Shave Soap Yet Another Shave Soap Thread looking for Advice/opinions Please :)

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I've been reading all the various threads for shave soap and decided to revamp my current recipe. It works fine and I've been happy with it for the most part, but it doesn't seem to have the lather I've been seeing in many of the posts.

The biggest issue seems to be the stearic + Palmitic percentage. Previously I was using 49% of my oils in the form of Stearic Acid, but that doesn't help with palmitic. Even though my percentage was above 50% with both combined, based on what I've been reading I need to use fats to produce more of the stearic so other fa's play a bigger role. Is there a good number for palmitic acid to stearic?

Based on lots of tweaking this morning, here is the FA profile I have now:
1676746561724.png

Should I continue to play with it to get the palmitic up? Anything else I should focus on for FA's?1676746561724.png
 
Short answer -- Focus on the combined palmitic + stearic, not the proportion of each individual fatty acid with respect to the other.

If you're using commericial stearic acid, keep in mind it's actually not 100% stearic. It's about 50:50 stearic and palmitic.

Also bear in mind the fatty acid profile in a soap recipe c@lculator for a given individual fat is an average, not a precise set of numbers for your particular fat.

Going back to the concern about the proportion of palmitic to stearic --

Someone on SMF recently (in the past year, I believe) did a trial to evaluate soap with mostly palmitic, mostly stearic, and about half-and-half. It didn't seem to make a lot of difference in the lather quality. Unfortunately, I don't recall if it was more of a bath soap or a shave soap. I also don't recall the person who did the experiment or I'd give a link.

Again speaking from memory, some of the participants in the long Songwind shave soap thread didn't care for the fact that commercial "stearic" is not actually pure stearic when that came to light in the conversation. I believe one or two found a source of pure stearic acid and tried that in their shave soap. If I remember correctly, there was not a huge difference in the lather quality of the shave soap, at least not enough to go through the hassle and cost of sourcing pure stearic.

As far as the other fatty acids in your recipe --

When I compare your fatty acid profile to the FA profile for my preferred recipe, the lauric + myristic content in yours is about half that of mine and your oleic acid content is almost double mine. The total palmitic and stearic percentage is about the same. If your soap isn't lathering generously without a lot of work, raising the lauric and myristic content a bit can be helpful.
 
Short answer -- Focus on the combined palmitic + stearic, not the proportion of each individual fatty acid with respect to the other.

If you're using commercial stearic acid, keep in mind it's actually not 100% stearic. It's about 50:50 stearic and palmitic.
Thanks @DeeAnna ! I was really hoping you'd see the post and provide input! Much appreciated!
I was not aware that commercial stearic was 50/50 stearic/palmitic. Good to know. I get mine from SoapersChoice.

Also bear in mind the fatty acid profile in a soap recipe c@lculator for a given individual fat is an average, not a precise set of numbers for your particular fat.

Going back to the concern about the proportion of palmitic to stearic --

Someone on SMF recently (in the past year, I believe) did a trial to evaluate soap with mostly palmitic, mostly stearic, and about half-and-half. It didn't seem to make a lot of difference in the lather quality. Unfortunately, I don't recall if it was more of a bath soap or a shave soap. I also don't recall the person who did the experiment or I'd give a link.
Thanks for the heads up. I'll see if I can find it. Sounds like an interesting experiment.

Again speaking from memory, some of the participants in the long Songwind shave soap thread didn't care for the fact that commercial "stearic" is not actually pure stearic when that came to light in the conversation. I believe one or two found a source of pure stearic acid and tried that in their shave soap. If I remember correctly, there was not a huge difference in the lather quality of the shave soap, at least not enough to go through the hassle and cost of sourcing pure stearic.
LOL, I guess that brings to light (for me anyway) why I should stop skipping over some of the conversation in long threads.

As far as the other fatty acids in your recipe --

When I compare your fatty acid profile to the FA profile for my preferred recipe, the lauric + myristic content in yours is about half that of mine and your oleic acid content is almost double mine. The total palmitic and stearic percentage is about the same. If your soap isn't lathering generously without a lot of work, raising the lauric and myristic content a bit can be helpful.
Ohhh ... Thanks! That will help!

I use the process to make shave soap that you outlined a while back, I add more liquid after cooking now. I've been trying to get it to a point of being able to pour, at least to some degree. Do you still make yours the same or have you come up with a way to make it a bit more pourable?

