Reverse engineering "luxury bar soap" recipes

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Marsi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2020
Messages
346
Reaction score
617
Location
australia
Thank you for that information - do you know a resource where I can learn more? It's interesting how physically manipulating the soap makes a difference. The palm/pko soap I made sure could have benefitted from some milling as the texture was...chalky in appearance, filled with minute holes. Wonder if I saved one...
The audio is terrible but this short video gives a good summary of an older commercial process
the milling part is still similar

Youtube also has a lot of modern Indian people using smaller machinery that works to this process

A very rudimentary test of this process can be achieved with a hammer or mallet - you can see the soap texture change


And since they can always pour in additives in the final process (to improve soap performance) - they base oils are NOT chosen for their soap calc performance properties -- but maybe only for final feel (after being milled) as @Marsi explains.

@kagey
I think you have misunderstood

The industrial soapmakers DO choose oils for their performance properties.
To a level of detail that is incredible
(as ... triglycerides vary in their soaping properties, dependant on the lcoation of the fatty acid on the glycerine backbone. In industrial soap calculators each variant is a named ingredient)

Palm trees produce oils that are good for soaping
It was one logical choice as a vegetable oil replacement for Tallow in commercial manufacturing
The plant grows quickly and produces a large quantity of well profiled oils

Palm oil is cheap (meaning low cost) to produce
the industrial growing of Palm oil is like feedlots for cows
economy of scale reduces the price for raw ingredients

Trivia - did you know that one industrial soapmaker has their own Palm plantations?
(the plantation names in Google maps are there to see, if you are interested in looking for them)
 
Last edited:

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,046
Reaction score
5,764
Location
Oregon
And if it's not terrible soap and the ingredients are easy to get and (in many cases) the actual manufacturing is done for more than one brand in one location - why would they have a different recipe? They are not artisan soap makers! Many of them aren't even soap makers in any meaningful way, but they let someone else make the soap with their branding

Private Label/Wholesale. One of the biggest is the Bradford Soap Works in Rhode Island. They make soap for global brands like AMBI, Aveeno, basis, Biore, Cetephil, Dial, Dove, Johnson's Baby, Neutrogena, Olay, Palmer's, and PURPOSE. Organic brands like Burt's Bees, Method, Meyers, Tom's of Maine, Dr Bronner's. Luxury brands like Paul Mitchell, Every Man Jack, Clinique, Aramis. Direct sell to Amway, doTERRA, Forever, Mary Kay, Nu Skin, Posh. And retailers like AVEDA, Bath and Body Works, Origins, Target and Walmart. Those are just the ones they mention. They do finished soap (see above) and soap noodles (that's your PO, PKO, CO and Tallow) that's mentioned in the majority of commercial soaps.

I have one wholesale client that I make Goat Milk Soap for...uncolored, scented. I make it, cut it into bars, stamp it with a little goat, let it cure for four weeks and then wrap each loaf and ship to them. They cure it for another two weeks, package it with their own label and sell it. As far as their customers know...the owners make the soap themselves
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,019
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Ohio
But I did see some folk imply that PO & PKO is a "crappy recipe" that's "cheap" and only used "to increase margins." Sounds to me that this line of reasoning runs counter to the purpose of many of these companies.
No one “implied” anything. It was directly stated.
You think that corporations are acting in your best interest? No, corporations exist to make money. They, at best, create a dependency on a certain product/service (like Amazon). Luckily for soap, you can find millions of options, commercial and handmade. That’s where marketing comes in…
I’m not sure why this idea is bothering you so much…
As I see it, people were just matching the energy you put out in your post/replies
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,046
Reaction score
5,764
Location
Oregon
Also sorry @TheGecko if you felt I gave some "tude." My passion for soapmaking sometimes gets the better of me. In the future, I'll be sure not to respond with something like: TheGecko said: Because we don't already have a billion dollar label that allow us to sell crap?

As some might find this is condescending.

Wow...really? Did I just time travel back to high school? Best be digging out my disco dudes and the Bee Gees.

I wasn't being condescending. Aren't these supposed to be 'luxury' soaps? PO, PKO, CO and Tallow are the cheapest oils you can purchase in order to legally label your product as "soap". Ingredient wise...these soaps aren't any better that Dial or Palmolive...just fancier packaging.

