Superfatting

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Penns1965

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I have been using Brambleberry lye calculator and adding a superfatting percentage of 5%. I thought this automatically superfatted my recipe.
Now i am wondering if i have been doing it all wrong and i have to add 5% extra oils. I have made quite a few batches and they all pass the zap test, but as i am wanting to sell my soaps i am now panicking that they may be too harsh:???: could someone explain this for me please.
many thanks.
 

Penns1965

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Hi thank you for the quick response, i have made about 20 batches and have made a few for family and friends before that. i have always just added a couple of tablespoons of shea or avocado oil after calculating a 0% superfat.
The last 5 batches i made i used the calculator at 5%, i just watched a video on youtube (which was not a good one) and it made me question what i have been doing, so just wanted some clarification from people with more knowledge and experience.
I can breath a sigh of relief:) thank you for your help.
 

cmzaha

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I will also say you are no where near close to selling soap. You need to learn how to calculate your superfat if you are going to use a 0 superfat especially in the beginning. How do you know if a tablespoon is the amount of superfat you want? From what I see with B&B's calculator does not necessarily have a built in superfat, you have to choose what value you want. Without knowing the exact sap value for your batch of oil and using the number to configure your lye requirement there is going to be a variance. Age of oils can even make a difference. The main reason for superfat is to give you a margin of error and a nice mild soap can be made with a 0 using a well balanced fatty acid profile. No you really have not been doing it right for a beginner in my opinion. Soap has a learning curve that needs to be met, especially if you think you are going to sell. Word of warning, do not expect to make easy money making and selling soap. It takes time patience, and lots of batches under your belt. You have to have time to realize when you actually have a good recipe and you cannot possibly know that with so few batches of soap. Believe me in a year you will probably be horrified at what you thought was a great soap when you first started. Slow down and take the time to learn. I tend to do very low superfatting but I know my recipes, which has taken me several years to perfect
 

gdawgs

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That brings up a good question that I've been wondering about. Let's say we're shooting for 5% SF. From what I've read, you can either add all your oils together right away(which includes the 5% extra) and you add the appropriate amount of lye and mix away. The other way(if I'm understanding correctly) is to mix your oils but leave out what you are superfatting with (like castor oil) then add that when you get close to or reach trace.

What is the advantage of adding the superfatting oil right at the end? Or am I misunderstanding that?
 

Penns1965

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Hi
From what i understand is if you add selected oils (Say Shea) after trace you know that your soap is superfatted with Shea. If you superfat the recipe using lye discount such as BB you will get a mixture of all the oils in the mix superfatted.
I could be wrong and if i am im sure someone will correct me.
 

Susie

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There is no benefit, whatsoever, to "superfatting at the end" in cold processed (CP) soap. The saponification process is continuing on for up to 72 hours later, so the lye is going to use all of the oils fairly equally (not exactly, but fairly). Remember that trace is the beginning of saponification, not the end of it.
 

shunt2011

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What Susie said. In CP you can't guarantee what exactly will be your superfat. The lye will take whatever it wants. If you want to choose what will be left then you will need to do HP and add your superfat after the cook.

So, with CP figure out your SF in your calculations and add it all into the pot at once. Makes things much easier.
 

Steve85569

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^^^+1.
I am no where near ready to sell - even if I wanted to. The soap from last year is good soap BUT... I am not happy with what I used to make. What I've learned and implemented in the last 6 months here has really changed the product I am making. I am interested to see what another 6 will create.
 

gdawgs

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What Susie said. In CP you can't guarantee what exactly will be your superfat. The lye will take whatever it wants. If you want to choose what will be left then you will need to do HP and add your superfat after the cook.

So, with CP figure out your SF in your calculations and add it all into the pot at once. Makes things much easier.

Ahh, I bet it was a hot process that I'm thinking of. Thanks for the info!!
 

TeresaT

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Yes to everything everyone has said. And I'm going to add my own two cents. Do you have business insurance and product liability insurance? Your home owner's policy (if it is anything like mine) will only cover about $200 worth of your business assets in a home-based business. Some of your oils and bowls and such "could" be considered part of your household goods; however, your molds? Definitely not. Two or three wooden molds and you've exceeded that loss. Do you buy your oils in bulk? Your home owner's policy wouldn't cover those. How do you explain to the insurance company the household use of a few hundred pounds of oils? Where are you going to be selling? Will markets and local stores accept your products without product liability insurance? Does your liability insurance allow additional insureds at no additional charge? Is there a limit to the number of additional insureds allowed on your policy? Are you FDA/FTC/State/County/Local compliant with your labels and your labeling? Did you know there is a difference between a "label" and "labeling" and you are legally responsible for both of them (including what other people write about your products)? Incorrect labels or labeling can have the government breathing down your neck and can even shut you down. It can also make things more difficult for those in the handmade b&b craft that actually follow all of the government regulations. It's not just about making soap. It is about following the rules and regulations set out by the government of this nation (and your own state and community codes) to ensure the safety and protection of the consumers. The hard truth is YOU are not important. The rules are there to protect the consumer, not the producer. However, if you as the producer follow the rules, you will be fully protected. It is an oxymoron. (As are all things governmental.) If you fail to follow the rules, you may never get caught. However, if you do, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Now, you may have already done your research and have taken care of these. But if you haven't, they are things you need to do before you start selling your products. After you've spent at least a year doing research and perfecting your recipe(s) and determining what your particular soap(s)'s qualities are after 6 weeks, 3 month, 6 moths, 12 months. Does the soap get DOS after a few months (or weeks)? Does it need to be tweaked to make a milder bar with bigger bubbles? More lard? Less coconut? How about some avocado? Only experimentation can tell you what is a good bar of soap. And only time can reveal what the true nature of your experiments are.