Thanks for all your input! I really do appreciate your scientific mind! :)
 
When I compare your fatty acid profile to the FA profile for my preferred recipe, the lauric + myristic content in yours is about half that of mine and your oleic acid content is almost double mine. The total palmitic and stearic percentage is about the same. If your soap isn't lathering generously without a lot of work, raising the lauric and myristic content a bit can be helpful.
Increasing the lauric/mystric and lowering oleic has been a challenge, mostly because I've never attempted to use PKO. That being said, I did a little research and it seems maybe I've been missing out. Is PKO milder, less drying than CO? That seems to be what I'm finding, but I also see that most people prefer a combination of the CO and PKO.
 
Neat!

Short answer -- Focus on the combined palmitic + stearic, not the proportion of each individual fatty acid with respect to the other.

If you're using commericial stearic acid, keep in mind it's actually not 100% stearic. It's about 50:50 stearic and palmitic.

Also bear in mind the fatty acid profile in a soap recipe c@lculator for a given individual fat is an average, not a precise set of numbers for your particular fat.

Going back to the concern about the proportion of palmitic to stearic --

Someone on SMF recently (in the past year, I believe) did a trial to evaluate soap with mostly palmitic, mostly stearic, and about half-and-half. It didn't seem to make a lot of difference in the lather quality. Unfortunately, I don't recall if it was more of a bath soap or a shave soap. I also don't recall the person who did the experiment or I'd give a link.

Again speaking from memory, some of the participants in the long Songwind shave soap thread didn't care for the fact that commercial "stearic" is not actually pure stearic when that came to light in the conversation. I believe one or two found a source of pure stearic acid and tried that in their shave soap. If I remember correctly, there was not a huge difference in the lather quality of the shave soap, at least not enough to go through the hassle and cost of sourcing pure stearic.

As far as the other fatty acids in your recipe --

When I compare your fatty acid profile to the FA profile for my preferred recipe, the lauric + myristic content in yours is about half that of mine and your oleic acid content is almost double mine. The total palmitic and stearic percentage is about the same. If your soap isn't lathering generously without a lot of work, raising the lauric and myristic content a bit can be helpful.
One of the threads discussing SA vs PA
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/high-palmitic-vs-high-stearic-once-again.83610/
Really miss this poster. :-(

Unfortunately no conclusion can really be drawn since the same bugger that has plagued nearly everyone in search of pure SA or close has reared its head into RO's experiment. I believe Shirley-D's identified a source of soy wax that is fully hydrogenated at MMS. Once that is confirmed I'm placing my order for that and some Japan wax and making batches the day it comes in because I am THAT curious about SA vs PA.

Regarding the OP's stearic acid, Soapers Choice does not have documentation or any info, however based on other triple pressed palm derived stearic acid documents found elsewhere it's likely to be about a 50/50 mix. For an ingredient that seems simple as a single FA I am amazed how difficult it is to source it. Every single source I've found is basically a 50/50 mix. The rest don't mention what the make up is and just state "stearic acid"-and I'm assuming they are in fact the same 50/50 mix as everyone else.

Let us know how your soap performs!
 
One of the threads discussing SA vs PA
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/high-palmitic-vs-high-stearic-once-again.83610/Really miss this poster. :-(
Interesting experiment. It does seem though that any differences are negligible. That being the case, to @DeeAnna's point, It isn't so much a specific balance between PA and SA, as much as a need to be above 50.
With commercial SA being about 50/50, it doesn't actually matter what PA shows because it is technically going to be equal to or a bit higher than SA depending on the PA/SA from the other fats.

Unfortunately no conclusion can really be drawn since the same bugger that has plagued nearly everyone in search of pure SA or close has reared its head into RO's experiment. I believe Shirley-D's identified a source of soy wax that is fully hydrogenated at MMS. Once that is confirmed I'm placing my order for that and some Japan wax and making batches the day it comes in because I am THAT curious about SA vs PA.
I look forward to hearing about your results with separating the two. You're right, the results technically have not been fully vetted due to the constraints on finding 100% SA.

