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Old 04-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
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Default soaping woes

I am trying to be patient, but I'm wondering where I am going wrong. My natural colorants are beautiful powders, but I'm having lots of trouble with my soaps coming out very soft, and I wonder if it's because of the added colorants? I have been adding them directly into my soap batter, versus using the colors that I am steeping (which I will be trying out in the near future.

I'm not sure where I am going wrong. My oils are 55% Pomace, 5% castor, 20% coconut, and 20% palm. I have been sf at 7% lately, which I never used to before, but would the 2% difference really be why it's softer?

It's so soft that once I cut them, I can take the trimmings and squeeze them into a nice squishy ball (I'm on my lunch break so I can't post pictures).

Perhaps I need to water discount, I am using the regular 38%.


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Old 04-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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Yes, as little as a 2% added superfat can make a huge difference. Also, OO, regardless of type, in high percentages will result in a softer bar until it has completely cured over 6-8 weeks, then will be super hard.


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Old 04-22-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
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What types of colorants are you using, Liz? I usually use herbs for colorants and I never have a problem. I think anyone can take trimmings and smoosh them up.....I can and my bars are nice and hard. I sf at 5% and don't divert from the 38% water. I use very little olive oil and usually 10% castor oil. My palm and coconut are up about 25%.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:07 PM   #4
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I usually superfat at 6% so I am likely used to softer bars, but I have not had a problem using a natural colorant. I think the change in your SF will definitely change how soft your bar is though. Since my first soap was lye heavy, I tend to SF a little high to be safe.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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Do you gel your soaps? Non gelled soaps seem to take longer to set up. I never go above twice as much as my lye, which is a 33% solution, and I can do swirls and everything just fine. I would try cutting back on the water and see how that goes.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:20 PM   #6
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My regular soap recipe is 10% SF, high OO (40% or more), and 33% water (2:1 water to lye). My soap is only soft upon unmolding if I don't gel. Natural colorants, be they steeped or added at trace haven't made a difference with respect to firmness. I generally cut the morning after I soap. If I don't gel, I wait an extra day.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:24 PM   #7
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Ok, I am beginning to feel better about my softer soaps now. I have only recently begun using natural colorants in my soap directly-spirullina powder, parsley powder, indigo powder, and beet root powder. The beet root powder didn't actually color my soap much due to the vanilla content in my FO...it's a nice muddy color.

I'm going to hope that a longer cure helps though. Since I'm new to using colorants I wondered if this had any reason to be a problem. I know that castor oil can make bars softer in high percentages, but I have been using 5% without trouble in any other recipes. I had a lot of thinking time this weekend during a long drive, so I was playing with the different variables in my mind. I am anxious to unmold one of my soaps with this recipe that has been in my fridge since Thursday--all the others have been geled. It will be interesting to see if that one came out okay!
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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The beet powder will always turn brown. It's only that vivid red / pink in food preps, and I don't think in even all of those. In soap it will turn brown. Actually in body butters or lotions it could retain the color. That would be neat!
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:38 PM   #9
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I had one batch do this, and I thought it may have been the water content and non-gel, and all soft oils.

I've been using natural colorants, but, I add a bit to a clean bottle, add some pomace, and let it sit until I am ready to use. I shake the bottles whenever I look at them. Then I can figure out what color(s) I want to use, take out that many spoonfuls from the base oil mix before adding lye water. After I get light trace, I add the spoonfuls of the color oil in whatever amounts. That's been working well for me, and great colors. No scratchy from any dried herbs or spices as I don't shake them up the day I am making soap so the herb/spice stays in the bottom of the bottle, but the color comes out great.
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancel View Post
The beet powder will always turn brown. It's only that vivid red / pink in food preps, and I don't think in even all of those. In soap it will turn brown. Actually in body butters or lotions it could retain the color. That would be neat!
BLAST IT! I thought that it worked in CP soap. Guess I read that one wrong.


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