Testing Time! I sent out 8 batches to long time users of my soap to test. Note: These soaps were made in October 2016 and sent to testers. With most of the results in here’s what I found.
I asked them the following questions:
Conditions of Use: Hard/Soft Water? Do you wash with soap on skin or use a washcloth/poof?
As you used: (they used a ranking system)
- How long did the bar last?
- How did the bar lather?
- Did you like the “feel” of the soap?
- What did you like about the bar?
- What did you dislike about the bar?
- Did you have a preference/favorite?
- Rank the bars from favorite to least favorite.
- Do you have any other comments you wish to add?
Results: So, I get results that go from one end of the spectrum to the other. I’m used to this. Part of why I ask people their skin type/water type/how the wash is because that can greatly shape why someone likes or dislikes a soap and it helps me hone in on what the results really are saying.
Overall, no one really DISLIKED any of them, but people definitely had preferences.
Bar #5 was probably the least favorite for everyone with the exception of one tester who love it. This doesn’t surprise me. It was the bar with 70% tallow. I got a lot of: “it lasted a long time, but the lather wasn’t great.” And also, “too much of a squeaky clean feeling”. It was definitely my LEAST favorite.
Tallow makes a great hard bar, but it lacks the ability to add lather and isn’t the most conditioning of fats. I tried a 70% tallow bar because when I was doing my initial research there were a number of people who said they used up to 70% and I just couldn’t wrap my head around that much tallow being a nice bar so I decided to try one for myself.
Bar #2 and Bar #3 weren’t disliked or loved, but just weren’t favorites. Both of these recipes used 50% tallow. People with oily skin actually liked this bar better than those with normal to dry skin. I wasn’t impressed with the lather. In part that was because I cut down on the amount of coconut oil I used to accommodate the additional tallow.
Bar #1 and Bar #4 just about ended up in a tie. Either way they were the top two finishers for most of my testers. Bar #1 used 19.4% tallow and was my standard recipe with a straight sub of tallow for palm. Most liked the lather, the feel on the skin, and the feel after showering. All around it was generally liked.
Bar #4 was 25% tallow. And I think that might be a magic number for me with using tallow in a recipe. The one down side is this bar seemed to go a little faster. I had people test travel size bars (I tested a full size). To me the full size bar lasted about as long as my standard bar. Travel bars are smaller and thinner. I actually think the reason that this bar went a little quicker was because I kept using it (longer than an of the other bars) each time I showered. I just LOVED the feel of it on my skin (as did many of my testers).
End thoughts: I went into this thinking Bar #1 would be my favorite. I LOVE my current recipe and that bar was just a straight sub of palm for tallow. I didn’t make any other changes. I was sure nothing else would stand up to that bar. And while I did like Bar #1 (19.4% tallow) my favorite was Bar #4 (25% tallow).
Ultimately from this experiment I would recommend a usage rate between 20 and 25% of tallow in a recipe.
Thank you to all my testers! I appreciate your help.