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Advice Appreciated

Discussion in 'Recipe Feedback' started by Cassie, Aug 10, 2018.

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  1. Aug 10, 2018 #1

    Cassie

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    I am very new to CP soap-making; I've made about 10 batches so far trying out various recipes. So far, based on all the videos I've watched, I feel like my soap is reaching a medium trace very quickly. This frustrates me because I try to make soaps with 3 colors and by the time I pour in the last few layers it's usually already very thick. I make my color slurry before I mix the lye and oils so that it's ready and I've used fragrances that say they do not accelerate trace. Here is the recipe I use that I like the most:
    Olive Oil - 11.4oz
    Filtered Water - 9.9oz
    Coconut Oil - 9.6oz
    Shea Butter (unrefined) - 4.5oz
    Lye - 4.08oz
    Avocado Oil - 3.6oz
    Castor Oil - 1.5oz

    I let the lye solution cool to about 85 degrees F before I mix it with the oils and it feels like as soon as it's fully incorporated it reaches a light trace, then when I separate it to mix the colors it's already medium trace. I mix the colors with a whisk and then the fragrance. I'm guessing it's my recipe because of the shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil but it still feels like it thickens up in a minute even when it's barely mixed.
    I also tried one of my soaps after 5 weeks and it made my skin feel tight like how a dove bar does. I was super disappointed because I've heard so many people say their soaps feel so moisturizing. Any advice on how to tweak my recipe so it doesn't trace as fast or leave a tight feeling would be appreciated.
     
  2. Aug 10, 2018 #2

    Cellador

    Cellador

    Cellador

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    Hello! It looks like your recipe is 45-46% hard oils (coconut oil & shea butter). That alone can lead to thick trace pretty quickly, and the fact that you are soaping at so low a temperature may be causing a "false trace" (hard oils and butters thickening due to low temps).
    30% coconut oil is pretty high and can definitely contribute to a more cleansing (stripping) soap. I'd try lowering it to 20% and see if that feels better to your skin. Many here use anywhere from 15-20% coconut oil max.
    Increasing your liquid oil (olive & avocado) amount should also help to create a less stripping bar that won't trace as quickly. But, the setback is that you may need a longer cure.
    Is there a reason you're not using palm, lard, or tallow for hardness?
     
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  3. Aug 10, 2018 #3

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    Thanks for the advice! I didn't even think about the fact that lower temps would make the shea harden faster. I've just been using what was available to me locally, I haven't seen palm or tallow in store and is crisco considered lard? If so I may try using some of that. Shipping to Hawaii is so expensive unfortunately. The first few batches I made had a 20% coconut oil and more olive oil and avocado (I don't remember the actual percentages) and the bar never hardened T.T I will try lowering the coconut oil a tad and adding more olive oil though.
     
  4. Aug 10, 2018 #4

    Alfa_Lazcares

    Alfa_Lazcares

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    Crisco is a mix of palm and soy i think. Soapcal list it so its easy to use.
    You can also render your own tallow and lard, but i understand if your would rather not haha.
     
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  5. Aug 10, 2018 #5

    BattleGnome

    BattleGnome

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    Do you have hard water? The tightness could be a need for a chelator. Chelators bind with impurities in your water that could be leaving a residue. It’s an option if you find lower coconut doesn’t help

    I use coconut and shea (usually both at 20%) and I’ve found that the combination likes to settle but if you give it a quick stir it loosens up again. You can try blending to emulsion before separating for your colors to offset the thickening combo.
     
  6. Aug 10, 2018 #6

    Iluminameluna

    Iluminameluna

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    Just my humble opinion, but if you can get either sunflower or high oleic canola, you can use either (or both!) instead of increasing the olive oil (which is usually more expensive). Both of those are soft oils, they're very moisturizing, won't lengthen the cure time and they're also good for promoting a good lather.

    If you're wondering what high oleic means, it's an oil that has more monounsaturated fats as a percentage of the total oil. According to Google: "Olive and canola oil are naturally high in monounsaturated fat, but they are also high in polyunsaturated fats which mean they are not very shelf-stable. " Basically, you can substitute canola oil any time you're short on olive because the SAP values are very similar.

    Happy soaping!
     
  7. Aug 10, 2018 #7

    BrewerGeorge

    BrewerGeorge

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    My first thought would be false trace from soaping at 85F. Try things at 100F and see what happens.

    As for the recipe, the biggest problem I have with it is the 10% superfat. Considering the fact that the lye we're all using is not 100% pure which drives up the superfat even more, your bars could be up to a fifth unsaponified fat. I would knock that down to at least 5% (calculated).

    I don't think the third coconut oil is such a huge deal in a vegan soap like this one. In a balanced bar with more palmitic and stearic, yes I'd keep it to 20% or so. But in a bar that's mostly oleic like this one, 30% isn't out of bounds, I don't think. The extra bubbles help counteract the shea's lather dampening, too.

    That said, if I were making this, I would tweak it a bit to decrease the soft oils and lower the combined oleic (avocado and olive) down to a total of about 30-35%, adding the balance in more shea. Something like 10% avocado, 20% olive, 30% coconut, 35% shea, and 5% castor.




    Here's your recipe that I duplicated in soapcalc as close as I could for anybody else who needs percentages to think...
    1 Avocado Oil 11.76%
    2 Olive Oil 37.25 %
    3 Coconut Oil, 76 deg 31.37 %
    4 Castor Oil 4.90 %
    5 Shea Butter 14.71 %
    10% superfat
    29% lye concentration

    I assume there were some rounding errors since I went backwards and you probably planned whole percentages - which brings up another point. If you can manage it, conduct your soaping in grams instead of ounces. It's just more precise.
     
