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Old 05-16-2017, 08:16 PM   #11
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Default Practice makes... perfect disasters!

Just a little FYI, olive oils at 50% will need more curing time than 1 month for it to be a better soap. ( less slimy, gooey, & water soluble ) and avocado oil & rice bran oil, too, are high OLEIC acid oil acts pretty much the same as olive oil.

ETA: Palm is fast tracing oil. And your recipe will do much better with 40% lye concentration if you limit your stickblender and sugar usage.



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Old 05-16-2017, 09:53 PM   #12
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What cherrycoke said. And I know it's tempting to change the 50/50 ratio of hard and soft oils, but don't, it won't turn out nice. As others have said, don't go overboard with the stick blender and sugar and you should be fine.


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Old 05-16-2017, 11:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by emi View Post
Yes, I bought a real silicone mold, more glass containers, as well as some pretty sample micas.
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What are you using the glass containers for? If it is anything to do with lye, don't! Glass will etch and shatter.
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:08 AM   #14
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What are you using the glass containers for? If it is anything to do with lye, don't! Glass will etch and shatter.

Great catch, Susie! I meant to say that but forget about it as I type. Is it early onset Alzheimer's?
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:07 AM   #15
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Y'all answered all her other questions, so I was able to focus solely on that, and I read the thread several times to be sure someone else had not covered that.

It is not early Alzheimer's. It is just having a life in addition to this forum. We get distracted.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:13 AM   #16
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We were all newbies once, that's why we're so familiar with how it feels, and the impulse to want to try it all and do it all...now. By going a little slower, and getting the basics under your belt, it can only save you time and failed batches down the road. As far as using the SB, what many of us do is to use it in bursts of just a few seconds, and then stir with it, burst, stir, until it's at the point of emulsion or trace that you want to pour. This gives you more control of how fast or slow things are moving. And like I said, the emulsion thing is something you get more comfortable identifying, the more experience you have, and the more batches you've observed.

Good luck with your next batches, we look forward to following your progress!
UGHHH! What a bummer!! I'm quite sure I need to throw it out. I made another batch using the recipe I suggested above. here it is exactly:

olive 50% 250g
avocado 15% 75g
rice bran 15% 75g
castor 3% 15g
coconut 17% 85g
water 123.17g
lye conc 35% 66.32g
super fat 7%
fragrance 15g

500g oil total

sat/unsat, 30/70

I'm completely forgot to add salt. Anyway, everything was going well and I was so proud of my new colorants I was using and the pretty swirl I managed. So, once I had my oils combined at room temp and added the somewhat cooled down lye water, I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker, I split the batch into 2 containers to create my 2 colors. blue mica and black oxide. By the time I mixed in my blue mica, the other batter waiting for the black had already kind of set. I had to mix it up again to loosen it to mix in the black oxide. So I thought I was safe since it had practically set! I used a swirl technique of pouring the black into 3 spots in the blue batter and then poured it into my mold. I put a layer of saran wrap on the top and covered it with a towel. I felt the warmth through it a while later which I was happy that it would therefore gel properly. Today I took off the towel and noticed that there was some clear liquid that had gathered between the saran wrap and the soap. I pulled it off, got some of the liquid on my finger and touched it to my tongue. and yup, there it was. The infamous electrocution sting of lye I've heard so much about. So that's it right? I need to throw it all out? There's no recourse in saving this batch, correct??

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Old 05-19-2017, 03:15 AM   #17
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I would wait. Even if it gelled, it probably sweat some moisture that will have active NaOH in it. Give it a few days to reabsorb that moisture. (Disclaimer: I have not run that recipe through a lye calculator, and it is time for bed, so it may be a flawed recipe for all I know.)
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:28 AM   #18
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Aye, with that much olive you will have time to leave it to see if the liquid absorbs back in
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:43 AM   #19
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UGHHH! What a bummer!! I'm quite sure I need to throw it out. I made another batch using the recipe I suggested above. here it is exactly:

olive 50% 250g
avocado 15% 75g
rice bran 15% 75g
castor 3% 15g
coconut 17% 85g
water 123.17g
lye conc 35% 66.32g
super fat 7%
fragrance 15g

