Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t

And if you’re hoping to be reading about candy bars, I’m sorry to disappoint.  Maybe next time.   This time it’s about coconut oil, palm oil, and the problems some may have with them.

Now, first of all, i will not get into the politics of using palm oil,  though it’s been posted everywhere, making every social media outlet a place of visual horror at times from the images posted.  I’m sympathetic to the plight, but I will not get into it here.  This is a politics-free zone.  This blog is going to be a safe zone free from discussion on politics, religion or money.  It will be treated the same as my dinner table or family reunions. I refuse to enter into discussion on those three topics with family members because it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to blow a happy family apart with the differences of opinions they all will have and are entitled to.  But that is not the topic here, so don’t look for them here.

I rarely use Palm oil, don’t like using Crisco, which some formulations contain, so you won’t see it very often in my products.  It’s extremely rare.  I prefer to use oils that are commonly used in most every product easily, effectively, and with not too much added expense to me which ultimately would have to be passed along to customers.  Most people are okay with the use of the oils I use, but there are some exceptions.  Some people have nut sensitivities and honestly, I can sympathize.  I have problems with them too, but certainly not to a great extent.  I won’t go into the chemistry of why people have allergies, what happens in the body during an allergic reaction, as that’s not the topic here either.

The need is there to create unique formulations of soaps that will not only do exactly what they’re designed to do – clean, soften, smooth, soothe, impart a bewitching scent, – but do it in such a way that it is also a pleasure for what it doesn’t do – that is, dry you out, cause itching, flaking, scaliness, irritation, allergic reactions, dermatitis, redness.  Several people I know cannot use  products containing nuts or their products and must avoid nuts of many kinds, not just coconut.  Most recently I was asked to make a soap without coconut, which I felt sorry and ashamed to realize that I’d overlooked that sector of the population that needs something special and safe for them.  With that thought, I immediately went to work on a formula for a soap that has NOT a drop of coconut in it.  Not even coconut milk, which I dearly love to use!  This was a challenge and I love a challenge!

With Soapmaker 3 software, it’s so simple, safe and dependable making recipes for soaps of all kinds, lotions, non soap products, and liquid or cream soaps, that I cannot imagine soaping without it.  If you’re unfamiliar with it and are interested in learning about it and making soaps for yourself or to set up shop, this program is offered in two use-friendly versions – Pro and Lite. You can find this software here.  This software is what I use exclusively for calculating the recipes for my soaps and the only failures I’ve ever had were solely my own fault and not the fault of the software.  These failures do NOT include the often forgotten FO addition to our goodies!  It just happens way too often to be considered for this category.  I call it being too busy and losing focus.

So, armed with SM3, almost enough alternative oils to make something, it began.  I thought of babassu immediately with its high levels of lauric acid, it’s going to bring bubbles to the table in your recipe almost equal to that of coconut oil, but without the problems coconut can cause.  To give a bit of a boost to this, you can add some sugar and castor oil.  Not only will the castor provide bubbles, but also moisturizing as well, so it’s a double whammy with castor’s inclusion.  To this recipe I added 1 tsp of sugar to boost the bubble factor a bit, and also added some castor to bring creaminess and moisturizing, too.  It was also an opportunity to use another (very) hard oil, tucuma.  I’m not sure why I wanted to use it, but it was one that was whispering my name when this soap was being pulled together.  Yeah, I probably should get help for those whispers, but maybe later.  I’m busy right now.    If you want to try using sugar to give your soap’s lather a lift, try 1/2 – 1 tsp of sugar per pound of oils in the recipe.  I used a bit less, but since the castor was there,  it was enough, I hope.  You can add it to your lye water, but it can go beige as it’s caramelizing from the heat produced by the lye.  Your colours might now need to be adjusted to counter this discolouration if your soap is planned to be a light one.

Adding the sugar to the hemp milk and colloidal oatmeal, it was then stick blended into the oils. The lye, which had been chilled down enough to be touchable on the bottom of the pitcher was added.  All was then blended to a thick emulsion, and the fragrance oil was added.   Stick blending until it reached a light trace, it was split into just two parts, one coloured with Extra Bright (a white) and the other with a new colour Sweet Tea.  A mica/oil swirl was added to the top of the batch in the mold and a swirl was done with a spoon, but don’t know what it looks like just yet.

Given the hardness of these two different oils it’ll be extremely hard, early on.  I’m not very confident that the multi-slicer can cut it.  This one might need a knife, which I’m terrible at, by the way!  The recent batch of Honeybee remade was too hard for the cutter, so a knife was used and some are decidedly V-shaped.  Flat-bottomed V, but a V none the less!  :/ Bah humbug!  How does one make the knife stay straight when it seems to have a mind of its own!  To the credit of knife slicing, it gives a clean, smooth surface to the bars, which I love!

The loaf was place into the freezer to stop any possibility of gel approaching.  But it only stayed for about an hour.  It’s now in the fridge and when I’m sure the danger of gel has passed I’ll take it out. Which shold be right about now.  Well – meantime, here’s how the batch looked just before it went into the freezer.

Coconut & Palm Free Sweet Tea soap.

Coconut & Palm Free Sweet Tea soap.

After it’s been sliced, I’ll update this post with the cut views if it looks pretty enough.   😛

 

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