When I think 'luxury'...the KOA Kampground doesn't spring to mind. $38 for 3.53 oz (by volume) I expect to be hanging out at The Plaza Hotel with some white glove butler service.

@Zany_in_CO Your green mountain veggie formula looks a lot like what you can find at Dr. Squatch, Bearsville and Sudsy Bear. Which begs the question: how do you differentiate yourself from the market when you're imitating it?

How do you know that it isn't them imitating Zany?

There is no such thing as an 'original' soap...every soap we make has been made before in some form or fashion so in essence we are all imitating each other. I know I'm not the first person to use Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor Oils, and Cocoa and Shea Butter in a soap. I'm not the first person to make a Lemon Soap or a Coffee Soap or a Lavender Soap or or use freshly squeezed goat milk or blah blah blah. And I'm okay with that. But what differentiates my soap from Katie's soap or Julie's or Holly's or Lisa's or Keeley's or Tiggy's or Clyde's or Patrick's or a hundred other soap makers I can name...is me. If you took the labels off all the aforementioned soaps...I could tell you whose soap are who's because their soaps are a reflection of them.

.
 

Johnez

What if I....
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
430
Reaction score
894
Location
Omaha, NE
@Zany_in_CO
Your green mountain veggie formula looks a lot like what you can find at Dr. Squatch, Bearsville and Sudsy Bear. Which begs the question: how do you differentiate yourself from the market when you're imitating it?

I'm not 100% but I think Zany's been at it quite a while longer. Dr. Squatch has only been around since 2015 or so. Ain't nothing new under the sun anyway.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
2,278
Reaction score
3,607
Location
Southern California
The audio is terrible but this short video gives a good summary of an older commercial process
the milling part is still similar

Youtube also has a lot of modern Indian people using smaller machinery that works to this process

A very rudimentary test of this process can be achieved with a hammer or mallet - you can see the soap texture change




@kagey
I think you have misunderstood

The industrial soapmakers DO choose oils for their performance properties.
To a level of detail that is incredible
(as ... triglycerides vary in their soaping properties, dependant on the lcoation of the fatty acid on the glycerine backbone. In industrial soap calculators each variant is a named ingredient)

Palm trees produce oils that are good for soaping
It was one logical choice as a vegetable oil replacement for Tallow in commercial manufacturing
The plant grows quickly and produces a large quantity of well profiled oils

Palm oil is cheap (meaning low cost) to produce
the industrial growing of Palm oil is like feedlots for cows
economy of scale reduces the price for raw ingredients

Trivia - did you know that one industrial soapmaker has their own Palm plantations?
(the plantation names in Google maps are there to see, if you are interested in looking for them)

awesome video 😎
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,481
Reaction score
11,461
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Btw, the brands you posted - I followed the links and found many of them have ingredients in their soaps like olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera, almond oil...etc.

Thank you for mentioning that. I have been a diligent label reader for as long as I can remember being a consumer, and knew the statement about only two oils being used by "All of them" was glaringly incorrect, but did not mention it, partly because it is so obvious and partly because I wanted to stay on point in my response.

Folks have been using Olive Oil or Tallow for thousands of years...it was all there was. One of the oldest known soaps is Aleppo Soap...it's made with Olive Laurel Berry Oils.

And thank you for mentioning single oil soaps. Another thought that came to mind and not said. But perhaps the OP did not find any so-called luxury soaps when looking at labels.

To recap:
PO & PKO only recipes will only create "crap soap."
So, these companies go through the expensive process of triple-milling it (provided that they all do that) to give it a more luxurious feel.
Then, they add their signature scent to the "crap soap" which allows them to sell it for a premium.
And they do this because PO & PKO are the cheapest oils?
Is this the conclusion of this forum?
NO, this is NOT the conclusion of this forum! I do believe you are misinterpreting what has been stated by a few as a consensus of all. That's about as accurate as you saying ALL commercial soap companies only use two oils to make their products, which obviously is not at all accurate. (I have been reading soap labels for a very long time, and it seems you may have missed some ingredients listed on some of the labels you have been reading.)
 

Latest posts

Top