Primary attempt - oils & some basic questions

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Hi,
I have been reading a bit & waiting for supplies to arrive. Availability of soap making supplies including oil is scare in my region (in India). As of now I have managed to procure coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil. I am not able to find a local or online source for Palm oil which is my only viable option for a 'hard' oil other than coconut (though refined Palm Olein is available).

I have ordered olive oil but it will take some time to arrive. Please suggest a formulation based on coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil (for a 500g batch).

Thanks :)
 

SheLion

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What type of soap do you want to make? A bath/shower bar; a kitchen bar for hands? Also, are there any skin concerns such as dry skin that you're formulating for? We need a bit more info about what kind of soap you want.
 

Steve85569

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Rice bran - 70 to 80%
Coconut - 15 - 25%
Castor - 5%


Run it through a lye calculator with a 5 to 7% superfat.

Small batches are a very good place to start. Let this cure for a minimum of 4 weeks.

Steve

Hi,
I have been reading a bit & waiting for supplies to arrive. Availability of soap making supplies including oil is scare in my region (in India). As of now I have managed to procure coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil. I am not able to find a local or online source for Palm oil which is my only viable option for a 'hard' oil other than coconut (though refined Palm Olein is available).

I have ordered olive oil but it will take some time to arrive. Please suggest a formulation based on coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil (for a 500g batch).

Thanks :)
 

docview

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@SheLion I should have provided more information, It will be a bath soap for dry/normal skin.

@Steve85569 I'll go with 26% Coconut, 69% RBO, 5% Castor with 6% SF

@Susie I have been using Soapcalc/Soapee for a week & tinkering with various parameters. All my calculations were done with Coco-olive combination. I had to return my Olive oil container due to spillage. I read that despite being a soft oil Olive soaps become harder with time . I'm not sure whether Rice Bran oil soap has similar trait. If I increase Coconut content 'cleansing' attribute goes above 25 & if I increase RBO content it may result in a softer bar. I'assuming I will have to increase SF level if I intend to use more coconut as some soapers do with 100% Coconut bath soap.

@The Efficacious Gentleman I would be using vegetable oils. After searching the forums I found few threads on RBD Palm Olein, I think I'll use in near future even though it has different composition to Palm oil.

Thanks for your response.
 
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Susie

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I am glad you are using a lye calculator, it makes soaping so much safer.

You need to get the coconut oil down to 20% or lower. It is very drying/stripping to most people. Some people tolerate higher amounts fine, but since you said it is for dry/normal skin, you might want to start lower then increase as you find it is tolerated well. I can't use 100% coconut oil soap, no matter what the SF is.
 

earlene

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Hi,
I have been reading a bit & waiting for supplies to arrive. Availability of soap making supplies including oil is scare in my region (in India). As of now I have managed to procure coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil. I am not able to find a local or online source for Palm oil which is my only viable option for a 'hard' oil other than coconut (though refined Palm Olein is available).

I have ordered olive oil but it will take some time to arrive. Please suggest a formulation based on coconut oil, rice bran oil & castor oil (for a 500g batch).

Thanks :)
Welcome, Docview. I hope you enjoy soap making as much as the rest of us.

As a vegetarian, when I began soap making I used soft oils mostly, and a bit of coconut oil. I had not even tried palm for over a year after starting soaping because I wasn't convinced it was an environmentally wise choice. And animal fats were taboo in my home. Even coconut oil was something I only used sparingly because I have a personal dislike for coconut. I did occasionally add a small amount of lanolin, which as we know comes from the wool of sheep, but the sheep are not slaughtered for the lanolin, so I never felt it was taboo.

Anyway, the point I am making is that you can make soap with soft oils and they work just fine. Castile soap (100% Olive Oil) makes a very hard bar of soap, so even hardness is possible with soft oil soaps.

What other kinds of cooking oils are sold in your part of India? I ask because you may have other oils at your disposal that you may also use.

If you want, you can also make a 100% rice bran soap. Or 95% rice bran and 5% Castor to boost the lather.

You can also boost bubbles by adding 1-3 teaspoons of sugar per pound of oil. Dissolve in boiling water and allow to cool before adding to either the oils or the lye solution. Remember to deduct the weight of the water used for the sugar solution from the water needed for the lye solution.

Coconut oil is an oil that some people find to be very drying to the skin when used in soap, but others not so much. So how much is used in a recipe varies based on personal preference and skin reactions. For me, I prefer to use it only in small percentages most of time.


FYI, here are some links to single oil soap experiments done by other soapers to evaluate properties that each oil may bring to soap. It is a fun experiment and I learned a lot about different oils by repeating this experiment myself using different oils I had on had.

http://www.zensoaps.com/singleoil.html

A similar test with results reported in 3-part intervals:
Phase One - making the soaps
Phase Two - 8 weeks
Phase Three - 1 year
 

docview

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@Susie Thanks, I plan to make 2-3 small batches with varying levels of Coconut oil & make a note when I use them. As I gain more experience I'll experiment with replacing water with milk, adding oatmeal etc to reduce the harshness. I have stocked up on a large quantity of organic cold-pressed Coconut oil since it was the only hard oil available to me & I also intend to use it for laundry soap.

