Are these oil or maybe lye (!?) pockets? (photo)

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Galtis

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Hi Fellow Soapmakers,
I’m fairly new to soap making and this is my 5th soap. I was hoping that some experienced and friendly soap makers could help me in identifying (and avoiding in future) the main problem with my soap - semi transparent pockets of something that looks like melt and pour soap. My concern is that these could be infamous lye pockets! Or could these be oil pockets?? They seem to be as firm as the soap itself. I tried to do zap test, it didn’t seem to tingle, it was a bit salty in taste – but then, I never experienced the zap so I’m not sure how it would if feel.

I did not use any fragrance or essential oils, it’s an unscented soap. Of course I ran the recipe through soap calculator (in fact two, they gave me slightly different results, which I found a bit strange in itself. I went with Bramble Berry soap calc). I used the following oils in my recipe:
Olive Oil 31%
Rice Bran Oil 26%
Coconut Oil 25%
Mango Butter 15%
Castor Oil 3%
I was soaping at room temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius, both oils and lye water. I had impression that the soap thickened really quickly, as I’m reading about troubleshooting soap, it seems that it could have seized.
Colorants I used were: titanium dioxide, activated charcoal and Australian pink clay. I sprinkled the soap with pink Himalayan salt (just the top – I don’t think it has anything to do with the problem). My mould was a silicone loaf.
Apart from that, there is also some air trapped in my soap – is it because I didn’t give the soap a proper “tap” or does it have something to do with hanger swirl technique I used? Finally, the white bit of my soap has small cracks – I read that titanium dioxide can cause that especially in recipes with rice bran oil – my soap had a lot of that oil. Any thoughts on that?
I know I ask for answer to three different problems, but even if you could enlighten me on one of them (especially the main one), that would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you!

Soap 5 problem.jpg
 

IrishLass

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Nope- those are not lye pockets, so rest easily. :) They are what is known as 'Glycerin Rivers' (athough they're really not rivers in the sense of flowing liquid). Anyway, they are completely harmless. If you do a search on 'glycerin rivers' you will find several posts talking about it. They usually occur in my soap when I use TD along with an accelerating FO that causes my soap to gel to hot.

IrishLass :)
 

Obsidian

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The air pockets are probably from pouring a bit too thick. If you bang your mold on the table, it will help the air escape. How fast did you get trace after mixing in the lye? You might have had a quick trace but not seize. Seize is almost instant and the soap would be too thick to pour or swirl.

The clear spot is not a lye pocket or oil pocket. I get them sometimes too but I'm not sure on the cause, maybe its the steric separating out. Its just a cosmetic issue and is harmless.

Steric crackle is more prone to happening in soaps made with TD. Next time, try using a little less water, that seems to help. I don't think the rice bran had anything to do with it.

The salty taste is normal for handmade soap. If it would have been a zap, you would have know. Its pretty soap, be proud:)
 

cmzaha

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I am with IrishLass on this being a glycerin river/pocket. It actually looks quite neat. I happen to like the look of what is called glycerine rivers. Only difference with your is it seemed to flow into one spot making a glycerin pocket.
 

Meganmischke

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It really looks like a little bit of soap that didn't get colored. It has happened to me when I have separated colors and didn't scrape my bowl down before coloring. I really hate to give you another suggestion as to what it might be just seems odd that it is so isolated to that one spot. My experience with glycerin rivers is they would be fairly noticeable in most of the portion colored with td. As for the stearic spot those for me also are not in one isolated spot. In any case doesn't look harmful plus you would know it if you got zapped.
 

IrishLass

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Here is a pic of one of my soaps with 'glycerin rivers':



It was soaped with Kentish Rain from BB which accelerated on me and got real hot in the mold. TD was used in both the white and purple parts. Anyway, thse kinds of glycerin rivers are typical for me in my soaps with TD that were soaped with an accelerating FO and that gelled pretty hot. It's hard to tell by the angle of the pic, but in real life they look just as if I had used clear MP embeds in my soap.

By the way, I still have this bar of soap. I held it back and saved it because one of the clear parts looks like a raindrop, which goes perfectly with the scent.


IrishLass :)
 
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thebeck

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Soap calcs can give you different results, because the SAP values of oils have a range. As well, some calcs have a built in lye discount :)
 

Jstar

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Im with the others on the glycerin rivers..I actually like them in some of my soaps :)
 

Galtis

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Thank you!

Thank you SO much for all the replies! I appreciate your help and expertise - it’s a relief to hear that the spots are harmless after all. And I learnt a few new things about soaping, which is a bonus :) Also - what a fantastic and helpful forum - I only just joined today and didn't expect such a quick response from that many users :)
 

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