Water + shea butter questions!

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onetwoskin

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Hi everyone, I'm new here. Thanks for having me in the group and nice to meet you. I have been making several loaves of soap using the following recipe, but I want to use less shea butter and also maybe discount the water a little to make a harder bar. I'm not confident adjusting my own recipes yet so any advice would be great - if I reduce the amount of shea butter do I need to increase one of the other oils?? How much water is OK to discount?

450g olive oil
180g coconut oil
180g shea butter
90g castor oil
122g lye
315g water
 

artemis

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Are you using a lye calculator? If you reduce, one fat, then you will increase another. But, you need to use a lye calculator to do so, so that you end up with the right amount of lye in the end (each oil requires a different amount of lye). Unfortunately, it's not like making cookies, where you can just switch out butterscotch chips for chocolate. The lye calculator will also help you adjust the amount of water.

So, yes. As you decrease the percentage of shea, you will need to increase the percentage of one or more of the other fats to get the total back up to 100%.
 

onetwoskin

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OK thanks @artemis. And will reducing the amount of shea butter make the bars harder, in general? And what about water discounting? If I take some water out, will it ultimately make a harder bar?
 

TheGecko

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but I want to use less shea butter and also maybe discount the water a little to make a harder bar.

Using less water doesn't make for harder bar, it just makes for less cure time due to having less water to evaporate, which is part of the curing process. The other part of curing is the difference between making moonshine and a smooth sipping whiskey. Running your current recipe through SoapCalc, looks like you are using close to a 28% Lye Concentration...I use between 33% and 35% depending on the time of the year; I know some folks who use a 40% Lye Concentration.

The less Hard Oils/Butters you use, the softer your soap and the longer your cure time. Think about it...Castille Soap, which is 100% Olive Oil, with an average 33% Lye Solution, takes a good year to produce a hard bar. I use 40% Soft Oils, 60% Hard Oils and 5% SuperFat and get a nice hard bar at 6 weeks.

Recommendation I would make...drop your Castor Oil to 5%, Olive Oil to 45%, Shea Butter to 15% and then look for another 'hard' oil/butter like Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Flakes, Cocoa Butter, Lard or Tallow for the other 15%.

You can also reduce your SuperFat to zero or 2%.

ETA: There really isn't such a thing as a water "discount". By using less water than what your recipe calls for, all you are doing is increasing the strength of your Lye Concentration. As an example, if I use 10% less water, my Lye Concentration goes from 33% to almost 36%.
 
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