Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Do You Know About Liquid Oils?

By definition liquid is one of 3 states of matter. The other 2 are solid and gas. We talked about solids and in soap making I don't use gas, well maybe natural gas for the stove. A liquid is a fluid where the the molecules are bound temporarily allowing it to flow. A liquid assumes the shape of but does not always fill every space in a container, forms it own surface, does not compress, and does not always mix with another liquid. Liquid particles are able to move around one another freely because they are bound firmly but not rigidly. Upon boiling the bond breaks and the liquid turns to gas. Decrease the temperature and the molecules lock into a specific order, the bonds become more rigid, and the liquid crystallizes.

An oil is any substance that is liquid at room temperatures, has a high carbon and hydrogen content, is non polar, and does not mix with water. All oils can be traced back to organic sources and include vegetable, essential, and petrochemical oils.

I use vegetable oils in soap. Vegetable oils are lipid materials composed of triglycerides and come from plants. This is the general structure of a triglyceride.

Factoring the properties of oils determines which ones a soap maker will use in their formula. You find most of the oils lend a conditioning property to bars of soap and condition the skin.

I use some or all of the following oils to make a bar of soap. The percentages used by different soap makers are personal, they come upon them by research and by trail and error until they make the "perfect" bar, and that is what makes that bar of soap your favorite.

Castor Oil A colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste, Castor Oil is obtained from the bean of the Castor Plant, Ricinus Communis. It is a triglyceride in which approximately ninety percent of fatty acid chains are Ricinoleic Acid, the fatty acid that gives soap its conditioning and fluffy, stable lather. Due to its low molecular weight it penetrates deep into the outer layer of the skin. It also acts as a humectant, a hygroscopy substance, meaning it has the ability to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment.

Olive Oil Olive oil is obtained from the Olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae) Tree. It is composed mainly of the mixed triglyceride esters of oleic acid and palmitic acid. It is produced by grinding olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means. It is an excellent moisturizer as it attracts external moisture to the skin while still allowing the skin to perform normal functions.

Rice Bran Oil Rice bran oil is the oil extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It contains a range of fats with 42% Oleic and 39% Linoleic, which give it it's conditioning properties. It has a long and successful history in Japan as a base for soaps and skin creams and is purported to reverse the effect of aging by slowing the formation of facial wrinkles thanks to rice bran oil's rich concentration of Vitamin E and gamma-oryzanol, a mixture of plant chemicals called sterols and ferulic acid esters.

The oils pictured above are some I use in lotions and lotion sticks, butters and balms. They are 1 gallon size and some have a short shelf live so I either use them up quickly or keep in the fridge. The oils I use in soap making I buy in 5 gallon pails. You know you have made it in the soap making world when you buy these oils in 55 gallon drums. That is my goal.

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