A little introduction from a Newbie Visually Impaired Soapmaker

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myjslux81

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Hi there! My name is Jenny Lux. I am not sure if I am doing this correctly but I saw that this thread was for new soap makers. The reason I am not sure if I am inserting my introduction in the right place is because I am legally blind/visually impaired. Due to birth defect and glaucoma, I have what is called tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is like looking through a large drinking straw plus I have no side vision. When I was in college my science classes fascinated me, especially chemistry and physical science which is where I learned about soapmaking. Teachers were forever giving out different examples of how their class was necessary to every degree at the school because science can be applied in so many different ways. We just don’t always think about it.

Back in 2011, I took a leap and started my journey with cold process soap. This was approximately one year before I graduated with my Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling. I have been crafting all my life, so soapmaking was a natural evolution for me. My mother, who was an art teacher, taught me how to use what sight I have to mask the differences of what I couldn’t see. It’s kind of funny because I didn’t get my first blind cane until I went to college, so when I run into old high school classmates and they see my cane, they are like, “When did this happen?” I found a great sense of pride when I tell them I’ve always been legally blind, but that I knew how to hide it so I wouldn’t get picked on. Okay now, I deviated from what I was saying for long enough. Like I said, back in 2011, I experimented and made several successful batches of soap that I sold to friends and family. By the time six months rolled around, I was doing my internship. I had run out of the soap and the time to make it.

My love of soapmaking has stayed with me, and I’m ready to start again. A lot has happened, but I am now getting back into the swing of things with a lot of research. I found this forum and I decided to post because I would love to have some support in my quest of soapmaking.

Before you shake your head and wonder why a blind person would want to make soap, I want you to know I do have enough vision to see when something comes to trace. What labels me as legally blind is the fact that I have 0° of side vision and my center vision is limited to that of the large drinking straw, as mentioned above. If I come off as abrasive, I do apologize. It’s just that after being told so many times that you can’t do this or that because it’s too dangerous, I just want to throw up my hands and say, "Let me try and let me make mistakes because that is the way I learn." That being said when I have made soap in the past I take all necessary safety precautions I wear gloves, safety goggles, pants, long sleeve shirts, and good, sturdy shoes and socks. I still have these tools and I am eager to get started again.

This time though, because of COVID – 19, I know for a fact we are in a crisis situation. By the time I make soap the cold process way and allow it to cure, the pandemic may be at an end. I have done a lot of research and have decided to try hot process soapmaking. In this way, I can get my soap into the hands of people who truly need it. I am planning to sell my soap for regular, before pandemic prices because I don’t see the point of jacking up the price. I want to build up a fan base that loves my soap because it is at a fair price, cleans well, and smells pretty. The name of my company, once I get it off the ground, will be Tennessee Valley Soap Company (Etsy Store Name: Tennessee Valley Soap) and I wish to start out selling on Etsy. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice if they could give me about selling on Etsy or selling in general? I have reserved the shop name tonight, but I am waiting to list until I get some Hot Process soap made!!!
 

TheGecko

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This time though, because of COVID – 19, I know for a fact we are in a crisis situation. By the time I make soap the cold process way and allow it to cure, the pandemic may be at an end. I have done a lot of research and have decided to try hot process soapmaking. In this way, I can get my soap into the hands of people who truly need it. I am planning to sell my soap for regular, before pandemic prices because I don’t see the point of jacking up the price. I want to build up a fan base that loves my soap because it is at a fair price, cleans well, and smells pretty. The name of my company, once I get it off the ground, will be Tennessee Valley Soap Company (Etsy Store Name: Tennessee Valley Soap) and I wish to start out selling on Etsy. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice if they could give me about selling on Etsy or selling in general? I have reserved the shop name tonight, but I am waiting to list until I get some Hot Process soap made!!!
Welcome.

My first thought is that you need to do a little more research, because the only real difference between Hot Process and Cold Process is the saponification process. In Hot Process, you are accelerating saponification by applying heat (cooking) and thus you have ‘soap’ in a few hours. In Cold Process, you’re letting it do it’s own thing...with can take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. But regardless of which Process you use, the one thing that is the same: Cure Time. And that is 4 to 6 weeks, with 6 weeks being better.

And if you are starting a new business and want to build a loyal customer base, you want to do that with a good quality, properly cured soap.
 

shunt2011

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Hello and welcome!!! Great advice given by others. Don't put the cart before the horse. Take your time and make a great soap.
 

sauchicheung

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hello everyone , i am very new here , just registered 5 mins ago :)
hope i can get more information to make soap , i never make soap before , i have many flower and a huge bay leave tree in my garden, so i am thinking about to make soap out of them .
but i dont know where to start ? Could anyone give me a path ?
thank you . ;)

Welcome.

