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hyperhounds

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Hello,

I am brand new to soaping. After watching several videos and reading many articles I plan on trying out my first CP batch this weekend. My question is what is a good beginner recipe (with exact measurements). I have olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, avocado oil, almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter. And what temperature should I soap at to start with? Do I insulate and try and gel it or start by placing it in the fridge, or leave it on the counter without insulating?
I also have a few EO's (lavender, lemongrass, vanilla, orange, anise, clove). What is a good starter EO? and how much should be added?
What else should I know when starting out?
 

Susie

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The first thing you need to know is the safety equipment and procedures you need to follow.

The second thing is how to use a lye calculator.

The third thing is the rest of the equipment you need.

Start here:

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWnqXTqZTvU[/ame]

Then here:

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYhH20vWxvc[/ame]

Then try this lye calculator:

http://soapee.com/calculator

Then you need to try this recipe:

Lard/Tallow/Palm 60%
Olive Oil 20%
Coconut Oil 15%
Castor Oil 5%
Superfat 5%

You did not say what size your mold is, so I have no idea what your exact measurements should be. You can use the lye calculator to figure it out, though.

You absolutely need a good digital scale that can weigh 1/10 ounce and/or grams. Not a postal scale, it needs to be a kitchen scale. EVERYTHING in soaping is weighed.
 

snappyllama

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Ditto to everything Susie mentioned.

For your first batch, you might want to skip the EOs. If you do use one, I'd stay away from clove as you can only safely use a tiny amount of it and still be skin safe plus it can cause acceleration and heating. Orange is normally well behaved though it can fade easily unless it's folded (e.g. OrangeX10). Even then, most folks have better success with using clays and similar scent to anchor it. Lavender doesn't normally misbehave even though it's a floral. Sorry I don't normally use EOs so cannot comment on the others.

Brambleberry has a good calculator for EO and FO amounts.

Gelling or not is entirely up to you. I typically don't, but it's just personal preference.

Welcome to the addiction! Make sure to take and keep really good notes - temps, times, etc so you can duplicate your success!
 

notapantsday

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From one beginner to another:

Start out simple. My first batch was a 100% coconut oil soap with 20% superfat. It has two ingredients: Coconut oil and lye. I didn't use any fragrance (still don't) because they make everything more complicated and more likely to go wrong.

My first soaping experience went absolutely smooth because the recipe was simple and easy. I ended up with a batch of perfectly fine soap that I can actually use and that in itself was a huge motivation to keep going.

Now if I want to try something more sophisticated and it fails miserably, I still have that coconut soap to remind me that I can already make soap, just maybe not every type.

One thing I would have changed though is that I wouldn't have encouraged gelling. The soap turned a slightly translucent greyish tone instead of bright white. I did another plain white soap (lard and CO), this time discouraging gel and it looks much better.

As the others have said, safety is most important, especially eye protection. If you get a splash of lye into your eye, you may turn permanently blind. In case of a lye accident, quickly get off any clothes that have lye spilled on them and rinse your skin (or eyes) with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.
 

IrishLass

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Hello,

I am brand new to soaping.
Hello and welcome, Hyperhounds! :)

My question is what is a good beginner recipe (with exact measurements). I have olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, avocado oil, almond oil, shea butter and cocoa butter.
Another good beginner recipe (besides the one that Susie provided) is famously referred to as The Basic Trinity:

50% Olive
25% palm
25% coconut

As the others mentioned, though, unless we know your mold-size, we can't we can't properly size the recipe for you(i.e., give the exact weight measurements).

And what temperature should I soap at to start with?
The temp really depends on which kind of fats you're soaping (i.e., lots of hard fats need a higher temp), but for what it's worth, I've never gone wrong with a general soaping temp of 110F no matter what kind of fats I'm using.

Do I insulate and try and gel it or start by placing it in the fridge, or leave it on the counter without insulating?
That all depends on what kind of mold you have,....and whether or not you want to gel your soap, of course. What kind of mold will you be using?

