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Adding chemical surfactants to cold process soaps?

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  • Adding chemical surfactants to cold process soaps?

    I love castile soap it really suits my dry skin and flaky scalp. Only problem is that it doesn't lather up.

    This doesn't really bother me but some people just don't think it's proper soap unless it suds up.
    I would use coconut oil, castor oil or something but i've resolved to only use local ingredients (UK, France). SO...

    I am now looking at adding a chemical surfactant, something like plantapon. Seems like there are a few of these eco-friendly agents knocking about from (Kao, Ecover etc).

    Anyone ever used them in cold-process soap making? Any advice?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by spoovy; 16-09-2010, 10:00 PM.

  • #2
    Well, I have to ask it...are these chemical surfactants locally made?? I mean, I would rather get some castor oil and coconut oil that isn't local, than buy a chemical that is. Or isn't.

    Is your olive oil local?

    Soap IS a surfactant. so what you are looking for is the marketing appeal of lather, right?

    I am unfamiliar with these chemicals so I'm going to google them. You said they're eco-friendly...I am curious...
    Last edited by removed10; 17-09-2010, 02:53 AM.


    • #3
      Okay, re plantapon -

      "This family of natural surfactants is made from a reaction between coconut/palm oil and starch/sugar."

      Okay, so it's sort of a byproduct, I guess we could say, of a reaction between coconut and palm oil ... that are not local...also, I wonder what undesirable chemicals are used in creating this reaction, if me, it's sort of an least to me at this I would vote for just adding castor and coconut oils, if local is your only concern.

      Can't wait to hear from everyone else on this.


      • #4
        Yeah chemical surfactants are marketed based on their properties - some more sudsing than others, some more stable lather, more emulsifying etc. Some are derived from coconuts, as well as all sorts of other things, there seems to be quite a few newer, 'natural' ones knocking about now. I found one that only uses European rapeseed oil as a base for example (Amidet N). Others boast being 100% biodegradable, and even certified organic!

        You're right though it can be a bit difficult to establish where these products are produced, but no more difficult that a lot of base oils i've looked into to be honest, many distributers seem to be deliberately vague about where their product is grown and how it is shipped I wonder why hmmm...

        Chemical surfactants should in theory at least offer much lower carbon cost to a European soaper. Per unit a Belgium-produced (for example) surfactant would have a lower carbon footprint than palm oils shipped in (most likely burning sump oil!) from the far East or Central America.
        Last edited by spoovy; 17-09-2010, 09:07 AM.