Anyone have a good slow-moving CP soap recipe?

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Hi there!

I've tried to formulate this myself and regardless of how much olive oil I use, the recipe still gets thick before I can do any swirl designs...So I am sure my forum buddies have a few of these recipes up your sleeve! At a minimum I can see where my formulas are going wrong.

Thank you so much!!
 
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What are the temps of your oil and lye solution when you combine them?
What size is your batch?
How much are you stick-blending?
What FOs or EOs are you using?
Are you adding any clays, beeswax, cinnamon powder, clove powder, pumpkin spices?
Are you using pomace olive oil rather than "regular" or "light"?

All of these things will affect the speed at which your batter will trace. Likely one or more of them is your problem.
 
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I like lard bars.

50% lard
25% olive oil
20% coconut oil
5% castor oil

slooooow moving, so much so that i often sit around and wait for it to get to the consistency i want (without reintroducing the sb). Lard is a dream to work with. You have plenty of time to do anything.

And if i am making a soap with layers, lard batter is easy to just divide up and let sit while you work with a layer (using an accelerating fo/eo to thicken up the part you want to pour).

plus, post your recipe. It might be something in there that someone can spot that is making your batter thicken up.

And…it also might be your stick blending as @AliOop said. I have literally just given the batter “one more shot” and it went from 0 to 60. I have learned (mostly through members here) to work with emulsion.
 

earlene

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If you are using a stick blender, and pomace olive oil (as opposed to olive oil that is not pomace) that may be your reason for the batter thickening up too fast to do swirls.

When I use pomace olive oil, I do not use a stick blender because pomace traces very fast with a SB, and even with hand stirring with a whisk, I get thick trace within very few minutes. And that is without any accelerating additives or fragrances. And that's with only 50% pomace and no hard oils.
 
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Babassu Oil 10.00
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 10.00
Almond Oil, sweet 15.00
Castor Oil 5.00
Apricot Kernel Oil 15.00
Olive Oil 45.00
30% lye concentration ; 8%SF

Not much SB...Oils and Lye at 86 degrees. However, the room was hot... but that is not always the case.

Thank you for all your help!

oops!

no additives. brambleberry's tabacco/bayleaf and a bit of lemongrass EO.
 
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With the high percentage of liquid oils in your recipe, I would expect it to be well behaved even at 90-100 F Are your oils fresh? Is the batter thickening up before you add the FO and EO?
 

dibbles

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Your recipe should be well behaved as it is, and that particular FO is known to be well behaved. Are you using pomace olive oil?
 

Todd Ziegler

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I like lard bars.

50% lard
25% olive oil
20% coconut oil
5% castor oil

slooooow moving, so much so that i often sit around and wait for it to get to the consistency i want (without reintroducing the sb). Lard is a dream to work with. You have plenty of time to do anything.

And if i am making a soap with layers, lard batter is easy to just divide up and let sit while you work with a layer (using an accelerating fo/eo to thicken up the part you want to pour).

plus, post your recipe. It might be something in there that someone can spot that is making your batter thicken up.

And…it also might be your stick blending as @AliOop said. I have literally just given the batter “one more shot” and it went from 0 to 60. I have learned (mostly through members here) to work with emulsion.
This is basically my recipe except for the olive oil. I use high oleic safflower oil instead. However my additives and FO play a large part in acceleration.

For example, sugared strawberry FO from Nurture soap moves my batter so fast that I can't get it in the mold before it sets up. So I have had to either eliminate that FO or use it sparingly.
 

Todd Ziegler

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Good to know. I almost ordered that FO the other day when I placed an order from Nurture.
Don't get me wrong, it is one of the longest lasting strawberry FO's that I have used and I have been successful using it mixed with another strawberry FO as a fixer/stabilizer for long-term scent retention. But by itself, look out! Lol🤣
 

earlene

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Babassu Oil 10.00
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 10.00
Almond Oil, sweet 15.00
Castor Oil 5.00
Apricot Kernel Oil 15.00
Olive Oil 45.00
30% lye concentration ; 8%SF

Not much SB...Oils and Lye at 86 degrees. However, the room was hot... but that is not always the case.

Thank you for all your help!

oops!

no additives. brambleberry's tabacco/bayleaf and a bit of lemongrass EO.


I have used BB's Tabacco Bayleaf FO (but only once as it was a small bottle) and don't recall it causing a problem, so I don't think that would have been the problem. I have also used Lemongrass EO on numerous occassions, and did not find it to be problematic either.

