Rolling My Own

What is your opinion on fine shaving creams and hard soaps? Do you like Trumpers, Coates, Taylors, Truefitt & Hill? Post your reviews and opinions here!
brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:07 am

I haven't (yet) read your post, I'm saving it for a time when I can sit and concentrate for a while. However, I do want to say thanks for this contribution to the SMF body of knowledge on the subject of soaps, and soap-making.
Gary

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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:29 pm

d8:
Very interesting information.

I hope you will continue your informative posts!

Welcome to SMF.

Regards-
Dave

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dawgs8um » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:21 am

I have been traveling and unable to post any additional information. I spent 40 years in the chemical industry in engineering and management roles. Safety is an extremely important issue within the chemical industry because many times you are handling very dangerous materials. Since many people are hobby soap makers, you may not consider soap making dangerous. I want to point out a couple of safety items you need to take into consideration.

Caustic can be extremely dangerous. I recommend you wear safety goggles, face shield, and chemical resistant gloves any time you are working with caustic. All these are available at home centers at minimal cost. During my career, I saw one individual splashed with hot caustic in the face, eyes, and arms. This was a weak caustic solution, 5%, at 160-180 degrees. He nearly lost his sight and had very nasty chemical burns. Caustic destroys layers within the eye and the Dr. said one more layer and he would have lost his vision. You do not want to experience this painful and potentially life altering event. In scanning some of the posts on this thread, I have seen reference to a 'soap volcano'. This is a situation that could potentially be very dangerous for you. Acid-base reactions(caustic-fatty acid) are very strong violent reactions that if not controlled can erupt and throw hot materials on you. Protect those eyes.

Another potential safety problem is overheating fatty acid-water mixtures. Another incident that I saw involved this. Under very specific circumstances, a violent eruption can occur. One incident I saw involved a 25 year old employee burned over 95% of his body. He lived a very painful existence for 5 years before succumbing to his injuries. You know how painful hot oil popping out of the frying pan onto you can be. Think about being completely covered with hot oil. I hope I can adequately explain this situation so that you will know what to do if you ever encounter it. Water boils at 212 degrees, but if covered with a layer of fatty acid this may not happen at much higher temperature. The incident I mentioned involved heating fatty acid to about 250 degrees without any stirring. A layer of water was under the molten fatty acid due to rain getting into the tank. When the employee turned on the agitator, the mixture erupted violently, completely covering him with hot fatty acid. When water turns to steam, the volume expands 1600 times. The water was kept in the liquid state under the fatty acid, but when the tank was agitated, the water and fatty acid mixed and the water instantly turned to steam, expanding 1600 times, essentially an explosion. If during your soap making, you ever allow the fatty acid-water mixture to heat to 200 degrees or more without stirring it, here is what you should do. DO NOT STIR. Turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool without any interaction. Keep others away. After the mixture cools to 150 degrees or less, you can restart the process. Let's stay safe. $20 worth of soap is not worth a life altering injury.

I hope I haven't scared you, as many of you have probably been making soap for a while with no problems. I do want to encourage you to think about the possible dangers and protect yourself. Let's keep it fun and safe.

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dosco
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by dosco » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:41 am

dawgs8um wrote:I spent 40 years in the chemical industry in engineering and management roles. Safety is an extremely important issue within the chemical industry because many times you are handling very dangerous materials. Since many people are hobby soap makers, you may not consider soap making dangerous. I want to point out a couple of safety items you need to take into consideration.
Thanks for the words of wisdom, and more importantly the firsthand accounts.

You're right about making soap, it's not super-dangerous but one could certainly get hurt. When I made my first batch of shave soap after about an hour of cooking and at the point where the soap 'looked like mashed potatoes' I used "the zap test" and sustained a 'really nice' chemical burn to my tongue. I won't do that again. Ouch.

So here are some things I do.

1. Mixing lye with water releases heat and if one were to add all of the lye to all of the water at the same time there is the possibility that enough heat would be released to cause the water to boil or otherwise splatter out of the mixing vessel. That would be bad. What I do is set a pyrex mixing cup in an ice bath. I then put in the prescribed amount of water and let it cool for about 15 minutes. I then take the lye and put in about 1 teaspoon at a time and mix with water. I then wait for a few minutes and add the next spoonful of lye to the water. After adding about 2/3 of the lye the water starts to get hot, so I normally wait about 10 minutes and let it cool off again.

2. Use "just enough heat" to melt the coconut oil, tallow, and stearic. This is a fairly low temperature, somewhere around 100dF (maybe a bit more for stearic acid). I recently made a batch of soap with lard and it smells, well, lardy. Although I think the root cause is that the lard I purchased wasn't deodorized, after some reading I found that it is possible that 'overheating the lard' makes lard soap smell lardy. (say that 5 times fast). I'm not certain that I overheated the lard but it's possible. To boot the saponification is exothermic and will cause the entire batch to get quite hot, so if the starting temp is very high the additional heat of reaction can cause the batch to overflow from the pot. Not good.

