update-candelilla wax in soap

I've been able to test the two batches that I added candelilla wax to and the good news is that they are fine!  Neither of the bars felt sticky or draggy, so I know that I didn't use too much of the wax.  Both lathered up great too...I didn't think the lather was diminished at all by the wax.

Now for the hardness, which was my purpose for using the wax in soap (and for wax/hardness testing purposes, I left out palm oil for both but used 10% cocoa butter in each as well).   I used different amounts of wax in each batch.  I make small batches and usually use 28 oz. of oils...so for the apple blossom & lavender batch, I used 1/2 teaspoon candelilla wax, and for the sweet orange spearmint batch, I used 1/4 teaspoon of wax. 

apple blossom & lavender

sweet orange spearmint

The apple blossom & lavender bars are significantly harder than the sweet orange spearmint ones.  I "knocked" on a bar with my knuckle and it was loud, lol...and didn't leave a dent.  I had faster trace with this batch too.  I knocked on a bar of sweet orange spearmint and my knuckle did leave a little dent in it, and it also felt a little "softer" when I was using it in the shower.  I don't think 1/4 teaspoon wax made much of a difference, really.  I did have more time working with this batch, so didn't get quick trace.

My final thoughts on candelilla wax:
  • I think it's perfectly fine to use in soap
  • I'll stick with using it at 1/2 teaspoon because it does make the soap noticeably harder
  • I just need to be prepared to work fast!  


  1. Thanks for the update, that's really interesting! Do you think the wax helped to keep the ash away? I've seen beeswax used for that purpose; I tried it, but it was hit-and-miss for me.

    1. I didn't get any ash on both batches. I think it helps keep the ash away somewhat, but yet I don't want to say it 100% keeps the ash away. I tend to believe it's hit-and-miss also.

      I made a batch last week with beeswax and I didn't use bubble wrap on the top. I just checked them and they don't have ash. I'll be checking for ash whenever I use waxes in soap...if I get ash then I'll let you know!

    2. Yes, please keep me updated Kalla! I use rubbing alcohol right now to keep the ash down; it works, but it is more time-consuming.

    3. Will do! I use rubbing alcohol too (if I don't use wax), but I still get ash...although it's not as heavy as it used to be, before I started using it.

  2. Candelilla wax is the perfect ingredient in soap,care cream &lip balm...in everything.
    For me as a Vegan,is just perfect.
    Thank you so much for this update.

    1. You're welcome! I haven't made creams, but I do like to put candelilla wax in my lip balms. I think it gives nice glide and sheen! :)

  3. Thanks for the update, Kalla! I was curious to see how the candelilla wax worked out for you. It's good to know that 1/2 tsp per 28 oz. of oils creates a noticeably harder bar without affecting the lather. Good to know that it can speed up trace, too!

    1. You're welcome Jenny! I'm very pleased that the candelilla wax helps with hardness...and I'll have to remember not to do any intricate swirls/techniques, lol.

  4. Thanks,Kalla, it's great that you're sharing your impression with us! I have bees wax,but haven't used it yet for soaps. I'm bit scared not for the reason it diminishes lather,but for speeding trace (which I've had enough of,lol)!
    Need to mention again,your both soaps look lovely!

    1. You're welcome, Maja! When I first used beeswax, I used it at 2% and it moved FAST..so I can understand your hesitation to use it, lol. I just used beeswax last week but only added 1/2 teaspoon. Everything went "normal"...but I kept things simple also-no colors or techniques, just in case things starting moving along a little too fast! :)

  5. Great update! Both batches look absolutely lovely and I'm glad you've been having such good luck with using the Candelilla Wax in your soap recipes. =)

    1. Thanks Anne-Marie! Congrats on your new baby girl, she's beautiful! :)

  6. The apple blossom and lavender soap looks great - I love the thin pink layer on top. Good information on the candelilla wax!

  7. Thanks for this update,Kalla! Taking into account your tests, I will certainly, use it more often.
    Delicate soaps, as always!

