faster so there is that.
 

dibbles

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Stearic acid accelerates big time. I only tried it a couple of times and to me it isn’t worth the trouble making stinker it is.
 

Sony Sasankan

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Stearic acid is great when working with a lot of soft oils. A little goes a long way. Don't use more than 1% of your total oil weight and you should be good.
 

Complexions

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Another good use for your stearic acid would be to use it in a HP shave soap with KOH or a dual lye. I too like to use soy wax and stick to the 415 since it has no other additives.
 

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