Trying to get the best recipe

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Marco

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Hi

I want to start a small business eventually and so I am testing a lot of recipes. The main feedback I get from friends, and I saw that myself too, is that the soaps are a drying. I used standard oils and recipes found on the Internet and books, all things that says "natural" and "good for your skin", even "moisturizing" and "healing"!

So why is it I find handmade soap is worse than, say Dove for example?
I am a little demoralised now because I thought I could do some really good soap. Some of my recipes are pretty nice in my opinion, but I do not think it would sell well.

Question now... How do make soap that is NOT drying?

Thanks for your help! I am new here but look forward to getting to know you more.
 

lenarenee

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Hi Marco, welcome to the forum!

The most common reasons people find soap drying is: high level of cleansing oils like coconut which strip the skin's natural oils, and/or the soap hasn't cured long enough so it's alkalinity is too high. The general recommendation is 30% and many people here actually recommend 20% (I do 15% or 20%)

Posting a couple of your recipes will help people evaluate your recipes.

Oh, and if you hot process your soap and believe that its ready to use in days, then I'm afraid you've been woefully informed.

You will be able make some wonderful soap, and you're in the perfect place to learn.

So that answers your question in a nutshell. They'll be other people along to give you some good info to get you started. I need to get to bed...been up since 3 am with a sick child.

Can't wait to see how you progress over the next few months!
 

topofmurrayhill

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Marco, don't take this too badly but you need a reality check. We don't consider soaping to be some simple or brainless thing, or we wouldn't need a forum. The general rule is that 80% of people in any line of endeavor are mediocre or outright suck. To swoop in and think you're going to be among the 20% by snagging some recipe off the Internet is not going to go over well here. I worked on soap every day for a year to initially figure out some of the intricacies involved. If you come here and say, "I'm a newbie, so please give me a great recipe to sell" people are going to tell you to frack off.
 

KristaY

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Hi Marco & welcome! There are so many reasons a soap can be drying so please post recipes so we can see where any potential problems might be. Also, are you using a lye calculator? Every recipe you use should be run through a calculator no matter where you get it. Typos can happen or people can post recipes that really aren't safe. We love to help but just need more info on your recipes and process to give proper advice. :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Exactly. Instead of asking for a recipe, try looking to learn why the current ones don't work - the recipe and the process - so that you can understand why "the best recipe" is the best.

Also, there are many different answers to the question "what is the best soap" so you need to try many things to find out what works for you.

Being a soaper is like being a chef. I can cook food well, following a recipe and also going 'off piste' and freestyling with the meal a little. But I am in no way a chef, as that is a whole different level of knowledge, experience, passion and intuition. Someone who is really a soaper should be like a soap-chef, with an understanding of 'why' things are what they are, rather than following a recipe.

We all start somewhere, of course, but until you reach that soap-chef stage, selling should not even be a consideration on the horizon of your possible ideas for dreaming about.
 

Steve85569

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Marco,
I'm not going to sell so take what I say with a grain of soap, er salt.

When I look back just a few months on my abilities to make what I now consider to be a good soap I - to quote TOMH - sucked. Since I have been a part of this forum I have learned that 1.) I do not want to sell. You all can if you want to but I'm happy making soap and giving it away or using it to bribe the lady that sells me lye. 2.) I still do not know very much about making soap but I am learning. Sometimes quickly and sometime not so much. 3.)The product that I am producing continues to improve. If I did have a retail plan I would still be quite a while away from being able to produce in sufficient quantity and with repeatable quality the product that I would be proud to have my name on.

With all of that said,
Welcome to the forum! Pull up a stump and stay a while!
 

Seawolfe

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Most of the time, to my tiny mind, when I hear a soap is described as "too drying" it has too much cleansing (usually coconut oil), or hasn't cured enough, or both. I suppose it could also be a really unbalanced recipe with not enough superfat.

Anyway, we can't help without a recipe, and make sure you use a lye calculator for whatever recipe you try. 90% of the recipes I see on line, I know enough now to know I wouldn't like them. What is it with the high amounts of coconut and then really expensive oils?
 

shunt2011

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What the others have said. Post your recipes and process. Also how long have they cured etc. Do you use a Soap calculator to check the recipes. We certainly can help.

Also, if you read back 10 pages or more of the beginners forum you will glean a whole lot of other information that may help. When I first joined the forum I read just about every single post from the very beginning. I researched for months before even joining and tried making some as well. I have learned so much from all the generous, knowledgable people here.

Welcome!!
 

Bamagirl

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Also, if you read back 10 pages or more of the beginners forum you will glean a whole lot of other information that may help. When I first joined the forum I read just about every single post from the very beginning. I researched for months before even joining and tried making some as well. I have learned so much from all the generous, knowledgable people here.

