Why do recipes have high cleansing number

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gsc

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I have been browsing many recipes people offer and most of them have a HIGH cleansing rate (25-30). The recent recipe I wanted to try has avocado oil and mango butter, but the cleansing number is 26, and SF is only 5. Any recommendations?
 

lenarenee

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The recipe you want to try - does it only have avocado and mango butter in it?
 

DeeAnna

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You could reformulate the recipe to have a lower cleansing number (lauric + myristic acids) or you could use the recipe except increase the superfat. I would do the first, but I know there are many soapers who would take the second route. It's a personal choice. Are you uncomfortable formulating your own recipes?
 

lenarenee

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It is coconut, palm kernel oil and babassu oil that are highest in myristic and lauric acids. If those are in your recipe, reducing the percentage used reduces cleansing.
 

Obsidian

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Are the recipe on here or on other sites? I see many off site recipes that are very cleansing, I think the people who design them are trying to make very bubbly soap without understanding what else the soap is going to do.

Then there are recipes that some soap supply compies share, I feel these are created to encourage people to buy more exotic oils and/or additives. If you know the general range of cleansing number your skin likes, then adjust the recipe to fit you. I keep my cleansing number between 10-15 except for a couple specialty soaps and of course, salt bars.
 

TeresaT

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I just checked the SoapCalc saved recipes on my iPad. The cleansing numbers range from 0 to 17. The average number for them comes out to 6.8. I'm actually surprised it's that high. I also looked at my conditioning numbers. They range from 52 to 82, with an average of 61.5. This is actually what I base my formulations on.

I want a low cleansing number and a high conditioning number. I have extremely dry skin and I don't want anything to strip the precious little oils and moisture I have from it. Wintertime is horrific for my skin. However, this is my first winter with my homemade soaps and I'm not bleeding! My hands are a bit tight and dry, bit they aren't painful. I haven't had to use a moisturizer on my body at all this winter; just slathering my hands.

I can't imagine using anything with a high cleansing number. As someone on the forum said, it's soap. Even with a cleansing number of zero, it will get you clean.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I have been browsing many recipes people offer and most of them have a HIGH cleansing rate (25-30). The recent recipe I wanted to try has avocado oil and mango butter, but the cleansing number is 26, and SF is only 5. Any recommendations?

From what I read of your posts, you are looking to sell soaps, so I would have thought that you were at the stage where making changes to a recipe (because you would never just make someone else's recipe and sell it, right?) would be second nature.

But you could always make a small batch of this and try it out. There are many instances where something looks a certain way on paper but then completely throws that paper out of the window when it is used.

Plus, by using it would then know what could be changed. If it is really bubbly, you could lower the co, losing some bubbles but there are enough left over. If it's not bubbly, you might have to add in something to help support the bubbles.
 

BattleGnome

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The responses in this thread make me wonder, how many people formulate their recipes to mimic what they would buy at the store? That would be my best guess as to why cleansing numbers are higher (without looking at the other numbers). I know most people on this forum look at a well rounded bar or a bar with specific qualities as opposed to a clone of what you could get commercially.
 

shunt2011

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I think people are basically following recipes that others have gleaned from older books on soapmaking when beginning. They don't realize the whole picture, nor do a lot of beginners think about trying to formulate their own recipes as they just want to jump in and get started on the new adventure.

I know I personally researched a lot before even getting started, however, my first batch was made from a recipe I found in a book (I did run it through a soap calc). After doing more reading then I ventured on to playing with things in the calculator and formulating my own recipes. I think the biggest issue for a lot of folks is not realizing that just because the cleaninsing number is lower doesn't mean it won't clean. It becomes a balance.
 

DeeAnna

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"...how many people formulate their recipes to mimic what they would buy at the store?..."

I've only seen a very few people asking about formulating a hand crafted version of a store bought soap. Scent blends, yes ... but soap recipes not so much.

What I do think is often true -- Some people are trying to create their own recipe, but don't have enough background knowledge to interpret the results properly. Like Shari said, I think there are a good many more who are hesitant about using a calc or don't even know calcs exist, and they've picked a recipe off an internet blog or out of a book and using it pretty much blindly.

