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Recipe critique and advice please

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DMack

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I’m hoping someone with a few minutes could take a look over this recipe idea and let me know their thoughts

200g cocoa butter 50%
50g shea butter 12.5%
75 g sweet almond oil 18.8%
75g castor oil 18.8%

lye 51g
water 102g

super fat 5%

lye and water worked out using the soap calculator

thanks on advance
 

lenarenee

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What kind of properties are you hoping your soap has? i.e. good for dry skin, vegan bar, etc.?

Have you made soap before? This is NOT a good beginner recipe. Also I suspect the bar will be quite brittle, but I've never made a recipe similar to that- other members will probably have knowledge to add there.

Your recipe has mostly hard oils which is going to make your batter trace super fast.
There are no oils that provide the big happy bubbles - like coconut, palm kernel, or babassu. These are also the oils that can be drying to the skin if used in high amounts - it's recommended not to go over 30% - and some people find that too high. I suggest 20% to start with.

The castor oil is too high and will make a sticky bar (although with all those butters - maybe not?) Castor at 5% is a good starting point, 10% is recommended maximum.

So, I highly recommend reducing the butters and adding high oleic oils such as olive, high oleic sunflower or safflower (not sure what is economical in Scotland)

There are members here who have a lot more experience working with high butter than I do and I'd like to hear what they say.

So without knowing what properties you want in a soap, I very generally suggest 20 to 25% butters, 8% castor, 15% sweet almond, and the rest soft oils. Now, if you have lard available - that's a game changer if you're open to animal fats. Lard is wonderful in soap - it nearly matches the fatty acid content of human skin, and makes a richer tiny bubble lather. And really - better than butters and certainly less expensive (here in the US anyway)

If I have a moment, I'll check the amount of water in the calc. If not, then someone else here will. A 5% superfat is standard - good job.

ETA: that's a 35% lye concentration. That's a big no for your recipe. Your recipe will need full water - about 25 - 27% lye solution.
 
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DMack

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What kind of properties are you hoping your soap has? i.e. good for dry skin, vegan bar, etc.?

Have you made soap before? This is NOT a good beginner recipe.

Your recipe has mostly hard oils which is going to make your batter trace super fast.
There are no oils that provide the big happy bubbles - like coconut, palm kernel, or babassu. These are also the oils that can be drying to the skin if used in high amounts - it's recommended not to go over 30% - and some people find that too high. I suggest 20% to start with.

The castor oil is too high and will make a sticky bar (although with all those butters - maybe not?) Castor at 5% is a good starting point, 10% is recommended maximum.

So, I highly recommend reducing the butters and adding high oleic oils such as olive, high oleic sunflower or safflower (not sure what is economical in Scotland)

There are members here who have a lot more experience working with high butter than I do and I'd like to hear what they say.

So without knowing what properties you want in a soap, I very generally suggest 20 to 25% butters, 8% castor, 15% sweet almond, and the rest soft oils. Now, if you have lard available - that's a game changer if you're open to animal fats. Lard is wonderful in soap - it nearly matches the fatty acid content of human skin, and makes a richer tiny bubble lather. And really - better than butters and certainly less expensive (here in the US anyway)

If I have a moment, I'll check the amount of water in the calc. If not, then someone else here will. A 5% superfat is standard - good job.
thank you for your reply, I’m a newbie, only one batch so far and i tried olive oil (70%) and coconut oil (30%) but the feedback from other members is its perhaps too drying and it certainly irritated my skin so I’m leaving it to cure for longer and see what happens. I’m looking for a bar which is good for sensitive skin and moisturising and hoping to learn from everyone to be able to produce something suitable. It’s only for me and my family, I’m not selling nor planning to sell. I’m completely open to trying lard and that’s really cheap here, also sunflower oil is plentiful but I don’t know if it’s high oleic I’ll have to check the labels in the supermarket.
 

lenarenee

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I too would suggest just setting that olive/coconut on the shelf for a couple of months - and test it every month after that. Honestly - probably 6 months or more but see how it goes.

Here is my favorite recipe; it's perfect for my sometimes dry skin + the single digit humidity we can get here in California.

5% castor
15% coconut
15 - 20% olive, high oleic (ho is the abbreviation) safflower, or sunflower. Or rice bran oil. I bet avocado oil is pricey for you - it's pricey for me too and I'm surrounded by avocado trees. (just trying to give you some variety!)
60 to 65% lard.

I use sodium citrate as a chelator for hard water - it makes a difference!!

5% superfat to start and see how you like it.
I think a 30% lye concentration will be fine for your beginning skills because this recipe is slow to trace (thank you lard!)

And if you want to swap out 5 to 10% of that lard with cocoa or shea butter - go ahead. Just watch how much you use the stick blender as it will trace a little faster.

Questions? Happy to answer! Have you learned how to recognize emulsion (the minimum point where the lye and oil are mixed enough to saponify). there's a great video around here somewhere....

Oh, and start with 1 pound batches (I believe that about 453.5 grams). That way you have an excuse to make another soap with less or more coconut oil, or start adding some butters, or do other experiments with color and fragrance. You won't waste much if a batch fails - and there's always a good excuse to make MORE soap!
 

Dawni

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I second high lard! I too make a 60% lard soap and the family loves it. If its cheap go for it. @lenarenee is right, there's just no sub for lard coz it hits everything all at once - makes soap hard and long lasting, has some cleansing and bubbly properties, and has great conditioning properties.

I make a high butter soap regularly, but it's 45% total of shea, Cocoa and mango butters. This soap does not lather well below 4 months of cure, and even then its not the big bubby kind. It's more like a lotiony feel and may be a bit too hard to get to lather if used with very less coconut. But it feels awesome lol

I'd lower the castor too. Add coconut - I'm one who doesn't reach 20 either and I don't use a high SF too. If I'm going the high butter route then maybe 20% cocoa, 15% shea, 23% almond, 5% castor, 17% coconut, 20% another soft oil like olive, rice bran, sunflower, safflower, etc.

If you're using lard, you don't really need a lot of butters so maybe 10% each or in my case a tad more cocoa than shea (coz of cost), 5% castor, 15-20% coconut and the rest lard.
 

GemstonePony

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I LOVE high butter recipes. But I'm a little concerned it won't lather as well without any of the more cleansing oils. Here's what I'd change:
30% cocoa, 15% Shea, total 45% butters.
8% castor oil.

Either:
33% sweet almond or your high-oleic oil of choice
15% coconut oil or Babassu oil
or
25% sweet almond oil or your high oleic oil of choice
22% Palm Kernel oil (slightly less cleansing/higher oleic than the other oils)

Here's why:
Saponified butters aren't creamy, they're more like crayon. They can make the lather more durable, but on their own they don't give you much lather to work with.
Saponified castor oil makes soap more soluble which can create more bubbles, but over 8% can flatten the lather out.
High-oleic oils help thin everything out, I prefer enough of it to help the soap lather smoothly, but too much makes things slimy.
And the high cleansing oils (coconut, Babassu, palm Kernel) help kickstart the bubbles. Bubble starting= a lot of cleaning power, but you're starting with a 5% SF, so I estimated them to hopefully account for that without being too harsh.

If course, you can take this information and tweak according to your needs and what you want from your soap, but I hope some of this helps.

ETA: And here are some pics of a 5 week old scrap with nearly the same profile mentioned, at 3 seconds and 20 seconds of lather, respectively. One hand had to stay dry and take pictures, and at 5 weeks it's still pretty young, but you can still see the few larger bubbles it starts with and the dense foam it becomes.
 

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