    1. Thanks Natalia! I hope you have good results :)

  8. Hi Kalla, Many thanks for the update, unfortunatley I had a Wi-Fi blackout so I didn't see your message until after deciding to go along with a recipie I had concocted on SoapCalc. The % of wax was higher in my soap, 5% of 600, so 30 grams. I'm very impressed with my efforts. I would tell you more but I would be hijacking your blog:-).
    Many thanks for posting your initial thoughts on Candelilla wax, you helped me take the plunge to make soap.

    Kind regards

    1. Hi Chris! Sounds like you had success using the candelilla wax in your soap...that's good to hear! If you used it at 5%, I'm curious to know what you think after you've used it.

      Did it move fast on you too as it did me? Don't worry about hijacking my blog lol...I'm very interested in hearing your results, and a big congrats on taking the plunge into soapmaking!

    2. Thanks Kalla, Soap Calc did all the hard work I just kept adjusting the fats to get decent values in the range for the soap bar quality, but more on that later.

      I have had a few health issues and wanted to make my own soap to avoid chemicals, so the ingredient list was pretty simple, the only additives were essential oils and Sodium thiosulphate, which I understand is used to stabilise Vanilla essence in hot process soap making, however it also neutralises Chlorine and I want to use the soap after swimming, when hand washing or taking a shower.

      The recipe... Cocoa butter and Coconut oil 25% or 150 grams each. Olive oil, 45% or 270 grams, Candelilla wax 5% or 30 grams. 10mls each of Ginger and Lemongrass essential oils. Sodium thiosulphate 8% or 28.80 grams. Total oil weight 600grams, water was 38%. Lye concentration 27.386% and water lye ratio 2.65:1. Meaning water at 228 grams, NaOH 85.989 grams. The fragrance was 0.300 grams

      I stuck to the recipe and didn't super fat as the ranges in the soap quality were pretty good and are as follows...
      Hardness 46, Cleansing 17, Conditioning 52, Bubbly 17, Creamy 29, Iodine 55, INS 152.

      I started with the lye and set it to one side whilst I got the oils working, I kept checking the temperatures of both and quickly found the oils getting too hot whilst the lye was cooling down faster than I could cool the oils. A washing up bowl with very cold water was used to cool the pan of oils but then a thick layer of fairly solid wax like substance was forming on the bottom of the pan, ok, stop laughing!! Back to the heat with the oils whilst stirring like mad with a balloon whisk, then I added the Sodium Thiosulphate. Another temperature check showed both lye and oils at 107 degrees F. I added the lye to the oils and mixed the two with the balloon whisk, checking too often for trace in the process, finally after 8 minutes trace was achieved, but is it really trace or shall I stir it a bit longer? I poured the now custard consistency batter, will you stop laughing!! into the moulds. The batter looked more like a lava field than a lovely smooth bar. The mould size was 4x125 grams but after turning the bars out they were much heavier, I had also commandeered two ramekins for the remainder, but even after paring down with a potato peeler and making another inch round ball with the shavings, I now have 4x143 gram bars and two ramekin bars weighing 111 grams and an inch round ball.

      I set the bars on a rack I made out of Ash wood in a cardboard box that I made a lid for to keep the light out and started the long wait for curing to take place. Five minutes later, Is it ready yet? Day after day I just couldn't leave it alone, no mould, no sweating, no change. After a week I tested the PH using a litmus paper strip that I rubbed vigorously on a bar, 8.3, a quick check on the net revealed this to be safe, so I gave a ramekin bar a preflight squeeze, disappointingly the bar gave under pressure in the middle, undeterred we both went in the shower. The smell of ginger and lemongrass was wonderful, the lather was bubbly and creamy and the bar was disappearing fast. I set the remainder in a soap dish to dry, the following day the bar was dry and a little soft. I have used the bar a few times and it has hardened after drying along with the rest that are still residing in the cardboard box. Still no mould or sweating, just a lovely smell wafting around the house. It has been four weeks now and I'm still excited about my soap. Other than mass produced soap I don't have anything to compare against, so I don't know if my soap is ok or great!

      I am going to make some batter to the same recipe but without the fragrance to properly test the Chlorine killing powers by showering and not being able to smell the chlorine after going for a swim. I didn't consider how I was going to test this before I started, but I now realise that smelling like a Thai ladies handbag isn't going to help.

