A refresher on the experiment for those new to the blog:
I took 15 common soaping oils and made a soap with 170 grams of each single oil and a 41% lye solution. They were each cut in two, with one labeled "A" and one labeled "B". "A" soaps were stored in a cardboard box in a dry location. "B" soaps were stored in a cardboard box in a damp location. They were weighed, pH tested, and lather-tested upon unmolding, and then again at 8 weeks, and comparisons were noted. Phase 3 is their current states of being at one year old. I have not re-weighed them today, but did lather tests and inspected for rancidity and finger-test hardness (not specifically solubility). My method for lather testing* was to run the bar under warm water for 10 seconds, roll between my hands with light friction for 10 seconds, take the picture, rinse, and dry my hands between each soap. I do have a reverse-osmosis water softener so results in hard water may (and most likely will) differ. I'm also disclosing which oils I personally use, so that you can determine for yourself whether I'm objective enough for your discriminating taste. I feel I was pretty objective, because, let's face it...at 40 years old, I can't remember which number stood for what oil at a year later until looking at my notes to write this post...
* Friction helps produce more bubbles and thicker lather with any soap - and these soaps are no exception. Check out Olive Oil's lather with more friction added. Makes a big difference! But for the purposes of this experiment, and to keep a "controlled" study (as controlled as I can be in my kitchen!), I wanted preliminary results that someone with no experience with handmade soap would get.
And so without further adieu...
|Tallow - One Year Old|
|Tallow - Lather - One Year Old|
2. RICE BRAN
|Rice Bran - One Year Old|
|Rice Bran - Lather - One Year Old|
3. OLIVE (Castille)
|Olive - One Year Old|
|Olive - Lather at Unmolding, 8 weeks, & One Year|
|If I used a lot of friction, this is the lather produced by One Year Old Castille|
I use Olive Oil in 90% of my soaps however, and adore it blended with other oils that bring the other properties I'm looking for.
A very hard bar without a spot of DOS. Very much as it was, though harder and not as slimy.
|Lard - One Year Old|
|Lard - DOS spot on bottom left corner of "A" soap (Dry location)|
|Lard - Lather - One Year Old|
|Safflower - One Year Old - DOS on bottom left corner of "B"|
|Safflower - One Year Old - The beginnings of DOS on back of "A" & "B"|
|Safflower - Lather - One Year|
|Avocado - One Year Old|
|Avocado - DOS spot on lower right back side of "B" soap|
|Avocado - Lather - One Year|
|Palm - One Year|
|Palm - Lather - One Year|
Back on topic...the Palm soap is free of DOS, super hard, with a thick creamy lather. While I don't find it the most moisturizing of oils, my skin felt soft without the drag that it had after using the Palm soap in the beginning of this experiment. And while I compared Palm to Tallow and Lard as bulkers or fillers, I feel that Palm brings a bit more to the table than either of the other two.
|Sunflower - One Year Old...and obvious DOS on "A"|
|Sunflower - DOS on backs of "A" & "B"|
|Sunflower - Lather - One Year|
|Grapeseed - One Year Old|
|Grapeseed - Progression of DOS|
|Grapeseed - Lather - One Year|
Funny thing: the other day I was reading an article from a business that shall remain nameless, stating that the main oil used in many of their products (salves, mainly) was Grapeseed, because of it's "long shelf life".
Way before this experiment, years ago, I had hands-on experience with Grapeseed Oil going rancid pretty darn quickly - less than 3 months in a product made for myself. Thank goodness I didn't sell it...that would have killed my chances of a soap empire. And this is why I do not use Grapeseed Oil in any of my products. Even with an anti-oxidant, you would still need a good preservative to make this last long-term. For a personal use product at home that will be used within a week or so, it may be fine.
I HAVE AN OBSERVATION: The Sunflower soap was next to the Grapeseed soap (in numerical order) in the box. At the 8 week mark, I separated them to opposite corners to see whether the DOS could spread from one soap to another. Now, I'm no scientist, per se. and this wasn't a sterile lab environment with controls (other than those mentioned above)...but I think it's possible that DOS can spread from one soap to another if they touch.
|Coconut - One Year with a small DOS on "B" soap|
|Coconut - Lather - One Year|
Super hard white bar, thick bubbly lather...and I don't find it as drying as some other people do (even though my skin is dry by nature). It's still my Number One Oil, despite that random DOS dot. I think it's a fluke. In general, Coconut Oil, when stored properly, can last up to 2 years or more.
|Peanut - One Year Old with small DOS on front lower right of "B"|
|Peanut - One Year Old - possible DOS on back of "A"|
|Peanut - Lather - One Year|
|Castor - One Year Old|
|Castor - Lather - One Year Old|
Castor is the one oil I use in all of my soaps, usually between 5 - 8%. I find it adds nice moisturizing properties. Castor is always recommended to add bubbly lather (by me, too), even though you wouldn't think so from this picture. It's not a stand alone oil, though washing my hands with this one last left them soft and supple - no waxy drag that I noticed at the beginning of the experiment. Super hard bar, no DOS.
I wanted to add a few pictures for reference:
This is a soap I was gifted by another soapmaker and it is 2 years old.
Their recipe consisted of Lard, Crisco, Coconut, and Olive Oils (and I believe was scented with Cinnamon essential oil). The discoloration on the corner was there when I opened it, so I doubt it's DOS and may just be discolored from oxidation of the essential oil (my guess):
|Fellow Soaper's 2 Year Old Soap|
|Fellow Soaper's 2 Year Old Soap|
|Fellow Soaper's Lather after 2 years|
|Fellow Soaper's Non-DOS soap, and DOS infected soap from same batch - 2 years old|
And here is a 1+ year old bar from a batch I made for my older son called Black Winter Sky. It's formula was Olive, Coconut, Palm, and Castor, scented with Clove, Patchouli, and Cedarwood essential oils, and colored with Woad (it was more blue, but faded to grey) and swirled (ITP) with Activated Charcoal. No DOS and was stored unwrapped in the linen closet in the bathroom.
The same lather test was done on both my soap and the fellow soaper's that I used in this experiment.
|Black Winter Sky|
So did you learn anything new from this experiment?
Did it get your gears spinning on a new oil to use?
Did it reinforce what you already use?
I can't wait to hear your deductions, observations, and opinions!