Regarding the OP's stearic acid, Soapers Choice does not have documentation or any info, however based on other triple pressed palm derived stearic acid documents found elsewhere it's likely to be about a 50/50 mix. For an ingredient that seems simple as a single FA I am amazed how difficult it is to source it. Every single source I've found is basically a 50/50 mix. The rest don't mention what the make up is and just state "stearic acid"-and I'm assuming they are in fact the same 50/50 mix as everyone else.
I agree, I would guess it is all 50/50.
Let us know how your soap performs!
Absolutely. Can't wait to get the PKO now so I can try it out. :)
 
The way commercial "stearic" acid is created ensures it is a blend of palmitic and stearic. Commercial stearic is usually derived from palm oil because palm oil is a low cost commodity fat that has a reasonable amount of stearic in it. A small-scale soap maker could make a commercial quality stearic acid if they have the interest and know-how. The rough method is this --

Make soap with an excess of lye to ensure no fat remains. "Break" the soap with acid so the soap decomposes into its constituent fatty acids. Cool the fatty acid mixture to the approximate temperature at which the stearic acid (and some of the palmitic acid) will crystallize and become solid yet the other fatty acids will remain liquids. Separate the crystalline fatty acid from the liquids. Wash to remove impurities, and -- voila! -- you have "stearic" acid. Since crystallization is not a super precise separation method, a fair bit of palmitic acid will inevitably also be in the finished product.

To further separate the fatty acid mixture into a higher purity form of stearic is considerably more difficult. This is why it's much more difficult to find pure stearic acid and also the cost is higher -- you would have to go to the suppliers who provide chemicals to laboratories and research facilities. The extra trouble isn't worth the cost for the consumers of commodity stearic acid.

Every chemical product, especially those used as raw material for manufacturing, will have what's called a CAS number. If you want to jump down the rabbit hole of finding accurate information about a particular chemical, you need to get its CAS number and search on that rather than just the name.
 
The way commercial "stearic" acid is created ensures it is a blend of palmitic and stearic. Commercial stearic is usually derived from palm oil because palm oil is a low cost commodity fat that has a reasonable amount of stearic in it. A small-scale soap maker could make a commercial quality stearic acid if they have the interest and know-how. The rough method is this --

Make soap with an excess of lye to ensure no fat remains. "Break" the soap with acid so the soap decomposes into its constituent fatty acids. Cool the fatty acid mixture to the approximate temperature at which the stearic acid (and some of the palmitic acid) will crystallize and become solid yet the other fatty acids will remain liquids. Separate the crystalline fatty acid from the liquids. Wash to remove impurities, and -- voila! -- you have "stearic" acid. Since crystallization is not a super precise separation method, a fair bit of palmitic acid will inevitably also be in the finished product.

To further separate the fatty acid mixture into a higher purity form of stearic is considerably more difficult. This is why it's much more difficult to find pure stearic acid and also the cost is higher -- you would have to go to the suppliers who provide chemicals to laboratories and research facilities. The extra trouble isn't worth the cost for the consumers of commodity stearic acid.

Every chemical product, especially those used as raw material for manufacturing, will have what's called a CAS number. If you want to jump down the rabbit hole of finding accurate information about a particular chemical, you need to get its CAS number and search on that rather than just the name.
Wow, that would be a process. It would be even less fun than rendering beef fat into tallow and pork fat into lard. :)
Thanks for the info! I think I'll stick with the commercial variety and add some PKO. lol

Always a ton of information @DeeAnna. Thank you for always providing the scientific side of all matters. I really do appreciate your expertise. :)
 
Wow, that would be a process. It would be even less fun than rendering beef fat into tallow and pork fat into lard. :)
Thanks for the info! I think I'll stick with the commercial variety and add some PKO. lol

Always a ton of information @DeeAnna. Thank you for always providing the scientific side of all matters. I really do appreciate your expertise. :)

Thanks! Yep it would be a ton of work. Rendering is a messy time consuming job, but in the end it's really satisfying. I'm not so sure the "make your own stearic from palm oil" method would be worth the trouble.
 
Thanks! Yep it would be a ton of work. Rendering is a messy time consuming job, but in the end it's really satisfying. I'm not so sure the "make your own stearic from palm oil" method would be worth the trouble.
I would have to agree, it is satisfying to end up with nice clean tallow/lard. But it always took a very long time and way too many pots to scrub. :)
SA is too cheap to do it yourself and would result in even more dishes. :)
 
The way commercial "stearic" acid is created ensures it is a blend of palmitic and stearic. Commercial stearic is usually derived from palm oil because palm oil is a low cost commodity fat that has a reasonable amount of stearic in it. A small-scale soap maker could make a commercial quality stearic acid if they have the interest and know-how. The rough method is this --

Make soap with an excess of lye to ensure no fat remains. "Break" the soap with acid so the soap decomposes into its constituent fatty acids. Cool the fatty acid mixture to the approximate temperature at which the stearic acid (and some of the palmitic acid) will crystallize and become solid yet the other fatty acids will remain liquids. Separate the crystalline fatty acid from the liquids. Wash to remove impurities, and -- voila! -- you have "stearic" acid. Since crystallization is not a super precise separation method, a fair bit of palmitic acid will inevitably also be in the finished product.

