07-31-2016, 07:17 PM
#1
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Looking for someone who has some knowledge of water chemistry and soap chemistry.  The idea being some way to evaluate the ingredients of a soap against a given water chemistry.  

My brewing (hence half of my username) has given me some knowledge of the my water chemistry locally.  My local water here close to the "Big Muddy" Missouri River is very high in bicarbonates and a very high pH of well over 9.  I often pre-boil my brewing water and see a massive amount of coagulation of minerals flocculating out to avoid putting them in my brewing liquor.  

I have had a number of very well reviewed soaps just not lather or perform worth a tinker's damn for me, and have theorized that it was water quality.  My evidence was a few creams hat had no slickness at home, giving me a juddering blade across my face.  But when taken on travelling excursions to a place with different water chemistry, even a different hard water chemistry, suddenly these creams became slicker than greased lightning.  As other examples, Mystic Waters soaps don't lather for crap for me here (and I feel like I can lather about anything well), but they retain some slickness; Castle Forbes creams have zero slickness in my water, but decent lather.  These two do superlather fairly well for me.  

The big question is: what to look for that will still lather well in hard, high bi-carbonate water?

Thanks!

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 08-01-2016, 08:08 AM
#2
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You may find that soaps with a high concentration of coconut oil might facilitate the lathering process in your water.
I would presume MdC would be a good candidate, but YMMV.

Which other soaps have you tried?

I have to say that I would love to try your water to test Mystic Water and see how things go. Shy 

Best of luck to you.

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 08-01-2016, 08:50 AM
#3
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You might look for synthetic detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate, as these were developed in part to cope with hard water. Sodium citrate is also sometimes used in soaps to help with hard water. You can buy it (citric acid... As a canning supply, I think) and add it in small amounts to your shaving water (be careful... It is an acid).

My wife's soaps contain neither (synthetic detergents seem to irritate my skin), but they were developed to work with our hard Cleveland water. They key is to load like crazy (for like 60 seconds). I find this helps with other artisan soaps as well.

You could also do as others do and use distilled water to shave, or install a water softener, which will help with hard water problems in your whole house. A reverse osmosis filtering system is also a possibility. They aren't cheap, but they can be installed under a kitchen sink.

Good luck!

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 08-01-2016, 01:27 PM
#4
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I've been switching all of my shaving soaps over to a new, chelated version with the addition of citric acid, which should help with lathering in hard water.   It sounds like your water would be quite a challenge!

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 08-01-2016, 02:03 PM
#5
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Hey Steambrewer...felllow Kansan/Missourian here. I feel your pain, brother! I'm down in JoCo.

I had been taming my hard water with a water softener. I was vetoed by the women in my life who were claiming that the soft water was causing bad hair days...I have had it turned off until my daughter returns to college in a few weeks.

So for most of the summer, I have had some rough ones with most of my tallow based soaps. Long story cut short...the vegan soaps are pretty oblivious to hard water. I had a remarkable shave yesterday with Saponificio Varisino Colonia. If I haven;t tried my MdC, Soap Commander, or PAA in a while, but I'd imagine they'd perform well too in the harder water,

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 08-01-2016, 07:40 PM
#6
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Thank you for the feedback.  I have never paid attention to the ingredients.  The roots of a good analysis is probably here in the information I have.  I am a "use it till it's gone" guy, and I like to like to use a lot of lather and load vigorously into a big scuttle, and the whip it up more.  I dislike the expression to "load it like you hate it".  I revel in it, luxuriate in it (hey, I've got a lot, I will enjoy it thoroughly).  These are very affordable luxury items.  So I also have ample opportunity to learn these soaps.  To reply to some of the questions and comments:

"Which other soaps have you tried?"  


