12% Honey CP Soap

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earlene

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Thank you! :) You should try the method. It was scary for me the first time I did it- seeing my lye water turn such a dark burnt orange color that it looked black from a distance had me worried that my soap would turn out just as dark- but my worries were for nothing. The soap came out a lovely light caramel color to my delighted surprise.

Before using this method, my honey soaps would sometimes turn out with honey spots/dots that would weep out of my soap, and I also had to keep a close watch on them so they wouldn't crack from overheating, which some would do anyway in spite of using a slab mold and putting in the fridge, etc... Since mixing the honey in the cooled-off lye water, all of those annoyances have disappeared for me and I can use an insulated log mold and let it go through complete gel in a gently warm place without fear.


IrishLass :)

Thanks for this tip, IrishLass. I decided to try honey in my brothers BlackSmith soap instead of sugar and to use your method. It sure is a dark burnt orange color. I wouldn't mind if it stayed that way, but since I added Dragon's Blood FO, maybe it will end up close to that shade. We shall see.

For aihrat:
One caveat on this method, which I have no problem with BTW, is to use caution in spite of the fact that others have had no problems mixing the dissolved honey into the lye. Still make sure it is fully cooled down and still add it slowly and still use a tall container for your lye solution in case it does start to roil. And still have a cool water bath ready just in case. I didn't and got a volcano yesterday. I had to make a new lye batch today, of course taking all those precautions and it never heated up at all today. But yesterday, I added the dissolved honey too fast, I guess, or it wasn't cooled down enough (or both) and the container wasn't tall enough to contain the heating up solution and it did volcano. Of course I had no cool water bath ready, so after an unknown amount of my lye solution spilled out into the sink, I had to toss it all out (ran gallons of water after it of course.)
 

Zany_in_CO

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First of all, a standing ovation for your soaping adventure!
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Thank you SO much for sharing!

For what it's worth, I use 50/50 water/honey and add it (warmed) to my oils before adding the lye solution (CP) or after the cook (HP). Use rate: Generally, 1 tablespoon PPO. After reading about Earlene's experience adding honey to the lye solution on another thread, I don't thing I'll be switching any time soon!

While reading through your account, I was wondering if maybe lanolin might be a good addition? I use it in honey lip balms and it seems to help incorporate it into the oils and I don't lose any hardness. I also agree with the addition of raw beeswax ... IF you can track some down. I had some once, but it is no longer available. Loved it. I don't particularly like beeswax in soap, but it may be a way to get a natural fragrance.

ANCIENT HISTORY: One of the first soaps I ever made was transparent soap. Basically, I made a batch of soap. Waited 2 weeks. Then grated it up and rebatched it with a "polyol" mix of sugar/glycerin/alcohol to get transparency. Cure time: 4 months. It was the absolute best facial soap ever. I vaguely remember subbing honey for the sugar one time, but I'm not sure. If interested, I'm happy to scrounge around to see if any of my notes survived my latest purge.

ETA: Read Bluethegrappler's comments about glycerin + honey + lanolin in this thread:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=26771&highlight=honey%2C+glycerin%2C+lanolin
 

TheDragonGirl

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ANCIENT HISTORY: One of the first soaps I ever made was transparent soap. Basically, I made a batch of soap. Waited 2 weeks. Then grated it up and rebatched it with a "polyol" mix of sugar/glycerin/alcohol to get transparency. Cure time: 4 months. It was the absolute best facial soap ever. I vaguely remember subbing honey for the sugar one time, but I'm not sure. If interested, I'm happy to scrounge around to see if any of my notes survived my latest purge.

I'm extremely interested in this.
 

aihrat

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Thank you! You should try the method. It was scary for me the first time I did it- seeing my lye water turn such a dark burnt orange color that it looked black from a distance had me worried that my soap would turn out just as dark- but my worries were for nothing. The soap came out a lovely light caramel color to my delighted surprise.

Before using this method, my honey soaps would sometimes turn out with honey spots/dots that would weep out of my soap, and I also had to keep a close watch on them so they wouldn't crack from overheating, which some would do anyway in spite of using a slab mold and putting in the fridge, etc... Since mixing the honey in the cooled-off lye water, all of those annoyances have disappeared for me and I can use an insulated log mold and let it go through complete gel in a gently warm place without fear.