Welcome!!
Ditto! I am still a super-newbie, but when I decided I wanted to "try" making soap, I came here and started reading. I decided I wanted to do it right and not take short cuts ect..., and I knew that would require some equipment that I just could not justify spending the money for since I didn't even KNOW if I was going to like making soap. Luckily it was around Sept/Oct with Christmas coming up and I decided for Christmas that I would ask for my scales, blender and all other supplies. That gave me a couple months to just read through the forums and that's exactly what I did. I started in the Beginner's Forum and on page 1 and read and asked questions and read and asked more questions. Now, did I want to wait months to make soap? of course not, but in hindsight I am really glad that I did, because I can be an impatient person and I probably would not have taken the time to really get an idea of the process. I would have jumped right in and either 1) burned myself because I didn't take proper precautions or 2) had a really bad first batch and been turned off of the process. Also, if you read through the forums from the beginning, there is so much information and recipe posts that people have tried. So much advice about "why" this soap done this or was drying or messed up. This forum really has a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be read!
 

LisaAnne

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Hello Marco, I'm so happy for you that you found Soapmaking forum. I have made soap for a year while reading everything I could. I didn't want to just make great soap but I wanted to know why I was using certain oils, butters and methods. At just over a year I am still a beginner but my knowledge has grown immensely since I've been here. You are definitely in the right place, with a little patience and a desire to learn you will be making soap you will be proud of. I read all the different topics here but I've stayed away from the beginners section thinking that with my experience I was past that, but now realize I am mistaken and I'm going to read that section. What I know for sure is I don't want to be handed the perfect recipe, I want to formulate my perfect recipe. In time I believe I will. So I hope you stick around because I will learn from your questions. :)
 

Marco

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Thanks everyone for the welcoming comments. Here is one simple recipe I used that some people said was drying (it's cold process by the way). I formulated it myself using SoapCalc :
Water 35% (lye concentration at 29.309%)
Super Fat 4%
Olive oil 32%
Palm oil 30%
Coconut oil 30%
Castor oil 8%
Added lavender EO at 4% of the oils weight and blue and violet ultramarines for color. It has cured for over 5 weeks before the first usage. It looks and smells great.

Usually I try to use a maximum of 25% of coconut oil. In my newer recipes I superfatted at 6% and reduced water at 33%. I also replaced about half the water with coconut milk. Still another 2 weeks to cure and I will see if it is better on the conditioning side.

Thanks again. I already started to read past posts in this forum. I feel I can learn pretty fast here.
 

Marco

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I have read some good things about lard but I am not sure I want to use animal oil. Does it smell something?
 

TBandCW

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Is it drying, or is it just that skin is squeaky clean after using home made soap? I had to get past that, try numerous other home made soap and nothing left my skin with that feeling you get after putting on lotion. :?
 

snappyllama

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Store bought lard doesn't have any odor and is a fantastic soaping oil. We have lots of lard cheerleaders here, because it's really, really nice in soap. Like really, really. Try it instead of palm. Actually, try Seawolfe's posted recipe - I think you'll find it skintastic (word from another forum post - see I'm using it).

For too drying, I'd say the culprit is your CO. I like to stick to 20% or less. Actually, I normally do a 10% CO and 10% PKO (palm kernel oil flakes) combination since it gives more bubbles than CO alone and feels less stripping.
 

traderbren

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I have read some good things about lard but I am not sure I want to use animal oil. Does it smell something?
The only time I had issue with smelly lard was when I got it too hot while melting. Otherwise it smells fine, and what little odor might be present cures out well.
 

penelopejane

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What I think is a great soap my dh thinks is terrible and my boys think is mushy. Everyone has different qualities they look for in soap and their skin is different too so they will need something different.

Annoyingly the definitive the recipe doesn't exist you have to work out what. Is best for you and your family and friends and ultimately your customers. It may be a variety of recipes for different uses.

That 30/30/30 recipe is a great hard bar which lasts a long time and is forgiving of being left wet. Great for the kitchen as it cuts through grease in your hands. I find it dries my skin out.

I reduce the CO to max 15% for a gentler soap or try no CO at all. I don't use lard or Palm - personal preference - and still make nice soap.
 
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Arimara

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Thanks everyone for the welcoming comments. Here is one simple recipe I used that some people said was drying (it's cold process by the way). I formulated it myself using SoapCalc :
Water 35% (lye concentration at 29.309%)
Super Fat 4%
Olive oil 35%
Palm oil 45%
Coconut oil 15%
Castor oil 5%
Added lavender EO at 4% of the oils weight and blue and violet ultramarines for color. It has cured for over 5 weeks before the first usage. It looks and smells great.

Usually I try to use a maximum of 25% of coconut oil. In my newer recipes I superfatted at 6% and reduced water at 33%. I also replaced about half the water with coconut milk. Still another 2 weeks to cure and I will see if it is better on the conditioning side.

Thanks again. I already started to read past posts in this forum. I feel I can learn pretty fast here.
The blue numbers are my personal choices with the recipes ingredients alone. Superfat and other ingredients are your choice. I agree that lard makes a nice soap but I can't make any other recipe suggestions given that the soap I like best at present that's veggie sin carne has babassu in it.
 

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