Can This Shaving Soap Be Saved?

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KristaY

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Today was my first attempt at making a shaving soap. Here's my recipe:

200gms Stearic Acid (40%)
125gms PO (25%)
125gms CO (25%)
25gms Shea (5%)
25gms Lanolin (5%)
5% SF
33% lye solution
219gms distilled water
110gms KOH
55gms glycerin added to lye water (11% of oil wt)

2.5% shea and 2.5% lanolin reserved to add as SF after the cook.

I read all the shaving soap threads here plus Lee Bussy's site so decided on my recipe with all that info. I melted the oils in the crock pot and up to about 160F. KOH/glycerin mixture stirred in when it was 120F. Got to mashed potatoes in about 1 1/2 minutes. Left crock pot on high and covered.

Got stuck on the phone with mom, went back to check on it 30 min later and it had boiled over, down the sides, on to my counter. Turned the crock pot to low, stirred it down, cleaned up the mess (which took some time), went to stir again and it's as hard as a rock. Surface temp on the soap right now is about 172. I have a crock pot shaped oval of soap. :cry: I flipped the soap disc over with a spatula and kept the crock pot on low. It's now been cooking for about 70 min. Just did a zap test and it's negative.

Is it a rock because of the loss of oils and/or water when it boiled over? Is there anything I can add to soften it so I can stir in the SF oils and EO's? Do I just have to chisel bits off so DH can try it out? Does it need to go into the trash bin? Grrr......
 

IrishLass

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Ditto what Snappy said. That's what I'd do, too.

I'd add the superfat when it's liquidy again.

For what it's worth, I use much more water when I HP my shave soap/croap (25% lye solution). Things go a lot smoothly for me when I do so- especially with the high amount of stearic in my formula.


IrishLass :)
 

KristaY

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I wondered about the lye strength because I usually use 25% when I make LS. So based on that, I'll be safe adding another 100gms or so of water to get back to a liquid-ish state. Thanks IL!
 

KristaY

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Well...this has been....interesting. Last night I turned the crock pot back on and kept adding water and trying to get it incorporated. Over 5 hours I ended up adding an extra 400gms of water before it became soft enough to knead, not liquid-y. Turned it off and went to bed. Today I kneaded it (at room temp) until it became plyable, like firm play-doh. Right now it's the consistency and transluscency of a great LS paste. I still haven't added the SF or EO's because I don't think I can fully incorporate them without kneading for an hour or 10.

Now what? I'm hesitant to add more water even though I know I lost some in evaporation during the LOOONG cook. I wonder if I can make a small batch with a lower % of stearic and add some of this paste to it? Do I form it into balls to use even though it doesn't have SF? Chuck it into the trash? (I really don't want to do that).
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Another 400g water? What sort of batch did you make? [emoji47]

If you still have to add in the superfat, this could also be a good time for the scent as you would have a lot of warm liquid to stir in
 

KristaY

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Another 400g water? What sort of batch did you make? [emoji47]

If you still have to add in the superfat, this could also be a good time for the scent as you would have a lot of warm liquid to stir in
Well, the sort is in post #1 but what the heck happened, NO CLUE! Yes, another 400gms water. I weighed the paste before the addition and after, it was only another 280gms so I lost some in evaporation. I have the SF and EO's together in a separate container and haven't done anything with them yet. This batch just doesn't look like any shave soap I've seen you guys make. It's at LS paste stage right now in a zip bag while I decide what in the world to do with it!
 

LBussy

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Ah the boil-over. Been there, done that.

The consistency of the soap is rather unique I think when in the cook and is important to be able to get the proper finished consistency. No matter what we're talking about water + soap so I don't think it's going to significantly change the end product, but it will behave somewhat different when loading the brush and so on.

400g of additional water is a lot of water for this. what I would try is some crock-pot wizardry. Get it in there and on low sneak up on your temps with the lid on. You'll want to get it near boiling temp again to get that same consistency back which will lighten it up to the whipped potatoes stage again. Doing some whipping by hand will probably get your moisture levels back down to a more "normal" level. At that point get your SF in there.