My first thought is that you need to do a little more research, because the only real difference between Hot Process and Cold Process is the saponification process. In Hot Process, you are accelerating saponification by applying heat (cooking) and thus you have ‘soap’ in a few hours. In Cold Process, you’re letting it do it’s own thing...with can take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. But regardless of which Process you use, the one thing that is the same: Cure Time. And that is 4 to 6 weeks, with 6 weeks being better.

And if you are starting a new business and want to build a loyal customer base, you want to do that with a good quality, properly cured soap.


hi , sorr ... i am very new here , and new in making soap , may i know what is cure time ? why does it take 4-6 weeks , you mean the soap to set ?

hi everyone, how are you ? i forgot to introduce myself , my name is tina
 
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myjslux81

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hi everyone, how are you ? i forgot to introduce myself , my name is tina
Hey there Tina!!! No worries, cause I don't mind sharing!!! I'm just as confused as you are, since I never understood how exactly to post on a forum.

On another note, I am very confused. All the research I have done on Hot Process Crock Pot soaping states that once you have a full gel, you can scoop it into your mold and allow it to take to the shape of the mold. After 1-2 days, you can remove from the mold and cut into slices. From there, the cure time for a harder bar of soap, as I understand, is 1-2 weeks. Will someone please correct this if it is wrong? I want to get it right the first time and not endanger any customers!!!
Thank you for your time and patience.
 

lsg

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Welcome to the forum.:)
 

ShirleyHailstock

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Welcome. I'm a newbie too. And go for it. I hate when people tell me I can't do something and I have no obstacles to learning and doing. It's just someone else's opinion. I remain cautious and follow all the rules, but I don't let it stop me.
 

IrishLass

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Hey there Tina!!! No worries, cause I don't mind sharing!!! I'm just as confused as you are, since I never understood how exactly to post on a forum.

On another note, I am very confused. All the research I have done on Hot Process Crock Pot soaping states that once you have a full gel, you can scoop it into your mold and allow it to take to the shape of the mold. After 1-2 days, you can remove from the mold and cut into slices. From there, the cure time for a harder bar of soap, as I understand, is 1-2 weeks. Will someone please correct this if it is wrong? I want to get it right the first time and not endanger any customers!!!
Thank you for your time and patience.
Welcome to the forum, Jenny! :)

I completely understand why your research on HP so far has brought you to the conclusion that you originally reached, but what you've learned so far about hot process is not 100% completely correct, and it's not your fault. There's so much misinformation out there on the internet and in some (but not all) books regarding this issue. Most of the the misinformation stems from a misunderstanding between saponification and cure. They are two completely different processes.

And there is also a misunderstanding between evaporation and cure. Lots of info on the net and in some books confuse the two as being one and the same, but they are not. To explain- evaporation is a part of the curing process, but not the cure itself. Here is an excellent post by our DeeAnna, a chemical engineer and lab technician who has studied these things extensively and explains what goes on during cure and why it is more than just water evaporation: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/cure-time.35831/#post-548993


The parts of your research that are correct, though, are that once you have full gel you can scoop the batter into your mold, allow it to take the shape of the mold and then once the soap has cooled and set up, you can unmold and cut into bars.

The only real difference between HP and CP is that HP saponifies quicker (i.e. turns into soap with the ability to lather/cleanse quicker)........but this is true only if we are comparing it with ungelled CP.

To explain: If you allow or encourage your CP to go through the gel stage, it can saponify just as quickly as HP. I do this all the time with my own CP batches. My fully gelled/saponified CP batches are ready to be unmolded and cut into bars anywhere within 6 to 18 hours (depending on the formula) and can lather and cleanse right away just the same as HP......and they are actually harder from the get go compared to my HP........and they also look prettier. lol But even though my newly unmolded CP bars are 100% saponified and are hard and can lather/cleanse, they haven't reached the full mature potential that was built into their formula(s) yet in terms of lower pH, greater mildness, even greater ability to lather, and even greater hardness and longevity.

I make both CP and HP (mostly CP, but certain batches I HP because of the particular ingredients I'm using, e.g. stearic acid, certain FOs), and my HP actually needs a longer cure time than my CP in the hardness and longevity department, i.e., my HP is softer and melts away faster in the shower than my CP of the same age, unless I cure it for about 6 to 8 weeks, which is 2 to 4 weeks longer than my CP bars are cured.


