Someone had asked me about the shelf life of Master Batch oils, as I have been using Hazelnut oil recently, which has a shelf life of only 3-6 months – this would make the whole batch of oils have that shelf life. (I have been adding Hazelnut oil because I like the qualities it has to offer and I have found it on sale several times).
I purchase my oils in bulk from Soapers Choice and at some of my favorite places when they are on sale: Bramble Berry, Bulk Apothecary and WSP (Whole Sale Plus). I think all these suppliers have high quality oils and butters. (I also find good quality Olive Oil and Grape Seed Oil at Costco – as well as Canola and Soybean oils – and I haven’t found anyone that can beat the price. Check out the Soap Queen Blog “All Olive Oils Are Not Created Equal” here for more info on the importance of quality oils.)
When buying oils & butters, if needed, I divided them into smaller sizes (1 lb for butters and 1 gallon jugs for oils) and then freeze them. (I am fortunate to have a dedicated refrigerator/ freezer for my soap supplies. The freezer will stop the aging process, while the fridge will slow it down.)
After heating, mixing, and dividing the Master Batch Oils, I put them back into the fridge or freezer. (Lately I have been using a batch of MB oils within 3-4 months, so if there is no room in the freezer, some go into a really cold refrigerator, as they will be used pretty quickly.)
Here’s my latest MB Recipe: Heat all oils & butters and mix in bucket. Then put in 5 – 1 gallon jugs of 120 oz each. (Heat thoroughly and SHAKE WELL before each use.)
Master Batch #7 Recipe:
600 oz oils/31.25 lb (makes 720 oz/ 45 lbs of soap):
4% Avocado Butter 24 oz 680 grams
5% Castor Oil 30 oz 850 grams
4% Cocoa Butter (Golden) 24 oz 680 grams
25% Coconut Oil 150 oz 4252 grams
8% Hazelnut Oil 48 oz 1361 grams
5% Olive Oil 30 oz 850 grams
8% Palm Kernel Flakes 48 oz 1361 grams
17% Palm Oil 102 oz 2892 grams
5% Rice Bran Oil 30 oz 850 grams
4% Shea Butter (Organic) 24 oz 680 grams
15% Sunflower Seed Oil 90 oz 2551 grams Total oils: 17,006 grams
The guidelines I use for a recipe are 50-60% of hard oils & butters (I prefer 60%). The rest of the oils are what ever you want. But be mindful of the properties of the oils you use: discoloration (Tamanu oil, Pumpkin Seed oil, Neem oil, Grape seed oil, Olive oil, and some Sesame Seed oils); acceleration factors (using too much Castor oil, Rice Bran, or Palm Kernel Flakes); and for something like Neem oil – the hideous scent (that may or may not dissipate).
So I start with my usual 25% of Coconut Oil & 25% of Palm (a combo of Palm Oil & Palm Kernel Flakes.) I increased the Flakes from 7.5% used last time to 8% this time, raising the amount in increments, as Palm Kernel Flakes can cause acceleration if using too much. (I have typically used only 5% of Flakes, but have gotten a lot on sale and am short of Palm Oil. If I didn’t have any Flakes, I would use 25% Palm Oil – sustainable Palm, for those that worry about that.)
I have used Tallow (or Lard) for a hard oil – which is a good substitute for Palm Oil, but seeing it on the ingredients freaks some people out.
I bumped up my butters to 12% because I have really been enjoying all that I have on hand, and got some nice Avocado Butter on sale too. (I love this butter, but feel it is a bit pricey for use in soap).
I use 5% Castor oil in soap, as above 7% it will accelerate trace. I’m not a huge fan of Olive oil, because of the discolor, but at 5% (or 10%) that is not an issue. (I prefer Avocado oil, but am out of it.) I like Rice Bran oil, and again, above 5% it sometimes causes acceleration…it has some nice properties like butters – it’s like a “liquid” butter.
Sunflower Seed oil is another oil that has a shorter shelf life (3-6 months), but it offers great skin moisturizing qualities & health benefits. I use this as a “filler” oil. Many other inexpensive oils can take the place of this: Soybean oil or Canola oil are good choices, but some people are horrified by using either. So if I can get a good price on Sunflower oil I go with that instead.
When it’s time to make soap, use a soap calculator with percentages of each oil and Super Fat of your choice to figure out a recipe that works for you. For Example:
Recipe: 100 oz oils/6.25 lb (makes 144 oz/ 9 lbs of soap):
4% Avocado Butter 4 oz 113 grams
5% Castor Oil 5 oz 142 grams
4% Cocoa Butter (Golden) 4 oz 113 grams
25% Coconut Oil 25 oz 709 grams
8% Hazelnut Oil 8 oz 227 grams
5% Olive Oil 5 oz 142 grams
8% Palm Kernel Flakes 8 oz 227 grams
17% Palm Oil 17 oz 482 grams
5% Rice Bran Oil 5 oz 142 grams
4% Shea Butter (Organic) 4 oz 113 grams
15% Sunflower Seed Oil 15 oz 425 grams Total oils: 2835 grams
5% SF NaOH/Lye 14.25 oz 404 grams
3oz disc(9%) Distilled water 30 oz 850 grams
Sodium Lactate 1 oz 28 grams
Kaolin Clay 1 oz 28 grams
Extracts (use up to 3%) (1%) 1 oz 28 grams (IN OILS)
I put the oils through the soap calculator several times and copy down a variety of different sizes, so that I have on hand numerous recipes to fit a variety of molds (example below):
Master batch #7 oils: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 5.42 oz / 154 grams
Distilled Water: (1.54 oz disc; 12.3% disc): 11 oz / 312 grams
Sodium Lactate: 11 grams
Kaolin Clay: 11 grams
Extract (1%): 11 grams
(At: 2% 22 grams; 3% 33 grams)
For more information on the properties of various oils & butters, check out the Aug 1, 2016 Blog by clicking here.