For what it's worth, gelled soap sets up quicker and therefore can be unmolded quicker. Un-gelled soaps are typically softer at first and may need to spend an extra 12 to 24 hours in the mold before de-molding/cutting, but they eventually catch up to their gelled siblings. It just takes them a few weeks longer. I usually cure my ungelled batches 2 weeks longer than my gelled batches (which get a 4 to 6 week cure, btw).

And as Notapantsday mentioned- gelled soaps can look a bit translucent compared to their un-gelled siblings, especially if using 100% coconut and no colorants (lots of CO will do that to gelled soaps), but that can be completely overcome by the types of fats and/or colorants you use. For example, little TD will knock out all translucency in a heartbeat...and using lard and tallow too. Also- many colorants 'pop' when gelled (become more vivid and vibrant). That's one of the reasons why I personally prefer gelled soap over ungelled (and for other reasons, too).

I recommend making a batch of each- gelled and un-gelled- to see what you prefer.


I also have a few EO's (lavender, lemongrass, vanilla, orange, anise, clove). What is a good starter EO? and how much should be added?
When it comes to soaping with EOs, the generally accepted safe usage rate is to not exceed .5 oz per pound of the soaping oils in your recipe (ppo), although as Snappy said, clove should be used at a lower rate than that because it is a known sensitizer, and also because it doesn't play nice in soap (causes acceleration). If it were me, I would use the lavender for your first recipe, and I would add it at .5 oz. ppo.

What else should I know when starting out?
Safety first:

Treat the lye with respect- wear goggles and gloves, and don't breathe in the lye fumes when you are mixing your lye solution.

Don't mix lye in glass, not even Pyrex. Don't mix it in aluminum or tin either. Instead, use plastic with a recycle code of PP#5, or quality stainless steel, or Nalgene.

Use only stainless steel, plastic or silicone utensils (i.e., spoons, whisks, etc..)

Make sure your soaping area is clear of all children and pets and that there are no other distractions.

I'm sure others will chime in with more.


IrishLass :)
 

Arimara

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Here's the recipe for my first batch as I had less cocoa butter than anticipated:

Olive oil 45%
Coconut oil 22.08
Avocado oil 20%
cocoa butter 12.92%
Superfat- 5%

It's a little odd but you could always play around with it. The only thing I suggest is adding some castor oil somewhere in the mix. You could even knock the olive oil to 30-35% and include 5-10% shea butter and 5 percent castor oil if you like. :)
 

Dharlee

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Hi and welcome. I couldn't help but notice your name. If indeed you do have dogs (or any pet) please also be sure to NOT let them around at all when you're soaping. The lye or raw soap batter can really be caustic and cause a lot of harm. Same goes for children. Always think safety first.
 

hyperhounds

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thank you everyone for the advice. I have watched a bunch of videos and read a lot of books so I am prepared for the safety aspect of soaping. I just wasn't sure what recipe to start with.

I don't have an official soap mould yet. I have a 1 litre milk carton and a silicone 6 muffin tray tin. I was going to use those for the first batch.
Do I need to spray the silicone tray with anything before use?

I do like the idea of trying one that gels and one that doesn't.
And I will try the lavendar EO first if that is a good one to start with.

thank you for all the tips.

I do have four dogs :) they will be far away from where I will be soaping.
 
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dixiedragon

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What is the inside of the milk carton lined with? If it's waxed cardboard, it's fine. But grease it with a little mineral oil. If it silver, then it might not be safe. Lye and aluminum are a BAD combo. For example, if you use a Pringles can, you have to line it, b/c there is some aluminum on the inside.

If you want to gel some and not gel some, gel the milk carton - you probably won't even have to do anything but wrap it in a towel. leave the muffin ungelled.

I scented my first batch, and it's not that hard. I would use the lavender or the lemongrass. Or both! Not the orange - IME it slows down trace and makes soap soft. Not the clove - exact opposite problem. Your soap will go from thin to cold mashed potatoes in about 10 seconds. I don't think your vanilla is an EO, unless you paid a LOT for it!

Put your scale inside a clear Ziploc bag. That way it won't be damaged by a spill.
 

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