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SOAPCALC - What doe these numbers tell you about your soap?

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pschoe

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Good Morning :)
I'm trying wrap my little head about all the numbers is soap calc.
I would like to have some guidelines or something when I look at
these number - what will be a good number and what will be a number taking me back to the drawing board.
Lauric 0
Myristic 0
Palmitic 0
Stearic 0
Ricinoleic 0
Oleic 0
Linoleic 0
Linolenic 0
I know each one of these show the following qualities in the soap:
Hardness Cleansing Bubbly Lather Creamy Lather Conditioning

My MAIN Question ...How do you know the numbers are as good as is could be?
Thanks for your input and guidance
Take care
Patricia :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Here is an old post from DeeAnna on the subject -

"When evaluating a soap recipe, you can look at the individual amounts of each fatty acid (myristic, lauric, stearic, palmitic, oleic, ricinoleic, linoleic, linolenic, etc) to determine the effect of each fatty acid on the soap ... or you can use the SoapCalc "numbers" to do much the same thing, only simpler. Problem is ... and I've said this elsewhere on SMF ... is that the names of the SoapCalc numbers are misleading. It is also important to remember that the fatty acid profile and the SoapCalc numbers do not account for the effect of superfat nor the effect of additives (sugar, milk, honey, sodium lactate, etc.)

So, okay, now let's look at the numbers for at a single fat -- let's choose your cocoa butter and assume we're going to make a soap from this fat. Cocoa butter has a fatty acid profile that looks something like this:

Lauric 0
Myristic 0
Palmitic 25-35% (average is about 30%)
Stearic 28-38% (average is about 33%)
Ricinoleic 0
Oleic 29-41% (average is about 36%)
Linoleic 2-7% (average is about 4%)
Linolenic 0

Lots of numbers, right? Let's look at how SoapCalc groups those numbers into fewer bits of useful information:

Hardness 61
Cleansing 0
Condition 38
Bubbly 0
Creamy 61

So now, okay, how does a person translate from the fatty acid profile to the Soapcalc numbers? Here's how:

Hardness: The hardness value is the sum of Lauric + Myristic + Palmitic + Stearic acids.

These are the saturated fatty acids. The Hardness number is a measure of the physical hardness-like-a-rock. It tells you how relatively easy it will be to unmold a particular soap after saponification. It does NOT necessarily tell you how long-lived the soap will be -- I'll get to that in a bit.

Hardness number from the fatty acid profile (above) = 0% + 0% + 30% + 33% = 63%.
Soapcalc Hardness = 61%.

Is the difference between 63% and 61% important? Nope, not too much. Keep in mind that any fatty acid profile for any particular fat is only an estimate. The SoapCalc folks calculated their Hardness number from slightly different data than we are using. Bottom line -- don't agonize over differences of a few percentage points.

Cleansing: The cleansing value is the sum of Lauric + Myristic acids.

It is a measure of how water soluble the soap is -- meaning it is a measure of how easily the soap dissolves in difficult situations such as hard water, cold water, or salt water. The Cleansing number does NOT tell you whether the soap will actually get your skin clean, which is the usual misinterpretation of the Cleansing number. A soap with a Cleansing value of zero will clean your skin; it is just not as water soluble in hard/cold/salty water as a soap with a high Cleansing value.

Cleansing number from the fatty acid profile = 0% + 0% = 0%
SoapCalc Cleansing = 0%

Conditioning: The conditioning value is the sum of Oleic + Ricinoleic + Linoleic + Linolenic acids.

These are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The conditioning value is, to the best of my understanding, a measure of the soap's ability to soften and soothe the skin. The "anti tight-and-dry" property, so to speak.

Conditioning number from the fatty acid profile = 0% + 36% + 4% + 0% = 40%
SoapCalc Conditioning = 38%

Bubbly: The Bubbly value is the sum of the Lauric + Myristic + Ricinoleic acids.

This is a measure of how much loose, fluffy lather is produced. A "bubbly" lather is produced quickly by a soap, but doesn't last long.

Remember that the first two fatty acids make a soap that is very soluble in water, so it makes sense that a soap that has a lot of these two fatty acids would make lots of lather, right?

