Zero percent superfat?

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Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2017
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Texas, USA
Hopefully this question has not been asked before.

How many of you soap at zero 0% ?

I do not make a lot of CP soap, because my family prefers MP. But recently I bought a rebatch grated soap, and loved the result I got. And it got me to thinking my soaps in the past smelled and felt too oily. I was superfating at 3% 0r 5%.

Have any of you superfat at zero, and what is your experience, and preferences? Does it make the soap feel more like regular soap?

Any input is much appreciated.
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Zero superfat will be the best soap for bubbles and all but if you do NOT have a well formulated recipe, it can be a very drying soap too. Also, there are a lot of possible factors to why your soaps may have came out too oily smelling and feeling. What did you do, how old were the oils, how old was your NaOH? Those are the least of the questions that we could ask.

A soap with a 2-3% superfat can be nice too but again t depends on the recipe as well as how it is made.
If I recall rightly, I think there is at least one soaper on our forum that soaps her regular bathing bars@ 0%, but I can't remember which member at the moment. Hopefully she'll pop in.

I'm like Susie in that the only soap I make with a 0% S/F is the one I make for cleaning things like dishes.

For my bathing/showering/hand soaps, my superfat ranges anywhere between 3% at the lowest to 20% at the highest, depending on the formula. Any lower than 3% is just too drying for the skins of me and mine.

What was your formula like? I ask because none of mine smell or feel oily. Not even the one I make with a 20% S/F.

IrishLass :)
I suggest you play with SF and decide what you like. A few years ago I made 4 one lb batches, each with a different SF. Mine were 0-4%. All recipes were the same except the SF. But I have to say I used the experiment to play with EO blends too. At the end of 6 weeks I took them all to the shower and rotated them for a couple of weeks until I decided what I liked best. Since each person has their own skin type, likes & dislikes, it's the best way for you to decide.

Also, hand-crafted soap and commercial soap are never going to feel the same. They think they "can't wash it off" when it's actually not stripping off all the natural oils. It certainly takes getting used to since we've been trained to think the dry, puckering feeling after using syn-dets equals clean.

FWIW, my favorite is 2-3% SF but that depends on the amount of CO I have in the recipe. Under 20% gets 2%, over 20% gets 3%. For me and my hubby, that makes us happy but others might find it too drying.

Another thing to consider is the SF of any recipe is dependent on the actual sap value of the oil and the actual purity % of the lye. These things can vary from crop to crop and vendor to vendor. This usually results in our SF being higher than we think it is. DeeAnna has explained this in many threads but I can't come up with one at the moment, lol. Hopefully she'll pop by to give more precise info.
You called my name? :)

I usually use a 3% superfat for most of my recipes, but I also correct my recipes for the NaOH purity. That means my 3% superfat is closer to a real 3% than if you'd set up the same recipe using soapcalc or soapee.

The online soap recipe calcs I've checked, including soapcalc and soapee, all assume your NaOH is 100% pure. We know it's never that good, even if you got NaOH right from the manufacturer. So when you use an online recipe calc to create a soap recipe, this assumption builds in a "hidden" superfat --

Hidden superfat % = (100% purity) - (Actual % purity)

The actual superfat in your soap is equal to this hidden superfat plus your chosen superfat. So if you use 95% pure NaOH and choose a superfat of 5%, then your actual superfat is more like 10%.

If you choose a zero superfat and use an online calc, your real superfat is actually more like 2-3% at the lowest and perhaps as high as 10% depending on the quality of the NaOH you're using and how the NaOH has been stored. That's one of the reasons why I try to calm soapers down who are having anxiety attacks when they make a mistake and end up with a low superfat in their soap -- it's probably not as low as they think!
Thank you DeeAnna! I never remember the exact numbers of "hidden" SF, just that it's much higher than we think. Since I always have this in the back of my mind, I use negative SF in laundry/cleaning soaps. I made LS for laundry a couple of days ago and used -3% SF. I checked for zap at about 6 hours and it was negative so even with what should be a lye excess, it was zapless. Once diluted I washed it off my hands and boy were they dry! But since I used 100% CO I expected exactly that.:)
Ladies! You are all just plain amazing! :p thank you everyone for your input!