I went a bit overboard like a lot of folks, some feedback on results-
- Stirling, old and new.  Unlike others, I have never had a problem lathering Stirling once I added enough water.  Very slick as well.
- Cella.  Modest lather, modest slickness for me.
- DR Harris.  Works very well.  Good slickness, lighter and fluffier lather.
- Crabtree and Evelyn, new formula.  Nice scent, terrible results otherwise.  No slickness, no lather.  
- Razorock.  Good lather and performance.  Better in softer water.
- AoS cream.  OK lather, zero slickness in my water.  Went to Denver for business, I thought it was a different product, completely, with abounding slickness.
- Trufitt & Hill, Edwin Jagger creams.  Same difference as with the AoS, marginal performance at home, call it slightly below average.
- Castle Forbes.  Just disappointing.  Decent lather, no slickness whatever.  When super lathered with Mystic Water, a superb combination.
- Caswell-Massey.  Simply awful.  For most everything else, I attribute it to water.  Nothing helped this stuff.
- Vintage Colgate.  Superb.
- Jeeves of Hudson Street.  A local soap maker for me, and this vendor may have well matched the soap for the local water.  This stuff is stunning in lather and slickness.  
- Tabac cream.  OK, average at home.  Dropped my razor when in central Texas due to slickness.
- Mystic Water.  Poor lather, good slickness at home.  But tough to make enough lather for a three pass shave.  
- Mike's Natural Soaps.  So, so lather, good slickness at home.  Much better when traveling.  
- Van Yulay.  Most dense lather I've seen at home, average slickness.
- Ralph Lauren Safari.  Very dense lather, pretty decent slickness.
- Lucky Tiger Shave Cream.  With very little water, no lather.  With slightly more water or even a lot of water, it was huge bubbled, flabby, ample lather, but average to decent slickness.  Super lathers with other things well.  Made AoS cream decent.

There are a few others that I am not thinking of I am sure.  Glycerin soaps seem to lather well, but large bubbles, not much slickness.  I am not seeing a pattern between tallow or vegan, maybe someone else will discern one.  I do seem to see a pattern where creams suffer the most with the water here.  

I will look for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium citrate.  Those look like salts that would lower pH.  I have a couple Shannon's Soaps that I haven't tried yet but I love the scents.


I enjoyed the Mystic Water bath soaps immensely before I tried the shaving soaps, and have enjoyed all of the scents.  No issues at all with the bath soaps, but obviously of a different nature.  I will keep an eye out for the new formula when I get some soap spending money.  


"Saponificio Varisino Colonia, MdC, Soap Commander, or PAA."  It was great meeting you at the meet up.  I want to try the Saponificio Varisino soon as well, and I should have traded you for he MdC Fougere, but I am keeping an eye out for someone selling it on BST.  I have an old Petal Pusher Fancies or two that I haven't tried yet, and will get to them eventually as well.



I try to be positive about vendors (well, perhaps not Caswell Massey).  My initial thought is that those that have good reputations have gotten them for a reason, and perhaps it is local conditions that prevent me from seeing the same things.  This seems to be confirmed when I travel.  Frankly, I regard most complaints about shaving soaps on the forums as a result of either inadequate water and loading, or simply cases where water chemistry does not favor certain soap formulations.  


To refine my original question: are there formulations to avoid?  


Water report below.  Temporary hardness is also fairly high.  I have tested it when preparing to brew at pH at over 10.  The mineral coagulant after a pre-boil looks like a snowdrift at the bottom of a seven gallon pot.  I miss the water in east Georgia along the Chattahoochie River, where the water was super soft.  Like kissing the cheek of a smiling baby.  I should move back and start a lager brewery.  


[Image: vrKhYfF.jpg]

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 08-01-2016, 07:56 PM
#7
  • Steve56
  • Senior Member
  • Knoxville, TN
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I think Celestino has good avice, a pure coconut/potassium hydroxide formula would be the thing to try, also try using distilled water to lather with. 

If you don't want to go the MdC route, a clone like LASSC ot Maggards/Maria Arman TTFFC vegan would also be good soaps to try.

Cheers, Steve

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 08-02-2016, 07:45 AM
#8
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(08-01-2016, 07:40 PM)Streambrewer Wrote: Thank you for the feedback.  I have never paid attention to the ingredients.  The roots of a good analysis is probably here in the information I have.  I am a "use it till it's gone" guy, and I like to like to use a lot of lather and load vigorously into a big scuttle, and the whip it up more.  I dislike the expression to "load it like you hate it".  I revel in it, luxuriate in it (hey, I've got a lot, I will enjoy it thoroughly).  These are very affordable luxury items.  So I also have ample opportunity to learn these soaps.  To reply to some of the questions and comments:

"Which other soaps have you tried?"  