Again, have you double checked the container of Olive Oil to see if it says pomace olive oil on the label? If it does not, then perhaps you are using the stick blender too much. As a beginner, it's hard to know how much is too much. Short bursts of 3 - 5 seconds (that is, burst of 3 seconds and no more than 5 seconds) then stirring in between times, and minimizing the SB bursts to only a few. I know that you may have seen youtube videos where some soapers look like they are SBing forever and a day, but if you try and limit yourself to only 2 or 3 short bursts and see if your recipe goes slower, you may find that you are able to do swirls.

The other possibility is that you are soaping too hot. Heat accelerates trace as well, and you do have to heat the CO & Babassu. Do you let your lye solution cool down to room temperature prior to mixing it into the oils? Do you take temperatures or have any way of determining if the lye & oils are cool or hot? Some soapers touch the outer edges of the container to determine heat.
 

Trinidad Kelly

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Babassu Oil 10.00
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 10.00
Almond Oil, sweet 15.00
Castor Oil 5.00
Apricot Kernel Oil 15.00
Olive Oil 45.00
30% lye concentration ; 8%SF

Not much SB...Oils and Lye at 86 degrees. However, the room was hot... but that is not always the case.

Thank you for all your help!

oops!

no additives. brambleberry's tabacco/bayleaf and a bit of lemongrass EO.
Your recipe only has two oils that you need to monitor the temperature that your mixing at. Once you have reached emulsion, put down the stick blender. Add your FO/EO and hand stir. Separate and add your pre-dispersed colours and hand stir again. If your temperature is below the melting point of the babassu and coconut oils, it may thicken up. Other than that you may be stick blending too much after adding your FO/EO and colours.
 

The_Phoenix

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Good to know. I almost ordered that FO the other day when I placed an order from Nurture.
I’ve soaped with it. It is doable but you have to work extremely fast. To me, it’s worth the effort because it smells so good and sticks in soap. I used the strawberry in one half of the batter and lime FO in the other. As you can see, I had to plop rather than pour it.
376526A6-D626-426B-A3FF-7ED06B4D72AB.jpeg
 
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A while back I came here to find out why my batter was getting too thick to fast. There was a resounding "don't stick blend too much", which I adamantly assured everybody that I definitely was not. Well, I was LOL.

I used the same exact recipe back then. What I was calling my nightmare, is now what I consider my dream batter. To make layered soap, i used to split the lye and the oils and work with each separately. Since I have gotten a bit better at the art of stick blending and recognizing emulsion and various levels of trace, I can just split a batter at emulsion and work each layer that way, instead of all the tedious (to me) measuring everything out. That's not to say that I never have to split the lyes and oils for different designs, but for the most part I don't.

One mistake that I have made a few times in the past before recognizing what my problem was, was adding my FO to all my smaller pots at once, then going back to mix them in one at a time, therefore letting the fo sit on the top of the remaining pots until I got to them. The fo definitely will accelerate the ones that it is just sitting on the top of waiting to be mixed in. This ends up in lumpy batter that you need to work out, and even ricing, I have found. Add your fo one at a time and mix. It does wonders in keeping your batter fluid.

Stick blend to emulsion, mix in your colors, then mix in your fo...in that order every time. If you need to sb again, do so in very small pulses and stir to check. My own personal rule is to not reintroduce the sb again unless absolutely necessary. I would rather babysit a thin batch, than to rush and plop a batter into a mold.
 

TheGecko

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Put down the stick blender. You may think that you are 'hardly' using it, but when working with small batches, anything more than a few 3 second bursts is too much. Even if you are using Pomace Olive Oil, with the amount of Soft Oils and your 86F temp you're batter shouldn't be thickening up that much.

My recipe is:

10% Cocoa Butter (natural)
20% Palm Oil (RSPO)
20% Coconut Oil (76 degree)
10% Shea Butter (natural)
35% Olive Oil (from Costco, not EVOO)
5% Castor Oil

33% Lye Concentration
5% Super Fat

1 tea Sodium Lactate PPO (stirred into cooled Lye Solution)
1 tea Kaolin Clay PPO (dispersed w/1 tab distilled water)

I usually soap around 90F.

Melt the Cocoa Butter halfway, then add the Palm Oil. When it's about halfway melted, add the Coconut Oil. When all is melted, remove from heat (or microwave) and add the Shea Butter in small bits and stir until melted. Then add your Olive and Castor Oil, and your dispersed Clay and give it a quick whiz with the stick blender. Then pour in your Lye Solution.

Now for the mixing part. It's a good habit to get into only mixing your batter to a stable emulsion even if you are making uncolored or single-colored soaps. I HIGHLY recommend watching Lisa at I Dream in Soap's video on Trace, Emulsion, False Trace, Acceleration. In fact, I highly recommend watching all her technique videos as she is very knowledgeable and straight forward. In many of the videos you watched on YouTube, you see a lot of stick blending, but what you may not realize is that the majority of these involve large batches...anywhere from 5lbs to 25lbs. I can't tell you how many times I made "pudding" until it clicked in my head that I was only making 1lb to 2-2 1/2lbs batches. For that size batch, all you need are a few 3-second bursts and some stirring and you're done and ready to pour.

