Palm oil help?

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New Member
Apr 7, 2022
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United States
Newbie here! Please be gentle ;) all advice is greatly appreciated!

So I thought I was purchasing the correct thing for palm oil but then, self doubt set in. Of course after I had purchased it and used it in my soap. It was palm kernel flakes. What in the heck is the difference? Is my soap no good? I'm rather frustrated with myself but thankfully I only bought a small amount and, I'm sure in time with practice I'll figure more out about all the different oils available for soaping.

Thanks Everyone!
Sep 19, 2011
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Southern California
Palm Oil is many times as a vegan replacement for lard and is made from the fruit of the Palm and Palm Kernel Oil which sometimes is sold in flake form, aka, PKO is made from the kernel of the palm. Palm Kernel Oil is used as a replacement for Coconut oil since it has cleansing values such as Coconut and Babassu oils, and is one of the bubbly oils. Some of us use CO and Pko split as I always preferred to do.

You upped your cleansing value so your soap will be much more cleansing and will also depend on your superfat. If you used the SAP value for Palm oil and used PKO in its place you will have used too much lye (depending on your other oils), since the SAP values are different for Palm and Palm Kernel. Depending on your superfat it should be fine probably be a more cleansing soap that you want. If the soap does not zap after curing and the cleansing factor does not bother you it is fine to use. If it zaps a longer cure time can fix it.


Well-Known Member
Jul 19, 2019
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Cloud District
Your recipe used will be helpful, butr overall you can think of PKO as a slightly milder coconut oil. It will up the cleaning factor and too much can be very drying, but your soap will still be soap. If after cure you found it to be drying, consider rebatching or use it as dish/ laundry soap.


Grandmother & Soaper
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Apr 30, 2016
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Western Illinois, USA
Can you share the actual recipe you used? Show what you thought you had, then show what your really had.

You can reverse-engineer a soap formula by entering the corrected oils with the actual amounts you added into a lye calculator and then to get the correct lye & liquid amount, all you have to do is adjust Superfat up or down until you come to the amount of lye you actually used. The result will tell you what to expect from this particular soap as regards to cleansing number, etc.

If you find it hard to do the reverse-engineering process via a soap calculator (my instructions may be too simplistic), share the recipe you went by, and I will be glad to do the reverse-engineering for you (or someone else here may beat me to it if I don't respond right away.) If you share the recipe, please include everything about it in weights of oil, lye, liquid, additives, CP or HP, etc.

PKO is a replacement for Coconut Oil, as is Babassu Oil, so if you used PKO + CO, you will have a harsher (more cleansing - aka strips the skin of natural skin oils) soap than you intended. It really depends on how much you used.

Rebatching soap to correct problems really requires that you know what you ended up with, and close inspection of your recipe is how you get there, as well as identifying what result you are aiming for.