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Violet_21

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Hi everyone! I’m a newbie to making soap, and this will be my first recipe! I was wondering if there was anything I might want to change to make a better bar. Here is my recipe:

5% Castor Seed Oil
15%Coconut Oil
35% Olive Oil
25% Shea Butter
20% Tallow or Lard (depending on what I can find… Does anyone have a preference? Why?)

SF: 7%

The two recipes in SoapCalc are attached below!

I want to use my lye-water solution to melt my oils (which would be at room temperature). I read that soaping at room temperature discourages the soap from going through a gel phase because the batter is at a lower temperature. Since the lye solution is very hot, would this still be the case? I do want to encourage (and ultimately go through) the gel phase. Do you have tips to do both? Also, has anyone used Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) essential oil in their soap? From what I read, it has a lemony scent, so I was wondering if it dissipates in soap like other citrus essential oils tend to do.

Thank you guys so much for your help! I really appreciate it! I can’t wait to get started!

Recipe with Tallow #1.jpg


Recipe with Lard #1.jpg
 

DeeAnna

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With about 45% combined solid fats (lard, tallow, shea), I personally would not use the "heat transfer" method to melt that much solid fat. It might work okay, but I believe I get more consistent melting if I melt the solid fats in the microwave until they are just warm enough to turn transparent. In particular, I think this avoids little "stearic soap" bumps I sometimes see in my finished soap.

Then I add the room temp oils and any fragrance or other additives, stick blend briefly to combine, then add the lye. Pulse briefly with a stick blender to combine the lye with the fats -- 1-2 seconds max -- then hand stir for 15-30 seconds to get a sense of how the batter is going to behave. Pulse briefly with the SB again if needed to bring the batter to emulsion, hand stir to evaluate. If needed, another short pulse or two of the SB if the texture isn't quite right for my plans. I don't get in a hurry and I don't do lots of stick blending.

As far as avoiding gel, the room temp method does not ensure your soap won't gel (or will gel, for that matter). Instead, I recommend you change from using "water as % of oils" to either lye concentration or water:lye ratio. Your lye concentration is 25% to 26% and that's really low (too much water). Instead, use a 33% lye concentration or 2:1 water:lye ratio (these mean exactly the same thing) and make your soap. Your soap is unlikely to gel if you use this much less water.
 

Violet_21

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Thank you so much for your response! :) I will definitely be changing my recipe in Soap Calc with your recommendations. Thank you again for your help!
 
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shunt2011

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^^^
This exactly. However, I'm confused if you want to gel or not. If you want it to gel then you can use a higher water content or you can soap warmer and wrap well to insulate. I do find that with 33% I have a more difficult time getting gel. So, I lightly wrap it and put it in my oven (preheated at lowest temp then shut off).
 

DeeAnna

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Just to add -- the heat transfer method works fine if you have a recipe that is mostly liquid fats and a little bit of solid fat -- maybe 10% to 20% or so. In that case, there's enough lye in proportion to the solid fat to get the fat melted properly. I still would be cautious, having had a few close calls when I still used this method. I'd put only the solid fat in the soap pot, add the hot lye, stir by hand until the solid fat is melted. If the solid fat does not fully melt, then quick-like-a-bunny warm the reserved liquid fat in the microwave before adding to the soap pot, so the whole thing is warm enough to ensure the solid fat is fully melted.
 
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Susie

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^^^That.

Also, that much shea butter will probably inhibit your lather quite a bit. I would use no more than 15% shea butter, and add the remainder to the lard.

I use Litsea cubeba EO frequently in CP soaps. It does give a citrusy type scent, but it does not stick well. I would suggest lemongrass EO if you are looking for a nice citrusy scent that will stick. Use 0.5 oz PPO of either.
 

Violet_21

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I'm sorry I wasn't clear on whether I want to gel or not. I do, so I really appreciate the options you both explained to me. Thank you DeeAnna and shunt2011 for the help and clarity in your answers. It really helps!!

Susie, I really appreciate the information on the eo and your suggestion about the Shea Butter. I will definitely be looking into lemongrass as well!
 
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Susie

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Tallow and lard mixed together makes the best bars, IMHO. The problem, for me, is that tallow is expensive compared to lard when I have to order it. And I just do not have time to render it anymore.
 

Violet_21

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I might have to do that dixiedragon... Thank you for your input!
 

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