IrishLass

I tried it!!!! I used a recipe with 55% shea butter in my quest to make a low-comedogen face soap. A random note here is that I added a bit of castor oil for added lather in face of the shea, and that when smoothing out some of my control soaps (honey-in-oil) I did not experience any crumbliness (yet). Will keep this space updated.

My lye water also turned black and it volcanoed. :shock: I didn't feel fancy enough to do a log mould this time, but you were right - no heating up at all after pouring, which is impressive. I'm going to use this method for most of my high-honey recipes now. Thank you so much for sharing this tip. It definitely was much less stressful to soap after the initial volcano phase. No freezer time required!

I'm not sure about 12% with the honey-in-lye method yet, but I suppose I don't have much to compare with at the moment. All I've ever used were individual silicone moulds which were uninsulated. Here they are, all poured...my soaps looked black initially but today (2 days later) they're a dark chocolate brown. I wonder how much they'll lighten up? They smell like lye pretzels at the moment compared to the much milder smell of the control.

0.jpg

Thanks for this tip, IrishLass. I decided to try honey in my brothers BlackSmith soap instead of sugar and to use your method. It sure is a dark burnt orange color. I wouldn't mind if it stayed that way, but since I added Dragon's Blood FO, maybe it will end up close to that shade. We shall see.

For aihrat:
One caveat on this method, which I have no problem with BTW, is to use caution in spite of the fact that others have had no problems mixing the dissolved honey into the lye. Still make sure it is fully cooled down and still add it slowly and still use a tall container for your lye solution in case it does start to roil. And still have a cool water bath ready just in case. I didn't and got a volcano yesterday. I had to make a new lye batch today, of course taking all those precautions and it never heated up at all today. But yesterday, I added the dissolved honey too fast, I guess, or it wasn't cooled down enough (or both) and the container wasn't tall enough to contain the heating up solution and it did volcano. Of course I had no cool water bath ready, so after an unknown amount of my lye solution spilled out into the sink, I had to toss it all out (ran gallons of water after it of course.)

THANK YOU SO SO MUCH FOR THIS TIP. My lye solution reacted FURIOUSLY with my 136g of honey!!!! If you had not warned me about it, I would probably have had a very nasty burn. I saw in the other thread that you were a bit burned from your volcano - I'm so sorry that happened! I hope any affected areas are healing well.

I added the lye solution slowly into the honey and kept stirring. Nothing happened.....then all of a sudden it seemed that a tipping point was reached and BOOM volcano! I ran away. Fortunately, I was doing the solution outside in an ice bath after seeing your warning.

Here's the calmed-down liquid, very very dark:

1.jpg

I'm sure your blacksmith soap has lightened considerably since your message here (apologies on my slow responses, am going through a rough patch atm), and hope you can post pictures of them. My almost-black soap has lightened to a dark chocolate brown, so it's probably likely that we'll all have a decent lightening!

First of all, a standing ovation for your soaping adventure! Thank you SO much for sharing!

For what it's worth, I use 50/50 water/honey and add it (warmed) to my oils before adding the lye solution (CP) or after the cook (HP). Use rate: Generally, 1 tablespoon PPO. After reading about Earlene's experience adding honey to the lye solution on another thread, I don't thing I'll be switching any time soon!

While reading through your account, I was wondering if maybe lanolin might be a good addition? I use it in honey lip balms and it seems to help incorporate it into the oils and I don't lose any hardness. I also agree with the addition of raw beeswax ... IF you can track some down. I had some once, but it is no longer available. Loved it. I don't particularly like beeswax in soap, but it may be a way to get a natural fragrance.

ANCIENT HISTORY: One of the first soaps I ever made was transparent soap. Basically, I made a batch of soap. Waited 2 weeks. Then grated it up and rebatched it with a "polyol" mix of sugar/glycerin/alcohol to get transparency. Cure time: 4 months. It was the absolute best facial soap ever. I vaguely remember subbing honey for the sugar one time, but I'm not sure. If interested, I'm happy to scrounge around to see if any of my notes survived my latest purge.

