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Strange Observation Re: Palm


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A little background: I've been soaping for 2 and a half years. For some time, I've had a problem with my soap tracing too quickly and too much. I blamed it on many things including temps (I don't always measure :lipsrseal ), weather, humidity, new untested FO's, whatever.

Here was my typical recipe:

Butter 5%

Coconut 12%

PKO 13%

Palm 15%

Castor 5%

Babassu 5%

Safflower or Sunflower 10%

RBO 35%

On paper, looks fine, hardness 41, cleansing, 20, conditioning 52, bubbly lather 24, creamy lather 22, Iodine 73

For my last two batches I watched my temps very carefully and soaped at 100 degrees or less, adding my FO to the oils. For both batches, I reached trace with 1 minute with a hand whisk, no S/B required!

Last batched, I ditched the palm

upped the PKO to 18%

-15% palm

+ 10% RBO

hardness 41, cleansing, 23, conditioning 53, bubbly lather 27, creamy lather 18, Iodine 77

Batch was very manageable, even attempted a pitiful swirl with plenty of time to play


Unmolded fine, not too soft. Now I am thinking that palm was my

problem all along. I've used the same palm from the start. I can't use lard as I make vegan soap. It appears that I have enough other hard oils in there the the "filler" of palm is not necessary, which is something I had never even thought about. I'm considering using the palm that I have left at 5% and

then skipping it.

I'm interested in your thoughts.


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That's an interesting theory Eugenie and you just may be on to something. I've read on other forums where some folks can't stand to use palm because of the trouble it gives them. Maybe this is what they meant when they talked of trouble? Since I have only been soaping for a little over a year, I'm not sure if this has added to the times I've had trouble but you have definatley got me to thinking.

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Was your palm from the bottom of the bucket? My first bucket I did that, and there was way too much stearic at the bottom from not stirring it. Even if it's hard when you get it, it's melted when it goes in the bucket, and that stearic still settles.

Nope Bunny, I get it in 2 lb. bottles from a local market, Golden Fiesta brand, fully refined palm (for 1.55 each, I may add!). They are fairly solid at room temp and I stick the bottle in boiling water first, then weigh out.

This is driving me crazy.

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I am not sure I am any help..I just made two batches with palm and OO...and they turned out great! nice and easy no fast trace..but..i will tell ya I noticed when I put a little in a dish to do another color..it did thicken fast...maybe it has to do with batch size?

maybe smaller batchs go way faster using palm?

The full batchs went fine..But now i will pay attention when i get more palm to work with...soap making does get mind boggling!:confused: ..but soooo much fun!:D

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Personally, I think it's the soap gremlins, lol! I had a similar problem with ash. Was soaping the same recipe forever, everything was fine, then all of a sudden I got ash every dang time I soaped. It went on for several batches and drove me CRAZY!!! Then, just as quickly as it started, it stopped. Go figure!

Seriously, I use palm and don't have a problem with quick trace. I do let my lye water cool down to room temp and my oils are pretty cool, too (I don't measure temp, either, lol). But, hey, if walking away from the palm:tiptoe: works for ya, then do it.

It's the soap gremlins (they are related to leprechauns:laugh2: )!

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I have been using that recipe with a couple of tweeks, which neither are tweeks to the palm amount and my last batch with the Verbena Bamboo turned out very nice. It thickened up a little at the end making it hard to get the swirls in, but nothing too bad. I like that recipe a lot. Would also like to add, I love the swirls you got in this batch.

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Probably has something to do with how easily the triglycerides split apart, the melting point of the oil, all that good stuff. Interesting that it's mostly the hard (saturated) oils that they say cause faster trace. LOL all of my oils are fast tracers..

I've had oils start to "rice" on me before I add fragrance, it's usually the palm. I've seen it in different shipments - sometimes a bucket is fine all the way through, sometimes a bucket is weird all the way through. Usually if I keep SBing it the mixture smooths out.

Palm has a melting point around 90-100 - you get it too cool and it might start solidifying in tiny pieces...

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What a GREAT thread.

Chris that chart was so informative. I've done 5 batches so far and they seem to trace soooo FAST and 4 of the ingredients I use in one recipe are on the list for fast trace. Being new I'm thinking the whole time what am I doing wrong? I add the lye to oils and w/in a minute or so its thick and the mixture is coating the SB. Now its clear why- thanks :)

Beautiful colored swirls E!

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