So, as of late I have been reformulating my shaving soaps and taking direction from all of the reviews and emails we get about the products. Some people have trouble lathering soaps with very high glycerin content. My soaps being of the meltable variety, they have a VERY high glycerin content. I catch a lot of flak because people assume my soap is not "artisan" enough, or that melt and pour soaps are substandard, so I am trying to formulate a better glycerin(for lack of a better term) soap.
First, a few things to clear up. I do not buy my melt and pour soap base. I originally experimented with the type of M&P base that you could get at any craft store like Michaels and Hobby Lobby and it was.. ok but not great. The lather was more sudsy and dry. Then a I met a guy in Rhode Island who was a soap maker and he showed me how to make my own melt and pour base. I bought some from him at first which worked awesome , and eventually started making my own.
My current M&P base is made with mostly coconut oil as I find it adds hardness to high glycerin content soaps and also produces the densest lather compared to other oils I have tried. I also use palm oil as a secondary oil because of it's high palmitic acid content(which makes a great replacement for tallow as post saponification they act very much alike because of the high palmitic and stearic acid content). Originally I thought that keeping it vegetable based would help for vegetarian and vegans buying my soaps.
To make soap meltable, to put it simply, is pretty much making a batch of hot process soap, as almost any artisan maker here does, and then adding a specific amount(which can vary) of vegetable glycerin and heat it through again until it is incorporated. I do not add fragrance or essential oils at this point because I feel that they stay truer if I add them right before I pour the soaps instead of subjecting them to the prolonged heating process involved in hot-process soap. This is one of the main reasons I prefer meltable soaps. The other major reason is that I find that the extra moisturizing properties of having a high glycerin content outweighs the difficulties in lathering commonly associated with commercially available melt and pour soaps.
So.. to counteract the lathering issues, I created a new base which is still mostly coconut, but also includes (beef)tallow and palm oil. I may add lanolin to the next batch, but I have to see if the benefits are worth it. I am very happy with the new batch, although I don't usually have issues with lathering my current soap unless I am somewhere with very hard water, and even then I can usually get excellent lather with a little extra water. (or I use bottled water if I am not at home). Anyway, this is not an ad or anything as these soaps are not available yet, but I will be sending out some samples for tests before I release them. If you are interested in testing, leave a comment here and when I am ready I will consult this thread.
I am still experimenting, and I am going to try also adding a small amount of citric acid to the next batch(post saponification) to see if this helps with hard water users. The new batch will possibly be in a new scent, as I may be dropping some of the current lineup, or offering them in limited batches. Everything is going to be in small batches and only a couple or one scent will be available at all times.
If anyone has any other suggestions on making the best meltable high glycerin content soap, I am, as always, all ears. Thank you all for your continued support.