ETA: Read Bluethegrappler's comments about glycerin + honey + lanolin in this thread:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=26771&highlight=honey%2C+glycerin%2C+lanolin

Wow! This is so much fascinating information, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about my stumbling :) For what it's worth, you could try higher honey but with an honey-in-oils method, completely uninsulated and placed in the freezer. But I can understand if that's not everyone's cup of tea :p

Lanolin would probably go a long way to hardening the bar. I've never soaped with lanolin (very very expensive in SA), but if the lathering qualities are good then it would be really promising! When I can settle on a good set of recipes and methods, I'll post it here so that everyone who's interested can try substituting with the oils they'd like (palm, lanolin, lard, tallow). Right now I'm using 55% shea butter and the soaps are setting up very well. I was able to unmould after a day and a half!

Yeah raw unfiltered beeswax seems like a pipe dream to me right now. My parents used to have bees but gave them away.

Lip balm definitely seems like a more cost-effective way of getting one's honey fix. I'm so happy you found that lanolin helped it emulsify. Fancy lip balm with real honey! Definitely would be curious to see if a honey-in-oils method lanolin for CP soap behaves better, because right now if I stop stick-blending the honey eventually just falls out of the mixture into the bottom of the container.

If you could find your old transparent soaps and upload some photos that would be amazing! If not...well, a person can imagine :) I bet it lathered like a dream.



General Notes:

- I used a different recipe this time, with 55% shea butter.
- I made a "control" batch with honey-in-oils and a "test" batch with "honey-in-lye". Unfortunately the control was kind of crap because I added mongerel rose EO. Not only does it not count as a true control, but the control batch seized horribly and is now kind of ugly. However, both were nice and hard and unmoulded at 2 days with no problems.
- Mixture behaved and set well with citric acid + extra lye.
 
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aihrat

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Hello Everyone, it's me again. It's been almost 2 years since I posted this thread and I've kept a couple of the soaps since then.

A lot has happened in the interim and I was stuck in a very challenging situation housing-wise, so I hadn't been soaping very often for the past year.

However, I did keep some of the soaps on this thread so that I could share with you all how they turned out, ~2 years from when I first made them.

I was able to answer most of the questions that I had in the OP:

  • Noting any changes to the soap's properties as it passes the 6 week, 8 week, and 12 week mark. Will it reach its optimum usage age at 90 like the HACCI site says?
Honestly, in my opinion it reached its optimum usage age at about 6 months after making. More than a year onwards, the original soap was still quite soft and spongy, and beyond the 6-month mark it was diminishing returns.

  • I've heard that you can get dehydrated honey, although not in my country. I'd be super curious to see someone trying a similar style of soap with dehydrated honey though! Dehydrated honey would overcome the challenge of too much moisture and possibly contribute to a harder bar.
I still wonder about this. I haven't been able to get ahold of dehydrated honey, so unfortunately I could not test this out. However, I would theorise that even dehydrated honey would contribute to softness of the soap as the sugars would be hygroscopic.
  • My municipality supplies slightly hard water and I've recently begun adding citric acid and extra lye to my soap batches as a chelating agent. I will try this with the same recipe to see if it alters any part of the soapmaking process or batch properties.
In the newer batch, it helped my skin itch less when washing with hard water. When I tested the bars I saved tonight (which I will explain later), the original high honey bar without citrate left my hands itchy and smelling soapy even after a good rubby rinse. Having used some of the newer bars during my hiatus from this forum with citrate included (unfortunately without pictures), I can say that those don't make my skin itch when used with hard water like my older soaps do.

  • Increasing the suitability of the bars as a facial soap by decreasing the comedogenic oil content, such as cocoa butter and coconut oil. Could I retain the hardness of the soap this way?
I can say yes, a higher shea butter percentage did help to preserve hardness; however, the bars where I added the mongrel Rose EO, added the honey to the oils, and froze the batch became much harder and less spongy than the batch without the EO, where I added the honey to the lye and did not refrigerate. My guess is that it's the EO that made the difference here, and not the freezing or way in which I added the honey, as the first non-scented batch where I also froze the soap - my reasoning being that the first batch was spongy in a similar way despite also being frozen and made with the honey-in-oils method.

  • Trying beeswax again in the recipe, introducing it at 0.5% to see if helps combat the moisture absorbency without sacrificing lather.

This I didn't try because I discovered that I really dislike how beeswax makes my soap turn out, that is, kind of waxy, so I was loathe to do a batch with it.

