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jenny1271

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Does anyone know who is the source for the soap quality numbers for hardness, cleansing strength, conditioning, bubbliness, and creaminess? Thanks in advance!!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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The scores are based on the properties of the resulting salts of fatty acids (soap) from your recipe. So if you have a lot of stearic acid, the hardness will be high as you will have a lot of sodium (or potassium) stearate.
 

DeeAnna

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The method of determining "the numbers" in SoapCalc was originally created by some soapers from the Dish forum, but the SoapCalc owner keeps that information current on his website.

If you want to know how the numbers are calculated, it's not magic. You can do it yourself if that's what you want to do and you have the fatty acid breakdown of the fats you want to use. I explain more here: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showpost.php?p=383997&postcount=17 and wrote a followup here: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showpost.php?p=468038&postcount=10
 

jenny1271

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Yes, I am trying to understand how they are calculated! I will be reviewing those previous posts you indicated very carefully. Thank you. (I'll also review how to search for past threads so I won't keep asking questions that have already been addressed.) Thank you everyone. Your replies have provided lots of clues for which I had previously been searching fruitlessly!
 

commoncenz

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Yes, I am trying to understand how they are calculated! I will be reviewing those previous posts you indicated very carefully. Thank you. (I'll also review how to search for past threads so I won't keep asking questions that have already been addressed.) Thank you everyone. Your replies have provided lots of clues for which I had previously been searching fruitlessly!
Hi Jenny,

I have found the following link extremely useful when searching for past threads in the forum. I believe I found it on the thread about searching the site and now I use it at least 4-5 times a day. lol

http://sitecomber.com/search.php?domains=www.sitecomber.com&client=pub-1307489338039489&forid=1&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&cof=GALT%3A%23008000%3BGL%3A1%3BDIV%3A%23FFFFFF%3BVLC%3A663399%3BAH%3Acenter%3BBGC%3AFFFFFF%3BLBGC%3A150567%3BALC%3A000000%3BLC%3A000000%3BT%3A0000FF%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BLH%3A0%3BLW%3A0%3BL%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fsitecomber.com%2Flogo-490x90.jpg%3BS%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.sitecomber.com%3BFORID%3A11&hl=en&channel=5823071447&q=&sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.soapmakingforum.com&sa=Search&safe=active
 

Susie

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With all due respect(and I do respect you, as I have learned quite a lot from you), the links DeeAnna provided were and are extremely helpful for me and many others. I am one of those darned "why" learners. If I don't understand why, I simply can't retain and use that information. DeeAnna provided that "why" for me. I can now actually grasp what soap is going to be like without getting obsessed with those SoapCalc numbers. I know that the "values" on SoapCalc really don't predict what the soap will be like, but it was a great learning tool when I started.
 
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lsg

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I for one, use SoapCalc a lot. I don't have a background in chemistry, so it has been a helpful tool for me. You can always look at the properties of each oil and see what it contributes to a soap recipe.
 

topofmurrayhill

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With all due respect(and I do respect you, as I have learned quite a lot from you), the links DeeAnna provided were and are extremely helpful for me and many others. I am one of those darned "why" learners. If I don't understand why, I simply can't retain and use that information. DeeAnna provided that "why" for me. I can now actually grasp what soap is going to be like without getting obsessed with those SoapCalc numbers. I know that the "values" on SoapCalc really don't predict what the soap will be like, but it was a great learning tool when I started.
I'm not saying don't use the numbers at all, but these explanations leave out some of the most valuable information you could be given about those numbers, like how they really veer off into unreality by making no distinction between completely different soaps like sodium oleate and linoleate.

And then we add to the mess by proposing things that make no sense, like Longevity = Hardness - Cleansing. Seriously? You can figure out this has no bearing on reality in less than a year of soapmaking. One of the most soluble soaps -- even though it creates gel a.k.a. slime instead of cleaning well -- is sodium oleate. To say that coconut oil decreases the longevity of soap but olive oil doesn't is obviously wrong. What makes it even more obvious is that sodium linoleate makes mush in contact with water and obviously creates short lived soap. In fact, even though it doesn't get included in "cleaning" and "bubbly," experimenters with single oil soaps have found that linoleic oils like sunflower make rather soluble soap that lathers well.

