Superfatting questions

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
Soapcalc has a default sf ratio of 5%. How high can one go and it still be a workable soap?

Also, I have seen Youtube vids about adding in sf after the cook in HP. Is there a significant advantage in this method? If I did this, how would I calculate the sf ratio?

If CP, then how do you add sf separately? After it reaches trace?

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,905
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
As far as how high you can go - I think 20% is the max I see used on SMF, and that's only for 100% coconut oil soap. That extra oil can inhibit lather. At some point, there would be too much extra oil and the soap would be soft and squishy. About a year ago, I made some soap and some of the lye caked at the bottom of the pitcher. I eyeballed it and added a bit of lye to some extra water and put it in the batch. A lot of oil separated off, but a year later the bars were still greasy feeling to me, so I shredded them and added them to a batch with a 4% super fat.

When I started make soap, the "rule" was that your 5% super fat was a "special" oil - sweet almond, avocado, etc, and you held it back until trace and then added it. That's been proven to not make any difference. So I now add all my oils in together.

ETA: The advantage to adding oils after the cook in HP is that the special properties of those oils would be preserved, since the lye is almost completely used up by the end of the cook in HP. That's why an HP bar is safe to use as soon as it's cool. It's not FINISHED curing yet, but it won't irritate your skin like a new-cut bar of CP will.
 

Cactuslily

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Messages
550
Reaction score
228
Location
Southwest
My understanding also is the higher your SF in CP soap the higher risk you run of developing DOS. Also, in CP soap, you cannot specifically SF with a particular oil or butter. Your lye will take what it's going to take, and the remaining will be SF. No need to add after trace because of that fact. Add everything up front, unless you are HP, then you can specify the oil or butter you wish to SF with. Unless I'm making 100% CO soap, I keep my SF between 5-7.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,281
Reaction score
11,087
Location
Right here, silly!
SoapCalc will let you set your superfat as high or as low as you dare to go, but how high or low you go is all dependent upon your recipe.

For example, I normally make a 100% coconut oil soap with a 20% superfat, which the hard, uber-bubbly nature of saponified coconut oil allows- it makes for a super hard, super bubbly soap. But no way on earth would I ever make a 100% olive oil soap with a 20% superfat. The nature of saponified olive oil is very different from coconut's and I would end up with a soft mushy, goopy, unworkable soap with no lather at all. It's all about your recipe's oils and fats.

In CP, adding a superfatting oil at trace is futile. Experiments have shown that an oil added at trace won't remain as the sole superfat, which makes sense since the lye is still 80% to 90% active at trace and remains pretty active for up to 24 hours or so after molding. To superfat your CP batches, just set the superfat % on SoapCalc to your desired % and add all the oils up front.

In HP, people usually choose a special oil/fat they want to remain unsaponified as their superfat and then add it after the cook when the soap no longer zaps, but just be aware that some who have been studying this have been discovering that soap is not exactly static or 'set in stone' once saponification is complete. Our DeeAnna could probably explain this much better than I, but from what I understand, soap is always trying to maintain an equilibrium of sorts, and as a part of it trying to maintain its equilibrium, the fatty acids get scrambled and swapped around.....meaning that your superfatting oil may actually not end up as your sole superfatting oil over time. Hopefully DeeAnna will chime in on that more.


IrishLass :)
 

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
Thank you! So then, it sounds like I might as well save myself the trouble of superfatting after the cook. That the benefits may not be all that evident....if at all.
 
Last edited:

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
This is something I am still unsure about...what is too high for the various oils. Is there a way to find out, besides trial and error?
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
Not really. It is too up to personal taste. Most people use between 3 and 8 % (that I have seen). There are also high coconut oil soaps that can be as high as 20%. Coconut soap is very bubbly so it can take higher amounts of oil.
 

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
Thanks! So, if I am using a recipe with 30% CO and 15% Castor, with 30% OO, what would be a good sf amount to make it conditioning?
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
Soap does not condition, it cleans.

Superfat is there so that the soap has oil to grab onto instead of the natural oils in the skin.

Also that is alot of coconut oil ans castor oil. Most people here will tell you to keep CO below 20%, and Castor at 5%. Plus that is only 75% what is the other 25%? I am hoping lard, palm or tallow.

Anyway, best to start at 5% and go from there
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,713
Reaction score
9,214
Location
Texas
Soap does not condition, it cleans.

Superfat is there so that the soap has oil to grab onto instead of the natural oils in the skin.

Also that is alot of coconut oil ans castor oil. Most people here will tell you to keep CO below 20%, and Castor at 5%. Plus that is only 75% what is the other 25%? I am hoping lard, palm or tallow.

Anyway, best to start at 5% and go from there
^What he said. Too much CO, too much castor oil. Too little anything else. I would definitely fill that in with lard and a 5% SF.
 

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
Why does castor have to be so low? When I listed it as 100% in soapcalc, it showed that it was 0 cleansing and 98 conditioning, so one would think that more castor would be a good thing...

Also, if 100% CO soap can be made with a higher sf to compensate, why does it have to stay at or below 20%?
 
Last edited:

snappyllama

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
3,910
Reaction score
3,040
Location
Near Charlotte NC
It's all about balance and SoapCalc doesn't tell the whole story.

For the 100% CO soap with 20% SF, CO is a very stable oil that doesn't lend itself to rancidity. Saponified CO is extremely lathery (it even lathers in salt water - hence being used for salt bars). It also strips skin of natural oils. So the stripping quality is countered by the extra superfat to put oils back on the skin. If you put CO into a regular recipe at 40%, you'd have to put the superfat by a lot to compensate for the stripping, but those other oils in the recipe would have a tendency to go rancid, feel sticky, and the high superfat of the other oils would knock down the bubbles by a lot. Consider that 100% CO soap a specialty recipe.

