It’s raining today, so I decided to make soap…again. Actually, I’ve been making soap for the past few days. I guess you could say I’m in catch-up mode! I prefer to use hand-made soap and like to have soap available in the shop for the holidays (and gift-giving).
Soap making tip of the day:
Superfatting your soap (sometimes referred to as a lye discount) is adding an extra amount of oil into your soap recipe but keeping the lye amount the same. A fairly standard percentage amongst most soap makers is 5% superfatting. It’s what I generally use in my recipes…
There are two reasons to do this: A small amount of extra “free” oil in the soap adds extra moisturizing qualities to the soap and is sometimes referred to as “emollient” qualities. Basically, it makes the soap more moisturizing. It also gives you a bit of a “fudge factor” when making soap. Having extra lye in your soap is a big problem…much bigger than having extra oil. Additionally, many oils will vary slightly in their true SAP (that is, saponification value). Superfatting builds in some safety IF your scale is not completely precise. Having a little extra oil in the recipe assures that every one of the lye molecules will have more than enough opportunity to pair up with an oil molecule.
The thing you need to watch out for with superfatting is that while soap doesn’t spoil quickly, oil does. Some soapers add 10, 15 % and upwards…the more “free” oil you have in your soap, the more likely you are to have spoilage, or what is often called DOS (Dreaded Oil Spots), which are small orange spots where a pocket of free oil has gone bad.
Superfatting your soap is easy…most LYE CALCULATORS will calculate it for you. If not, you can just figure your lye, and then ‘discount’ it by your percentage. Also, you may ‘superfat’ your soap after trace…by adding “specialized oils” as you would any botanicals, essential oils and such.