IrishLass :)
 

TheGecko

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hi , sorr ... i am very new here , and new in making soap , may i know what is cure time ? why does it take 4-6 weeks , you mean the soap to set ?
No worries, we were all new to soapmaking at one time and while there is a lot of really good information available, there is also a lot of misinformation too.

Part of the 'curing' process is water evaporation...the less water in your soap, the harder it is, and the harder it is, the longer it will last. Also, there is all that science/magic involved and the longer you allow your soap to cure, the milder it becomes and the more lather it will produce.

Even though HP speeds up the saponification process and 'superfatting' makes sure we use up all the lye, soap making (IMHO) is not an EXACT science because there are way too many variables, and I mean WAY TOO MANY. From the coconut tree itself to when you unmold your soap...it will be slightly different each time; it is simply the nature of things.

I cure my Regular and Goat Milk Soaps about 8 weeks during the Spring/Summer and 10 to 12 weeks during the Fall/Winter because I cure in my garage and I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot in the winter. Salt Soaps are cured around six months (or more). Even my Lotion Bars...which are just some butter, beeswax and scent get a week before I wrap them up for sale.

I liken soap making to making whiskey...do you want moonshine that sets your bowels on fire or do you want a fine sipping whiskey that warms the cockles of your heart?
 

Arimara

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Please try not to get defensive concerning your disabilities- some people can't see past their own noses and will never know what it's like living with a disability until/unless it happens to them. I know it can be frustrating at times when dealing with people who have not experienced what you have but please trust me in that there are people who know better than you would think and some of them are members here. Needless to say, you want to make soap, we will try to help you get started and get a better understanding for it as well. As for me, I would love to see this become a bit of a de-stressing hobby for you so I would encourage you to take your time learning this, take the plunge when you are ready, and don't worry so much about opening an etsy until you are absolutely ready.

@Sally Scheibner What were you trying to say?
 

Sally Scheibner

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Read your post and am thrilled to know you. Your a person I relate to in that I’ve had a detached retina, dry eyes (many dry eye solutions have ironically sodium hydroxide in them as buffers!) and was a special ed teacher teaching my behavioral students science & cooking. I’ve only been making HO soap for 6 mos. CP I started in 2004. Have learned fluidity hints from this forum & some YouTube (gotta be careful of em sometimes). It cooks in a few hours at first but today was 1 hr. At first cooking is so tricky so as not to cook til it’s a brick. Adding yogurt & coconut cream & EOs FOs when soap cools to 160’ or below. It liquifies to a more spoonable form.
 

myjslux81

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Read your post and am thrilled to know you. Your a person I relate to in that I’ve had a detached retina, dry eyes (many dry eye solutions have ironically sodium hydroxide in them as buffers!) and was a special ed teacher teaching my behavioral students science & cooking. I’ve only been making HO soap for 6 mos. CP I started in 2004. Have learned fluidity hints from this forum & some YouTube (gotta be careful of em sometimes). It cooks in a few hours at first but today was 1 hr. At first cooking is so tricky so as not to cook til it’s a brick. Adding yogurt & coconut cream & EOs FOs when soap cools to 160’ or below. It liquifies to a more spoonable form.

Dear Sally,
Thank you so much for your heartfelt words of advice. In fact, thank you to all who have welcomed me!!! My apologies for getting on my soapbox, so to speak.
I still have so many questions. Guess I'll always be a student. I think that would be the right attitude to take.

Sally, could you private message me so we can talk about non soap-related things like vision? I can't seem to find out how to send a private message. Would this be okay with everybody? I don't want to be rude or step on any toes here.

Respectfully,

Jenny Lux
 

Sally Scheibner

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I’ll try to find a way to message privately. Maybe someone has advice for me. I’m really new to forum communication protocol and unsure of all techy stuff. Born in 1950! It may have something to do with the upper lines of doo dads at top o page

Dear Sally,
Thank you so much for your heartfelt words of advice. In fact, thank you to all who have welcomed me!!! My apologies for getting on my soapbox, so to speak.
I still have so many questions. Guess I'll always be a student. I think that would be the right attitude to take.

Sally, could you private message me so we can talk about non soap-related things like vision? I can't seem to find out how to send a private message. Would this be okay with everybody? I don't want to be rude or step on any toes here.

Respectfully,

Jenny Lux
 
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dibbles

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I’ll try to find a way to message privately. Maybe someone has advice for me. I’m really new to forum communication protocol and unsure of all techy stuff. Born in 1950! It may have something to do with the upper lines of doo dads at top o page
In the upper right corner you will see an icon that looks like an envelope. Click on that and you will see an option to start a new conversation.
 