@earlene Thanks for sharing your experience. Most of the oils locally available are refined oils used for cooking. They include Soybean, Peanut, Sunflower, Sesame, Mustard, Palm Olein & Rice Bran (physically refined). Vegetable shortening is also available but manufacturer rarely discloses the exact percentage of an individual oil. I did go through the second test link, it is an interesting read. It seems RBO has a slightly longer shelf life when compared to Sunflower oil.

I had been calculating water as percentage of oils in soapee calculator without changing the value . I read a post advocating to use Lye Concentration - should I switch or is it a matter of personal preference.
 

earlene

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The cooking oils available to you are all usable in soap.

I have used all but two you mention. I have actually not seen Mustard Oil, and I expect it's expensive. Probably not really good in soap, but then I don't know. It does show up in the Soapee lye calculator. I have not seen Palm Olein in our stores, but I haven't looked for it, either. It is another one that does show up in Soapee's list of oils, so I guess people use it for soap.

Regarding vegetable shortening, unless your brand shows up on the lye calculator, I wouldn't use it in soap. Too many variables.

As far as lye concentration vs using the default setting in the lye calculator: When new I just used the default. I switched to lye concentration later and do like it. To start out, I think it's best to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. So letting the lye calculator figure those things out for you frees up your mind to focus on all the other new things you are learning. After mastering the process of making soap successfully, then consider different complexities. Just my opinion, of course.
 

Soapprentice

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Hi docview, I am from India as well, we do not have palm oil here, palmolein is the best we get. I made a soap with and without palmolein and like the one without. I used 70% soft oils, 15% shea n 15% coconut. It is a good soap... took about 2 and half days to unmould though.

I mostly use soft oils and found that using vinegar helped unmoulding. Check out vinegar threads in the forum. The knowledge you gain here is marvelous. Where in India are you from?

Coming to lye concentration, I use default for none to less design soaps... due to this amazing forum, I came to know the higher the lye concentration, more fluid the batter ( so that we can try out different designs like swirls). So will have to try out and see how I like higher lye concentration. Like you said, personal preference.
 
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@earlene Mustard oil (Kachi Ghani) is slightly expensive compared to other cooking oils though all cooking oils are reasonably priced (1.15 - 2.4 USD per liter). An advantage of using mass-marketed cooking oils is availability of fresh stock. I have also read unfavorable remarks about Mustard oil in soap making. Another easily available oil/butter is Cow/Buffalo Ghee (mentioned in Soapee) . Many soap makers have mentioned it leaves a distinct odor.

@Soapprentice Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm from M.P. though sometimes in summers I shift to Himalayan foothills (Shimla/Manali) contingent on work. Which brand of Palm Olein did you use? I'll be going through the vinegar threads you mentioned.

Thanks
 

docview

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I've made my first soap. I was surprised by how quickly it reached trace, almost seized. Lye temperature was 95°F, oils - 100°F .





Thanks Susie, I plan to avoid oils which leave an unpleasant odor.


I have read few threads about 100% CO laundry soap overheating. Do I need to
cool with an ice bath after transferring it to a mold? Also, any change required in 'water as a percent of oils' percentage?

Thank You
 

Soapprentice

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The soap looks good, which oils did you go with?

The same thing happened with my 1st soap docview, I don't think it was a seize now, more like a very thick trace. In India, we tend to have a higher climate, so I am thinking on using water discount next time to control trace and overheating as my understanding based on multiple posts on here is higher water leads to higher temperature in mould.

My 1st soap gelled pretty fast in winter, I can't imagine how heated the soap made in summer would get considering it will go upto 50 degrees Centigrade here.
 

earlene

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Your soap looks great, docview. How did you get those perfect straight cuts? I can't seem to manage those no matter how careful I am without my BudCutter.
 

docview

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Thanks Soapprentice, I used CO, rice Bran oil & castor oil with a bit of salt & sugar (33% lye concentration). I intend to use homemade coconut milk for my next bath soap .
You are right about summers - it gets scorching hot. I plan to make CO laundry soap in evening as there is a slightly cool breeze these days. I was also wondering about the effect that 7-8 months of hot summers will have on shelf life of soap.

Thanks earlene. It was a small batch hence I used a crinkle cutter to cut 4-5 bars. I am glad that whole initial process of soap making was over in less than 30 minutes . Whereas my first homemade lamp project took over 6 hours.
 

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Your soap looks lovely and I am sure you will enjoy it. I find Rice Bran to be quite nice in soap in place of OO. But then I am not a big fan of olive in soap. Do you have any hard butters indigenous to your area or that are easily acquired? Using butters in the 10% range can add some hardness and longevity to your soap
 

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My 100% coconut oil for laundry soap doesn't overheat - but it does get hot and gels very fast. Soap closer to room temp when you do, and don't fill the mold up all the way. A slab mold - even if it's a box with a plastic liner - will cool off quicker. Ive never needed an ice bath. You can decrease the water, I did last time, but it just made it so I had to cut and grate it earlier before it hardened too much, so I wont decrease the water as much next time (if at all).

And those are fabulous looking soaps! Congratulations!
 

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