I have still to perfect my base recipe and know that I want to formulate a hard bar since the feedback which I have received from friends and family have requested this.
I used to add sunflower oil to almost all my soaps for its skin protecting properties but quickly noticed that it contributed to a softer bar – using the same percentage of hard oils I made soap with and without sunflower oil and the soap without was the slightly harder bar.
I read somewhere online that palm oil contributes towards a hard bar and ordered some organic sustainable palm oil from online and used this in a few soaps. I was already using organic red palm oil in my Orange Turmeric & Poppyseed soap so was familiar working with it, but I only used a small amount for the gorgeous deep colour it imparted. Using a good percentage, about 25%, of the white palm oil that I bought, gave a very nice hard bar which I knew would cure up to be even harder (I was also using coconut oil).
However, after reading a lot more online about the impact of using even sustainable palm oil I came to the decision to not include it in my base recipe. There are different views on purchasing sustainable palm oil and both argue their point well, but in the end you have to go with your gut feeling.
After looking into my organic red palm oil which I used in my Orange Turmeric Poppyseed soap for its colour, I found that the company I buy from sources it from sustainable small family farms in Ecuador so that was a bit of a relief – I have yet to find something that gives such a beautifully deep orange colour, even annatto seeds. So I will continue to use it in my recipes but not the organic sustainable palm oil that comes from Indonesia or Malaysia.
So I continue to formulate. I know that the base will include an abundance of extra virgin olive oil as that is one of the ingredients I feel brings a lot of benefit to the skin, giving the soap moisturising and nourishing properties. My main all natural line will also include raw organic honey (I am called Olive Leaf & Honey after all :-). I’ve just noticed that the soaps which contain it do have slightly more bubbles. I’m also positive it will have organic unrefined shea butter which is one of my most favourite ingredients ever. The skin benefits it has can fill a whole blog post on their own. Its just a matter of getting the percentages right but at the moment its gearing towards almost becoming a castile soap with all that olive oil!
I want all the oils to be organic but its turning out to be very expensive. The organic version of some of the oils I use are almost 3x! as much as their non-organic versions. It will have to be something I think about but I know where my feelings are edging towards. I’ve just got to make it happen somehow.