The Good Base?

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Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2007
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After doing much research and mastering the CP process, to some degree, my knowledge has increased in this matter yet I find myself back at a starting point when trying to achieving a good quality group of oils and butters to use as my base to keep some form of simplified structure to this hobby. I find myself being drawn into more and more exotic ingredients when I know this is just complicating my learning curve. To make a long story longer... I'm looking for a base that’s tried and tested as to save a great deal of time in testing and experimenting, In other words WILL you share your vast experience with someone who appreciates the care and time it takes to achieve a base you perhaps find pleasing and would share with friends and family.

I’ve been trying to Use Palm Kernel Oil but its specs make it difficult to use unless it’s offset with much Castor oil.
I used to use about 30% lard and I’ve been looking for a replacement and it looks like Mango butter’s specs are very similar.

Just when you begin to think you might be getting your mind wrapped around it you find it is much bigger than you anticipated. I suppose everyone must walk this path in order to reach that desired end result and its only human nature to try and find a short cut, so maybe in my rambling I’ve answered my own question.

Thank you everyone for all the help and kindness.
Neil said:
I’ve been trying to Use Palm Kernel Oil but its specs make it difficult to use unless it’s offset with much Castor oil.

I find offsetting the PKO with Castor works great! Do you use Coconut Oil? Take about a forth of your CO and replace it with PKO and add an equal amount of Castor oil. This works great for me. I will have to convert my recipe into percentages so it makes better sense.. haha :D
here's my two cents on this, exotic oils while they give soap wonderful label appeal, and a higher price point, and a good hunk of your wallet, i would rather they be used in a leave on product to get their full potential. like i said just my point of view.

as far as subbing out some of your soaping oils, like lard ( which if your're not vegan or selling mainly to those who are there, it makes a great bar of soap when combined with other oils) i would replace it with palm oil if looking for a veggie counterpart. others might suggest something like crisco, or a solid soybean shortening, it may produce a slighly softer bar of soap depending on the percentage. or if animal oils work for you try tallow, by itself or in combo with your lard.

palm kernel and coconut do the same thing in a bar of soap, produce the bubbles, coconut produces some hardness to a bar and may be a better producer of bubbles, while pk is a bit milder and it hardness factor is also abit less when compared to coconut. there are those who are sensitive to coconut so pk is a good alternative. i personnally like a combo of the two.
Babassu oil is another lathering oil but of the three it's on the higher end price wise.

if you are looking a bubble buster, try adding 1 T of sugar ppo to you lye water before adding the lye. just make sure you dissolve it well before adding the lye.

castor is a conditioning/fluffy/stable lather helper but tends to soften the soaps in large amounts

there is a larger soap company on the web who use 3 oils in their soaps, olive, palm and coconut and they sell tons of soap.

so which ever and how many oils are totally up to you and what you want that soap to do. talk to a dozen different soapers and you'll get a dozen different answers on what they like in a soap.

there is also some helpful hints and tips pertaining to what percentages of oils make a balanced bar on the soap calc pages, click on the links at the top of the page, there's an oil list, faq, help section.

here's a couple of charts that show what each oil lends to a bar of soap:

this one shows the properties, breaks each oil down in percentages of its fatty acids and what charactoristics those fatty acids lend to a soap.


sorry if this isn't exactly what you wanted to hear, but there is no subsitute for experimenting with small batches and different oils to find what makes that bar your looking for, "your bar".

i don't know of many a soaper that would give you their exact formula, but there aren't many who wouldn't hestitate to give you help in giving you a nudge in the right direction.