Does Eucalyptus Accelerate?

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soapythekid

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Hi all,

I was making a walnut oil shampoo bar. All was going perfectly until I added my FO's and then it became solid in seconds. I spatula'ed the stuff into a mold and hoped for the best. But then the next day I checked on it and it absolutely STINKS... the walnut comes out hugely and is mixed with the eucalyptus in some strange way that smells like... I don't know, moldy bread or something like that. I can't keep it in the house, it fills every space with the stench! :D

Was it the eucalyptus?

Here's my recipe:

450 g of oils:

Walnut Oil 25%
Castor Oil 22%
Coconut 18%
Olive Oil 18%
Shea Butter 17%

Lye
Goat's Milk
H2O

added to lye solution:
1/2 tsp salt
3g methonine (vitamin additive)
5g citric acid

added at light/med trace:
20mL eucalyptus FO
10 mL strawberry FO

Any thoughts warmly welcome! Thank you!!
 

steffamarie

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I've never soaped with walnut oil, so I can't offer my input there. But such high castor and high shea butter probably didn't help. Castor is best under 10%, I use it at 5%. Otherwise it can speed up trace enormously. Shea can do the same, especially if you were soaping very cool. It's possible you encountered false trace at the hands of your shea. I'm also not sure about methionine - I can't find any evidence either on this forum or on a google search of anyone using it as an additive in soaping. That may be the culprit - either reacting with the goat's milk, the lye, or the FO, or some combination thereof.

I would try the soap again, substituting something like avocado oil for the smelly walnut oil. I'm not very well-versed in walnut oil's properties, but I'm sure you can find some more information on the web. Back off on the castor and soap a little warmer if you were soaping cool. With so many variables, it's hard to pinpoint the cause since we have no control lol

I've used eucalyptus EO and eucalyptus-containing FOs before and they haven't cause my soap to seize like that - they actually slowed trace.

Unsolicited opinion which you can take or leave: If you're not used to lye shampoo, you should know that some people have found that it causes bad damage to hair. A few have had success, but if this is your first time trying out a shampoo bar, it may be worth the research. :) If you've been using it with success, then disregard this warning. Of course it's your hair and you can do what you like with it.
 

Holly8991

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I used walnut oil once and it came out a disaster. It did about the same as you are describing. It was a huge brick...I just tossed it.
 

earlene

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I have soaped with walnut oil. Other than it causing the batter to make a darker soap, I had none of those issues you mentioned. I don't have my soaping notebook handy to look up the percentage I used, but I can look that up later tonight if I remember. I'm moving hotels today, so that is already packed and in the car.

As far as the odor, I find the idea of eucalyptus with strawberry as kind of odd, but I don't know, maybe they do work together. Have you ever used that combination in the past? I do like eucalyptus trees and their scent as they are growing, but in soap I find it can be a bit overpowering if used even at 3%, but I don't really recall if I've ever had a problem with it causing issues.

The castor is probably the reason it accelerated. In high percentages it does.
 

penelopejane

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I’ve not used walnut oil but if one person says it accelerates that’s enough for me to steer clear of it.

The smell could be the eucalyptus reacting with the GM. Did you use the split method? If not, that could make it worse.

I’ve successfully used eucalyptus FO before bur not in GM soap. I’ve had some FO mixes with eucalyptus that have been the worst smell in the world. (Snot GM soap). I’ve also had bad reactions with GM and other additives. With GM soap I try and keep it simple now.
 

earlene

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I just looked back at my notes from when I used walnut oil in soap in 2016. It was 18% Walnut oil, 45% OO, 18% Cocoa Butter and 18% Almond Oil. Not a great recipe by any means, but this was very slow to trace, which is what I was going for to do some swirls. As a soaping oil, I chose not to use Walnut again as I prefer to cook with it.
 

Holly8991

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I had the same result with hemp oil as I did with walnut, Both were terrible. I still have some of both and I am afraid to use either.
 

earlene

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That's interesting, Holly8991. I use hemp oil as well, and the only soap that seemed a little weird was the 100% hemp. But it lathers and bubbles exceptionally! The odor is a bit unusual, and probably not for everyone, but it would probably compliment a sea-theme quite well. However, because it doesn't last long, I use it at lower percentages. At 15% I have no trouble with it at all. In what way was hemp oil 'terrible'?
 

soapythekid

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! This is my first stab at a shampoo bar so there are a lot of variables for sure.

@steffamarie You're right there's a lot that could have combined strangely. It was all mixing fine until I added the FO so that was my first guess.. but from your reply and others it sounds like eucalyptus is not the culprit so I can cross that off the list. I'm familiar with limiting castor oil for a standard bar but my research tells me that it's good to use a higher amount (around 25%) for a shampoo bar.. maybe that's wrong?

@Holly8991 Thanks, I think I might back off of walnut for a while too :D

@earlene Thank you for checking your notes and for all the detailed info. That's great to know. Weirdly, the strawberry smell vanished completely, the eucalyptus is present only in a slight astringent way and the rest of the scent (read: stench) is like bad walnut. I'm not a soap master but I've never had one of the oils in a batch stand out as the predominant smell over FOs before. It's definitely something new for me!

@penelopejane I think keeping it simple with GM is a very wise idea. I'm going to adhere to that myself in the future. What is the split method?
 

steffamarie

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Using high castor is fine if you’re ok with a maybe tacky/soft bar and a rapid trace! Just be prepared for it to m-o-v-e!! :)
 

soapmaker

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Using high castor is fine if you’re ok with a maybe tacky/soft bar and a rapid trace! Just be prepared for it to m-o-v-e!! :)
Yes, my shampoo bar contains copious amounts of castor oil. To fix the tackiness I use a tiny bit of stearic. Yes, it moves fast!
 

penelopejane

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@penelopejane I think keeping it simple with GM is a very wise idea. I'm going to adhere to that myself in the future. What is the split method?
The split method is where you use just enough water to dissolve the NaOH. (250g NAOH and 250g water or whatever the recipe says). For the rest of the water required in the recipe you use milk and mix it into the oils before you add the cooled Lye mix. This way the milk does not burn, overheat, smell or anything untoward.
 

SaltedFig

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... it absolutely STINKS... the walnut comes out hugely and is mixed with the eucalyptus in some strange way that smells like... I don't know, moldy bread or something like that
... the rest of the scent (read: stench) is like bad walnut.
These two extracts from your posts suggest to me that your walnut oil has become rancid.

Walnut oil has a fairly short shelf life and needs to be kept in the refrigerator (even when it's unopened).
Once it starts, it turns pretty quickly.

I'm not a big fan of shampoo soaps; I hope this is useful to you in a general soapy kind of way :)
 

Obsidian

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Rancid walnut oil is the worse. I used some in my hair once, took a few heavy shampoos to remove the stench. I'll never use the stuff again for anything.
 

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