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Can I use activated charcoal for texture/rustic look?

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Rachael

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Hi all, I want to make a layered soap maybe with activated charcoal. I'd like each layer to look a little bit textured and rustic... specks on each layer of soap to give it a little more interest. I am wondering if I can achieve this with a little bit of activated charcoal mixed in at trace (not completely mixed in to the soap)? I am afraid that it is going to darken each layer instead of having the effect I want. If anyone has tried this or has any other suggestions for achieving what I am trying to do, I'd appreciate it!
 

GemstonePony

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Charcoal is generally very fine, and lends itself more to haze than specks. I'm not sure what effect you're going for: a charcoal line? Marble/ in the pot swirl? Slightly gray haze? When you say "layers" are the layers differentiated by color, Mica line, charcoal, different formulas or additives, or some combination of the above?
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with GemstonePony. Why not try something like poppy seeds? They might make your soap too scrubby, but they might give you the color and texture you're looking for. There are other spices that can be used to provide speckles and texture, but I can't think of any others that are close to black in color.
 

Zing

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I love me some poppy seeds in soap! I also like coffee grounds. Tonight I'm going to try ground up oatmeal. Rosehips powder will turn soap a speckled brick red.
 

KiwiMoose

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Yes - fine coffee grounds might be better for Rachael - maybe mix with a little ground oatmeal for real texture?
I literally use charcoal as a black colourant in my soap, not for texture.
 

Dawni

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I will say it'll depend on your charcoal. Don't hit me lol. I have the one that isn't very fine, not quite sure but I think I bought it for teeth but ended up using (and having a hard time with it lol) in soap.

I do have texture and scrubbiness when I use this charcoal. I've used other soaps with other charcoal and they're not like mine. Mine doesn't make black soap either just speckled grey. Also, it accelerates my CP and hardens my HP quickly if you use too less water beforehand (I soak it). Can't say if it'll be the same for you.

You probably will be better off with another ingredient, but if its really charcoal you want then maybe look for one that isn't very fine.
 

earlene

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Yes, activated charcoal can be coarse with fairly large particle and it can be fine, and even 'powdered', however by definition, Activated Charcoal "is a form of carbon processed to achieve a microporous surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions". So even the powdered AC still has a relatively large surface area for it's size; the 'powder' granules aren't really smooth if one looks at is closely (say, with a microscope.)

Hi all, I want to make a layered soap maybe with activated charcoal. I'd like each layer to look a little bit textured and rustic... specks on each layer of soap to give it a little more interest. I am wondering if I can achieve this with a little bit of activated charcoal mixed in at trace (not completely mixed in to the soap)? I am afraid that it is going to darken each layer instead of having the effect I want. If anyone has tried this or has any other suggestions for achieving what I am trying to do, I'd appreciate it!
I have only ever used AC well mixed into soap as a colorant, so I have no idea how it would look if one attempts to create a speckled soap, but it is worth a try to see how it looks. For experimental purposes, I'd do a small batch to see how it turns out.

If you meant 'in each layer' as in suspended within the batter in the layer, then make sure the batter is already at a trace that will hold it in suspension when you add it. I'd say, don't mix it in until right before you pour the layer, adding it with each layer just before pouring that layer. That way maybe it will stay in suspension as speckles. Maybe it won't; I really don't know.

You could really do the same thing with table salt, mixed at a thick trace, just before pouring. Don't use a roughly ground salt, though as it can be too scratchy; some have reported actual abrasions occurring with Pink Himalayan salt in soap, so I suggest you avoid that & NEVER grind your own, as it only make it sharper. I would avoid Volcanic salt as well, for the same reason, as the Volcanic salt I have is very coarse & looks sharp.
 

Rachael

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Thank you all for the great suggestions! I ended up going with poppy seeds, while not quite what I had in mind I ended up liking the final result. Next time I will keep in mind coffee grounds and cocoa too... now that I think of it I did an oatmeal soap once that may have worked here too. Problem is there are too many choices :)
 

Obsidian

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You can grind poppy seeds, it ends up a little like black pepper but a tad finer.
I really liked it in soap, better then whole seeds or coffee
 

Catscankim

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You can grind poppy seeds, it ends up a little like black pepper but a tad finer.
I really liked it in soap, better then whole seeds or coffee
Nice idea!! I have poppy seeds that I bought just for soaping, but thought they looked too big. I will try grinding them up a bit
 

DeeAnna

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Cocoa powder makes a smooth brown color, not speckles or texture. I use it as a general brown colorant. If I want a brown soap with speckles, I use cocoa for the main overall brown and also add finely ground coffee.
 

CatahoulaBubble

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Charcoal will bleed badly. But coffee grounds, poppy seeds, strawberry seeds, apricot husks, coarsely ground oatmeal, or even tea leaves can be used for texture and exfoliation.
 

amycooper

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I am afraid it will turn black instead giving grainy-like texture to the soap. I would suggest using coffee grounds, ground poppy seeds or cocoa powder as suggested by others or even grainy shea butter.
 

Relle

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I am afraid it will turn black instead giving grainy-like texture to the soap. I would suggest using coffee grounds, ground poppy seeds or cocoa powder as suggested by others or even grainy shea butter.
As this is your first post please go to the Introduction forum and tell us about yourself and experience so the members get to know you.
 
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