Soap with Hard Oils
I live in Ghana and last time I wrote to you about the lack of availability of some leading soap making oils and you advised me to use the oils I can get.
I have made a 30% coconut oil/70% shea butter soap.
No problems with tracing etc. Only problem is that it is a day old and that bar is already quite hard and slightly crumbly around the edges.
Should I have used less Lye with the hard oils? or should I increase my water?.
These are the two cheapest oils in Ghana less that $1.50 a kilo so it make sense to use them. By the way I put some carrot seed and Vit E oil to stop rancidity.
How shall I store them for curing? I am in a hot, humid climate close to the sea.
I am concerned that after curing they will be bullets.
Thanks in advance for your advice and for this wonderful website resource. May God continue to bless your efforts.
It makes sense that the soap is really hard already since it is made from 100% hard oils.
Increasing the water amount will give you a slightly longer trace time and will make the soap softer for awhile but do not use more than the recommended 40%. As for changing the amount of lye...it is important to use the amount given when you run the recipe through a soap calculator.
My suggestion would be to substitute a good portion of the shea butter with a third oil, one that is a liquid conditioning oil high in Oleic, Linoleic and Linolenic fatty acids and not quite so high in Palmitic and Stearic fatty acids. This will make the soap a little more conditioning and not quite so hard.
Check out Soap Calc's Oil Sorting
page. You can sort the oils by their fatty acid content and hopefully find one that is available in your area.
For storing the soap...it is best to keep the soap cool and dry. These are the conditions that soap lasts the longest in. Being in a hot, moist climate will make that hard. Pick the coolest spot you have and try to reduce the moisture content in the air. That could be achieved with a simple box and a desiccant like silica packets in a cooler room or a cool room fitted with a dehumidifier. Just do the best you can with the resources you have available to you.