To further separate the fatty acid mixture into a higher purity form of stearic is considerably more difficult. This is why it's much more difficult to find pure stearic acid and also the cost is higher -- you would have to go to the suppliers who provide chemicals to laboratories and research facilities. The extra trouble isn't worth the cost for the consumers of commodity stearic acid.

Every chemical product, especially those used as raw material for manufacturing, will have what's called a CAS number. If you want to jump down the rabbit hole of finding accurate information about a particular chemical, you need to get its CAS number and search on that rather than just the name.
This "breaking" process described in detail in any books DeeAnna? Sounds very interesting. Curious about the acid used, even if not perfect, to get a SA : PA ratio tilted heavier toward SA than commercially available would be worth a try IMO.
 
\Breaking soap -- causing it to decompose into fatty acids -- isn't hard. Liquid soap makers inadvertently break their soap quite often, as witness all the threads here in which people complain about a thick white layer of "stuff" floating on top of their liquid soap. You can use pretty much any acid to decompose soap. Many of us have citric acid on hand, and I know it works well enough.

The tricky part is separating the palmitc and stearic acids to concentrate the stearic acid fraction. That's the process you need to study, and you're on your own for that.
 
\Breaking soap -- causing it to decompose into fatty acids -- isn't hard. Liquid soap makers inadvertently break their soap quite often, as witness all the threads here in which people complain about a thick white layer of "stuff" floating on top of their liquid soap. You can use pretty much any acid to decompose soap. Many of us have citric acid on hand, and I know it works well enough.

The tricky part is separating the palmitc and stearic acids to concentrate the stearic acid fraction. That's the process you need to study, and you're on your own for that.
Could he make a soap with the highest possible stearic and very little palmitic and break that down?
 
Could he make a soap with the highest possible stearic and very little palmitic and break that down?
Interesting idea.
Yes, this could certainly be done. Which fat do you recommend?
I'm thinking kokum butter. Very little palmitic in there and maybe the oleic will be easy enough to separate from stearic here. Even if I can't break apart palmitic from stearic the ratio is great to begin with.

Edit-I began my search on Google and the very first site was yours. I suppose I'll start there. :swinging:
 
Yes, this could certainly be done. Which fat do you recommend?
I absolutely cannot resist a worthy challenge. :)
Gathering data ... will report back with findings! :)

@Johnez , based on what @DeeAnna said earlier on breaking down the FA's, Palmitic and Stearic will solidify (I'm guessing at just below 160 degrees) while the other fats are still liquid. So the stearic/palmitic, although combined, will be easy to scoop right off the top.
 
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I absolutely cannot resist a worthy challenge. :)
Gathering data ... will report back with findings! :)

@Johnez , based on what @DeeAnna said earlier on breaking down the FA's, Palmitic and Stearic will solidify (I'm guessing at just below 160 degrees) while the other fats are still liquid. So the stearic/palmitic, although combined, will be easy to scoop right off the top.
That's what I'm figuring. I'm of limited scientific knowledge though and some of these experiments are pretty interesting but difficult to follow. I've found one pulling straight oleic acid out of soap, and it was considered a failure lol. Might have to break this into its own thread heh.
 
I was wondering how beef tallow would compare, but it apparently has almost double palmitic to stearic, at least per this breakdown from Wikipedia. I had no idea!
Another interesting note-a ton of oleic. Found that funny since some object to OO in their soap. I guess with tallow it's not really necessary. :p
 
Another interesting note-a ton of oleic. Found that funny since some object to OO in their soap. I guess with tallow it's not really necessary. :p
I am one who doesn't like a lot of OO in my soap. I don't know if it is the oleic per se, or the unsaponifiables, or ?

To me, blending FAs either calms down or somehow alters how certain FAs feel on their own. So I'm ok with oleic being present, but definitely don't like a high amount of it, and definitely prefer oleic that comes from fats other than OO. Weird, huh?
 
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