500g oil total

sat/unsat, 30/70

I'm completely forgot to add salt. Anyway, everything was going well and I was so proud of my new colorants I was using and the pretty swirl I managed. So, once I had my oils combined at room temp and added the somewhat cooled down lye water, I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker, I split the batch into 2 containers to create my 2 colors. blue mica and black oxide. By the time I mixed in my blue mica, the other batter waiting for the black had already kind of set. I had to mix it up again to loosen it to mix in the black oxide. So I thought I was safe since it had practically set! I used a swirl technique of pouring the black into 3 spots in the blue batter and then poured it into my mold. I put a layer of saran wrap on the top and covered it with a towel. I felt the warmth through it a while later which I was happy that it would therefore gel properly. Today I took off the towel and noticed that there was some clear liquid that had gathered between the saran wrap and the soap. I pulled it off, got some of the liquid on my finger and touched it to my tongue. and yup, there it was. The infamous electrocution sting of lye I've heard so much about. So that's it right? I need to throw it all out? There's no recourse in saving this batch, correct??

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I would follow the above advice from Susie and TEG. I think, for a beginner, you're over complicating things for yourself. I'm sure beginners hate to hear my advice, but it's just this kind of situation that I'm trying to help them avoid. Instead of multi colored swirls, why not just a one color bar for now? In my own experience, it takes some practice to feel comfortable with a project as complicated as yours was.

When you say "somewhat cooled down lye water", it leads me to think that your lye was still on the warm side. I soap at room temp. I make my lye solution the night before, so when I use it, it's truly at room temp. This helps things to move more slowly.

" I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker," If your batter is at the emulsion stage, it shouldn't be getting thicker yet. Did you try dribbling some of the batter on top, to see if it left a trace? These are some things you could be focusing on if you didn't have so many other things, like dividing your batch and using multiple colors and swirling to concentrate on. Getting the basics down will help you with all of the other things, because once you're comfortable with the basics, you don't have to think about them, and you'll be able to give all your attention to the "fancy stuff".

I'm really not trying to stop you from having fun and being creative, I just hate the idea of newbies becoming frustrated and deciding that soaping is not for them. I want all of your batches to be a success!
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Last edited by navigator9; 05-19-2017 at 11:44 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 05-24-2017, 02:53 AM   #20
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Yes, absolutely. I took on more than I can handle! I left the soap alone for about a week and it did "absorb back" that liquid somehow and it completely disappeared leaving a kind of ashy residue. Is that the ash I've heard of that can be avoided by spraying alcohol on it? I did the tongue test from the surface, as well as cut in into bars and touched my tongue to those areas too and there was no sting at all! Just tasted like normal soap! I don't get it. It just seeped back into the soap? Susie and the Efficacious Gentleman both said to wait to see if it would re-absorb, which it totally did. How did it do that? Why did you say "with that much olive oil you will have time to wait for it see if the liquid absorbs back in"? I even bought myself phenothaline solution to do a test, but by the time it arrived, it was passing the tongue test with flying colors. Any thoughts on its use?

And about the glass! I shouldn't be using glass for mixing the batter or for the lye solution then?? I guess just from cooking I assumed glass was the most non-reactive material possible. So I should use plastic containers for everything? I bought these little glass beakers just for mixing colorants into small amounts of oil. That's ok right? just to use for oil and colorant? But I should only use plastic measuring cups and bowls for the lye solution and batter mixing. And of course can't use those for anything but soaping.

So as suggested, i'm just going to make one color (or no color) bars for at least the next few batches. I'll use the various oils I've collected and try to learn its various properties, not just from reading about them, but by actually doing it myself! I have so far collected oils of olive, coconut, safflower, avocado, castor, canola, rice bran, and shea butter, cocoa butter, crisco, and beeswax. The more reading I do about beeswax, the more pointless it seems to be. Its only use seems to be for hardening which can be achieved by simply adding a bit of salt. I read even that it is really used as a gimicy sales pitch just so it can say it has "honey and real beeswax!" on the label. I bought a sample box of 12 essential oils and few FO that I'm having a hard time liking much else than lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon. This whole venture was to save me some money on buying $5 soap bars, and now I've probably spent close to $200! But I don't care. This is so much fun. I'm getting obsessed!

I'm a little at a loss though of how I should go about learning about these different oils. Should I start with making a batch using 100% of a particular oil, then add another oil to it for the next batch and compare? Or use a particular multi-oil recipe and increase or decrease the amount of 1 particular oil in that recipe to learn about its properties? I'm guessing I should stay away from additives like salt or sugar for now until I get a good grip on oils first?

Thank you all again so much for your replies and holding my hand through all of this! It gives me much more hope and confidence to keep trying.


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