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Author Topic: Hard Bar vs Conditioning  (Read 8338 times)
CGimenez
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« on: July 16, 2011, 06:36:44 PM »

Hi all... I'm just making soap to quench my never ending need to make soap and to share with friends and family for now... but several I've shared my bars with have commented that while they love the bars... they bubble nicely and feel wonderful... the bars seem to be a bit soft and don't last long.  I've been getting around the mid 30s for hardness on Soapcalc.  Is it possible to get a hard bar and not sacrifice conditioning properties?  Am I just totally missing something?

Thanks!

Charlynn
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StampinFairy
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2011, 12:35:31 PM »

bump.... (I think that's what I do if I want this thread to go up top... right?)

How or where exactly can you determine the hardness of your bar via soapcalc?  How would I see that?
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CGimenez
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2011, 05:36:03 PM »

After you put in your oils in Soapcalc you hit the button under the oils that says Calculate Recipe.  That will highlight the box immediately under the Calculate Recipe button "View or Print Recipe" and you can click on it.  That will bring up another page which will have all your oils, the percentages they are in the recipe and amounts... your water and lye amounts needed, etc.  Under the oils you'll see several categories which calculate a desirable range of hardness, cleaning, conditioning, etc. 

I'm sorry... this might all be redundant for you and if so, I'm sorry!  At any rate, this hardness rating is what I've been using.

Hope this is helpful??

Charlynn
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taenia
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 11:31:59 PM »

Charlynn, as to my experience, the longer your soap cures, the longer it lasts when used. One month longer makes huge difference. Also, don't know why, at least for me, the CP soaps that do not pass the gel phase are much harder than those who pass, or HP soaps, and last longer. It takes ages to use them, it drives me crazy when I want to try new one, and still the old is there! Maybe it is due to soap crystals that are different, when the soap is not gelling.
I will look up my long lasting soap bar recipe and post it here for you.
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taenia
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 12:19:12 AM »

Here it is, a very nice soap bar, with a good lather and decent conditioning, hard, long lasting (confirmed by friends). However, I let all my bars cure for a month before using, so am not sure how long would take this bar to use if cured shorter.


Here is the recipe, in % for oils.

Olive oil                    25%
Palm oil                    30%
Coconut oil            35%
Grapeseed oil            10%


I use 5% superfat and computed the lye and water ratio using defaults in Soapcalc (Water as % of Oils 38%).

Oils and lye mixed both at 99 F, cold process, no insulation, wooden log mold, the soap did not pass the gel phase.

Good luck!

Evik

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CGimenez
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 03:16:06 AM »

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with me and others here....

I know that leaving the bars for a longer period before using will result in a harder bar.... lol... but yes, it's soooooo hard to do!  I've even told that to my friends and family as a reason why the bars aren't lasting and it seems that maybe this is the reason since they aren't able to let them cure long either!  Haha! 

I will definitely give this recipe a try... I've been so consumed with creating a very conditioning bar since I have very dry skin that I think I've been going backwards lately.  The last two batches have been so incredibly oily and soft after 24 hours and after a few days are only a bit better.  I've decided to go back to square one with your recipe and see if that helps and then make just small, minor changes to see if I can up the conditioning level w/o losing to much hardness. 

Do you know what ranges you look for in hardness and conditioning on Soapcalc in a recipe?  I have been trying to keep the hardness as high as possible but haven't been able to get it over 40.  Is that an acceptable range or would these bars still be soft after a month curing?

Thanks for all your wisdom and sharing!

Charlynn

P.S.  I've been trying to not use Palm Oil... only because I have not been able to find it locally and am not thrilled with paying all the high shipping costs and having it transported from the other side of the country.... I thought maybe there was a local option but haven't found one.  I know the vegtable oils in the stores here say 100% Soybean Oil so I sometimes use that for part of my batch.  I believe the Crisco shortening says part hydrogenated Palm Oil but it has lots of other stuff as well so I hesitate to use that.  Anyway.... would you suggest that I get some Palm Oil to try?  I understand it does make bars harder... I have been using some Palm Kernel Oil Flakes I have liked but am almost out and could order Palm Oil instead...

