Why does bar soap make my skin feel terrible in comparison to liquid?

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AxtFarm

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I've used liquid hand soaps and liquid body wash forever because anytime I've tried store bought bar soaps they always leave my skin feeling dry after getting out of the shower. In the shower while using it they feel soft and smooth, but as soon as the water washes the suda off it leaves a weird feeling like everything good just got pulled off my skin. When I use body wash my skin feels smooth during and after use.

If I use a bar of soap on my armpit hair it clumps together and feels terrible focusing me to go behind it with body wash.

Last night I tried a locally made Goat soap bar with Shae butter thinking I would get different results, but all the same.

The only bar I've used that gave me decent results has been this: Cool Fresh Aloe

Now my wife and I are starting to make GMS even though we both hate using bars....go figure lol (first batch attempt will be this weekend)

What is it that I'm describing about bar soap that I dislike and how do we make bar soap that overcomes this?
 
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Ok, here are my guesses based on how little information I have to go on:
The weird after-feel can be cause by a combination of the following:
- You have hard water, the soap you're using doesn't have a chelator, and so the soap is leaving soap scum on your skin. It feels rusty.
- Soap cleans no matter what oil it's made of, but some are better at cleaning than others- and consequently take more oil off your skin than others. Unfortunately, the oils that become hard, bubbly soap the fastest are also the harshest cleaners, and in my opinion, figure way too prominently on a lot of soap ingredients lists. The most common oil for this is coconut oil, which I noticed was the last saponified oil listed in the Saskwatch bar you referenced. There's not as much of it in there as olive and palm oils, and the unsaponified Shea butter would further cut into the effectiveness of the coconut oil.
-lastly, and as you have no way of knowing this, neither do I, but the amount of time a bar has cured for makes a huge difference in how hard it is and how mild it is.

- I would say any soap that is crumbly during use is bad soap to use. It may not have reached emulsion, it may be lye-heavy as a whole, or it may simply not have cured yet and will mellow out in time. You have no way of knowing, so I wouldn't risk it.
 

AxtFarm

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Even that requires a "which ones" to be specified. Many of the store bought soaps have differing additives that may or may not work for you.

Hmmm...hotel soap, my parents house, my grandparents houses....🤷‍♂️
I've been anti bar soap since I was a kid because they all felt the same to me.
 
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As @Arimara noted, it's probably some of the additives in store-bought soaps, many of which are actually combars - a combination of syndets and soap. Those all dry out my skin horribly, as well. Their fragrances are often overly harsh, as well. Those kinds of soaps are why I began making my own, and many others here have the same experience, too.

The Dr. S bar is a very basic combo of palm, OO, and coconut oil. My sensitive skin prefers lard over palm any day, and lard is often cheaper than palm, too. But since you know that your skin likes the Dr. S bars, start with something that has all the same oils they use. If you can use a 500g (1lb) mold, even something homemade, you can make lots of small batches as you learn how to make soap, and not be overrun with too many curing bars everywhere (speaking from experience here). ;)

Maybe start with: (edited to change amount of palm v. OO based on order of ingredients on their label)

40% OO
30% Palm
20% CO
5% Castor (this isn't listed in the Dr S bar, but it makes for better bubbles and is skin-friendly.)
5% Shea Butter
33% lye solution
3% super fat

Since you are new to soapmaking, I would make a couple of small batches without the GM or other additives - just the oils and lye solution.

Once you are comfortable with that basic process, make one or two batches with 1 Tbs PPO Kaolin clay and 1 tsp PPO fine sea salt. That should be pretty close to the Dr. S bar, and you may find that's what you choose to make for your own use. Or you can experiment with using lard instead of palm to compare the two.

Then make the next batch with the GM. It is an advanced soap-making technique, so you really will benefit from doing non-GM bars first if you can. Lots of good threads here will talk you through that process. If you give these bars a good long cure, they will be nothing like store-bought soap, and I bet your skin will love them.
 