The largest batch of soap I have made with the above is 14lbs that was sub-divided in seven different molds with different colorants, scents and designs: 2-3 layer soaps, 2-2 layer soap, 1 - 2-color ITP Swirl, 2 - 2-color Drop/Chop Stick Swirls. I mixed it in a sink tub and it took about an hour all told to make all those different kinds of soap. I started with an emulsion and at the end, was about at a medium trace...not bad, but I won't ever do that again (I was exhausted despite all the careful planning).

Note on Lye Solution: Use frozen Distilled Water. Cuts down on fumes and you don't have to wait hours for it to cool down. Or you can make it the night before, just remember to cover it tightly after it quits steaming.

Some notes about your recipe: Soap is a wash on/rinse off product, it's not on your skin for more than 5 or 10 minutes at the most. Additionally, the majority of the 'benefits' of your ingredients will be destroyed not only by the caustic nature of Sodium Hydroxide, but the saponification process as it changes the oils/butters into 'soap'. So using expensive ingredients like Babassu Oil is a waste of money and would be better used in lotions. You'd be better off increasing your Coconut Oil to 20% (I wouldn't go over that) or using Palm Oil or Cocoa Butter.

With 80% Soft Oils and all that water your soap is going to be soft in both physical terms and longevity unless you are looking for a long cure time...I'd say close to 6 months. And given it's high "conditioning" number along with an 8% Super Fat, it's probably going to feel a bit 'slimey'. I'd look at 40% Hard Oils, bring your Lye Concentration to 33%-35% and drop the Super Fat down to 3%-5%. Now you don't HAVE to Super Fat your soap...many soap makers don't or maybe just go with 1% to make sure all the Sodium Hydroxide is used up.
 
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TheGecko thank you for this valuable info! I must admit, I did not think I was using the SB too much, but I tried the recipe again ans cut it back to where I felt it wasn't enough and I was able to do my column pour! I was stick blending too much...as you all said...

As it pertains to SF and the soft oils, I find that a 20% coconut oil with a low SF leaves my skin very dry. I don't think I can go below 5%. So my soap was soft, but I guess I was so focused on hard oils not causing false trace. The next time I will lower the soft oils and see how it goes.

Thanks again for the advice!!!
 

TheGecko

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You are very welcome.

False trace is usually caused by soaping at too low of a temperature, where your hard oils are solidifying. My recipe is 60% hard oils and I Master Batch*** my oils/butters and my Lye Solution these days, so I soap these days around 80F, lower if I make Goat Milk Soap.


*** - Master Batching is when you pre-mix your oils/butters and lye solution…some folks do it in individual batches, I do it in a 40 lb batch in a food-grade 5-gal bucket and then mix up about 2 gallons of 33% Lye Solution. MBing is not something I recommend for new soap makers…it takes time to find your go-to recipe and then to get to know it.
 
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As it pertains to SF and the soft oils, I find that a 20% coconut oil with a low SF leaves my skin very dry. I don't think I can go below 5%.
If you think about it, the coconut oil is there to contribute suds and lather to your soap, not necessarily to help prevent loss of skin lipids. In fact, the more coconut oil is used in a soap, the higher the cleansing factor. So, if you want to lower your SF, also lower your CO to however less you want or need to. In San Antonio, Texas and other places that have water with a high mineral content, CO and other tricks for enhancing lather and suds are used. But I've also lived in places where the water was so sweet, my soaps were almost bubble bars! It was wonderful, and made my art easier because I could also use things like fruit purees to charm my friends and family. But that's beside the point here.
The point is that in your recipe, your Super Fat can go as low as you want because you are using some great oils, but as long as you keep your coconut oil higher than, say, 10 or 15%, it's going to be drying to your skin. To some ppl it's drying at 5%, and to a small percentage of ppl, it's an allergen. So there's that as well to take into consideration.
Just wanted to add what I've learned from this group in my last 6 years about coconut oil. And I still consider myself a novice soapmaker. I haven't made any designs yet.
 
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so for an update...

First thank you for all that responded here, you guys are the best!

I only made one change to my recipe in that I reduced the castor oil to 5% and below. other than that what I did was drastically reduce how much I SB. Apparently I WAS doing too much of it! I was so afraid I was not properly mixing the batter that it was too much. Made 3 soaps since with no issues! I also tried a soap yesterday with lard as several members raved about it. Well they were right! so slow moving...awesome!

Thanks again!
 
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