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Ant

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For those that use it in your soaps, where do you like to buy it from?
 

Jersey Girl

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I always buy mine from Amazon
What percentage of sorbitol do you use @cmzaha? I see on the modern Soapmaking site where they did the lather experiment that they used 5%. Was that by oils weight or batch weight? And do you mix with liquid first and add to lye like with sugar? TY!
 
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Ant

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Shunt and cmzaha, do you two notice a difference in lather boosting capabilities comparing sorbitol vs powdered sugar?

And second what Jersey said.
 

linne1gi

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Hm, I like using powdered sugar, wasn’t aware that sorbitol was a thing, but I’m intrigued.
 

glendam

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I bought it at a grocery store but didn’t do price comparison.
 

Jersey Girl

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Shunt and cmzaha, do you two notice a difference in lather boosting capabilities comparing sorbitol vs powdered sugar?

And second what Jersey said.
Check this out. Sorbitol tested better than powdered or cane sugar according to this experiment.
 
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nframe

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Hm, I like using powdered sugar, wasn’t aware that sorbitol was a thing, but I’m intrigued.
Does anybody know what powdered sugar is called in the UK? Is it icing sugar? I find the term"powdered" confusing because both granulated and castor sugar are powdered...
 

Jersey Girl

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Does anybody know what powdered sugar is called in the UK? Is it icing sugar? I find the term"powdered" confusing because both granulated and castor sugar are powdered...
Yes, it’s the kind you make icing with...powder consistency. It’s also called confectioners sugar in the US. Not sure of the official name in the UK though.
 

DeeAnna

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Powdered (icing) sugar also has an anti-caking agent (often corn starch) added to keep it from getting lumpy. It's my understanding that castor and table sugars do not have anti-caking additives.

Unless there's an additive, as is true in the case of powdered sugar, one form of cane or beet sugar should behave in soap exactly the same as another form of beet/cane sugar.

Jersey Girl in Post 9 gave a link to a soap swap done in 2012 testing various additives in soap and how they affected lather. The test results from the swap showed regular sugar and powdered sugar had some effect on lather consistency, but IMO there was only slight improvement in the total amount of lather compared to the control soap. I'd use whichever one was close to hand, if I wanted to use sugar.
 
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HowieRoll

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I, too, was intrigued by the Lather Lover's Additive Test and wanted to try sorbitol. I ended up buying 11 lbs of it from Bulk Supplements (don't judge - ha! Their pricing schematic at the time made buying 11 lbs make sense - pricing has since been changed by quite a bit so that it no longer makes sense).

Anyway, over the course of 2 days in early July I had to make 6 batches of soap for gifts and threw caution to the wind, adding 5% (oil weight) sorbitol to every single batch in spite of never having used it before. Figured, why not, it's supposed to be great and I have a ton of it. Well, that was a mistake. It may have to do with my recipe (olive oil, soy wax, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and shea butter), but these 6 batches of soap are not my finest moment.

This is a recipe I've used for a long time and am familiar with how the soap performs. The soap in my shower right now using sorbitol at 5% (oil weight), as opposed to my usual 5% (oil weight) granulated sugar, is a mess. The sorbitol soap started out nicely and lathered well (albeit not crazy good, as I thought it might), but after a few uses it started to become mushy, a little slimy, and soft. The soap is on a well-draining soap dish, so I can't imagine what a mess it would become it it wasn't. Overall, it's not great, not great at all. Initially, I did feel like there was a little more lather with the sorbitol soap vs. the sugar soap, but it's not enough to warrant putting up with the sorbitol soap getting... icky.

Anyway, eventually I'm going to try again but add sorbitol at a lower percentage to see if I can find a balance.

Anyone have any theories as to why sorbitol would make soap mushy? I believe it's a humectant, so maybe that is why?
 

DeeAnna

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Sugar, glycerin, and sorbitol are a few of the solvents used to make transparent soap. Solvents prevent the crystalline structure of the soap from developing as it normally would if no solvent was used. The lack of a regular structure of crystals allows light to pass through the soap more easily.

As the % of a solvent increases in the soap, it will cause the soap to become more rubbery/pliable and less firm/hard.

These solvents are also humectants -- they want to absorb water from the air -- so the soap gains water, starts to sweat, and/or becomes softer and even more rubbery.

The sweet spot where a particular solvent doesn't greatly affect the qualities of the soap will vary depending on the solvent. That is probably why 5% sugar works okay in your recipe, but 5% sorbitol does not.
 

linne1gi

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Sugar, glycerin, and sorbitol are a few of the solvents used to make transparent soap. Solvents prevent the crystalline structure of the soap from developing as it normally would if no solvent was used. The lack of a regular structure of crystals allows light to pass through the soap more easily.

As the % of a solvent increases in the soap, it will cause the soap to become more rubbery/pliable and less firm/hard.

These solvents are also humectants -- they want to absorb water from the air -- so the soap gains water, starts to sweat, and/or becomes softer and even more rubbery.

The sweet spot where a particular solvent doesn't greatly affect the qualities of the soap will vary depending on the solvent. That is probably why 5% sugar works okay in your recipe, but 5% sorbitol does not.
How much sorbitol would normally be used?
 
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