Bentonite didn't dissolve

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Greg Hartman

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I made some shaving soap and the recipe includes bentonite: 2 tsp. in about 3 lbs. of soap.

I was following a tutorial for the recipe and it said it doesn't matter when you add the bentonite, so I added it to the oils just before I added the lye/water mixture. I figured it would get mixed it thoroughly while I was stirring the soap to trace.

The soap lathers up nicely but the bentonite looks like it didn't dissolve; it looks like little flecks of black pepper distributed throughout the soap.

Is that what it normally does? Or did I mess something up?
 

cedarstar

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I use bentonite clay in some soaps, it's a great additive. It is different from other clays as it will not dissolve in oil. When I use bentonite (or any other clay) I prep them before weighing out my oils. I mix bentonite with water (taken from recipe) and let it sit while I get everything else ready. Bentonite will absorbs a lot of water. As it sits I will add a little water at a time as it thickens and mix it with a mini whisk to remove any clumps. With clays that will mix with oil I follow the same procedure with oils taken from the recipe. :)
 

Greg Hartman

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I use bentonite clay in some soaps, it's a great additive. It is different from other clays as it will not dissolve in oil. When I use bentonite (or any other clay) I prep them before weighing out my oils. I mix bentonite with water (taken from recipe) and let it sit while I get everything else ready. Bentonite will absorbs a lot of water. As it sits I will add a little water at a time as it thickens and mix it with a mini whisk to remove any clumps. With clays that will mix with oil I follow the same procedure with oils taken from the recipe. :)
Got it. Should I replace the water used? In other words, if the recipe calls for, say, 10 ounces of water and I use 2 ounces to dissolve the bentonite, do I put the 2 ounces + bentonite back with the water and then add lye? Or should I replace the 2 ounces of water and add the 2 ounces + bentonite when I start mixing the water/lye mixture and the oils?
 

Obsidian

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No, you don't replace the water used to mix the clay. If your recipe calls for 10oz, only use 10oz.
I wouldn't add the clay slurry back to the lye water either. I would add it to the warmed oils and mix it in really well before adding the lye solution.

I never add any ingredients dry. Even ones that are known to mix into soap without water, I still wet it and make a slurry.

Bentonite is a nightmare to work with, at least for me. It absorbs so much water, its hard to remove all the clumps.
A good shave soap will be slick enough without having to use any clays.
 

cedarstar

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Bentonite is a nightmare to work with, at least for me. It absorbs so much water, its hard to remove all the clumps.
It can be! I figured out way back that it doesn't mix with oil. It's also why when adding bentonite to my soap that it is the first thing I get ready. I measure out a few ounces of water. Then I add a tablespoon of water to two tsp of bentonite and mix well. I keep adding water until it's a slurry and set aside. I'll measure out my oils and prep them. I'll measure out my other additives as well. While prepping everything and getting everything ready I keep mixing the clay and adding water as needed, keeping track of the amount used. When using bentonite I will sometimes prep the clay the night before but always give it at least a couple hours to sit and soak up what it needs. Once it's a nice creamy, smooth slurry it can be easily stick blended into the oils before adding the lye mixture. I mix my lye water after I know what I've used for liquid in the clay.
 

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