Well, I could not wait so I made a batch tonight. I only make 1 pound batches, because I have 3 sons and a husband, and all of them like but the melt and pour soap. (I think they believe CP is for girls only lol).

What you say DeeAnna makes lots of sense to me. I always use the Bramble Berry calculator. is so easy to use. And I ran my recipe with 0% and with 2%, and it was almost identical. I think the difference was like 0.09 %. I did not add any fragrance, but I did use baby carrot puree as part of my liquid for color, and hopefully some aroma. My batch looked so pretty! But now I have to wait 4 to 6 weeks. :-? I am not a very patience gal! I used silicone individual molds so I might need to wait at least 48 hours to unmold since is a little humid lately. As soon as I can I will take pictures. Hopefully it will turn out good :)

The ones I made in the past had 5 % superfat. Maybe it was too much. Honestly they smelled like play dough :(. The one I made with rebatch soap felt amazing on my skin, so I decided to give it another try.

I might make another one tomorrow or the day after with 3% and see how it turns out.
If you haven't added anything to harden them like salt or sodium lactate, just pop them into the freezer for an hour or so. They'll pop right out for you! I use SL in all my batches and live in very low humidity, and individual cavity molds still like to be a bit bratty when trying to unmold. The freezer is my hero for them!
Thank you KristaY! Next time I will do that.

Here is a picture. They came out pretty! Just a bit of a couple of air bubbles. Now I have to wait 6 weeks!:think:

What do you all think?

Also, at what point is it safe to handle without gloves? (they are onlt for myself) I did not have gloves when I pop them out of the mold, and now I am freaking out! I feel I itch everywhere, but I am one of those that obsess about everything. :mrgreen: I put water on the mold that had remnant flakes and tested the Ph and it was green. So I guess is ok?

So I'm guessing they are approximately 36 hours old, more or less? Did they gel?

More especially, did the 0%SF ones gel? In either case, I'd still wear gloves until your zap test comes out negative.

If your skin itches, I'd suggest you rinse really well with lots of water. Even if it's only the power of suggestion that is making your skin itch, it doesn't hurt to rinse well.

Oh, I forgot to say how pretty they are.
I am so bad...I never wear gloves when de-molding even my salt bars that are only 45 min old when I cut them. The worst that happens is my finger tips get a little slick, good way to remove finger print treads :). When I had my salon during the era everyone was getting perms I did not have tread on a few of my fingers. While I was still living at home our house was robbed and the police thought they had quite a find after searching for finger prints until I held up my fingers!
I soap with 0% SF most of the time, even when making facial bars.
I prefer more bubbles, harder bars, increased longevity in the shower (less mushy).
I don't find them drying but I keep CO on a lower side, 10-20 % max. In summer I find them to be perfectly cleansing. In wintertime my skin is dry no matter what so I just moisturise anyway.
NaOH I buy is not 100% pure so there's already a little bit of SF there.
They look great, SRA! I don't mind seeing the little air bubbles and imperfections. It's a reminder they aren't made in a factory by machines. Even if they were a bit on the zappy side (which I doubt) just rinse well with cool tap water. Since the lye had time to do it's work and it was diluted by the rest of ingredients, you should be fine. Personally, I wear gloves every time I touch curing soap ~ from newly unmolded to packaging. The primary reason I do it is to avoid any type of contamination from my skin cells that 'might' lead to DOS. It's just a simple precaution I prefer but certainly not a necessity.

I'm excited to hear what you think about the soap once it's cured!:)
Thank you all! I check the PH only to see if it was safe to touch and unmold. Personally putting the soap in my mouth freaks me out! SO now I will wait the 6 weeks to test again and use. I will check the zap article though.

I am dying to try them! . Thank you everyone for their input!

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