Sally Scheibner

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Trying to respond
Read your post and am thrilled to know you. Your a person I relate to in that I’ve had a detached retina, dry eyes (many dry eye solutions have ironically sodium hydroxide in them as buffers!) and was a special ed teacher teaching my behavioral students science & cooking. I’ve only been making HO soap for 6 mos. CP I started in 2004. Have learned fluidity hints from this forum & some YouTube (gotta be careful of em sometimes). It cooks in a few hours at first but today was 1 hr. At first cooking is so tricky so as not to cook til it’s a brick. Adding yogurt & coconut cream & EOs FOs when soap cools to 160’ or below. It liquifies to a more spoonable form.
CP is anagram for cold processed soap when soap is poured into molds right after trace when pourable. But the lye fumes really burn my eyes if curing in house. HP is hot processed when the soap is cooked till done and supposedly there’s no lye left. But it’s still there according to my corneas. So I put it outside.

Thank you. I’m trying right now.
 
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sauchicheung

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Hey there Tina!!! No worries, cause I don't mind sharing!!! I'm just as confused as you are, since I never understood how exactly to post on a forum.

On another note, I am very confused. All the research I have done on Hot Process Crock Pot soaping states that once you have a full gel, you can scoop it into your mold and allow it to take to the shape of the mold. After 1-2 days, you can remove from the mold and cut into slices. From there, the cure time for a harder bar of soap, as I understand, is 1-2 weeks. Will someone please correct this if it is wrong? I want to get it right the first time and not endanger any customers!!!
Thank you for your time and patience.
hi Jenny,

i am so glad that to have you and other member here replied . I am not lonely at home during covid-19 . i hope you will sucess in selling in etsy . i had experience in selling in etsy before , i was in 2018.
now i want to start again . i cannot wait to see your new shop. :);)
about the shop name , you can change one time only if you want to change , but more than one time , you need to get approved by etsy.

No worries, we were all new to soapmaking at one time and while there is a lot of really good information available, there is also a lot of misinformation too.

Part of the 'curing' process is water evaporation...the less water in your soap, the harder it is, and the harder it is, the longer it will last. Also, there is all that science/magic involved and the longer you allow your soap to cure, the milder it becomes and the more lather it will produce.

Even though HP speeds up the saponification process and 'superfatting' makes sure we use up all the lye, soap making (IMHO) is not an EXACT science because there are way too many variables, and I mean WAY TOO MANY. From the coconut tree itself to when you unmold your soap...it will be slightly different each time; it is simply the nature of things.

I cure my Regular and Goat Milk Soaps about 8 weeks during the Spring/Summer and 10 to 12 weeks during the Fall/Winter because I cure in my garage and I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot in the winter. Salt Soaps are cured around six months (or more). Even my Lotion Bars...which are just some butter, beeswax and scent get a week before I wrap them up for sale.

I liken soap making to making whiskey...do you want moonshine that sets your bowels on fire or do you want a fine sipping whiskey that warms the cockles of your heart?

hi there,

thank you so much for your detailed information and it seems making soap has much fun and information , i really want to try to make my first soap , i saw a video about making soap , is that dangerous when you put lye ?
do you know how to make hydrosol soap ? i dont have idea about distillation . but i am about to buy one . you are such lovely person with lots of hobby .

o
 
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atiz

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hi there,

thank you so much for your detailed information and it seems making soap has much fun and information , i really want to try to make my first soap , i saw a video about making soap , is that dangerous when you put lye ?
do you know how to make hydrosol soap ? i dont have idea about distillation . but i am about to buy one . you are such lovely person with lots of hobby .

o
Yes, lye is dangerous -- but so is a pot of boiling water. If you treat it with respect and know what to do/ not do, you'll be fine. Make sure to wear your safety goggles.
Unfortunately I don't think hydrosols really work in soap; they do not keep their scents (or any other properties) due to the lye. You can of course always try and maybe your experience will be different :).

Welcome to the forum, and welcome @myjslux81, best of luck!
 

ShirleyHailstock

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Please try not to get defensive concerning your disabilities- some people can't see past their own noses and will never know what it's like living with a disability until/unless it happens to them. I know it can be frustrating at times when dealing with people who have not experienced what you have but please trust me in that there are people who know better than you would think and some of them are members here. Needless to say, you want to make soap, we will try to help you get started and get a better understanding for it as well. As for me, I would love to see this become a bit of a de-stressing hobby for you so I would encourage you to take your time learning this, take the plunge when you are ready, and don't worry so much about opening an etsy until you are absolutely ready.

@Sally Scheibner What were you trying to say?
Ditto. Soapmaking is fun and I believe you can do what you want to do not what others think you can.
 
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