A beginner in soapmaking world, needed help!

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hellovidy

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Hi! This is my first post since I join this soapmaking forum :D Glad to find this forum!

In the past 3 months I've been watching, searching and reading about soap making until I did my very first cold-process batch yesterday. I was confident to try my own cp recipe especially when I added aloe vera and cucumber juice, those two brought a natural light green color and I love it! However, after 24 hours in the mold I can see that my soap is actually harden up but not that hard to be ready for cutting (as I've seen on youtube tutorial). My soap did harden but I can feel it mushy when I give a little pressure with my finger. I seriously didn't know what was wrong with my soap, was it the recipe? or was it the process?

to get a clear information, here is my recipe
Total oils 500 gr
Olive oil 40%
Coconut oil 35%
Shea butter 10%
Ricebran oil 6%
Sunflower oil 7%
Safflower oil 1%
Tamanu oil 1%

Lye 72gr
Water 165 gr, cold distilled water 57 gr, aloe&cucumber juice 108 gr (frozen cubes)
Superfat 5%
No FO or EO

Additive
1 tsp of green french clay
1 tsp of matcha powder
1 tsp of spirullina powder

Additional information, before the mixing process I heated my oils because the big chunk of shea butter but I think I left it too long and so my oils were very hot. Then, during the mixing process, it took a quite long time to reach trace.
Hope to get a help from Masters of Soapmaking so I can learn and improve my skill :oops:🥰
 
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I believe it is the recipe, just let it sit longer, it may even take a week. The only “hard” oil was the Shea butter, and that was at 10%. Coconut oil, though it can be hard, in a warm place like Indonesia can remain soft. you may want to try using less water if you use the same recipe again. Was the same recipe used in the video you watched? Did they use a fragrance? Perhaps the fragrance helped it go through gel phase to cut the next day.
 
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Welcome to this awesome community and congrats on your first batch! I agree with @glendam . Lots of liquids are slow to trace and slow to unmold. Patience, Grasshopper. Keep us posted!

I shoot for a ratio of hard to soft oils of 60:40. Like you, I don't use animal products. My hard oils include palm and shea butter.

If I could comment on your recipe, it's a lot of oils. When I first started, I used 3-4. I don't think a 1% ratio is worth the while or worth dirtying another dish. :) I am not sensitive to coconut oil but many find it drying. I personally do 20-25%, many here use less than 20%. Just take good notes and you'll soon find a recipe that works.
 

hellovidy

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I believe it is the recipe, just let it sit longer, it may even take a week. The only “hard” oil was the Shea butter, and that was at 10%. Coconut oil, though it can be hard, in a warm place like Indonesia can remain soft. you may want to try using less water if you use the same recipe again. Was the same recipe used in the video you watched? Did they use a fragrance? Perhaps the fragrance helped it go through gel phase to cut the next day.


Thanks for the respond!
Yes, I think my recipe isn't perfect yet as I formulated it myself 😆 I want to try here and there using different oils. I'll wait for a week or more to make sure my soap is hard enough to unmold. And no, I didn't use any fragrance or EO, maybe I'll try for my next recipe.
Thank you once again💫

Welcome to this awesome community and congrats on your first batch! I agree with @glendam . Lots of liquids are slow to trace and slow to unmold. Patience, Grasshopper. Keep us posted!

I shoot for a ratio of hard to soft oils of 60:40. Like you, I don't use animal products. My hard oils include palm and shea butter.

If I could comment on your recipe, it's a lot of oils. When I first started, I used 3-4. I don't think a 1% ratio is worth the while or worth dirtying another dish. :) I am not sensitive to coconut oil but many find it drying. I personally do 20-25%, many here use less than 20%. Just take good notes and you'll soon find a recipe that works.