AxtFarm

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Hard water

That is true

The Dr. S bar is a very basic combo of palm, OO, and coconut oil. My sensitive skin prefers lard over palm any day, and lard is often cheaper than palm, too. But since you know that your skin likes the Dr. S bars, start with something that has all the same oils they use. If you can use a 500g (1lb) mold, even something homemade, you can make lots of small batches as you learn how to make soap, and not be overrun with too many curing bars everywhere (speaking from experience here). ;)

Maybe start with:

40% OO
30% Palm
20% CO
5% Castor (this isn't listed in the Dr S bar, but it makes for better bubbles and is skin-friendly.)
5% Shea Butter
33% lye solution
3% super fat

Since you are new to soapmaking, I would make a couple of small batches without the GM or other additives - just the oils and lye solution.

Once you are comfortable with that basic process, make one or two batches with 1 Tbs PPO Kaolin clay and 1 tsp PPO fine sea salt. That should be pretty close to the Dr. S bar, and you may find that's what you choose to make for your own use. Or you can experiment with using lard instead of palm to compare the two.

Then make the next batch with the GM. It is an advanced soap-making technique, so you really will benefit from doing non-GM bars first if you can. Lots of good threads here will talk you through that process. If you give these bars a good long cure, they will be nothing like store-bought soap, and I bet your skin will love them.


Thanks for the good info

What does the small addition of salt do?
 
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Edit: GemstonePony just said this, too :) In small quantities, salt hardens the bar so it can be unmolded sooner. However, because salt can also inhibit lather, and has to be dissolved in liquid (before adding lye), many soapers choose to use sodium lactate instead. As a new soaper, I'd stick with salt for now. No need to get all spendy on ingredients until you know if you like it as is, with salt.

The other thing to consider is that I've deliberately kept the CO fairly low at 20%. CO in soap is very cleansing and stripping, so it can contribute to that dry skin feeling. However, CO makes lovely bubbles. That's why I'd add some castor oil, which doesn't make its own bubbles, but supports/sustains the lather created by the CO. You could also add some form of sugar to boost bubbles - but you will get to that eventually when you add the GM, which has milk sugars.

I hope you will post some pics of your first soaps! It's a fun journey, and even more fun when others can be part of it. :)
 

AxtFarm

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Too late to not get spendy. I'm about $500 in and haven't made any soap yet 🤣

I have the clay, sea salt, TD, SL, Sortitol, 2 EO, 2 FO, & 24 sample mica's. The only extra thing I'm yet to buy is Tussah Silk, but it won't be too long.
 
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Too late to not get spendy. I'm about $500 in and haven't made any soap yet 🤣

I have the clay, sea salt, TD, SL, Sortitol, 2 EO, 2 FO, & 24 sample mica's. The only extra thing I'm yet to buy is Tussah Silk, but it won't be too long.
😁 I hated bar soap, but started making it because I was attracted to the visual art aspect. Read up on fatty acid profiles, formulated my own recipe that I thought might not be as irritating to my skin, made it, and discovered to my surprise that I liked it. Best of luck to you!
 

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Something I didn't see addressed:
The store bought body wash is probably made with synthetic detergents. Some people's skin actually does better with detergents than with handmade soap. After experimenting with lye-based soaps, if you don't feel any differently, you might want to pursue syndet (synthetic detergent) recipes.
 

AxtFarm

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Something I didn't see addressed:
The store bought body wash is probably made with synthetic detergents. Some people's skin actually does better with detergents than with handmade soap. After experimenting with lye-based soaps, if you don't feel any differently, you might want to pursue syndet (synthetic detergent) recipes.

Very interesting, I will look into that.
 
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So? Have you made any soap?! Enquiring minds want to know!

For decades I used store bought bar soap and had dry, rashy skin. Because I didn't know anything different, I just thought it was just "skin." Then I made my own soap and then the heavens opened, angels sang and the lion laid down with the lamb and life was just rainbows and lollipops. Now when I have to use store bought, it feels caustic.

I really like @AliOop's suggestion (she's a smart one worth listening to).

My unsolicited advice after seeing what all you've bought so far, is for your first attempts to start with only oils and lye/liquid. There are several steps and lots to attend to. Then when you're confident about the procedure, then add all the bells and whistles.

Welcome to the forum!
 
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So? Have you made any soap?! Enquiring minds want to know!

For decades I used store bought bar soap and had dry, rashy skin. Because I didn't know anything different, I just thought it was just "skin." Then I made my own soap and then the heavens opened, angels sang and the lion laid down with the lamb and life was just rainbows and lollipops. Now when I have to use store bought, it feels caustic.

