Hopefully someone can help. I have tried making shaving soap 3 times now and each one has started to harden and get crumbly before molding. It never seems to reach that glossy, smooth stage.
I have done exhaustive research and watched numerous videos and I’m following everything the way I’m suppose to. I have tried one HP and 2 I’m not sure if it’s a modified HP or not - no crockpot.
The recipe I used was 60/40% Potassium/Sodium Hydroxide. 2.2oz Sodium, 4.6oz Potassium, 18oz H2O, 24 oz Stearic (40%), 6oz Coconut (15%), 2 oz Cocoa Butter (5%), 6oz Shea Butter (15%), 2oz Castor oil (5%), 4oz Glycerin (10%), 1.7oz Fragrance.
I really like the combinations of these oils/butters for a shaving soap. Any idea as to what I’m doing wrong? The only thing I’ve come up with is maybe mixing to fast causing the Stearic acid to cool to fast.
Also, can I rebatch this last failure I made today or is this a lost cause?
I have noticed that your oils only add up to a total of 80% oil weight (as you listed them above). Now if you plug these ounces listing into the Soapmaking Friend
Calculator you get a 60% for the stearic acid, which then comes out to 100%. You cannot count glycerin as an oil... it isn't, but it is still used in the after cook process of when the scenting oils are added. This is where glycerin works best as a post-process additive. I suggest you use 40% stearic acid and 20% Beef Tallow. It's an excellent fat for shave soap, just check the labels on the most popular men's shave soaps that have been around for over 100 years.
Your water to lye ratio is roughly 2.65 / 1 ratio which is nearly spot on. I use a 2.6 / 1 ratio myself. I do add an extra ounce (28 grams) of distilled water to compensate for evaporation loss during the blending, it's only 2 tablespoons but a loss does occur and I size my batches to make 6 - 7 oz. jars of the shave soap so the extra ounce of water makes them come out exact for that amount I'm making.
It looks like you are using the recipe from the Holly's Soapmaking YouTube video: Making Dual Lye Shaving Soap | Modified Cold Process Metho
d. That is an EXCELLENT video as long as one follows it to the "T". It has worked nearly every time for me with one exception... too cool of mixture of oils and lye water.
I use a lye concentration of 26% or a 2.85:1 ratio in the Soapmaking Friend
Calculator. As Dee Ann correctly pointed out, your water amount is too low for the amount of oils you're using.
From the calculator:
|Liquid Required||20.01 oz||567.33 g|
|NaOH Weight at 99 % Purity ||2.75 oz||77.9 g|
|KOH Weight at 90 % Purity ||4.28 oz||121.43 g|
|Total Weight of Lye ||7.03 oz||199.33 g|
Keep the oils at around 170-180° F and the lye water too. SLOOOOWLY stir in the lye water, about a 1/4 cup at a time, I use a silicone spatula. If you take your time it will not volcano on you, but it may come close. I use a glass cooktop oven and keep the pan on the hot area even though the burner is turned off, I am using the extra heat available to maintain the fluidity of the mixture.
It will go from an applesauce appearance to the mashed potato appearance... but keep blending and stirring, don't stop. Eventually it will progress to a glossy smoother appearance much like taffy or homemade cooked pudding (Only thinner). Continue a little longer but don't let it get too thick or stiff. Remove the blender and scrape off as much of the mixture as you can with the spatula. Then add the glycerin and your scenting oils and SLOOOOOWLY incorporate them into the soap mixture. NEVER ADD THE SCENTING OILS while mixing in the previous stage of blending, they will cause the mixture to more than likely seize or thicken rather quickly. For mixing in the glycerin and scenting oils I use a cheap hand mixer with the "dough hooks" attached, starting on the lowest speed and working my up to about speed 3 or 4, and continue until the entire mixture is homogeneous in appearance and texture (it will be like slightly fluffed cooked pudding).
It is easily scooped out and put into a mold or jars, which I use. The key is to keep the mixture as warm as possible throughout the entire process.