3. Keep some vinegar handy.

4. Wear eye protection and gloves.

5. Keep some water handy, a bucket or sinkful is good.

Cheers-
Dave

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:36 pm

Following up - I made 3 batches of my own shaving soap. Encouraged by this excellent thread, and others, I made my first and second batches in November 2013 and the third in March 2014. I have used them randomly since that time with satisfactory results, very good lather and performance. Just a few days ago it came back up in rotation and I got burned. The second batch set my face on fire and left it red and painful. I tried both pucks over a few days and I checked the pH levels. The pH is borderline acceptable. Regardless, I discarded both pucks of my second batch. I will be using soaps from the other 2 batches over the next few days to find out if they stay or go.
Gary

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:49 am

Soap's pH should fall towards neutral as it ages, and I can't understand why the soap would have been OK when fresh, then burn after prolonged aging. Perhaps someone smarter knows the answer, or perhaps it burned for some other reason such as sensitivity to a scent oil?

My stock is holding out nicely, although I realised just how much stuff I have to get through. So I'm alternating with 250g of original rose-scented Klar Kabinett (RIP!) in a big bowl. Lather is nearly as good as home-made, the soap is pure white and it does smell lovely.

Chris
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:07 am

Chris the scent oil may be the reason for the burn. Or I suppose it might be a reaction to a change in my physiology or metabolism over the past year.
Gary

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Shafer Springs » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:13 am

brothers wrote:Following up - I made 3 batches of my own shaving soap. Encouraged by this excellent thread, and others, I made my first and second batches in November 2013 and the third in March 2014. I have used them randomly since that time with satisfactory results, very good lather and performance. Just a few days ago it came back up in rotation and I got burned. The second batch set my face on fire and left it red and painful. I tried both pucks over a few days and I checked the pH levels. The pH is borderline acceptable. Regardless, I discarded both pucks of my second batch. I will be using soaps from the other 2 batches over the next few days to find out if they stay or go.
Did you scent the original soap batches with essential oils or fragrance oils? Any slightly unusual ingredients?

If it wasn't lye-heavy when you used it previously, I can't think of any reason that age would cause the soap itself to change to the point that it'd burn you. If anything, most soaps improve with age.

The fact that it set your face on fire and left it red and painful makes me think that it's an allergic reaction that you may have developed over time. People who take the time and energy to follow threads like this and make their own soap usually are working with a pretty balanced recipe, so even if it were a bit lye-heavy it shouldn't produce that intense a reaction.

Skin and allergies can be weird like that sometimes.
Tip Top Shaving Soap - https://www.tiptopshavingsoap.com/

brothers
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:33 am

Shafer Springs wrote:
brothers wrote:Following up - I made 3 batches of my own shaving soap. Encouraged by this excellent thread, and others, I made my first and second batches in November 2013 and the third in March 2014. I have used them randomly since that time with satisfactory results, very good lather and performance. Just a few days ago it came back up in rotation and I got burned. The second batch set my face on fire and left it red and painful. I tried both pucks over a few days and I checked the pH levels. The pH is borderline acceptable. Regardless, I discarded both pucks of my second batch. I will be using soaps from the other 2 batches over the next few days to find out if they stay or go.
Did you scent the original soap batches with essential oils or fragrance oils? Any slightly unusual ingredients?

If it wasn't lye-heavy when you used it previously, I can't think of any reason that age would cause the soap itself to change to the point that it'd burn you. If anything, most soaps improve with age.

The fact that it set your face on fire and left it red and painful makes me think that it's an allergic reaction that you may have developed over time. People who take the time and energy to follow threads like this and make their own soap usually are working with a pretty balanced recipe, so even if it were a bit lye-heavy it shouldn't produce that intense a reaction.

Skin and allergies can be weird like that sometimes.
I think you are right about something with my skin chemistry that has changed. I used essential oils. Thanks for sharing your observations about this unusual
experience. Let me ask you a question - if I had added some additional essential oils after I had made the soap, would that have triggered this reaction? Now I'm trying to recall if I may have actually done that, but I was in an experimenting frame of mind at that time, and can't swear :roll: that I might have done just that. By the way, welcome to SMF. Thanks for joining us. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Gary

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Shafer Springs » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:01 pm

brothers wrote: I think you are right about something with my skin chemistry that has changed. I used essential oils. Thanks for sharing your observations about this unusual
experience. Let me ask you a question - if I had added some additional essential oils after I had made the soap, would that have triggered this reaction? Now I'm trying to recall if I may have actually done that, but I was in an experimenting frame of mind at that time, and can't swear :roll: that I might have done just that. By the way, welcome to SMF. Thanks for joining us. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Adding some essential oils on top of your finished soap might be partly to blame but it's still a bit odd since you used it for quite some time with no issues.

If we assume our theory is right about something morphing on your side as far as skin/skin chemistry changing, adding EOs after your soap was cooked might have left you with a relatively high concentration of EOs that your skin tolerated in the past but can't tolerate anymore.

Most soap makers use essential oils at a rate of 2% to 4% of total oils in the recipe (calculated as a percentage of the total oils in the recipe, not as a percentage of the total weight of the soap including water and lye).

