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Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Beginners Soap Making Forum > Cold Process ,”Gel” Phase Questions
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:20 AM   #11
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For me, gel intensifies colors. Gel is also supposed to look more 'transluscent' than non-gelled soap, which is more often desscribed as more opaque. Partial gel causes that ring, and the center part is usually the gelled part because soap tends to heat from the inside out when left to it's own devices or with insulation when it needs a little help.

But it is not only gel that effects the final color, as other factors can cause colors to change. Some colorants morph, some fade away altogether, some fragrance oils cause color changes, and of course some oils affect color as well.

And, yes, in HP you bring the soap through gel phase before putting it into the mold. With CP, gel phase happens after putting into the mold unless you purposely manipulate to avoid gel.

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Old 11-20-2017, 02:09 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your recipe and method! I appreciate the extra info -- very helpful.

I agree with pretty much all of what the others are saying regarding gel vs. no gel. A gelled soap has a more translucent look, the colors can be more intense, and it is often firm enough to unmold sooner than not-gelled soap. It does shorten the time for saponification compared to not-gelled soap, but gelling does not not shorten the cure time by any practical amount. I'd rather gel than not, but I realize other people feel differently about it.

So some thoughts --

If you want to avoid gel without making any other changes in your method or recipe, some people get good results by refrigerating or freezing the soap, although it can be just as effective to leave it completely uncovered sitting on a cooling rack in front of a fan. Cooling soap like this seems fiddly to me, but again some people have good results from this, so your mileage may vary, as they say.

If I were in your shoes I would instead do two things --

I would look at lowering the starting temperature of your ingredients by about 10 degrees F -- to about 110 F or even a bit less. My goal is for my solid fats to be melted through and clear, but I want them only just warm enough to reach that goal. With my soap recipes that contain a lot of lard, that's 100 to 110 F. With your palm based recipe, this temp range should also work, but you may want to play around with this to see what temps work best for you.

Another change I'd suggest is to switch from "water as % of oils" (if you are using this) to using lye concentration or water:lye ratio. And then reduce the water in your recipe by changing the lye concentration from your current 30% (water:lye ratio of 2.3) to about 33% (water:lye ratio of 2.0). This will raise the temperature at which your soap will naturally want to go into the gel phase, so your soap will be less likely to gel.

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Old 11-24-2017, 03:31 PM   #13
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Thank you for all the help! I’ve taken the advice in here and have done a batch of Clean Cotton, with jojoba beads for exfoliating. I forgot to get more isopropyl to spray the top, so I’ll get soda ash, DOH! Oh well! I’ve decided I am ok with gel phase, I noticed the colored soap only slightly changed color in the last batch ( the orange), while the uncolored soap browned, so I dyed both parts this time to see if I avoid the browning.
I will post the results!
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:09 PM   #14
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If your plain batter went brown it would be the FO. FOs can also effect the coloured parts too.

DeeAnna's instructions from "so, some thoughts" to the end are how to avoid gel.

If you want gel use a lye concentration of 30-31% and do what you are doing with covering the mold etc

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