When is too early to test soap?

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sarahmarah

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I've been playing around with making 100% CO soap with a 20% SF and my last two batches have passed the zap test.
I've used a 33% lye solution with soapcalc and was meticulous about measuring in grams. One batch has been curing for almost 4 weeks and the other for almost 2 weeks.

I ran out of my liquid kitchen soap and started using a bar of the CO soap and I love how it performs but its drying my hands out.
Should I have let it cure longer before testing it? Or could it just be sensitivity to CO? (I do have kind of sensitive skin)
 

LilianNoir

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I'm still new at this myself, but I've found that so far, 4 weeks is the bare minimum cure time for a soap to not feel drying on my skin. Even then, it's more drying than soap cured at 6 or 8 weeks.
I also find CO to be particularly drying, but I've never used it at a 20% superfat. Hopefully others can speak to that.
 

AliOop

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Coconut oil soap is very “cleansing,” aka stripping. Even with 20% sf, it can be drying for many. However, a 2-week cure is pretty short, and even 4 weeks might not be enough for a complete cure, depending on the recipe and curing conditions.

Personally, I’d suggest making another batch that combines CO with less stripping oils, such as lard, tallow, olive, avocado, or shea. One of my favorite bars is 70% lard, 20% CO, and 5% each of castor oil and shea butter. Ignore the low cleansing number in soapcalc - it will still clean your skin, but won’t dry it out. If you don’t have or don’t want to buy shea, just use more CO instead.
 

sarahmarah

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Coconut oil soap is very “cleansing,” aka stripping. Even with 20% sf, it can be drying for many. However, a 2-week cure is pretty short, and even 4 weeks might not be enough for a complete cure, depending on the recipe and curing conditions.

Personally, I’d suggest making another batch that combines CO with less stripping oils, such as lard, tallow, olive, avocado, or shea. One of my favorite bars is 70% lard, 20% CO, and 5% each of castor oil and shea butter. Ignore the low cleansing number in soapcalc - it will still clean your skin, but won’t dry it out. If you don’t have or don’t want to buy shea, just use more CO instead.
Thank you. 😊
Right now I have a OO, CO, Soy wax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Avocado and Apricot Kernel oils on hand. I'm trying to figure out a good base without palm/lard/tallow. Im approaching it like a challenge.....because it is lol
 

artemis

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You can test soap any time after it passes the zap test. In fact, some people recommend putting a sample by the sink and trying it out once a week so you can see how it changes.

If you like using your too young soap for dishes, go ahead-- the dishes won't care. But gloves would be a good idea for you.

Actually, for sensitive skin, I would recommend gloves for dishwashing, regardless of the soap you use.
 
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Serena

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I've been playing around with making 100% CO soap with a 20% SF and my last two batches have passed the zap test.
I've used a 33% lye solution with soapcalc and was meticulous about measuring in grams. One batch has been curing for almost 4 weeks and the other for almost 2 weeks.

I ran out of my liquid kitchen soap and started using a bar of the CO soap and I love how it performs but its drying my hands out.
Should I have let it cure longer before testing it? Or could it just be sensitivity to CO? (I do have kind of sensitive skin)
Hi SM. I'll second the vote to wear gloves for dishwashing. The water is very hard where I am, and it really helps to wear gloves.

I often use a bar right away. It just "melts" faster, as it hasn't cured as long. I always do cold process, and hand stir.

I use lard as the basis of my dishwashing soap, as it doesn't cost much. Sometimes I use all lard, and just make the recipe with absolutely no superfatting.

I wish you happy success. :)
 

AliOop

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Lard doesn't seem to clean my dishes well; maybe is it a difference in the water supply? Whatever the reason, I personally prefer 100% CO with 0%SF for dishwashing. If I use any SF at all, I get greasy streaks on the dishes. And I definitely need gloves when using any 0% SF soap!
 

szaza

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@sarahmarah lots of people report coconut oil being harsh on their skin, but every skin is different. For some people it's olive oil that makes their skins dry out, for others it's both or something completely different. You'll have to figure out what your skin likes and I think @AliOop is right that you should try out different recipes to do so.
I also don't use palm oil or animal fats in my soaps. One thing I noticed works well to figure out a vegan/palm free version of a recipe you find online is putting it in a soap calc, figuring out the fatty acid profile and trying to recreate it with the oils you have. If you use refined oils the resulting soap will be very similar to the original recipe. (Unrefined oils, especially of avocado and shea, can add lots of unsaponifiebles that behave differently, the refined counterparts of these oils don't have that 'problem').
 

KiwiMoose

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I also don't use palm or animal fats and those oils you have on hand there are pretty much what I use:
20% each of CO, OO, SW and RBO ( you could use Apricot Kernel instead, which is what I used to use before I switch to RBO)
10% Shea Butter, 5% Avocado oil and 5 % Castor ( which you don't have so just increase one of the other oils).
I test my soap at any time ( if no zap). But I won't judge it unless it's at least 6 weeks old. Anything I use in my own shower or handbasin is at least six weeks old. I don't have sensitive skin so i rely on my SIL who does to give me the truth.
 

shunt2011

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For dishwashing I would do 100% CO and 0 SF you don't want extra oils on your dishes. Wear gloves. 100% CO soap is going to be more harsh. It does get somewhat milder after a very long cure. If you're making the soap for handwashing, body washing I would do a more balanced recipe.
 
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szaza

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100% CO soap is going to be more hash.
My experience is a bit different. A while back my skin was exceptionally dry and all of my soaps seemed too harsh. I tried almost every recipe I had from high oleic to lots of butters and even my extra gentle 0% CO, goatmilk and beeswax bar didn't make it. Somehow the only soap my skin seemed to tolerate was 100% CO, 20% SF. That specific batch of soap had cured for 6months, which might have made it a bit more gentle, but a lot of my soaps are used around that age. Just to be clear, I don't think high CO will be for everyone, but maybe (just like olive oil) some people's skins might like or dislike it more than others.
 

shunt2011

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@szaza you would be in the minority many cannot tolerate high CO. I can use high CO soap. I do find 100% CO more harsh/drying. Though I use salt bars with no issue.
 

AliOop

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When I switched from commercial to handmade soap, the only recipe I knew and used for four or five years was 100% CO with 20%sf. It was so much better for my skin than the store-bought stuff that I thought it was perfect. I even used it to wash my hair for years, and experienced none of the ill effects about which others moan.

Then I branched out and tried other soap recipes, and in comparison, 100% CO is much more drying those other recipes. I just wouldn’t have known bc my skin improved so greatly just from not using any detergents or scents. No more scaling, red patches, or constant itching,

Today I rarely use high CO soaps bc they are more drying compared than other formulations. But I still love my 100% CO, 30%sf salt bars, which only get better and better over time. I don’t have strong feelings one way or another about olive oil - don’t hate it, but it doesn’t do much for me unless mixed with a bunch of other oils.

All that to say, you just won’t know what YOUR skin likes till you try different soaps after a good cure period, which for me is 6+ weeks. I do start testing at the sink around 2-3 weeks just to see how it changes. And last week I found some bars under the guest-bath sink that were a year old. I remember testing these at the 6-week mark and thinking, “Meh.” Now they are wonderfully soft and bubbly - just delightful!
 

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