There's not really a standard safe rate as oils and skin varies, but that's the general "safe" range most people aim for.

That's not that much essential oil by volume if you're making small batches, so it's easy to add too much essential oil if you're just winging it and added a tablespoon or two or splashing some in. Not accusing you of that, just saying it's easy to end up with a high-ish concentration of essential oils.

That doesn't in and of itself answer why your soap turned burn-y but might be a contributing factor.
Tip Top Shaving Soap - https://www.tiptopshavingsoap.com/

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by CMur12 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:56 pm

Shafer Springs, welcome to SMF. Glad to have you join us and share your expertise with us.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Zepher » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:06 pm

Has anyone tried to make a shave CREAM?

I've experimented making a shave soap with moderate success using the formula posted much earlier by Chris Moss.

After using exclusively soaps for a few years, I rediscovered T & H Ultimate Comfort Shave Cream, and with that I tried to make a shave cream with no success.

Any ideas how to make a great shave cream?

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:15 pm

Wish I could be of help, but have no idea. It seems to be a rarity - making your own shaving cream. Makes me wonder why?
Gary

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by drmoss_ca » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:18 am

Zepher wrote:Has anyone tried to make a shave CREAM?

I've experimented making a shave soap with moderate success using the formula posted much earlier by Chris Moss.

After using exclusively soaps for a few years, I rediscovered T & H Ultimate Comfort Shave Cream, and with that I tried to make a shave cream with no success.

Any ideas how to make a great shave cream?
Page 17 of this thread:
viewtopic.php?p=627003#p627003

The full description was lost when we changed forum software, and perhaps that's best. The cream I put together was perfectly usable, nicely scented and just a bit lumpy from the cat litter. You might say it's cheating to start with a glycerine soap, but that's what I did. If I were ever to try it again I would melt the soap in a double boiler, and then play with adding water and glycerine while it was kept warm (previously I melted the soap in the microwave and had to work with it as it cooled, which meant being quick as it was only two or three pucks.) I would choose to use non-clumping cat-litter, unscented, and pass it through a blender or sieve first, then mix it in with a stick blender. I think I could avoid the lumps that way, but first I would ask if it is needed? I had heard it was pretty standard in shaving creams but I don't see it listed in any ingredients, so I expect it could be left out. The one thing it did do was to give me a way of adjusting the thickness of the cream if it was too runny. Probably better to melt the soap, add a very little water and a fair bit more glycerine, let it cool and see the consistency. If too stiff, reheat and add more fluids, but just a little at a time as too much could only be corrected by melting another puck of soap and adding it. I did it largely for the sake of fun, but also because there was no bay rum cream around in those days and maybe there still isn't. Doesn't matter now, as I have more creams and soaps than I can ever use.

C.
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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by TRBeck » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:12 pm

Make a shave soap with a fairly low amount of superfat, say 2-3%. Use mostly KOH with only a touch of NaOH if any.

After the hot process cook, add glycerin, melted stearic acid, and perhaps a small amount of additional superfat, although if you do add superfat, I recommend palm kernel oil or coconut oil as a goodly portion of it. Also add a small amount of water, perhaps 2-3% of the total soap weight. The amounts of glycerin and stearic acid will depend on your preferences for the cream's performance.

After the soap cools, you can put it into a bowl and use a mixer to beat in additional water, glycerin, and stearic acid as needed/desired. Let the whole thing "rot" or cure for a month or so. Adjust texture with water or glycerin.

This is a very short, quick and dirty explanation, but if you go to a soapmaking forum and google "cream soap," you will get a more complete explanation of the process of making what we would think of as a potted shave cream. Many soapmakers make cream soaps using a standard fat profile for the base soap, but one needn't. Summer Bee Meadows has a calculator that accounts for superfat as well as "supercream" with water, glycerin, and stearic acid. Very useful.

I will post more later if I can or sometime this weekend. I have lately been using a cream I made with 30% olive oil, and other than a bit of residue I don't care for post-shave (maybe due to the oleic acid, maybe due to the density of the cream and the amount of unsaponified stearic), it's really good.
Regards,
Tim

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by CMur12 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:52 pm

Great to see you, Tim, and good to know that you're still experimenting with soap.

- Murray
Give me Soap or give me death!

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:34 pm

It's hard to believe that a very long 5 years ago we were making our own soap and posting furiously about it. I still have a fair supply of some of my own homemade soaps from late 2013. I never did swear off the commercial soaps and creams. Hopefully some day I will eventually use up the last of my homemade soap, which is quite good, even if I say so myself.
Gary

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by Gene » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:01 am

Hi Gary ... WOW, that IS a long time ago.

I had always intended to try your recipe, then I accidentally flushed all my PM's - and that was where I think your formula was. Wasn't yours based on a soap currently available? McD or something?
Gene

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by fallingwickets » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:46 am

gary made homemade mdc???
de gustibus non est disputandum

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Re: Rolling My Own

Post by brothers » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:04 am

There was a guy posting on another forum about his efforts to learn how to make shaving soap. He started out with the short and simple list of ingredients found in MdC. He shared his experience and his recipe. That was what I followed when I made mine.
Gary

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