Properties – The tricky thing about soap making is that it almost always takes more than one type of oil to get a good bar of soap. Some are very moisturizing but aren’t so great at scrubbing off dirt. Others are great cleansers but will leave your skin feeling tight. Some last forever while others will spoil in just a few months. Try combinations of complimentary oils to get the right balance.
Bar density – A really soft bar of soap won’t last long in a humid shower, but a rock-solid piece of soap can scratch your skin.
Suds – Soap bubbles are usually described on a continuum from bubble to creamy. Occasionally certain soaps can even feel waxy, sticky or slimy. A good bar will be bubbly enough to froth up but creamy enough to stick around when you start washing.
Trace – Different fats come to trace different. Some are incredibly fast and require cooling so that the mixture doesn’t seize up when lye is added. Others won’t get thicker than cake batter, so you can save yourself some time and wrist pain by knowing ahead of time. The goal of trace is to get your oils and lye water to mix enough that they won’t separate when the soap sits.
Special instructions – Just what it sounds like. The density, bubbliness, self-stability, and moisturizing qualities of the oils often means that you don’t want to use too much in a recipe.
Melting point – Knowing the melting point of oils can help you plan when to scoop them into your double boiler so that no oil has to cook longer than necessary.
Fatty acids – All fats are made of triglycerides which are, in turn, made of fatty acids. Knowing the fatty acid composition of a certain oil can be beneficial when you’re wondering why one oil acts or doesn’t act like another or if you’re looking for something similar to an oil you don’t have on hand.
|Lauric||hard, cleansing (too much can be drying), bubbly lather|
|Myristic||hard (but softest of the saturated fats), cleansing (too much can be drying), bubbly lather|
|Palmitic||hard, cleansing (too much can be drying), creamy lather, long life|
|Ricinoleic||soft, conditioning, creamy lather|
|Stearic||hard, creamy lather|
|Linoleic||conditioning, silky, short life|
|Oleic||conditioning, slippery, long life|
SAP value – The saponification value is used to calculate how much lye is needed to react with 1 gram of the fat. Lye calculators do the same job, but if you want to do it by hand, this is all the information you need.
I know that this chart is damn near impossible to read. I’m open to any HTML/Wordpress tricks to make it skinnier
|Oil Name||Properties||Bar Density||Suds||Trace||Special instructions||Melting Point||Fatty Acids xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx||Shelf life||SAP Value|
|Avocado Oil||Vitamins A, D, E, many unsaponifiables, moisturizing||Very soft||Creamy||Good for superfatting||0ºF||58% oleic, 12% linoleic, 20% palmitic||1 year||.132|
|Castor Oil||Moisturizing, humectant||Soft||Bubbly, creamy||Thick, fast, can be slower with a low temperature||5-10% max||0ºF||90% ricinoleic||1 year||.127|
|Cocoa Butter||Vitamin E, antioxidants, cleansing||Hard||Creamy||Thick||15% max||95ºF||30% stearic, 27.5% palmitic, 32.5% oleic||1-2 years||.136|
|Coconut Oil||Very cleansing, too much can be drying||Hard||Bubbly, semi-creamy||20% max||77ºF||48% lauric acid, 19% myristic, 10% palmitic||> 1 year||.178|
|Grape Seed Oil||Increases slipperiness, moisturizing||Soft||Creamy, sticky||5-10% max; not great to use||14ºF||65% linoleic, 23% oleic||3 months; 1 year refrig.||.134|
|Jojoba Oil||Liquid wax, moisturzing, shelf stable, many unsaponifiables||Very soft||Creamy||Slow, thin||10% max for hardness; good for superfatting||50ºF||72.5% eicosenoic, 15% erucic||Forever||.064|
|Mango Butter||15% max||90ºF||45% oleic, 44% stearic||1 year||.134|
|Olive Oil||Moisturizing||Soft, slimy||Creamy||Thin, faster with lower grade||Up to 100%||21ºF||75% oleic, 15% linoleic, 10% palmitic||2 years||.133|
|Palm Oil||Low glycerin yield, cleansing||Hard||Creamy||Fast||30% max||ºF||44% palmitic, 39% oleic||1 year||.142|
|Rice Bran||Moisturizing, similar to olive||Hard||Creamy||Up to 100%||ºF||43% oleic, 26% linoleic, 22% palmitic||1-2 years|
|Safflower Oil||Moisturizing||Soft||Slimy||20% max||2ºF||75% oleic, 15% linoleic||1 year||.135|
|Sesame Oil||Earthy smell, moisturizing||Hard||10% max||21ºF||45% oleic, 40% linoleic||6 months – 1 year||.135|
|Shea Butter||Moisturizing||Hard||Creamy||Fast, thick||15% max; Good for superfatting||95ºF||47% oleic, 43% stearic||1 year||.126|
|Soybean Oil||Moisturizing, cheap, short shelf life||Hard||Creamy, sticky||20% max||3ºF||50% linoleic, 30% oleic, 11% palmitic||3 months refrig.||.134|
|Stearic Acid||Not very cleansing||Very hard||Waxy||Fast||5% max||70ºF||100% stearic||.147|
|Sunflower Seed Oil||Short shelf life||Soft||Slimy||20% max||1ºF||72% lineolic, 16% oleic||3 months refrig.||.134|
|Sweet Almond Oil||Moisturizing||Soft/Hard||Creamy, silky||12.5% max; good for superfatting||0ºF||70% oleic, 20% linoleic||6 months – 1 year||.137|