The pliability of the soap is not attained in the same way it is in liquid soap paste, it's more steam in a hot soap that really wants to be hard. As soon as it cools you are left with a brick. Your success hinges upon being able to get that paste boiling again.

It's going to be challenging I think. It's like getting the steam back in the puff pastry.
 

KristaY

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Aaaahhhh, okay. I think the problem might have been that my temp when reheating was never high enough. I think the surface temp only got to about 142F but I'm not positive. I just know it wasn't nearly as hot as when I was initially cooking it.

So my plan today will be to tear it up and get it back into the crock pot. Start on low then increase to high to get it back to mashed potatoes. With all the extra water it should be a loose mashed tater consistency. So once there I'll get the SF and EO's in, then poured into my containers. I'm guessing it'll take a bit of extra time to harden up, also because of the extra water. When made correctly, it should still leave a dent when pressed with a finger, right? Something in between LS paste and a CP bar?

On the plus side, it feels really good on the skin even without the extra SF. When I got done washing up the dishes my hands felt soft, not dry at all. Once the SF is added, it should be really lovely.

Thanks for the assistance Lee! Hopefully I'll be able to report back I have great shave soap! :)
 

LBussy

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I have never been able to "pour" my soap if that tells you anything about the water content and consistency. I've always had to butter it into my tins. Yes when made correctly you can still dent it with a good amount of finger pressure. Something like a day-old CP soap, or room-temp tallow.

I turn off the heat and stir to cool the soap before I add my SF and FO's. Not too far, maybe 150. I keep it in motion the whole time so I don't get any cold spots. This works for me, other folks may find this is too "fiddly." It doesn't seem so when I am doing it. It's just how my process has evolved.

As IL says, using more water in the process up front definitely makes it an easier consistency, but this is just what I'm used to now
 

KristaY

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I have never been able to "pour" my soap if that tells you anything about the water content and consistency. I've always had to butter it into my tins. Yes when made correctly you can still dent it with a good amount of finger pressure. Something like a day-old CP soap, or room-temp tallow.

I turn off the heat and stir to cool the soap before I add my SF and FO's. Not too far, maybe 150. I keep it in motion the whole time so I don't get any cold spots. This works for me, other folks may find this is too "fiddly." It doesn't seem so when I am doing it. It's just how my process has evolved.

As IL says, using more water in the process up front definitely makes it an easier consistency, but this is just what I'm used to now
Thank you so much! Knowing it isn't going to be pourable and the temp to cool to before adding the SF & scent is so helpful. I plan to do this when I know I can be in the room the whole time. Also, I'm NOT answering the phone, lol!
 

KristaY

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I ended up cooking it on high another 3 hours. It never got back to mashed potatoes, just loosened a bit. Finally I decided to just go for it and used my potato masher to incorporate the shea butter and EO's. I was able to spoon it into my Pringles can with LOTS of counter banging in between. Now I'll see how it looks when I cut it tomorrow.

I learned an interesting lesson today too. You CAN'T microwave lanolin! I had it set aside with the shea as the SF oils, put my bowl into the microwave, did a 10 second cycle, then another 10 seconds and it was scorched! It looked like burnt sugar. Scraped the brown stuff out and added a few more grams of shea.

After all that, I decide to make another batch to see if I could do it correctly. I stirred it longer this time after adding the lye water, about 8 minutes. I realized it went to mashed potatoes in about 1 1/2 minutes but there was still a lot of oil/water separation so I kept stirring until it emulsified. It went from mashed spuds to smooth to mashed spuds again. That's when I stopped and put the lid on.

I stirred it every 10 minutes or so while keeping an eagle eye on it and it went to firm paste in about 40 minutes. I checked for zap, negative, so I added SF and EO's. I'll see what this one looks like in the morning too.

I'll do a comparison of the 2 to see if there's any difference between the botched batch and the one that behaved itself.
 

LBussy

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I don't think I've ever gotten the smooth paste although we are talking about something really close to a LS recipe so obviously we're in that ballpark. I stir till I get potatoes, put the lid on, come back stir, put the lid on, etc. In between it will boil and raise up. I only stir when it needs to be punched down like bread dough. Maybe that's important information I should have shared. Still it sounds like you got it all incorporated which is the important part. I have seen it get "pasty" but it always "raises" again and gets like potatoes.

