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Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:15 am
by TRBeck
Chris, thanks for checking out the Vitos.

I had a thought that the additional glycerin in the hydrogenated tallow (vs. straight stearic) could be creating some gumminess, and glycerin can be sticky or tacky at times. I know a lot of artisan producers add loads of it to their formulations to enhance moisturizing effects or to serve as a solvent for the remainder of the soap, and that there is a perception that it adds slickness, but I just wondered if it might, in the right amount, produce a tacky or gummy texture.

It could instead be Palmolive's unique superfat: palm and olive oils. These are unsaponified and listed low in the ingredients list, but olive oil is one of the heaviest of the liquid oils, and palm has a butter-like texture. The two together may be a bit gummy, or in conjunction with they glycerin.

Anyway, it's interesting that Palmolive's lather does this, and no other soap that any of us use replicates the effect. I relathered Speick recently, and its slickness, while a bit different than other soaps, never gums like Palmolive can.

Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:20 am
by brothers
TRBeck wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 3:04 pm
Here's a question: did Vitos get gummy? It's the only other soap I can think of that has hydrogenated tallow in it. Couple of things I've been thinking about that could be causing the gummy factor. Gary, you've used Vitos a bunch. Chris Moss, you've used everything. Is there anything else that gets that texture, particularly Vitos?
In my review posted sometime in 2011 or thereabouts, I noted that Vitos wasn't gummy. I don't specifically recall anything other than what I wrote at the time. :D

Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 3:02 pm
by TRBeck
Gary, thanks. I didn't search for reviews here and should have.

I used Haslinger today, in the now-vintage tallowate formula. It was very, very good, of course: that lather in spades. I noted that it seemed to have plenty of volume, but, to Chris's point about the old Palmolive ads, not bubbly/fluffy. I think coconut oil is great for providing volume, but some soaps clearly have too much or too high a proportion, which makes for bubbly stuff that flops out of the bowl and off the face. Looking at the ingredient list, cocoate salts (both potassium and sodium) are listed below the superfat which in turn is listed below fragrance. Haslinger soaps aren't exactly highly-scented, so I'd imagine the total coconut oil in here is about 10 percent at most. That's less than I used in my Tim's Soap line and less than most commercial shave or bath soaps. Tallow has a bit of lauric and myristic acids, which give "bubbly" lather in a general sense, but having made 100% tallow bar soaps, I can attest that they really do lather very well and with ample volume, regardless of SoapCalc's "bubbly" number for the fat.

Newer Haslinger is made without tallow and has palm kernelate instead of cocoate, and it is listed much higher in the ingredient list than cocoate in the tallow version (palm kernelate is the third ingredient after potassium and sodium stearate in the new Haslinger). Five years ago, I wrote something to the effect that all it takes for great shave soap is stearic and coconut oil. I still think that's true, and plenty of great soaps make "that lather" with only those two ingredients. However, I think tallow ameliorates the need for coconut oil to a great extent if not totally, particularly if the tallow is soaped with potassium hydroxide, making it more soluble. Like the Harris/Salter soap ingredient list upthread, which has coconut oil way down in the list (although as I said Valobra has a touch more coconut oil and does seem to get going more quickly).

Other hard fats don't seem to do as well: kokum butter and cocoa butter shea butter and palm oil don't have the lauric or myristic acids, but moreover don't seem to create volume in a soap as well as tallow. Lots of artisans are using bunches of butters and such with or instead of tallow these days and little if any coconut oil. The lathers are dense, but tons of water and product is used to make it. The soaps are soft and thirsty, and I see posts about guys going through a soap in 30-35 shaves (!). Anyway, I like veg and tallow soaps both, but it's worth noting to me how much the mere presence of tallow can downshift the need for other "stuff" in a soap while still yielding "that lather."

Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:51 pm
by EL Alamein
Tim, a question that dawned on me and that you may be able to answer is: How much unsaponified glycerin remains in the traditional hard soaps like Taylor's and Trumper's etc? I perceive it's very little if any because I know I am sensitive to glycerin but can use hard soaps quite well.

Creams seem to have a lot of it. I can use them for quite a while without irritation if I do one pass shaves (and maybe a touch up with water). But eventually I accumulate enough irritation that I have to retreat to hard soaps (the old formula Taylor's Lavender being my gold standard for irritation free shaving).

Also, with regards to artisan soaps do they also have a lot of unsaponified glycerin in them that you know of? I fear they do.

Thanks in advance.


P.S. It also just dawned on me that this may constitute a new thread. Moderator, please move if you think so.

Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:14 pm
by TRBeck
Chris, I don't know for sure on the hard soaps.

Saponification of lipids yields sodium or potassium salts with glycerin as a byproduct (released, not really made, as a result of saponification). Handmade and artisan soaps generally leave all of the glycerin in their soaps, and most add some. I never did when I was selling soap because I don't do well with buckets of glycerin, either. The amount of glycerin varies depending on the lipid in question, but the average is in the neighborhood of 11 percent. When stearic acid (or any isolated fatty acid) is soaped, there's no glycerin byproduct, so I imagine some artisans add just enough to account for roughly 10 percent of the weight of the stearic acid, while others add much more. It's hard to say how much, as it's all guess work based on the order of ingredients listed. I would guess some have 20 percent or more of the total weight of the soap in glycerin. It does help lather retain moisture (but so do unsaponified fats, petroleum, etc.).

In order to mill a soap, the glycerin has to be stripped out as it gums up the equipment, and at least with large-scale suppliers of commercial soap noodles, there's a small amount added back in, if any - 1-3% in most cases, at least as far as I've seen. Of course it's probable that Trumper or Harris has a contract to get something with a specific amount of glycerin added back, which could be more or less than that total. Looking at ingredients lists, though, glycerin in hard-milled soaps is generally way down, just above or just below the fragrance. I know that my skin can't tolerate fragrance at more than 5 percent of the weight of the soap, except with lavender eo or other skin-friendly oils, and even then, my olfactory gets overwhelmed, so I would guess it's in the ballpark of 4-8% of the total soap weight for most hard-milled soaps, but again, it's all guess work.

Haslinger adds propylene glycol to compensate moisture-wise, by the way, while Speick adds a couple of emulsifying agents with emollient properties (cetearyl alcohol and something else I don't remember now). Petroleum in AOS and Harris, of course. Paraffinum liquidum in the old T&H and, as Gordon said, some other classics.

When I made soap, I never added glycerin, but I do sometimes add enough to cover the stearic acid. My skin seems okay with that, but not with more.

Re: "That Lather"

Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 7:16 pm
by EL Alamein
Tim, thank you.