Ricinoleic acid does not make soap that lathers well on its own, but combined with other fatty acids, it enhances the lather the other fatty acids produce. Does a low or zero Bubbly number mean the soap doesn't lather at all? Nope -- just that the soap might not have a lot of fluffy big bubbles.

Bubbly number from the fatty acid profile = 0% + 0% + 0% = 0%
SoapCalc Bubbly = 0%

Creamy: The Creamy value is the sum of the Palmitic + Stearic + Ricinoleic acids.

Palmitic and stearic are the fatty acids that produce lather that is fine textured (like whipped cream) and longer lived. Ricinoleic, as mentioned before, enhances lather, whether it be big, bubbly lather or dense, creamy lather.

Creamy number from the fatty acid profile = 30% + 33% = 63%
SoapCalc Creamy number = 61%

Long life: The longevity of a soap is the sum of the Palmitic + Stearic acids.

Palmitic and stearic acids create a soap that is relatively hard and relatively insoluble in water.

Long-lasting number from the fatty acid profile = 30% + 33% = 63%
SoapCalc Long-lasting number = ???

I said I'd get back to this issue. SoapCalc numbers do not directly measure longevity. Many people confuse the Hardness number as being a measure of how long lived the soap is, but that is not strictly correct. If you are working in SoapCalc, the fastest way to estimate the Long-lasting number is this:

SoapCalc Long-lasting number = Hardness number - Cleansing number

For cocoa butter, it's a no-brainer -- the Hardness number is the same as the Long-lasting number. For a Coconut Oil soap, the story is quite different:

Hardness = 79
Cleansing = 67
Long-lasting = 79 - 67 = 12

Compare that to 63 for cocoa butter. Bottom line -- a coconut oil soap will not last nearly as long as a cocoa butter soap, all other things being equal.
 

pschoe

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Thanks :)

I played around after reading the above information, using a spreadsheet to compare changes. I think I found some number I like, BUT *** I was wondering What will a experienced soap maker think when he/she look at these quality numbers:

Soap Bar Quality Range Your Recipe
Hardness 29 - 54 *** 35
Cleansing 12 - 22 *** 7
Conditioning 44 - 69 *** 63
Bubbly 14 - 46 *** 12
Creamy 16 - 48 *** 33
Iodine 41 - 70 *** 68
INS 136 - 165 *** 123

Lauric 5
Myristic 2
Palmitic 11
Stearic 17
Ricinoleic 5
Oleic 49
Linoleic 9
Linolenic 0
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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What are the oils used? One interesting aspect is certain oils have a similar mix of fatty acids, but are rather different in use. A high palm soap and a high lard soap would be similar on paper, in use they would be rather different.
 

Susie

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Yep, much better to tell us at least the percentages of each oil. I have sort of tossed out using the "numbers" from SoapCalc, and go more by oils and additives to judge what it is going to be like.
 

snappyllama

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Ditto to everything above. The actual oils used and process make a big difference. Soap Calc is a basic guide, but one that needs to be taken with an understanding that fatty acid math doesn't tell the whole story. I'm guessing that your example has a lot of olive oil. On paper, it would make a very mild, low lathering, conditioning soap that is soft. In reality, that baby is probably going to be hard as a rock after a few days, but it will need some extra cure time to shine.
 

Dorymae

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Looking at the numbers I would guess your recipe is a type of Bastille. High in olive oil with a bit of coconut oil and probably a bit of another oil as well. I think you are using a vegan recipe. Of course this is only a guess going off the numbers.
 

pschoe

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Thank you all for your in put on this - I truly appreciate it. :)

This is the recipe I'm working on - I'm thinking adding using 4 oz of Essential Oil, (One ounce per pound) and use the Cold Processes method.
I will also attach my "Homework" in this exercise I've learned that just a small change in oil could make a big difference in
my numbers.

Soap 1 - is the qualities of each oil on it's own
Soap 2 - is the quality of the recipe put together.

I think the hardness of the bar will come from the babassu and Olive Oil - but I'm not sure it will be hard enough...

