Sunday, February 3, 2013

Saponification Sunday...Seeing Red

Awhile back I ordered the wrong Palm Oil from Soapers Choice (love their FAST delivery!) It was Red. Yes, red palm oil. So I let it sit and soaped with the oils I was familiar with. This week, low on oils, I saw the big red oily bottle staring at me and started to play.

I made two recipes. The first was 13 oz of Olive Oil, 3 Oz of Castor, 3 of sweet almond and then 13 oz of the red palm oil. Kinda gruesome as I mixed and poured. I added no other colors but did scent with some Geranium Rose EO. It came to trace very quickly.

Really too bright for me

But hard, oh man is this bar hard. I cut it the next morning but could have cut it 4 hours after pouring.

So onto batch two where I used much less of the Red Palm only 5 oz and then 8 oz of coconut oil along with the same amounts of the Castor and sweet almond oil. The batter looked just as red as the one above where the Red Palm oil amount was double. It also traced quickly. Again, I did not add any other colors but scented this one with pure Lemongrass EO one of my all time favorite scents.

Strangely the two bigger molds of the different batches resulted in bars of almost identical color saturation but the two smaller flower molds, one with the first batter and one made with the second showed very different color intensities.

Which made me wonder about the gelling process. My flower molds are very shallow and I'm guessing the raw soaps from both recipes never fully gelled. Still I unmolded both of them the next day and the bars are rock hard just four days later.

Of course, I can never wait till I think  a bar is fully cured (4-6 weeks) before I play with it and sure enough on day 4  I was lathering up these bars. The results: fair to good lather that was yellow tinged but did not stain my skin. And after rubbing and washing for a couple minutes, the lather rinsed clean and left my hands feeling very soft.

Just to prove, once again...looks aren't everything.

Do you make soap with red palm oil? What are your experiences? Suggestions? Care to share a recipe you love ?


  1. It is chemistry that is hard for the uninformed to understand. But I know this: You make awesome products. You will work it out!

  2. I don't make soap with red palm oil, but I cook with it! We lived in Central Africa for 2 1/2 years, and they cook a lot with it there. We came to love the flavor (and it's got lots of good-for-you stuff in it). It has a very distinctive smell, so I'm surprised that the scents you used covered it up, but glad for you because I can't imagine wanting to shower with soap that smelled like (to me) manioc leaves! :)

  3. Susan, there is asmell when it comes from the bottle but in its final soap phase it smells only of the Essentail oil I added. I have yet to cook with it will try.

  4. 4-6 weeks, I could never wait that long.

  5. When I first started making soap about 4 years ago, I used red palm for one of my batches. It happened to be my Anise soap with anise seeds thrown in. When the time came to make another batch, hubby had to have the bright orange bars again (his favorite soap).

    I have since started infusing annatto seeds in olive oil for the Anise soap for the same gorgeous look. Plus it wasn't as economical for me to keep red palm on hand.

    Olive oil is always the highest amount of oil in my soap recipes at 32%.

    Love the ones you made!

    Kinky Witch Soap

  6. Awesome! I want to try that.

  7. Hi,
    you are an awesome hard worker. Just had to say that first. I think the reason your small soaps came out different is the little ones don't go through gel phase possibly making them more opaque. The translucency of the soap will effect how you see the colorant. The more opaque the soap the more color you need to maintain the saturation of color. So if you have clear soap you can use even less color to see the same hew.

  8. Hi Donna.

    This is a bit off topic of your post (but it is still soap related).. Where do you get your scents? I am mostly looking for essential oils, but I am not totally against fragrance oils in some cases. Just looking for the best price. they seem across the board in terms of pricing.


    Wendy P (fellow RW farmer!!)