      Please be critical :-) Chris

  9. Hi Chris! Sorry for the delay again...was out of town for a few days visiting family and didn't get on the computer once. Then I've been busy working, lol...wish I could say it was soapmaking but it wasn't! Thanks for walking me through your process. :)

    First, I haven't heard of Sodium thiosulphate before. I did a quick search on it and did not find the info that you did about it stabilizing vanilla essence in hot process. I did find that it's used in chlorine removal shampoos.

    Now that you've had more time to use the soap, how does it feel? Is it sticky at all? Drying? How's the lather? The numbers seem to look good..is that what you are shooting for? I'll try to help troubleshoot if you experienced any of the questions I asked. Cocoa butter helps with hardness, but used in high percentages, it can create a sticky bar and diminish lather. I usually stick to 10-15%. The amount of coconut oil is good..sometimes I go up to 30%, but when I do, I also increase the superfat %. Speaking of superfat...I would recommend you use at least 5%, even though your numbers look good. You're working with lye, so it's better to be safe and not take a chance on making a lye heavy soap. My skin is always on the dry side, so 5% superfat is drying to me. I usually superfat 7-8%. If your skin is normal, 5% should be fine for you.

    This next part had me laughing...where you melt the oils, lol. If this was your first time, I can so relate! My first time, I was panicking throughout the whole process....temperatures, is it really at trace? Yeah, I was freaking out! Your temps are good. I usually try to soap at 110 degrees F. The lye and oils are usually a few degrees of one another, but that's ok.

    This is where I kind of get confused. After you poured the batter into the mold, did you it sit overnight? And if it looked like a lava field, could it be it was going through the gel stage? Oh, and if you can get your hands on a stickblender, that would work so much better than a whisk. It won't take as long to reach trace.

    The bars....they will lose a lot of water weight during cure time. They need at least 4-6 weeks to cure. I use mine at 4 weeks...if you use a high percentage of olive oil, then 6 weeks would be better (over 60%). A bar that dissolves rapidly when you use it just means that it hasn't cured long enough. The longer the cure, the harder and milder the bar will be.

    Ginger and Lemongrass sounds like a great combo (thai ladies handbag, lol)! I like both of them, but never tried them together. I will have to write that down to try someday!

    Just keep tweaking a little here and there and you will find your favorite recipe. I hope I helped somewhat, lol...and sorry again for the delay in getting back to you. Keep me posted on the other batch..if it helped with removing the chlorine smell.

    Happy soaping! :)

    1. Hi Kalla, Thanks for your words of wisdom. The first bar had a slightly sticky feel, but not badly so. In use, a finger drawn across a wet bar produces a slightly sticky trail. I thought this was more due to the softness of the bar but I am now using bar two and this is pretty much the same, so it looks as though you are right in that the cocoa butter % could be lower. The lather is pretty good actually, one thing I have noticed though is that water I use for hand washing or bathing has a scum that wasn't present with commercial soaps. The Sodium Thiosulphate (ST) converts Chlorine into salt and I wonder if this is the cause of the scum as the salt will act as a water softener. This may also account for the good lather too given the Cocoa butter %??

      Even though I'm nearly a pensioner, my skin is well moisturised, probably due to the massive daily nutrient intake to beat the heart and liver problems I have, for that and the fact that the soap is just for my use, I don't want to risk batches going mouldy in storage through super fatting. I understand the benefits, I just can't afford to be throwing soap away. Unless you know a way of preserving soap? I know about grapefruit seed extract, but as previously mentioned, I want to keep the ingredient list short and the soap as simple as possible.

      My Curriculum Vitae is long and illustrious (in places) lol. but soap making has only just taken it's rightful place at the end of the list. I'm sure it would have been comical to have watched the process, but as a soap virgin I was in a bit of a lather ;-). The batter was like thick warm custard, hence the lava effect as the batter folded into the mould. The batter was left to overnight in the mould before release and the weight was logged. I have just weighed the bigger bars and they weigh in at 140 grams, so 3 grams per bar moisture loss, less that 1.5% per bar after five weeks curing. I've read about the gel stage but I can't say I recognised anything that indicated it happened in this case?