Thanks for respond!
Yes, I have a problem in my recipe formulation, I just realised that I put many oils in my recipe. The oils brought my excitement to use them in my handmade soap 😝 I'll note your suggestion and will try it on my next recipe! Thanks a lot 💫
 
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It will be fine - you just need to wait a little longer. Especially with a high olive oil content such as 40%. But it will benefit from a long cure too. So even though you might cut it in another day or two, make sure you cure it for a minimum of 4 weeks, and then save some bars to test it again at 3 months, 6 months and even 1 year. You will notice some differences in how the bar feels and lathers at each stage. Good luck! :)
 
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As above, as Indonesia can be quite humid compared to where many of us live, 4 weeks cure would be the bare minimum I would cure before testing the soap, especially when you are inexperienced. The humidity will slow the curing process down a fair amount and so using a bar earlier than 4 weeks might disappoint even though the fully cured soap might really please you
 

hellovidy

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It will be fine - you just need to wait a little longer. Especially with a high olive oil content such as 40%. But it will benefit from a long cure too. So even though you might cut it in another day or two, make sure you cure it for a minimum of 4 weeks, and then save some bars to test it again at 3 months, 6 months and even 1 year. You will notice some differences in how the bar feels and lathers at each stage. Good luck! :)


Thank you for the positive feedback and suggestion!
Ok, I will save some soaps to see how each soaps reacting according to its time span 😁

As above, as Indonesia can be quite humid compared to where many of us live, 4 weeks cure would be the bare minimum I would cure before testing the soap, especially when you are inexperienced. The humidity will slow the curing process down a fair amount and so using a bar earlier than 4 weeks might disappoint even though the fully cured soap might really please you

Yes, you're right the humidity can be another factor for my curing process, I hope my soap will be fine after 4 weeks curing. Thanks for the respond 🥰

That also seems like a lot of water, in the form of water, ice and aloe/cucumber. What ratio did you use? I assume you put the recipe through a soap calculator?

Yes, I just realised I put a lot of water amount. And yes, my recipe is based on what soapcalc do the calculation for me. I didn't think about the water discount, I was scared that I didn't put enough water for the lye. Any suggestion for the water amount? Do I need to discount the water amount from soap calculator?
 

Babyshoes

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Yes, I just realised I put a lot of water amount. And yes, my recipe is based on what soapcalc do the calculation for me. I didn't think about the water discount, I was scared that I didn't put enough water for the lye. Any suggestion for the water amount? Do I need to discount the water amount from soap calculator?

There are 3 settings for water. The default 38% water to oils is more commonly used for hot process.

For a beginner using cold process, 33% lye to water or the 2:1 ratio is frequently used. As you learn more about what that means and how your recipe works with more or less water, you can adapt up or down, but for now using either of those settings should work just fine.

Just remember, you need at least the same amount of water as your lye amount. Many folks will dissolve the lye in an equal quantity of water before adding the rest of the water as other additives, like your aloe/cucumber.
 
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Thanks for the respond!
Yes, I think my recipe isn't perfect yet as I formulated it myself 😆 I want to try here and there using different oils. I'll wait for a week or more to make sure my soap is hard enough to unmold. And no, I didn't use any fragrance or EO, maybe I'll try for my next recipe.
Thank you once again💫
Yes, I read you did not use fragrance, I was referring to the video you saw in YT where you mentioned they cut it the next day, but I see now you made the recipe and it is not the same as what you saw there. I agree with @Zing that a simpler recipe would be better, especially as you are starting out. Congrats in making soap though!
 

TheGecko

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Welcome.

Your first batch of soap should be something simple. The 'holy trinity' is equal parts Olive, Coconut and Palm Oils. Set your Soap Calculator for a 33% Lye Concentration and 5% SF.

Using any oil or butter at less than 5% is a waste of time and money unless the sole purpose is for 'label appeal".

When using butters, it's always best to break them down into smaller bits, especially with small batches.
 
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I agree with @glendam that because you left out the fragrance, that can change how quickly (or slowly) the soap firms up.

@Babyshoes is also correct about the lye. Make sure you dissolve it in at least an equal amount of liquid. That can be just water, or toss in some of the aloe cubes with the water, to bring up the liquid to be equal or greater to the weight of the lye. Otherwise, your lye will notdissolve completely, and undissolved lye in soap can seriously burn your skin or eyes.
 
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I think what @hellovidy means is that she had a total water content of 165g - made up of 57g of distilled and 108 grams got aloe/cuc. is that correct? In which case that is about how much water I use for that amount of oils. But I usually have my lye concentration set around 30% and for a recipe such as the above it might be better to go for 35%.
 
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I think what @hellovidy means is that she had a total water content of 165g - made up of 57g of distilled and 108 grams got aloe/cuc. is that correct?
That's what I understood, as well. I just wasn't sure if she was trying to dissolve the lye in just the water (which would not be enough), or was also using the frozen aloe cubes for lye mixing. :)
 
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