Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Let’s talk about failure. And how to turn failures into wins.

  • Let’s talk about failure. And how to turn failures into wins.

    Posted by mikethair on April 22, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    This story goes back to my Ha Noi days in Viet Nam. It was here that I first started saponifying plant oils in small batches to make liquid products (face wash, body wash, and shampoo). With saponification, temperature control is critical, so I monitored constantly with a thermometer in hand.

    Once I moved to Penang Island, I continued, but I had in mind scaling up to larger batch quantities. I experimented for another 12 months, making lots of mistakes and wasting many batches. Then, when I thought I had it right, I took the plunge.

    I contracted a USA engineering firm to manufacture a large saponification vat. It is water-jacketed and thermostatically controlled. It’s big and heavy, so getting it into Malaysia was no simple task.

    Anyway, it finally arrived. Problems solved. I set the thermostat, walked away, and left it—well, so I thought.

    Thermostats are wonderful things, but they are not foolproof. I have had the vat boil over and spill its contents. These disasters are costly and time-consuming.

    I learnt to monitor and record the temperature every hour. If the vat temperature reaches 95 C and keeps rising, I switch off the vat power. Then I wait until it drops to where it should be and resume.

    Let’s be honest here. Using synthetic surfactants for my body wash, face wash, and shampoo would be so much easier and cheaper. But hey, it’s not what I do. I am committed to producing synthetic-free products, like the world-famous Dr. Bronner’s products, which use the same approach of saponifying plant oils.

    If you want to know more about saponifying plant oils, please contact me.

    Dr Mike Thair

    Master Formulator

    • This discussion was modified 2 months ago by  mikethair.
    mikethair replied 2 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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