Maybe this should have been another topic!  Sorry!   Wink
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taenia
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 05:17:42 AM »

I will search this evening for all my recipes, what hardness I have there, but I believe I try to go over 40 each time. The recipe I posted has following properties (range) value:

Hardness    (29 - 54)    48
Cleansing    (12 - 22)    24
Conditioning    (44 - 69)    48
Bubbly         (14 - 46)    24
Creamy            (16 - 48)    24
Iodine             (41 - 70)    54
INS                 (136 - 165)  167

So you can see the hardness is quite high, so are the cleansing properties. I do not feel this soap to be any drying, I believe the grapeseed oil gives it the conditioning touch.

As for the palm oil, indeed, it makes the soap bar harder, but is not very conditioning, mainly it is used because it makes creamy soap. However, not very cleansing, neither bubbly. I use for my recipes a relatively expensive bio palm oil that I can find in a chain of Bio stores where I live (Switzerland). To my experience, it can be found in this type of stores everywhere in Europe, so maybe try to search there.

One of my first attempts gave a very nice bar of soap I called conditioning - it did lather fairly well and was also long lasting.
There I used overall less coconut and palm oil, and added 10% of shea butter - this oil makes a hard bar soap (as the majority of non-liquid oils do) and has a very good conditioning.

I will post the recipe as a topic on its own for you, it starts to be a long discussion here Smiley

In general, I am having now this idea, that this might be a good approach - if we want a hard soap (without waiting too long for cure) that is at the same time conditioning, we should use higher percentage of hard oils, but do not forget that part of them must be conditioning (shea butter).

Many say that adding beeswax hardens soap, but I never tried it.

I also believe that adding clay or flour helps the soap to harden. At the same time, pay attention, to choose a clay that is for sensitive skin (many are quite drying). I never used flour.
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CGimenez
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 06:26:57 AM »

Thank you so much Evik, for your time in helping me.  The recipe you posted looks wonderful and I will definitely give it a try.  Your hardening of 48 is certainly higher than anything I've been able to reach... only 40 at most so I'm sure that would help.  I think I could tolerate a cleansing of 24... the batch I made which felt so drying was 33!!  It was made before I was paying much attention to all the conditions in Soapcalc! 

If you wouldn't mind... I'm going to post here the last recipe I did which came out with the excess oils and softness and if you could be so generous as to give me your opinion I'd truly appreciate it:

Soybean Oil - 31.25
Coconut Oil - 25%
Peach Kernel Oil - 12.5%
Olive Oil - 12.5%
Palm Kernel Flakes - 9.38%
Castor Oil - 6.25%
Cocoa Butter - 3.13%

Hardness: 38
Cleansing: 23
Conditioning: 57
Bubbly: 29
Creamy: 21
Iodine: 76
INS: 140

This is the batch I processed both with the Room Temp method which was mixed not considering temps and molded in a wood box and insulated with towels and the regular CP method which was mixed at 97*F  and molded in plastic container and placed in the freezer for 18 hours.  The freezer batch did a partial gel after thawing in the fridge for 4 hours and then on the table w/ fans on for several more hours before unmolding.

Is it possible there is another reason for the softness and oiliness other than the recipe?  Both batches are more firm this morning with  no obvious excess oiliness but are definitely still softer than my normal batches and I'm sure will take a lot longer to cure so as to allow them as much time as possible to firm up.

I hope this all is understandable...

Thanks!!

Charlynn
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taenia
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 01:35:48 PM »

I do not feel like an expert on hardness of soap, but I am happy to share all my experience with this!

So I checked my recipes, and it seems that going under 40 in general gives rather softer soaps, that need substantially longer curing to get hard. Now I have one of hardness of 38 curing (it is the oriental swirl recipe I posted some time ago), and it has been curing for three weeks now and I still feel that it needs more.