So these explanations are basically adding to confusion and generating more information viruses. When combined with a good balance of stearate and palmitate, lauric oils make a hard and long-lasting bar. The surest and most demonstrable way to make short-lived soap is to use the "soft" oils, so in this case I'm on Soapcalc's side.
 

DeeAnna

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"...And then we add to the mess by proposing things that make no sense, like Longevity = Hardness - Cleansing. Seriously? You can figure out this has no bearing on reality... To say that coconut oil decreases the longevity of soap but olive oil doesn't is obviously wrong...."

You do not understand the math behind the formula "Longevity = Hardness - Cleansing". The formula "Longevity = Stearic + Palmitic" might play better for you and it would give precisely the same answer. The answer from either formula excludes myristic and lauric acids AND oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.

Why did I use the Soapcalc numbers and not the fatty acid percentages? I chose to use information familiar to most soapers rather than data that is not as familiar, especially to newer soapers. "The numbers" are here to stay as long as Soapcalc is the go-to online soap recipe calculator for a lot of soapers. I'm trying to give new soapers some of the background behind "the numbers" so they can broaden their understanding.

My the ultimate goal is to help new soapers better understand the fatty acid profiles of their recipes and develop the skill of evaluating the fatty acid profiles directly. I'm not going to help people reach that goal by belittling or criticizing other for using "the numbers", just as a kid uses training wheels on his bicycle. When new soapers are ready to take the training wheels off and use the fatty acid profile directly, they will, but they'll reach this point faster in an environment that is as non-judgmental as possible. Creating that environment of productive learning begins by using tools they are familiar with.

From craftserver.com: "...What I'm talking about is that idea of playing with the numbers to make them better (it's definitely fun and I did a lot of that when I was starting out)...."

This sentence shows you too have followed the same path as most of the rest of us have, so I am dismayed that you have so little empathy and tact for those who are still learning the ropes. You don't like the Soapcalc numbers, and that's fine, but the sharply loaded language you often use is ~not~ creating an environment in which others are comfortable enough to listen to the wisdom of your words.
 
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LBussy

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I've been working on a Soapmaking Software package of my own and the numbers discussed here are perhaps the most difficult part. As a technical person (by nature and trade) I want to provide factual, unbiased information. SoapCalc's numbers (anyone know the original source so I can give proper attribution?) are "interesting" and a clue, but as folks have said over and over, are not the final arbiter of perfection.

Still, I have to think there is a way to formulaically define a soap's qualities. These qualities also must necessarily include those compounds which are not saponified because they will also have an impact.

While we are on the subject, how come we stop at the eight typical fatty acids? There's a group of even shorter chain fatty acids (C3-11)like caprylic, caproic, butyric; "intermediate" acids like Palmitoleic acid (16:1) .. just in case we want to make a macadamia oil soap for instance; then the longer chains (C20:1) like Gondoic acid. Why don't we count these? Is it "shorthand" for recipe formulation? If so, does that help define the difference between two oils that "seem" the same?
 

topofmurrayhill

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Glad to hear you've got pedagogical goals and lesson plans and whatnot. Everyone, fold your hands and pay attention. ;-)

You do not understand the math behind the formula "Longevity = Hardness - Cleansing". The formula "Longevity = Stearic + Palmitic" might play better for you and it would give precisely the same answer. The answer from either formula excludes myristic and lauric acids AND oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids.
I understand the arithmetic, and I'm not particularly questioning deriving information from the qualities numbers rather than directly from the fatty acids. What I'm suggesting, among other things, is that this idea is simply dead wrong and unhelpful to promulgate.

Sodium laurate, myristate, palmitate and stearate are all relatively insoluble at room temperature, but you've decided to draw a line and exclude laurate and myristate from those soaps that contribute to the longevity of the product. On the basis of...?

