11-13-2013, 05:29 AM
#1
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I've just started trying some different soaps. There are so many. Has anyone come across a particular ingredient that really makes for a better soap? or maybe a poor one. What about cold vs. hot processed soap?Anything typical or guildlines to think about or is it just a free for all. Any personal insights appreciated.

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 11-13-2013, 07:42 AM
#2
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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Tallow and/or stearic acid saponified primarily with KOH via HP should yield a good starting point. For secondary ingredients consider coconut or palm oil.

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 11-13-2013, 08:10 AM
#3
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I like the tallow based natural soaps.

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 11-13-2013, 09:00 AM
#4
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As long as they work and have the most natural ingredients possible, then I am a very happy camper! Biggrin

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 11-13-2013, 09:04 AM
#5
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Tough to characterize that way. I would start with the soaps that are popular on this forum - Mike's Natural, Barrister & Mann, Mystic Water, Stirling, LA Shaving to name a few, you won't go wrong with any of these!

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 11-13-2013, 11:06 AM
#6
  • Songwind
  • Soap Slinger & Scuttle Pusher
  • Burnsville, MN
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My favorites all combine stearic acid and coconut oil/acid.

Stearic acid makes a very creamy, stable and slick lather, coconut gives it good volume.

Oils that are high in stearic acid include tallow, kokum butter, and shea butter, but they are still relatively low in stearic acid compared to a lot of shave soaps, so pure stearic (usually extracted from palm oil) has to be added.

I'm not sure how much Potassium hydroxide vs. sodium hydroxide affects performance, but the softer soap resulting from KOH is definitely easier to load.

Hot vs. cold shouldn't make a lot of difference, but stearic acid starts saponifying very fast. When I tried to make a high-stearic cold processed soap I ended up with a crumbly mess that looked like the first stage of biscuit dough.

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 11-13-2013, 11:57 AM
#7
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(11-13-2013, 11:06 AM)Songwind Wrote: My favorites all combine stearic acid and coconut oil/acid.

Stearic acid makes a very creamy, stable and slick lather, coconut gives it good volume.

Oils that are high in stearic acid include tallow, kokum butter, and shea butter, but they are still relatively low in stearic acid compared to a lot of shave soaps, so pure stearic (usually extracted from palm oil) has to be added.

I'm not sure how much Potassium hydroxide vs. sodium hydroxide affects performance, but the softer soap resulting from KOH is definitely easier to load.

Hot vs. cold shouldn't make a lot of difference, but stearic acid starts saponifying very fast. When I tried to make a high-stearic cold processed soap I ended up with a crumbly mess that looked like the first stage of biscuit dough.
Thanks! I'm not a soap maker, but as I read the labels and talk to soap makers the info helps.

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 11-14-2013, 12:05 PM
#8
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If you see olive oil listed as the prime fat and it's intended to produce lather, leave it alone (there is at least one OO shave product that isn't intended to be lathered). If it's listed as a minor ingredient, (back a bit in the list, it might be OK. One I can think of that I believe contains OO is MEM. I no longer have the ingredient list, but I seem to remember it being a minor ingredient.

Check out what folks are using in the SOTD and you can't go wrong using them as well. The reviews help as well.

One thing I can also suggest is that price does not necessarily reflect the useability of a soap. Great performing soaps range anywhere from $1 (ARKO in bulk) - $80 and they all work. It all depends what you want the soap to do and what you want it to contain. The really expensive soaps get that way because of shipping, but also because of the ingredients. Natural scents are more costly than synthetics, and the more a product is intended to do the higher the price.

Too, an inexpensive soap can be lathered to work much better than it's price would suggest by producing an ultralather with it (do a search on the site). But an ultralather won't add after the shave skin kindness to an inexpensive soap that doesn't contain the ingredients for that skin feel.

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 11-14-2013, 05:13 PM
#9
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(11-14-2013, 12:05 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: If you see olive oil listed as the prime fat and it's intended to produce lather, leave it alone (there is at least one OO shave product that isn't intended to be lathered). If it's listed as a minor ingredient, (back a bit in the list, it might be OK. One I can think of that I believe contains OO is MEM. I no longer have the ingredient list, but I seem to remember it being a minor ingredient.

Check out what folks are using in the SOTD and you can't go wrong using them as well. The reviews help as well.
Excellent info...thank you so much!
One thing I can also suggest is that price does not necessarily reflect the useability of a soap. Great performing soaps range anywhere from $1 (ARKO in bulk) - $80 and they all work. It all depends what you want the soap to do and what you want it to contain. The really expensive soaps get that way because of shipping, but also because of the ingredients. Natural scents are more costly than synthetics, and the more a product is intended to do the higher the price.

Too, an inexpensive soap can be lathered to work much better than it's price would suggest by producing an ultralather with it (do a search on the site). But an ultralather won't add after the shave skin kindness to an inexpensive soap that doesn't contain the ingredients for that skin feel.

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