Soap not Moisturizing / Lye Issues


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Dec 23, 2015
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Avocado 3 oz
Olive Oil 16 oz
Coconut Oil 4
Castor Oil 1 oz
Shea Butter 4 oz
Cocoa Butter 4 oz

Lye 4.19 oz
Distilled Water 8.38 oz

Hi, I had a couple issues..
1) I had a recipe where I added in 2 tablespoons of clay to a 4 lb batch by mixing the clay into oil before adding in the lye - is this too much clay? and does the clay make the soap less moisturizing by soaking up the oil?

2) the recipe above i ran through a soap calc and am confused with water discounting and how the lye amount and water amount can vary.. would this be okay to go ahead and try?

3) i've made a couple batches of soap and I am not sure because of the extreme cold winter months in canada that my skin had felt extra dry - should cold process soap make your skin feel super or more moisturzing in comparison to store bought "body bars" because i haven;t noticed an extreme difference.


Supporting Member
Sep 29, 2015
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Soap doesn't moisturize your skin, it rinses off before it could even get the chance. It does however clean your skin on varying levels.

1. 4 teaspoons of clay may be a better starting point for you. I have only used clay once and that was a 1 tsp for the lb of oils used. that soap is great.

2. water discounting would make more sense if you wanted to soap based on lye concentration or water:lye ratios. The highest water discount you can have would be 50% lye concentration or 1:1 water to lye.

3. WHEN did you make these soaps? Whether they be hot processed or cold, they need to cure before you use them or they will be irritating to your skin.

Please excuse me for not going further in depth.


Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2014
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So Cal
I'm too tired to plug that into a calculator, but what is the superfat for that recipe?

Offhand it looks like a nice recipe. Soap can't really moisturize, but it doesnt need to leave your skin feeling all dried out either. You want a recipe with low cleansing (even zero is fine) and high conditioning.

Also clay can be drying. I like to mix it with some water before adding, but some like oils.


Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2013
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As close as I can figure it, that soap has in the neighborhood of 6.5% superfat, with CO making up 13% of the total oils. This should not be a super drying bar of soap, assuming that it had a proper cure. How long did you cure it?

I don't use water discount, so I am no help there.

I don't routinely use clay, either, but I think the 1 tsp PPO (per pound of oils) is more in line with usual usage rates. I could be wrong, though.

What I want to know is what you were hoping to achieve with your ingredients. I see no palm/tallow/lard in there, which I am assuming you were trying to make up for by adding the butters. I would be a tad concerned that the percentage of butters is a tad high at 26%, and that might negatively impact your bubbles. You could help the bubble issue with a couple of tsp of sugar.


Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2013
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Looks like your recipe isn't way out of line from what everyone is saying. I have a couple of possibilities to add --

Coconut oil has a higher percentage of short-chain fatty acids compared with the other "cleansing" fats such as babassu and palm kernel oil. The soaps made from these fatty acids can be irritating and harsh to people with sensitive skin. Some people prefer to use palm kernel oil (not just palm -- palm kernel) to reduce the amount of these fatty acids or avoid the "cleansing" fats entirely.

Also if your water is hard, soap scum will feel sticky on the skin and can be mildly annoying or irritating.

I'm not saying either idea is what is actually happening, but they're something to consider.