So now you've taken one of the things in Soapcalc qualities that actually works and created brand new potential for nonsensical results. Take a soap that's half palmitate/stearate and half laurate/myristate and your new system gives it a longevity of 50. Now let's replace the laurate/myristate with oleate/linoleate soap that's actually quite soluble at room temperature and sends our soap directly down the drain. Your new longevity is now, um, 50.

I am dismayed that you have so little empathy and tact for those who are still learning the ropes.
You mean those students of yours? The ones you referred to as kids on training wheels? I do truly regret being so unclear that you thought it was THEM I was directing criticism towards.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Still, I have to think there is a way to formulaically define a soap's qualities.
A difficult but exciting goal.

These qualities also must necessarily include those compounds which are not saponified because they will also have an impact.
You may have some examples in mind that I'm not thinking of at the moment, but at one point I decided to go ahead and assume that unsaponifiables are mostly unimportant to soap qualities, and this approach has been working out well for me. All I ever found in terms of "shea butteriness" was sodium stearate.

At the least, I think this approach has real-world practicality because we're nowhere near even defining the qualities contributed by combinations of the fatty acid alkali salts.

While we are on the subject, how come we stop at the eight typical fatty acids? There's a group of even shorter chain fatty acids (C3-11)like caprylic, caproic, butyric; "intermediate" acids like Palmitoleic acid (16:1) .. just in case we want to make a macadamia oil soap for instance; then the longer chains (C20:1) like Gondoic acid. Why don't we count these? Is it "shorthand" for recipe formulation? If so, does that help define the difference between two oils that "seem" the same?
Presumably it's that these fatty acids occur in only small (usually insignificant and often undetectable) amounts in most oils. Dealing only with the typical ones makes sense in the great majority of cases even though it may leave out meadowfoam oil. Those are interesting cases, to be sure, but there are only a few. Figuring out what combinations of the traditional soaping oils produce is 99% of the game.

The shorter chain fatty acids are, in fact covered. They are well known in the industry to produce smelly, drying and irritating soap. Add a nice helping of fractionated coconut oil to a recipe some day when you don't mind sacrificing a batch for science and you'll find out firsthand. :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I don't get the impression that DeeAnna considers us all as her students in dire need of teaching. I get that feeling from you, but not from her. I find that she helps people in an approachable manner with a great deal of patience and understanding for why people might have wrong ideas.

When people are first starting soaping, the how's and whys and details of the recipe itself should play second fiddle to the process of making soap, I'm sure you'll agree. If a new soaper cannot comfortably absorb new information on the process of soap making AND the science of soap making at the same time, it is unreasonable to put the science part first. So then until they are fully comfortable with the process, the numbers can be a basic guide, however inaccurate it may be, as it is not woefully incorrect for many basic beginner recipes.

While DeeAnna takes this in to account, as well as the lack if chemistry knowledge that most people have, you seem to want everyone to go immediately to the most detailed science thinking with no baby steps in between. You seem to deride others as a matter of course, especially when they try to help others along in a way that does not match yours.

To be honest, I would be dismayed if DeeAnna started to spend less time helping people on this forum because of how you treat people. It would be a terrible loss for a questionable gain.

This is not because I am protecting DeeAnna specifically, but your behavior is inappropriate for these forums regardless of who it is directed at.

In others words, reel it in and treat others better than you have been.
 

jenny1271

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Well, I'm still in the phase where the soapcalc numbers seem to be the only way to predict how my soap is going to turn out. I think it is a good educational tool. I have spent a lot of time already reviewing DeeAnna's explanation of how the numerical values are derived, and I intend to spend a lot more time reading and rereading it. Everyone's ideas help me immensely on here. I an't believe how awesome you guys are. Anyway, so I want to make a soap for a friend whose daughter has eczema and I devised the following recipe. I know a Creaminess score of 61 is off the charts. So, I wanted to run it by you guys and see if you have ever made a soap with such a high creamy score. Should I sacrifice hardness to reduce the creaminess score? Do you think this might be soothing (though I understand not necessarily healing) for someone who has eczema. What is a score of 61 in creaminess going to be like? Sticky? I was thinking that if the hardness score stays high like 48 and the bubbly score is 20, and the cleansing score is 0, then it might be super lathery... I don't like to waste my resources on ridiculous recipes, so I wanted to run it by you guys. Any feedback is helpful.

