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About soapmaking; the three best oils to make soap with are palm oil, coconut oil and olive oil. Why ? Because those three oils have iodine levels that factor contribute to making the hardest bar of soap available. It won't dissolve quickly.
Soaps have been evaluated for the following cleansing properties: creaminess, lather quality in terms of stability and fluffiness, hardness, cleansing ability. Olive oil has a lot of oleic acid which is a generous contributor of conditioning and creamy lather properties. Palm oil has a lot of lauric acid, which is a generous contributor of a creamy lather and hardness of the bar of soap. Coconut oil has a lot of lauric acid, too, plus myristic acid; both of which contribute to hardness, fluffy lather and deep skin cleaning. Castor oil is very high in ricinoleic acid, which adds a creamy, stable, very bubbly, conditioning lather. However, castor oil does not contribute to the hardness of the soap so it's used in small amounts. The good news is it only takes a small amount to add high quality to the soap.
Another factor in soapmaking, is the "superfatting" process. While there are short cuts a soapmaker can take, I never use them because I believe they compromise the highest quality soap that can be made. I match the percentages of my alkali and oils together 1:1 so there are no free floating oils in my soaps that are not saponified. Why ? Oils go rancid. Enough said. Instead, I use a high quality method of superfatting by adding butters such as cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter to my soaps. The butters offer oleic, stearic and palmitic acids to the soap. Those three acids contribute fine qualities to complement the base oils of olive, palm and coconut, including; hardness, a creamy, stable lather, and are conditioning and moisturizing. All of those things combined make for a very high quality of soap - especially given that almost all of my ingredients are organic. I don't use nut products; a high allergen risk. Of course, soap is for external use only; if any irritation occurs to the skin, discontinue use.
There are NO synthetics in Grandma's basic soap recipe. All the scents, the colorants, the oil and butters, seeds, grains, herbs - they are all natural if not organic. I will use a synthetic scent (known as a fragrance oil) by special customer requests; there are a few that are very popular and are unavailable as an essential oil. Check out the pictures and enjoy watching the process of the soap going from oils in a bucket, to being measured out, heated, stirred in a pot, poured into a mold to harden, cut up into bars, cured, then wrapped then priced by weight. For more detailed information on soap ingredients in Grandma's recipes, you can read more here.
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