In general, I rarely go under 50% of hard oils in a recipe (usually mainly palm and coconut), however, even this do not necessarily mean your soap bar will be too hard. For example, another soap that is curing for a month now, with hardness 43 (30% palm and 30% coconut oil) that I made under higher temperatures and that passed the gel phase, is not harder than the oriental swirl which I did a week later (with hardness 38 and only 50% of hard oils).

I believe your recipe has quite large proportion of soft oils to make a hard soap. Do not forget that the more liquid oils you have, the longer the soap takes to harden. For example pure castile soap (olive oil only) takes several months!

What can speed up the process of hardening is actually to use less water for your lye solution. Try using 2:1 ratio, then there will be less water to evaporate and thus less curing time. 

Somewhere I read about speeding the water evaporation by drying soap bars using hot air (in the oven or in a machine for drying fruits). Never did this so don't know.

Also, now I checked the recipe for the soap I did some time ago and where I added clay - it has hardness of 39, but I added french clay at trace and I confirm, it takes long time to get used...  Again, I had 50% of hard oils (both palm and coconut, 25%).

If I were you, I would try adjust your recipe as follows:

1) Use up to 20% palm kernel flakes, or try stearic acid, to increase rate of hard oils to around 50%
2) Do not superfat more than 5%, and for conditioning rather add a small amount of oils at trace
3) Reduce the water : lye ratio (but attention, not too much, or your soap can be too crumbly), 2:1 should do.
4) Try to add a small amount of cosmetic clay for sensitive skin at trace (really not much) - it will harden the soap and fix your scents.

Maybe not all at the same time, but at least one of these. You can experiment (makes you one more reason why you absolutely have to make soap Smiley).
Hope this helps, if any other questions, just ask.

Good luck!




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CGimenez
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2011, 04:46:18 PM »

Good advice as always... thank you.  Looks like I just need to do a lot more experimenting and note taking and keep all you've suggested in mind.  I've taken notes on what you've suggested and I think I'm getting a better formula for a bar I need already.   Grin  Again, I thank you for all your help and suggestions and I'll keep you informed as to my progress in reaching a more conditioning bar that is also hard enough to last a while! 

Charlynn
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ceebee2001
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2011, 05:11:33 PM »

Have you tries adding Sodium Lactate to the water before adding your lye?   I have only used it in my HP soap to make it easier to pour into the mold, not in CP.
This article explains a bit about it.

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art45947.asp
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Organica
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 09:22:02 PM »

This is just an answer to an earlier post/question on palm oil. If you are in a pinch and waiting on shipment of your palm oil, just go to your local Whole Foods Supermarket and get the brand 'Spectrem' vegetable oil. If you look at the ingredients it's 100% palm oil. Smiley Other grocery stores also carry the Spectrem line of organic & pure oils. Hope this helps. Smiley
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CGimenez
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 07:29:32 AM »

Really???  Awesome!  I will go there this morning and check it out!  I was so frustrated that I couldn't find Palm Oil locally for times just like these!  Thank you so much!  My order of Palm Oil will be here Fri. but now I might not have to wait!

Charlynn
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niyati.arya
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2011, 03:56:34 AM »

Hi,

I face the same problem and get bars that melt off very easily. I would love to try your recipe, but I don't use palm oil. Could you suggest a substitute vegetable oil?

Regards,
Niyati
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Monvi33
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 08:25:27 AM »

I generally prefer a Hardness of above 40. 
Looking at your recipe I would cut back on the soybean oil, in my experience it makes a pretty soft bar.  There are a lot of soft oils in that recipe.
I was playing around with your recipe and here is an idea to look at.

Soybean oil:  20%
Coconut oil: 20%
Peach Kernal: 10%
Olive: 25%
Palm Kernal Flakes: 15%
Castor: 6%
Cocoa Butter: 4%

Hardness: 40
Cleansing: 23
Condition: 56
Bubbly: 29
Creamy: 22
Iodine: 70
INS: 145

This is still a pretty soft bar IMO, but not quite as soft as original recipe.  I hope this helps a bit.  Have fun experimenting.
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