View attachment Eczema.pdf
 

Hazel

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Why is your recipe primarily cocoa butter? I've heard CB is good for eczema but from what I've read, it is due to all the vitamins in it. I think a lot of the beneficial vitamins would be destroyed by lye. Just a suggestion - make lotion with CB for her. Some other thoughts are how is eczema affected by diet and what works for one person may not work for another person. BTW, I've also read CB doesn't help some people's eczema. However, I'm not an expert but I think any mild soap would helpful. I've read olive oil is good for eczema so perhaps you could try a bastile with olive oil, cocoa butter and castor oil.

eta: I forgot about the creaminess question. I don't think a high value of creaminess would necessarily make soap sticky but I think the 22% castor might cause stickiness. I've never used castor at more than 10% but I recall other people mentioning their soap was sticky after using a higher percentage of castor.
 

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Well, I'm still in the phase where the soapcalc numbers seem to be the only way to predict how my soap is going to turn out. I think it is a good educational tool. I have spent a lot of time already reviewing DeeAnna's explanation of how the numerical values are derived, and I intend to spend a lot more time reading and rereading it. Everyone's ideas help me immensely on here. I an't believe how awesome you guys are. Anyway, so I want to make a soap for a friend whose daughter has eczema and I devised the following recipe. I know a Creaminess score of 61 is off the charts. So, I wanted to run it by you guys and see if you have ever made a soap with such a high creamy score. Should I sacrifice hardness to reduce the creaminess score? Do you think this might be soothing (though I understand not necessarily healing) for someone who has eczema. What is a score of 61 in creaminess going to be like? Sticky? I was thinking that if the hardness score stays high like 48 and the bubbly score is 20, and the cleansing score is 0, then it might be super lathery... I don't like to waste my resources on ridiculous recipes, so I wanted to run it by you guys. Any feedback is helpful.
Keep in mind a soap is not going to cure eczema. For the most part eczema is an autoimmune disease and no soap in the world is going to cure it and it is very dangerous to call any soap or product an eczema product. If what you are calling eczema is just dry skin then any mild soap may help. Some people with true eczema cannot even use soap. Your first starting point should be find out what the person is allergic to. I would simply make a nice lard soap with no additives, no eo's or fo's. Some are very allergic to certain eo's and I find fo's are starting to bother me after 5+yrs of soapmaking mainly because of to much exposure, at least that is what I assume.
 

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I would not, under any circumstances, make a soap for someone's child with eczema without a list from the child's MD(preferably a dermatologist or allergy specialist) of exactly what that child is allergic to. I would hate for you to make a soap that contains an allergen for him/her.

I would also not tell the parent it is "for eczema". It is a soap that removes dirt, and does not contain the synthetic detergents that commercial soap does, so it may not trigger the eczema like commercial soap does. That is all. There is no soap that "cures" eczema. You are only removing one more potential trigger. It happens to be the trigger that I, and many others, are reacting to in commercial soaps, but it is not a "cure".

Having said all of the above, I would not use the cocoa butter/castor oil soap you posted. I would use a high lard soap with no FO/EO or colorants. Probably something along these lines(assuming the child is not allergic to any of these ingredients):

Lard 65%
OO 20%
CO 10%
Castor oil 5%

Superfat 5%(the lard is going to automatically make it really conditioning)

*MODS* Can someone chop the portion of this thread out starting with jenny1271's post and move it to a new thread, please? I think it deserves to not be in the middle of this, and it does need to be addressed.
 
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Susie

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Glad to hear you've got pedagogical goals and lesson plans and whatnot. Everyone, fold your hands and pay attention. ;-)

...

You mean those students of yours? The ones you referred to as kids on training wheels? I do truly regret being so unclear that you thought it was THEM I was directing criticism towards.
Wow, respect lost. Snark is not nice, nor is it welcomed.
 

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