Well, I put out there is anyone wanted me to try any techniques or anything, and I got a reply on Facebook that someone wanted me to try changing my recipe some and do an experiment with a few different things. The challenge was to make a soap that was primarily olive oil with 20% or less of palm and coconut oil. She also wanted me to add some salt and sugar to the recipe to see how it changed things. It will likely be hard for me to gauge all the changes because they all happened at once, so I can't say for certain which did what.
Anyways, the recipe I chose to use was 60% olive oil, 20% coconut oil, 15% palm oil, and 5% Shea butter. I also added a teaspoon each of sea salt and sugar (as usual, I was making a fairly small batch 1.25 pounds of oils, so I used a little less then a teaspoon of salt and sugar per pound of oils in the recipe). Things went together smoothly and I mixed the lye with the oils at about 110° F. Things reached trace fairly slowly even using a flowery fragrance, and remained relatively thin while I separated my batter for coloring.
I chose to do an in the pot swirl as I was not sure how things would come together with the new recipe. I would have had plenty of time if I wanted to do something more complex though. I used green oxide and titanium dioxide for the colorants. I was able to unmold the soap after 14 hours, but it was still very soft. I usually cut right after I unmold and had to wait another three hours before I could cut it and it was still pretty soft then. I believe this will need a slightly longer curing time then I usually have, but it is not like I am lacking in soap to use right now.
The results of the experiment were a soft and very smooth feeling soap. I am not sure about the lather of it at this point or how long it will take to cure. It feels damp to me at this point. I am otherwise happy with the experiment and time will tell on the rest.
In other news, I dropped off a batch of soap with some testers last night. I think overall they went fairly well, but I am not as sure what this group of people like for scents. I also plan to bring the soaps to my gaming group this weekend and seeing if some of my friends there are interested in some as well. I was also offered some goat's milk to make soap with as well, so I will have some more new testing to do in the near future. I hope to hear back from my friends about the soaps they have tried and have some more feedback on ways to modify my recipe(s) to make soap that works well and is still moisturizing and such. I am not sure I am the greatest to tell if a soap is too drying as a lot of times my skin tends to be a bit more oily, so getting others impressions will be good for me!