I really like @AliOop's suggestion (she's a smart one worth listening to).

My unsolicited advice after seeing what all you've bought so far, is for your first attempts to start with only oils and lye/liquid. There are several steps and lots to attend to. Then when you're confident about the procedure, then add all the bells and whistles.

Welcome to the forum!

I had the same experience. I have narrowed it down to lack of detergents rather than anything special in the soap. I have tried one bar of "home made" syndet without scents or colors and it was right back to itchy, rashy, dry skin.
 

AxtFarm

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Made first batch yesterday, forgot clear eye protection so opted for sun glasses which kind of made it hard to see lol.

Anyways, I turned the stove eye a little too high when melting the oil so I ended up with with 170° oils and lye solution.

I put both in the fridge to get them down to 120° quicker, but then my infant woke up from his nap sooner than he was supposed to. I decided I had to start at 140°. Mixed them together and found out a small batch in a big bowl with a stick blender makes it hard to mix without splatter.

I decided I wasn't going with a solid color so after trace I split into two cups and instead of spoon mixing in cocoa powder into 1 cup I used a milk frother (oops). Of course that made the colored cup thicker than the other cup. It was kind of irrelevant though because by the time I figured out the dark was thicker than I wanted the light colored bowl had thickens up too so they were both like pudding.

I dumped and swirled and then spooned into the mold and then used a spatula to try and smooth the surfaces as much as possible before moving to storage and covering with a towel. I think I'm supposed to cover with plastic wrap before the towel? Because when I checked on them later I had towel stuck in soap leaving little indentions when I pulled them apart.

I forgot to buy a spray bottle to put alcohol in to spray them with so it appears I have soda ash.

I will see how they really turned out tonight when I unmold.

How do y'all handle the dirty dishes? I put them on one side of the sink and ran water on all of them until I can actually clean them tonight, which also appears will be a chore.

I think the biggest issue for me or my wife is going to be soaping for an hour uninterrupted because 3 kids (1, 4, 6) gives us about 10 minutes uninterrupted about 100 times a day lol.
 

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Made first batch yesterday, forgot clear eye protection so opted for sun glasses which kind of made it hard to see lol.

Anyways, I turned the stove eye a little too high when melting the oil so I ended up with with 170° oils and lye solution.

I put both in the fridge to get them down to 120° quicker, but then my infant woke up from his nap sooner than he was supposed to. I decided I had to start at 140°. Mixed them together and found out a small batch in a big bowl with a stick blender makes it hard to mix without splatter.

I decided I wasn't going with a solid color so after trace I split into two cups and instead of spoon mixing in cocoa powder into 1 cup I used a milk frother (oops). Of course that made the colored cup thicker than the other cup. It was kind of irrelevant though because by the time I figured out the dark was thicker than I wanted the light colored bowl had thickens up too so they were both like pudding.

I dumped and swirled and then spooned into the mold and then used a spatula to try and smooth the surfaces as much as possible before moving to storage and covering with a towel. I think I'm supposed to cover with plastic wrap before the towel? Because when I checked on them later I had towel stuck in soap leaving little indentions when I pulled them apart.

I forgot to buy a spray bottle to put alcohol in to spray them with so it appears I have soda ash.

I will see how they really turned out tonight when I unmold.

How do y'all handle the dirty dishes? I put them on one side of the sink and ran water on all of them until I can actually clean them tonight, which also appears will be a chore.

I think the biggest issue for me or my wife is going to be soaping for an hour uninterrupted because 3 kids (1, 4, 6) gives us about 10 minutes uninterrupted about 100 times a day lol.
Well done! Yes, cover with plastic first. But ash is harmless anyway.

For dishwashing, most suggest wiping out the bowls with paper towels,rags, or microfiber cloths as much as possible. Then don’t run them under any water; just let them sit for a day or two so the batter saponifies. It is a lot easier to wash off soap than greasy batter. 😉

One diagnostic question: are you already itching to make another batch? If so, the bite was fatal and you are now addicted. That’s why many of us soap at very strange hours to avoid interruptions by children/pets/spouses (@Zing I didn't say husbands this time!) or visiting aliens/relatives.
 

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