Castor is a special bird... it enhances the bubbliness by strenghening the lather produced by the other saponified oils, but doesn't do much on its own. Too much and you'll end up with a soft bar that is unpleasantly sticky to use. That's why most folks keep it to around 5%... it's at it's peak helpfulness to the rest of the recipe without making things too soft (or the recipe trace too quickly).

Most recipes go for a balance between:

1. Trying to achieve bubbles
2. Making a long lasting, hard bar
3. Minimizing DOS
4. Leaving skin feeling clean and refreshed


To get those goals, regular bar soap recipes normally call for fatty acid profiles that look something like:

Oleic: 30-40ish
Palmitic: 10-20ish
Lauric: 10-15ish
Myristic: Under 10ish
Ricinoleic: 5ish (that's the castor!)
Stearic: 10ish
Linoleic & Linolenic: Combined under 15 since more than that contributes to DOS

ETA: Here's a explanation I found really helpful when crafting my own recipes:

http://summerbeemeadow.com/content/properties-soapmaking-oils

ETA (again)... the fatty acid profile isn't the whole story either. If I make my regular lard-goodness recipe and try to mimic the fatty acid profile using different oils, it's still going to feel and behave differently than my original lard recipe even if I manage to get the SoapCalc to tell me it has identical properties. The only way to know for certain is to make and test and ask other folks that have done the same. :)
 
Last edited:

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,281
Reaction score
11,087
Location
Right here, silly!
Why does castor have to be so low? When I listed it as 100% in soapcalc, it showed that it was 0 cleansing and 98 conditioning, so one would think that more castor would be a good thing...
In certain formulas it can be great at higher percentages, but in others, not so much. As Snappyllama said- it's all about balance. For example, I have a formula in my repertoire that uses 23% castor, but it is balanced out by a whopping 65% tallow. I would never use that high of an amount of castor in a recipe with predominantly soft oils, though. Doing so would make things too unbalanced.

Also, if 100% CO soap can be made with a higher sf to compensate, why does it have to stay at or below 20%?
There is no rule that says coconut has to stay at or below 20%. It's truly all about personal preference. Although lots of folks here prefer to limit their use of coconut to 20% or below because it works better with their skin-type, there are several others of us here with different skin-types that actually like to use 25% or more. Use as much as you find your own skin-type to be happy with.


IrishLass :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,994
Reaction score
9,097
Location
Austria
Also, if you had your co at 50% and upped your SF to compensate, your other oils would also be there in that larger SF, which could reduce lather and/or increase the risk of dos.

As I said in your other thread, you can't always have your cake and eat it, too.

If you really want to learn all about this, I would read the cp forum back at least ten pages, as well as the recipe sections and now even the beginner section. Every thread that even hints at oil combinations should be pondered and then the picture comes together.

Read every single new post. Even if it seems that it won't be interesting for you, read it anyway. Something might well be mentioned as an aside that helps you solve an issue or even in the future you might want to know this thing and you have already read it.

This is what I did and do. You asked how we can learn it besides trial and error - that is how. There is no single handy pdf to get that sort of information as there are just too many variables.
 

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
Thanks, everyone! I will read the sections suggested. I have been reading other people's posts and am learning as well. I really do like understanding the nuts and bolts of whatever it is that I do.

Are there any good books that would address the types of questions that I am asking?
 
Last edited:

narnia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
307
Reaction score
32
I would like to experiment with superfatting after the cook. Like...adding shea butter after the cook. I watched a youtube video where the woman said to make the soap with 0% superfat in soapcalc and then add the shea butter after the cook, but she did not say how much to add or how to calculate.

How would I calculate what amount to superfat to after the cook?
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,905
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Don't leave it out of your soapcalc recipe. There's no reason too.

The lye takes what it wants, so adding, say, Sweet Almond Oil after trace doesn't really protect it. You can do that if you want, it won't hurt anything.

If you truly want to make sure that your special superfat oil is saved from the lye, then you'll need to hot process. Add your special superfatting oil at the end of the cook.

ETA: Now I saw that you mentioned cook in your question. Missed that part!

If you want to superfat with 5% shea butter, just put it in your soapcalc recipe as normal, with a 5% superfat. Then add that shea butter after the cook. I assume you would need to melt it, though.
 
Last edited:

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,281
Reaction score
11,087
Location
Right here, silly!
I would like to experiment with superfatting after the cook. Like...adding shea butter after the cook. I watched a youtube video where the woman said to make the soap with 0% superfat in soapcalc and then add the shea butter after the cook, but she did not say how much to add or how to calculate.

How would I calculate what amount to superfat to after the cook?
There are a couple of different ways that people do it......

One way that some do it is to type your recipe (without your super-fat oil) into SoapCalc at 0% super-fat, hit the view/print button, then jot down the lye amount it gives you. ....

Next, go back to page 1 on Soapcalc (where all of your original recipe amounts should still be), and change the super-fat % to whatever % you want it to be for your finished soap.....

Then choose what fat you'd like to super-fat with and add it to ingredient list, and then type in a random amount for it, like 2 oz or whatever (it really doesn't matter at this point)......

Next, hit view/print and look at the lye amount it gives you. Does it match the amount you jotted down earlier? It may or may not. If it's lower, go back to page 1 and increase the amount of your super-fatting oil until the lye amount on page 2 matches the amount you had jotted down. Or if it is higher, reduce the amount of super-fatting oil until the lye amounts match. That will tell you how much super-fat to add.

Another way that people calculate the superfat (which is more accurate, actually) is discussed here: http://curious-soapmaker.com/superfat-vs-lye-discount.html


IrishLass :)
 

Latest posts

Top