Oil/Fat ** %
Babassu Oil ** 10
Olive Oil ** 29
Almond Oil, sweet ** 5
Neem Seed Oil ** 21
Castor Oil ** 5
Shea Butter ** 30

PS: This soap will be made for a very special friend of us so I want to make it as good as I can.

soap2.png

soap1.jpg
 

KristaMarie

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I think your numbers look ok, but I would drop the almond oil. At five percent, you likely won't see a difference than if you had just added that amount in olive.
Maybe you're aware of this, but 20% of neem is likely to retain it's smell; in my experience, it does. That could be a non issue for you, I just find it a little gross.
Most here are going to suggest cutting the shea by a decent amount and adding lard, so it's important to know, like The Efficacious Gentleman said, why you chose the oils you did.
 

pschoe

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My friends suffer from severe eczema, it's really bad, so we were talking about creating a recipe that will take care of the problem without drying his skin out some more, but at the same time, leave a protection layer on his skin - and the only way I know to add good moisture is with lots of Shea Butter, but I'm always afraid of having a soft soap.
 

KristaMarie

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Keep in mind that saponified shea butter doesn't necessarily have the same qualities as straight shea butter. You're not likely to get a protective layer to remain, as soap is intended to rinse away.
Even with a lot of soft oils, in most cases you'll end up with a hard enough bar after a long cure. I use a lot of butters and my soaps can still be dented after a week or more, because of the amount of water I use.
Keep your cleansing number low. Where it is now may be fine, but don't be afraid to go lower; soap will clean even at 0.
A friend of mine with bad eczema found relief with a body butter I made her, containing shea and calendula infused olive oil. Leave on products will likely be more effective, but most eczema sufferers seem to find some relief just from switching to homemade soap from synthetic detergents.
I don't use lard, but from what I've learned here, it's very conditioning, so you may want to consider that as well.
 

pschoe

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Thanks - I eliminate the almond oil.
I was wondering if I could melt the shea butter and keep half a side add with the essential oils just before I mold the soap? Maybe this will make it more moisturizing?
This is the new numbers
Neem Seed Oil 20
Shea Butter 25
Castor Oil 10
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 5
Argan Oil 10
Olive Oil 30
 

not_ally

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I'm going to second concerns about the neem. I don't know if you've already bought it, or smelled it before, but it is pretty nasty. I have used it as a pest control substance in the garden, and it was sufficiently gross that I have never considered putting it in soap.
 

snappyllama

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Unfortunately, you cannot selectively superfat an oil with CP. The lye monster will consume what it wants and a few minutes one way or the other won't make a difference in the final result. If you do want to pick a particular oil to superfat your batch, you'll have to HP it and add it after the cook is complete.
 

KristaMarie

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I wouldn't bother with argan either. Lol. It's so expensive! Totally up to you, it won't hurt by any means.
Like snappy said, there's no way to ensure that the shea won't be completely consumed by lye. If you have your heart set on using the shea as your superfat, then you have to hot process.
What superfat/lye discount percentage are you planning on?
Soap isn't meant to be moisturizing, rather, you're looking to avoid stripping your skin's natural oils, which is why you want to keep the cleaning number low. That being said, your recipe should be good on that front!
 

DeeAnna

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If you are concerned about moisturizing, soap is not going to be an effective moisturizer. You need to put those fancy oils in a lotion or butter or cream or something like that to use after washing, so they'll stay on the skin and do some good.
 

Nevada

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and those oh so expensive essential oils

If you are concerned about moisturizing, soap is not going to be an effective moisturizer. You need to put those fancy oils in a lotion or butter or cream or something like that to use after washing, so they'll stay on the skin and do some good.
 

pschoe

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Thanks for all the info.
I will remove the argan I thought I was adding a tad bit of extra goodness. The superfat is set at 7%
I Don't know what other fats to use and if it would be successful - I was playing with lard and crisco, but so far I've only used shea butter in my recipes.

I have no idea about the smell of neem - but when you care about your friends and they would do anything to get relief, you brace yourself and do your best. I am getting a bit worried because everyone is saying it smell really-really bad. But I do want to put enough neem to make it strong enough so we will reap the benefits we are looking for

:)
 

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