  • Assessing the performance of the soap during packaging and storage.
The soap shown in the OP was spongy, that's all I can really say about it. ~2 years onwards, it still gets much softer when it rains. Not to the point where you can deform it by pressing on it, but the corners would dent a lot easier.

======================================

Alright, now that I've addressed the questions in the OP somewhat, the question remains: How did these soaps change, if at all? How did these soaps perform? Let's see:

No. 1: The soap made in the OP, suprisingly, lost the bright-orange interior after this long period of time. It lathers really really beautifully. I said "Wow" when I tested it just now. It really seemed to live up to the "microbubble" hype. No soap I've made to date has ever lathered like that, and it's really beautiful. I sent a few bars home to my parents who have soft water a year back, and their comments have been that they use it for their hair (I guess whatever makes them happy), but that it gets mushy very easily and don't hold their shape well. Another surprising thing is that, compared with the honey-in-lye soap, this batch actually smelled very faintly of honey! VERY faintly though. I think it would disappoint anyone who was looking for a strong smell.

No. 2: The "facial" soap made using @IrishLass 's honey-in-lye method continued to smell like pretzels for about a year, after which they started absorbing the odours of the soaps that were curing around it, leaving very little honey scent. The 55% shea butter content did not make them crumbly at all, possibly owing to the mediating factors of the honey. This batch did not lather well - the lather was creamy, however, and I enjoyed using these soaps for my face. This soap did hold its shape well and did not disintegrate, but I noticed it would feel spongier and spongier in the shower as use continued.

No. 3: The "facial" soap made with the honey-in oils method, which was frozen after pouring in moulds, seized with the addition of Rose EO. Unfortunately, I thought I had saved a bar but I can't find it. This one smelled like roses with very little discernible honey scent in itself, though perhaps if I really paid attention I could make out a faint honey note. The interior, which did turn bright orange, faded to grey after a year. Again, the lather was quite subdued compared to the first batch, but there were apparent bubbles when compared to No. 2. Not quite "plush microbubbles" as No. 1, but definitely a fine and rich foam. Interestingly, this batch held its shape extremely well and dried to a hard bar when used to the shower. Unlike No.2, this batch was much harder to cut and, although it did not crumble, seemed like it would crumble more readily than the former soaps. I regret adding the Rose EO because as it is I cannot attribute the differences from No. 2 accurately to a single change in variable at this point, but if I were really pressed my money would be on the addition of the EO. This was a very popular soap with my ex, who bought out all the limited number of bars I had, used them as facial soap and raved about it for his oily skin (and he had been the primary beta tester for my soaps) so I would say it was a success. :) He mentioned he liked the fine lather a lot.

======================================

So, in the end, what have I learned?

1. If you want a strong honey scent in your soap, ridiculously high amounts of honey (up to 17-20% weight of oils) won't really get you there. Rather just use an FO, or a rose-type EO if you want a noticable honey experience.
2. I'm not sure I would personally make these soaps again, with the exception of soap type No. 3 for facial use. Type No. 3 is VERY plush and I would recommend it as a project for a very special occasion. Otherwise, my opinion is that the effort, expense and tradeoffs in texture makes it prohibitive as a staple.
3. When working with high pecentages of honey, the best aesthetic results (IMO) is honey-in-oils, using individual moulds and freezing immediately for at least 24 hours after pouring.
4. Not even a high honey percentage will give you strong, "microbubble" lather if you use a high percentage of shea butter. However, it might give you a decent lathering experience if you use the honey-in-oils method.
5. The HACCI soap copy is mostly BS.

======================================

Anyways, I hope this will be helpful to people who want to put a lot of honey in their soaps for some reason.

I've included pictures of the soaps from batch No. 1 and batch No. 2 for your viewing pleasure. These were taken tonight. Again, unfortunately I couldn't find the bar from batch No. 3 I thought I'd saved.

Apologies for the necro if that's inappropriate; I'm happy to make a new thread for this as well if that's the case. Please let me know.
 

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penelopejane

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I don’t think it’s necroposting when you give follow up results in a thread. Thank you for doing so.

I take the honey away from the water in the recipe when I make honey soap to avoid soft soap. But I’ve never used high percentages so your results are very interesting and that should be negated by your 1:1 lye water mix. Thanks.

I hope your life settles down now so you can get back into soaping. Best of luck to you.
 
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