      I used a balloon whisk so that I didn't go beyond trace, you have to laugh don't you, lol. The stick blender is ready to roll.

      In general I am really happy with the soap. When I first used it it didn't feel harsh and despite my reservations I did a quick tongue test which didn't give me a zap, I haven't tasted it since as I've been a good boy and haven't had to wash my mouth out! I just have to test my ST theory without fragrance and update you on this in the future. I would love to get more involved in the alchemy of soap making but my health research has to come first and earning some money a close second. Having said that a ST shampoo has to come soon but I have to work on the soap ratio first.

      Many thanks again for your blog Kalla, my interest isn't just about a new hobby, a business, or staying clean, it's about staying alive, so your contribution is very much appreciated. In thanks for your efforts and In case anyone else wants to know about Sodium Thiosulphate, the following links will give a head start.

      Kind regards, Chris


      P.S. Don't worry about any delay, I was half expecting you to be up to your ears in selling soap for mother's day pressies. Do you have Mother's Day in America?

    2. Hey Chris! Thanks for the links to more info on the sodium thiosulfate. I was looking at the supplier website in the first link and the description they wrote was "Sodium Thiosulfate for use in fragrance stabilisation in melt and pour soap base." You may want to ask them if it's strictly for melt and pour soap or can it be used for cold process also. Reason being is that the lye could burn off the properties, so it's good to double check.

      Soap scum is the one drawback of handmade soap, so it's not because of the sodium thiosulfate. Tetrasodium EDTA is used in commercial soaps to reduce soap scum and improve lather...but then you're adding more things to your recipe and taking away from keeping it simple or more "natural". Here's a link for more info on it:

      You shouldn't have to worry about your soaps going moldy, even with a 5% superfat. As long as they are stored in a cool, dry place they should be fine. I think I have some bars that are a couple of years old and they are still doing fine. The fragrance has faded, but the bars are still good. Just keep away from humid areas. The grapefruit seed extract...it's an antioxidant, so it will help with prolonging the shelf life of the oils, but it's not a preservative...and you're not using any oils/butters that have a short shelf life, so it's not really needed.

      OK, I understand what you mean now by the lava effect, lol. Sounds like things were going as they were supposed to! And it probably did go through gel stage when you "put it to bed". If it didn't, one way to tell is that it would be really soft and mushy when you unmold and cut. If it is, I usually just let it sit for couple more days to firm up before cutting.

      Glad to hear you have a stickblender too, lol..it makes things so much easier. Recipes with high percentages of olive oil take a long time to reach trace (I've noticed with sunflower oil also). I can't imagine using a whisk in those instances...it would take forever to get to trace! :)

      I wish you well in your soapmaking endeavors and also your health research. From the sounds of it, you seem very knowledgeable about what you are putting into your body, and now, what you are putting ON your body. I really believe handmade soap is so much better than the store-bought stuff because you're in control of what goes into it...and the benefit of the glycerine created by the soapmaking process!

      Yes, we have Mother's Day here. I have been busy working, but it's another job and not soapmaking. I don't get to make soap as much as I would like to. I also need to update my blog, lol...I'm trying to get that started.


  10. Hi Kalla,
    I want to use Candellila wax particularly in shaving soap. The problem I am having is using SoapCalc. It shows hardness 68, Condition 60, Cream 60 yet when I include it in the recipe the total combined characteristics don't seem to include it which throws me out a bit. I asked them but had no response.
    Do you know if the conditioning is quite high - that's all.
    I haven't made a soft shaving soap but the recipes I have seen that make awesome lather also have low conditioning which I want to avoid. I am going to try using Abyssinian oil, Beef Tallow, Castor Oil, Soy wax and Coconut oil with mixed lye's.
    I've made a lot of soap but haven't done this before and don't want to mess up with expensive oils (Abyssinian and Candellila)
    Thanks for your time

  11. Hi,
    We developed a special Soap Calculator to calculate the % of Glycerin inside your soaps !
    We would like to invite all the users to try it for Free and let me know your comments.
    The Soap calculator is here: http://www.soapworld.biz/soap-calculator-handmade-soap.html
    Bye !



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...