  8. Aug 10, 2018 #8

    dixiedragon

    dixiedragon

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    I think any time you use a butter (shea butter, cocoa butter, etc) it's going to speed trace and make it hard to do fancy colorwork.

    I can get palm and lard at Walmart. For palm, look for Spectrum Brand shortening. For lard, look for Armor brand (green and white) or Snowcap brand (blue and white). For Tallow, look for the walmart brand (great value) shortening. They have one that's all veg and one that has tallow in it.

    Also, definitely let your soap age more! I also think that the 30% coconut oil may be a problem.
     
  9. Aug 10, 2018 #9

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    Hmm, I'm not sure. I've never tested my water but I do filter it twice, though it's not distilled. How do you know if you have hard water? I live in Hawaii and to my knowledge, we don't add fluoride or chlorine to our water.
     
  10. Aug 10, 2018 #10

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    Ooh I've never used soapcalc, I've only used the lye calculator with bramble berry. I will try your suggestions and use soapcalc to tweak it. Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  11. Aug 10, 2018 #11

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    Oooooh I didn't even realize all those things were palm! I'm face palming myself right now, I didn't even think to look at shortenings! I will pick up some veg shortening and try it out, thanks!
     
  12. Aug 10, 2018 #12

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    I started reading your comment and I was wondering what oleic meant! Thanks for the info! I will definitely be looking in to sunflower and canola, Thanks!!
     
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  13. Aug 10, 2018 #13

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

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    I love Canola HO. I ran some single oils soaps last December wanting to replace OO, which I do not prefer, and found either Canola HO to make the nicest single oil soap. Sunflower HO was second, Avocado Oil, which I love in soap, was last when it came to single oil. Actually the Avocado Oil soap seems to be getting worse as far as lather goes that it did after a couple of months.
     
  14. Aug 10, 2018 #14

    earlene

    earlene

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    I agree with the others, but since no one mentioned the type of OO you are using, I will. Pomace OO speeds trace much faster than plain OO. When I use pomace OO, I don't even use a stick blender because it reaches trace so fast.

    Also there is more than one type of Crisco, but not both types are available in all stores. There is the Crisco with lard, and the vegetable oil Crisco. You will find both listed in Soapee lye calculator (link), but you have to be sure you pick the right one if you use either.
     
  15. Aug 10, 2018 #15

    penelopejane

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    StickblendinG
    Your local water supplier should be able to tell you if your water is hard.
     
  16. Aug 10, 2018 #16

    Iluminameluna

    Iluminameluna

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    Just FYI: Hard water refers to the minerals in it, and those usually can't be removed by filtering (it's a scientific reason). Rainwater, for instance, isn't hard water because it hasn't picked up any minerals in its travels from the clouds, while in some areas around the world, water picks up LOTS of minerals because of the type of rocks it's been through. How can you tell if you have hard water or soft? If your soaps and detergents don't lather well, if your clothing becomes dingy after being washed repeatedly, and, most tellingly, if you and your neighbors need a water softener for indoor water use.

    The reason most experienced soap makers suggest using distilled water is because it has been processed in a way that removes ALL minerals from it (steam is cooled and collected). Too many minerals will affect your soap in the way it lathers and feels.

    As an example, when I lived in San Antonio, TX (a city known for its highly mineralized water), I used bottled water instead of tap because it was more readily available to me. However, now that I live overseas in a semi-tropical country, I can use my regular tap water because there aren't any harsh minerals in it and my soaps are VERY well behaved! I might be wrong, but I wouldn't think your water would be hard. If it has a fresh taste coming out of the tap instead of tasting slightly bitter, you most likely have soft water. At least soft enough to use it to make soap.

    Let us know how you make out! Happy soaping!
     
  17. Aug 11, 2018 #17

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    Ahhh I see. The hardness of water is not something commonly talked about in Hawaii and I've never lived anywhere else. I guess I can kind of tell though because our water definitely tastes different from water in California or other places on the mainland. Everyone just drinks tap water here so I'm going to assume it's soft enough but I'll definitely try to look for a report from my water supplier. Thanks for the clarification!
     
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  18. Aug 11, 2018 #18

    penelopejane

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    Being able to identify emulsion is, IMO, the most important thing you can learn in soaping This video by Newbie, from this forum is excellent:



    Also try mixing your colours or additives into your oils before adding the lye. This gives you more time. If you want to do a multi colour soap then divide your lye and add it separately to the colour mixes.
     
  19. Aug 11, 2018 #19

    Cassie

    Cassie

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    I'll try doing that! Thanks for the advice! I think I may have the exact same pour measuring cups too XD
     
  20. Aug 11, 2018 #20

    earlene

    earlene

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    Here is a link that might help you find the answer: http://www.boardofwatersupply.com/water-quality/water-quality-report

    As far as taste of water and does that mean it's soft or hard, I just don't know if that always holds true. Water sold as 'purified water' for mixing baby formula has added minerals to improve taste. (I just read the label on one a couple of days ago.) The best tasting tap water I have ever tasted in all my travels is in Manhattan (New York City) and it is either soft/ slightly hard or moderately hard, depending on the source reservoir (there are two and sometimes the water is mixed in some pipes going to the customer; sometimes not mixed). So some hardness still tastes very good. Extremely hard water, doesn't usually taste good to me, though, so there is some truth to hard water not tasting good, but it's more about what minerals are actually in the water. As a point of interest, how NYC water is treated is really quite interesting: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/wsstate17.pdf
     

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