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The (overly) Cartesian Soaper: Palmitic vs Stearic Question

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Orla

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oulala! I had just rectified a masterbatch bearing in mind this palmitic acid business (lots of sums!!!), and now with this new soya wax information, I discover that I'll have to add in a pretty major amount of cacao butter to get the stearic up and meet Deeanna's criteria. More sums! and I'll have the mother and father of a masterbatch, so I'll also have to find ROE... Despite my keen interest in the fats, I actually only make soap on a very occasional basis!!! I know bad words are not acceptable but I hope 'bloody hell' is forgivable...
 

ResolvableOwl

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To make things worse, there are a few esoteric, very high palmitic vegetable oils: stillingia tallow and japan wax. Probably not worth the hassle finding them, for scientific purposes only a small amount of pure palmitic acid might be better. Still I wanted to share what I only learned today either. (-:
 

Orla

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To make things worse, there are a few esoteric, very high palmitic vegetable oils: stillingia tallow and japan wax. Probably not worth the hassle finding them, for scientific purposes only a small amount of pure palmitic acid might be better. Still I wanted to share what I only learned today either. (-:
Actually, though, cocoa butter and RBO sorted out the problem for me - I got the numbers up where I wanted them. Funny enough, I've seen mention of people not liking overly palmitic soaps. Don't quite know what that problem is (and am unlikely to discover from personal experience!).
 

Mobjack Bay

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I somehow managed to totally miss this thread last fall. The discussion of stearic vs. palmitic percentages made me very curious. Nearly all of my recipes range from balanced stearic Vs. palmitic for recipes that have s+p in the 29-31% range, to palmitic dominant when s+p is lower. But, late last fall I made a new vegan recipe with shea (but no cocoa butter) that is stearic dominant (stearic 16, palmitic 12). The soap is made with low coconut oil (10%, lauric 5, myristic 2) with linoleic + linolenic at 15% of FAs. I expected it to be lovely. Much to my surprise, of all of the soaps I’ve made, this is the one that leaves my hands feeling squeaky clean. I used EDTA added as a chelator (.5% of oil wt, a bit below max recommended) because we have hard water, so it shouldn’t be linked to hard water/soap scum, plus, I get the same squeakiness if I use use the soap to wash my hands with bottled water. The feel and lather of the soap align with what I expect of a soap with 15% linoleic + linolenic, i.e. it has a bit of a slip to it and the bubble structure is open, rather than dense or creamy. I have been truly puzzled about why this soap is so cleansing. After discovering that this is the only stearic dominated soap I’ve made for as long as I’ve been keeping good records, I’m wondering if there’s any way the high stearic or the combination of high stearic and low coconut can be part of an explanation. It’s hard for me to accept the idea that high stearic alone is an issue because I don’t recall the squeaky clean feeling when using a test soap made with a very high percentage of shea, per the vegan 2 recipe, here. That soap was higher in CO. Maybe I will try my recipe again, but with more CO (and less oleic) to see what happens, or maybe I will just stay away from stearic dominant recipes :cool:
 

Orla

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Yes, my mind is made up on the subject! No more high stearic acid formulas for me! Now that I've increased my palmitic and decreased the stearic, my soaps are definitely, definitely bubblier and creamier and gentle. I keep my L+M down to 11 (8+3) but that has not changed. The big breakthrough was getting P and S balanced, and I've got them to 15 of each, she says proudly!!! In fact, I'm in love with them! And I've got my longevity at 30 which is fine by me. If I were to do any more fiddling around (which I won't do for a while) it might be to test P 18, S 12 or something. For the vegetarian no-palmist that I am, that might prove very difficult and involve compromising on other qualities and I don't feel inspired to do that. Anyway, I'm still in my love affair moment with the soaps as they are!
Sorry, Mobyjack, I think you are on a whole other level (if not stratosphere!) of knowledge than I am (!!), but I totally see why you would keep the P higher than S if your combined P+S were low...
 

Mobjack Bay

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I’m happy to hear that your recipe dilemma is solved! I actually prefer my bars to be in the mid to high 20s for stearic + palmitic. They lather nicely and last plenty long enough for me after a good cure. Plus, I always seem to have plenty of soap on hand. I might feel differently if I wanted to sell soap.
 

Orla

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I’m happy to hear that your recipe dilemma is solved! I actually prefer my bars to be in the mid to high 20s for stearic + palmitic. They lather nicely and last plenty long enough for me after a good cure. Plus, I always seem to have plenty of soap on hand. I might feel differently if I wanted to sell soap.
Me too - just a hobby/passion! but I love every aspect of soapmaking! the science, the colours, the fragrances, the design element. Plus, it requires concentration but on stuff that's not work-related and so it calms me! Yes, no dearth of soaps in this house! And everyone got Xmas presents they love!
 
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