One thing I can think of - did you use a smaller crock pot or a large one? The 1.5 qt I use is like the perfect size for a 1# batch. I know I had trouble with heat regulation when I tried in one of my larger pots.
 

DeeAnna

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Any fat with very little water (anhydrous lanolin!) won't heat up well in the microwave. What works best for me is to make a hot water bath with two cups -- bigger one has some water in it, smaller one contains your fat and sits in the water -- and microwave the whole thing. Or just microwave the water until it's steamy, take it out of the microwave, and sit the smaller container of fat in the hot water to melt.
 

KristaY

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I don't think I've ever gotten the smooth paste although we are talking about something really close to a LS recipe so obviously we're in that ballpark. I stir till I get potatoes, put the lid on, come back stir, put the lid on, etc. In between it will boil and raise up. I only stir when it needs to be punched down like bread dough. Maybe that's important information I should have shared. Still it sounds like you got it all incorporated which is the important part. I have seen it get "pasty" but it always "raises" again and gets like potatoes.

One thing I can think of - did you use a smaller crock pot or a large one? The 1.5 qt I use is like the perfect size for a 1# batch. I know I had trouble with heat regulation when I tried in one of my larger pots.
I had a feeling I stirred too often but I was worried about another boil-over, lol. I did have the thought that removing the lid every 10 minutes would keep reducing the heat and allow for more water evaporation. Ah, well. Soap & learn, I guess.

I used my smallest crock pot that's probably 1.5 qt. The batter filled it about half way, maybe a bit less, so I had plenty of room to work.

Any fat with very little water (anhydrous lanolin!) won't heat up well in the microwave. What works best for me is to make a hot water bath with two cups -- bigger one has some water in it, smaller one contains your fat and sits in the water -- and microwave the whole thing. Or just microwave the water until it's steamy, take it out of the microwave, and sit the smaller container of fat in the hot water to melt.
So it's like an off-the-heat Bain-Marie. Great idea! I tried Lee's heat transfer method by setting the 1 cup glass measuring cup next to the crock pot, sides touching. It didn't work for me because every time I stirred I moved the crock and forgot to move the measuring cup, lol. When I finally added the shea I just put the small chunks, RT, into the batter knowing the heat would melt it as I mashed. Worked fine but I haven't cut yet so who knows what I'll find. :???:
 

KristaY

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The 2 batches of shaving soap have now been curing for about 2 weeks. The first batch was the one that went a bit sideways so I added extra water to get back to a softer paste. That one has 40% stearic acid and is on the left side of the first pic. I also included a pic through sun that shows the white spots through it. Is it safe to assume these are stearic spots? These bars are still REALLY soft. I could probably smash them in my hand and form them into balls. I think the boil-over and extra water are the reasons for such soft discs. Lesson learned.

The 2nd batch (right side of 1st pic) has 20% stearic and is really firm, like days old CP bars. They're much whiter than the first batch with no translucency. I've tried both for leg shaving and they lather into a dense, creamy foam that stays put. DH has tried the first batch on his face and he says it's okay but it's a PITA to him because he can't remember to load the brush, blah, blah, blah. He prefers the convenience of shaving cream in the can. So I'm scratching him off my tester list and giving them away to other family and friends.

I'm determined to make a good shaving soap eventually!

Shave Soap 01 (1).jpg


Shave Soap 02.jpg
 

LBussy

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It's been hypothesised that those are stearic spots. I do know they go away after some aging too so I also thought they just might be drier areas from cooking. If I had to I could probably still form my soaps even after aging several months. There's no reason to pursue having them as hard as bars because they are not used in that manner - at least the way men shave. I'll admit to not shaving my legs in the shower so I guess I can't comment on whether or not ladies need the shaving soap bars to be harder.

DH first needs to learn to appreciate why soap is better than canned goo before he deserves any of your soap! :)
 

KristaY

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"DH first needs to learn to appreciate why soap is better than canned goo before he deserves any of your soap!"

This made me LOL, hard! He's the reason I started making soap in the first place and I still get goofy attitudes from him!
 
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