Soap slickness, KOH and refinded fats

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Shaemus

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Hi guys n gals!

So my group members and i are very satisfied with my first shave soap but theres always room for improvement.
The thing that came up the most was increasing slickness.
I dont want to add clay because it can dull my precious straight razor edges.
So i read that a 100% KOH lye, more glycerine and more oleic acid (that is my experience) also increases the slickness of a shaving soap. Can you confirm that? Anything else i could add?

Using 100% KOH also means i no longer get Sodium Citrate put Potassium Citrate, does this change how the Citrate behaves (Lather boosting, soap scum reducing) or is the effect negligible?

My last question is about refinded vs unrefined fats.
SoapCalc does not give you an option between refined and unrefined although it is my understanding that refined contains more saponifiable matter and should need more lye. Its pretty important as my superfat is pretty low and i want to add it all in after the cook.

Have a nice day ;)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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For real tips, we'd need to know your current recipe. For example, how much extra glycerin did you add before?

As for the sodium citrate, you can always make it with NaOH or baking powder before hand and add that in, so even though your recipe would use no NaOH you can still have sodium citrate
 

BrewerGeorge

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Sorry, but this is one of my pet peeves of misinformation.

Clay will not dull your razor any more than baking soda in homemade toothpaste will damage your enamel. Both are oft-repeated falsehoods the people take at face value because they haven't looked at the actual science.

Even if they were solid blocks, bentonite clay or kaolin even charcoal are MUCH softer than any steel that will have been used to make a blade. Very much softer - as in softer than a fingernail. (I posted a thread a while back that listed all the various Mohs hardness ratings of the relevant materials that you can probably find if you search.) At worst a solid block of those clays might turn the leading edge so it required stropping again, but powdered clays in suspension won't even do that.

I'm not saying that you should use clays. There are very valid discussions around whether they are beneficial, or even if they do anything at all. But the decision should be based on their effects in the soap, not their supposed detrimental effects on a razor.
 

DeeAnna

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Sodium citrate or potassium citrate -- the molecules -- do not act as a chelator. It's the citrate ion that is the chelator -- this is part of the molecule that's left after mixing this molecule with water. In water, the potassium or sodium ion parts company with the citrate ion and goes on its merry way. So make it with KOH or make it with NaOH -- there is going to be little difference.
 
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BrewerGeorge

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Sodium citrate or potassium citrate -- the molecules -- do not act as a chelator. It's the citrate ion that is the chelator -- this is part of the molecule that's left after mixing this molecule with water. In water, the potassium or sodium ion parts company with the citrate ion and goes on its merry way. So make it with KOH or make it with NaOH -- there is going to be little difference.
I would think making it with the same lye that is the bulk of the soap would give more consistent results. Sodium hydroxide with sodium citrate and potassium hydroxide with potassium citrate. If you mix them up, wouldn't Le Chatelier imply a larger proportion of citrate ions? Although I suppose that's a good thing, given that the goal is more free citrate ions available for chelation.
 

DeeAnna

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We're in agreement about matching the type of citrate with the type of alkali, although I don't think there's a great problem if you don't. It's just that I'm all about KISS -- keep it simple, Soaper.

As far as the amount of ionization of sodium citrate in a KOH soap vs potassium citrate -- keep in mind there's another competing reaction that will go on when you add sodium ions to a KOH soap -- the displacement of potassium off the soap by the sodium. It's all too complicated for me to follow. :)

I would think making it with the same lye that is the bulk of the soap would give more consistent results.... If you mix them up, wouldn't Le Chatelier imply a larger proportion of citrate ions?...
 
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Shaemus

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The recipe for my last soap was
110g Stearic Acid
100g Shea Butter
70g Babassu Oil
30g Castor Oil
70/30 KOH/NaOH
50g evaporated milk
10g Glycerine
10g citric acid (dissolved in the sodium lye)
1 tsp Honey

I was told to reduce or drop the castor oil and reduce shea a bit to get a more stable, more voluminous lather so ill do. Also, i probably switch to 100% KOH with a bit of Sodium (Or Potassium?) Lactate to firm things up. If glycerine helps, i might drop the honey in favor of glycerine.
My new idea for oils is: 40% Stearic, 30% Shea, 25% or 30% Babassu and 5% or no Castor.

The thing with clay is: The edge is a very delicate, thinner than 1 micron, piece of steel. Pretty much anything dulls it, even things much softer than metal. Dragging it longitudinally through a finger nail, the paper test etc is enough to reduce its shaving comfort. So i dont want "grainy" stuff in it, and as little non soluable solids as possible.

Nice chemistry lesson, i have never though of that! Wonderful, thats one problem out of the way.
 

Obsidian

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I think that much shea might be part of the problem. I only use 5% shea or coco butter and only as the SF in HP. This is my recipe if you are interested, not perfect but its decent. I don't use a straight though.

You can replace the palm kernel flakes with your babassu or coconut oil and I really prefer coco butter over shea but both are nice. As you see, I don't use any high oleic oils, it not really needed in shave soap. I find tallow + steric makes a slicker lather then just a high amount of steric.

of course, any changes you make needs to be ran through a lye calc.

http://www.evernote.com/l/ANgFEzd7JjhOLb6Jnngflu2CuUYDefJz9_Y/

apparently I forgot to record how much glycerin I used, but I did use whatever the recommended % is.
 
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BrewerGeorge

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Everybody always thinks of these clays as sandy grit. Thing is that the definition of 'clay' is particle size <2 microns. And in soap lather they will be in suspension and inclined to move away. An edge IS delicate, but the clay is of similar size and much MORE delicate.

I'm really not trying to convince you to use clay, just explain how it does not dull blades, no matter what the conventional wisdom at Badger&Blade says. ;)

ETA: A good analogy would be a 1mm thick metal ruler moving through 2mm styrofoam beads (like the inside of a bean bag). The ruler would not be damaged by contacting the beads.
 
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mistral

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I definitely disagree about clay that it would dull your razors. I make my own soap I put Kaolin clay in it. I also use Mikes Natural Soap, Bufflehead Soap, Sudsy Soapery, all contain various clays. These are are very respected soaps and have not dulled any of my extra hollow razors, which I use daily. I hone my own razors, and have not needed to refresh the edge for over 9 months, on any of them, daily stropping has been sufficient.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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My issue with clay is that it is not needed. Glycerin does the same job but with none of the negative connotations, so I won't use clay in my shavings soaps.
 

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