I went a bit overboard like a lot of folks, some feedback on results-
- Stirling, old and new.  Unlike others, I have never had a problem lathering Stirling once I added enough water.  Very slick as well.
- Cella.  Modest lather, modest slickness for me.
- DR Harris.  Works very well.  Good slickness, lighter and fluffier lather.
- Crabtree and Evelyn, new formula.  Nice scent, terrible results otherwise.  No slickness, no lather.  
- Razorock.  Good lather and performance.  Better in softer water.
- AoS cream.  OK lather, zero slickness in my water.  Went to Denver for business, I thought it was a different product, completely, with abounding slickness.
- Trufitt & Hill, Edwin Jagger creams.  Same difference as with the AoS, marginal performance at home, call it slightly below average.
- Castle Forbes.  Just disappointing.  Decent lather, no slickness whatever.  When super lathered with Mystic Water, a superb combination.
- Caswell-Massey.  Simply awful.  For most everything else, I attribute it to water.  Nothing helped this stuff.
- Vintage Colgate.  Superb.
- Jeeves of Hudson Street.  A local soap maker for me, and this vendor may have well matched the soap for the local water.  This stuff is stunning in lather and slickness.  
- Tabac cream.  OK, average at home.  Dropped my razor when in central Texas due to slickness.
- Mystic Water.  Poor lather, good slickness at home.  But tough to make enough lather for a three pass shave.  
- Mike's Natural Soaps.  So, so lather, good slickness at home.  Much better when traveling.  
- Van Yulay.  Most dense lather I've seen at home, average slickness.
- Ralph Lauren Safari.  Very dense lather, pretty decent slickness.
- Lucky Tiger Shave Cream.  With very little water, no lather.  With slightly more water or even a lot of water, it was huge bubbled, flabby, ample lather, but average to decent slickness.  Super lathers with other things well.  Made AoS cream decent.

There are a few others that I am not thinking of I am sure.  Glycerin soaps seem to lather well, but large bubbles, not much slickness.  I am not seeing a pattern between tallow or vegan, maybe someone else will discern one.  I do seem to see a pattern where creams suffer the most with the water here.  

I will look for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium citrate.  Those look like salts that would lower pH.  I have a couple Shannon's Soaps that I haven't tried yet but I love the scents.


I enjoyed the Mystic Water bath soaps immensely before I tried the shaving soaps, and have enjoyed all of the scents.  No issues at all with the bath soaps, but obviously of a different nature.  I will keep an eye out for the new formula when I get some soap spending money.  


"Saponificio Varisino Colonia, MdC, Soap Commander, or PAA."  It was great meeting you at the meet up.  I want to try the Saponificio Varisino soon as well, and I should have traded you for he MdC Fougere, but I am keeping an eye out for someone selling it on BST.  I have an old Petal Pusher Fancies or two that I haven't tried yet, and will get to them eventually as well.



I try to be positive about vendors (well, perhaps not Caswell Massey).  My initial thought is that those that have good reputations have gotten them for a reason, and perhaps it is local conditions that prevent me from seeing the same things.  This seems to be confirmed when I travel.  Frankly, I regard most complaints about shaving soaps on the forums as a result of either inadequate water and loading, or simply cases where water chemistry does not favor certain soap formulations.  


To refine my original question: are there formulations to avoid?  


Water report below.  Temporary hardness is also fairly high.  I have tested it when preparing to brew at pH at over 10.  The mineral coagulant after a pre-boil looks like a snowdrift at the bottom of a seven gallon pot.  I miss the water in east Georgia along the Chattahoochie River, where the water was super soft.  Like kissing the cheek of a smiling baby.  I should move back and start a lager brewery.  


[Image: vrKhYfF.jpg]


Hey...if we have another meet up in KC, I'd be more than happy to share some of my soaps....I'll never get though them all!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 08-02-2016, 03:38 PM
#9
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(08-01-2016, 07:40 PM)Streambrewer Wrote: I will look for sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium citrate.  Those look like salts that would lower pH.  I have a couple Shannon's Soaps that I haven't tried yet but I love the scents.

Let us know what you think!

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 08-02-2016, 10:21 PM
#10
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Living on the south coast of B.C., it rains here a lot.  A......   lot.   So I put a couple of Tupperware containers outside and made lather with the rain water.   It worked very well.  No chlorine, no fluoride,  very few if any minerals.   As I like to shave with cold water, I've also used the water from our refrigerator that has the built in charcoal filter.  That also works very well with my soaps (Cella, Proraso's, even Williams).

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