I'm sure everyone on this forum is sick of hearing me say this, but I plan on selling soap as a living when I retire from my full-time job. That's why I joined this forum - to make friends in the soaping world and seek expert advise. I have learned more from these amazing people in the one year I have been making soap than I ever could have hoped to do on my own. However, I am no where near the point of setting up shop and selling yet. I'm still experimenting and researching with different oils. I have settled on a "perfect" recipe, so far. But who knows what amazing discovery I can make during my second year of soaping? Or even the third? I have six years before I retire. So that's how long I have to perfect my techniques and recipes. Will I sell before then? You bet! But I have carefully researched and experimented and tested and I know how to make soap. I know what an SF and a lye discount is and how to make adjustments accommodate a recipe. I know what I'm looking for in a recipe and can adjust the percentages and types of oils and fats to achieve that goal. I would never attempt to sell to strangers, actually, I wouldn't even GIVE it to strangers, if I wasn't 100% confident in my ability to make a safe and quality product. Because it is not about me; it is all about the safety of the consumer.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I have been using Brambleberry lye calculator and adding a superfatting percentage of 5%. I thought this automatically superfatted my recipe.
Now i am wondering if i have been doing it all wrong and i have to add 5% extra oils. I have made quite a few batches and they all pass the zap test, but as i am wanting to sell my soaps i am now panicking that they may be too harsh:???: could someone explain this for me please.
many thanks.
What tends to get overlooked in these discussions, even by experienced soapers, is that you don't know what amount of superfat you'll end up with.

Exact superfat percentages are found in commodity soap. In an industrial process they can superfat pre-made soap by adding fatty acids, acidifying it another way, or adding oil. Since they are starting with essentially pure soap and modifying it in a precise way, the exact superfat percentage is a simple calculation.

It's hard to say how close handcrafters come to the superfat percentages they expect. I believe there are wide variations, and that discussing it in terms of precise percentages is kind of an exercise in imagination.

When you plug a 5% superfat into a lye calculator, the term superfat is a misnomer. What you are plugging in is properly called a lye discount. A lye discount is a percentage of caustic that you subtract from the calculated amount. The first reason for doing that is because the calculated amount is only an estimate, so you need a lye discount to make sure that you aren't using too much. It's a safety margin.

A lye calculator estimates the amount of caustic you need by using average saponification values for the oils in your recipe. The REAL saponification values for the oils your supplier sold you should fall within a certain range, but might be significantly higher or lower than average. If they are on the low side and you don't use a lye discount, you could make overly alkaline soap.

The first objective of the 5% lye discount is to help ensure that your actual superfat is 0% or higher. You can expect that it will be greater than zero because a 5% lye discount is a reasonable safety margin for a multiple-oil soap, and the strength of your caustic is probably less than 100%. If instead you use a 10% lye discount, you will have a larger superfat. However, the actual superfat percentage is pretty uncertain.

If you calculate an HP batch with no lye discount and then add oil after the cook, that is the handcrafters' form of superfatting, but the same uncertainty applies. You can add shea butter that remains entirely intact in the soap, or it could get saponified to some unknown extent.
 

TeresaT

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Yes I have public and product liability insurance, I also have cosmetic safety assessments for a range of bath and body products including but not exclusive to:- body butter, sugar scrubs, body lotion and lotion bars, bath truffles, lip balm, bath bombs and melt and pour. I also maintain a comprehensive PIF and fully understand labeling requirements.
After getting good feed back from the soaps I have gifted, I thought CP would make a nice addition to my range.
Im not so ignorant that i think you can just throw a bar of soap together and sell it.
I didn't realise i had to submit a full business profile to get a simple answer to a simple question without being preached to or i wouldn't have bothered in the first place.
Thank you to those who have answered my question and given an explanation it is appreciated.
First and last post.
I'm sorry if I offended you. However, when you post in a "Beginners Soap Making Forum" questions about making soap and in the same post state you are planning on selling soap, but are afraid it is too "harsh," it kind of sends off alarm bells. It's wonderful that you have done your research regarding the things I mentioned (as I stated). There are many that do not and just think they can make a lot of money making soap. If you were one of those individuals that hadn't done any research, I just wanted to draw your attention to the reality of "selling soap." Good luck with your business. Please don't leave the forum because of me (or anyone else that has "lectured" you today). It is done out of concern for the safety of the community and for YOUR protection as well. I would hate for an inexperienced individual to go out there with the idea of selling soap and unknowingly putting a dangerous product on the market and having their entire life destroyed because someone was injured by their product and sued the sh!t out of them. A "dangerous" product can be anything: lye-heavy, excessive fragrance oil or essential oil, using a component that is not skin-safe or having a tree nut in the ingredients that is not labeled. We live in an overly litigious society. I would hate for someone to get sued because "they didn't know that they didn't know." Again, I am sorry if I offended you. It was not meant to be offensive, it was meant to be pensive. Good luck to you.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I deleted that post, as the forum rules state that "goodbye" posts aren't required or welcomed here.

Teresa makes a very good point - if you're posting in beginners, selling should not be even a thought about a dream about a possibility of selling at some undefined point in the future. There is even a stickied post about how business posts should not be in this section at all.

There is also, in the other information stickied posts, a statement that explains very clearly to expect this kind of reaction when mentioning "I don't know what I'm doing" and "I'm going to sell" in the same post
 

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