I've never wanted to follow someone else's recipe to a T even when I was a newbie. Part of the fun of learning to soap for me was figuring out how to do the calculations, but I admit I'm an oddity -- there are many math-phobic soapers out there who won't agree the calculations are fun. :)
 

navigator9

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I've always felt that formulating your own recipe, and tweaking it over and over until you're happy with it, is what makes you a soapmaker. It gives you a real understanding of why you do what you do, and what each ingredient brings to the table. Anyone can copy a recipe that they find in a book, or online, and in the beginning, this may be a good idea, until you feel more comfortable making decisions about what ingredients to use. (Although any recipe you find should be run through a lye calculator first.) One thing you may find when formulating recipes, is wow, I don't really need that fancy schmancy oil to make a great bar of soap! As others have said, it's all about balance. Customers have told me that they've bought handmade soap from other soapmakers, and they find it doesn't compare to mine. It gives me a great sense of pride to say that the recipe is mine alone, and they can't buy this particular soap anywhere else, but from me. So if you really love making soap, you owe it to yourself to study the properties of oils and butters and what they will do for your recipe. Then you will be able to make decisions about how to adjust your recipe to make it less cleansing. And the recipe will be uniquely yours!
 

roseb

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Couldn't agree more with some of the previous comments. The fun is in experimenting, understanding a particular oil's properties and using it to your advantage. I keep my cleansing number between 15 & 17 with a 6% sf.
 

Arimara

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I actually don't mind having a cleansing level between 10 and 12. My skin likes it and I can use it on my daughter in emergencies, sometimes.
 

lenarenee

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And then there's people like me who've cooked at their mother's side since they were tiny and got to the point where they could often ignore recipes and invent their own.

But when faced with my first batch of soap and feeling intimidated - I needed the reassurance of a proven recipe. If the soap had failed - I wouldn't have known if it was process or recipe that was the culprit.

Also, without a fantastic source of info ( aka SMF!) to ask questions and learn from, I would have given up if the first batch had failed.

By the way, it was Hazel's recipe that I used; I haven't seen her around for ages but I often think of her when passing by the curing rack. I think of her as my first teacher.
 

TeresaT

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I'm with Navigator & DeeAnna (although I don't do my own math). I love looking up oils and their properties then plugging them into SoapCalc. I'm sure there are tons of other calculators out there, some much better, but I'm still new and I'll stick with what I'm comfortable with. I've made soaps with avocado oil, sesame oil, flax seed oil and the "trinity" oils. I've used Shea and cocoa butter. I like going back to a bar and checking it out after time has past to see what improvements have occurred (or not). I've used buttermilk, honey and beeswax. I've been all over the place in my short soaping life. I still haven't come up with my perfect formula, but I've come up with a convenient base that is easy to add to or just leave as is. That's what I mix as a master batch. And if I don't want those percentages or that combo, I'll just get out the scale and the pots and get cracking all over again.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I'm not sure whether this conversation is sorta surreal or a little silly, or a bit of both. :)

What does the "cleansing number" concretely, quantitatively, and for practical purposes correspond to? It's the same thing as discussing how much coconut or palm kernel oil is in the recipe. But instead of directly discussing the real-world subject, you're talking about a number derived from it. Don't tell me that one of these statements isn't weirder than the other:

"I prefer to keep my cleansing number around 17."

"I usually use 25% coconut oil in my recipes."
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I suppose that it allows for a more equal comparison, especially when more fats are added in to the recipe. Rather than having to list all, there is a shorter version.

Cleansing of x
Or
No more than x% of coconut, pko and bobassu oils

Not to mention the ones that sneak up on people - aloe butter has a cleansing rating of 63, for example. So someone might think "15% co and 85% aloe butter sounds so creamy and luxurious" and as it has less than 25% co they think they are good to go. Tallow, too, has 8.

If anything, the fatty acid make up should be used, but that would make things a lot harder for a lot of people
 

topofmurrayhill

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I suppose that it allows for a more equal comparison, especially when more fats are added in to the recipe. Rather than having to list all, there is a shorter version.

Cleansing of x
Or
No more than x% of coconut, pko and bobassu oils

Not to mention the ones that sneak up on people - aloe butter has a cleansing rating of 63, for example. So someone might think "15% co and 85% aloe butter sounds so creamy and luxurious" and as it has less than 25% co they think they are good to go. Tallow, too, has 8.

If anything, the fatty acid make up should be used, but that would make things a lot harder for a lot of people
Babassu oil is coconut oil for people who feel coconut oil doesn't cost enough, and aloe butter literally is coconut oil. All these things including PKO are equivalent, so it still comes down to the how much coconut oil conversation in real-world terms.

Granted there can be myristic acid in some animal fats but it's only a minor wrinkle in the weirdness. :) Or laurel berry oil.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I am aware of what they are. But others may not be.

My point being that referring purely to coconut, when myristic acid is found in many different options on soap calc is a bad idea. Newbies (and others!) might not think about the other sources of the oil. There are often cases where people use pko thinking it's the same as palm. If someone says "my soap is really drying but only has 15% co" when what we really need to know is how much myristic there is or, as a different reference point, the cleansing number.
 
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