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EO Before Lye?

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Silver

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Dear soap makers!
I recently came across a number of entries saying that some soap makers add their fragrance to the oils before they add their lye, as opposed to adding the fragrance at trace. One in particular who seems to be doing so is Auntie Clara as I have read on her blog. I have also read on this forum that it does not seem to diminish the scent of FO, but what about the EOs? Will the lye eat through the EO if you add it to the oils before the lye, or will it have no impact on the strength of the scent?
Many thanks,
Silver
 

Susie

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I routinely add my EOs to my oil before my lye. I have no problems losing scent with anything other than citrus EOs, which are notorious faders in CP soap. EOs do not have fatty acids to saponify with NaOH, so they don't get eaten by the lye monster.
 

DeeAnna

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"...Will the lye eat through the EO if you add it to the oils before the lye..."

It's a pretty common -- but incorrect -- belief that adding an ingredient to soap at trace will prevent the lye from affecting that ingredient. At trace, the lye is still very reactive and will be for hours more. It really doesn't make any difference whether you add ingredients up front or at trace. If it makes you feel better to add an ingredient at trace, you aren't doing any harm, but you're not really accomplishing much either.

The only way you can ensure the lye does not react with an ingredient is to do a hot process method and add the ingredient after the cook.

I agree that EOs do not saponify, but lye does react with some chemical constituents in EOs. The esters in lavender EO would be one example. Robert Tisserand interviewed Kevin Dunn in 2011 about this issue. Here's a link: http://roberttisserand.com/2011/06/essential-oils-in-soap-interview-with-kevin-dunn/ I can't get Tisserand's website to load for me this morning, but I'm pretty sure this is the right link for this interview.
 

green soap

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A while back I started adding all my EOs to the oils and blending them very well before adding the water/lye solutions.

For the well behaved ones like mints, eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree, etc it makes little difference. For the 'mean' ones like clove, cinnamon leaf, ylang ylang, it makes a world of difference at least in my experience. Difference between ricing/seizing/soap-on-a-stick or a fairly well behaved albeit fast tracing batter.

I have not noticed any changes in scent retention based on adding EOs to the oils before the lye. I do notice scent retention differences with soaping temperatures though. For me cooler is always better.
 

shunt2011

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I too pretty much always add the EO/FO to my oils before the lye mixture. I've found it gives me adequate time to do what I want to do. The only time I do it after is with fast movers that I hand stir into my batter and pour fast.

It's been a lifesaver as far as never forgetting to add my fragrance.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree, Shunt. Adding the scent (whether FO or EO) to the oils is my choice too. I can be very absent minded at times, and this method creates a good, consistent routine for me -- less chance for mistakes!
 

Susie

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I started adding mine before the lye after forgetting the EO a couple of times. This keeps me from forgetting.
 

Silver

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Thank you everyone very much for your insight and replies! This clarifies everything. I will also start adding the EO's to the oils before the lye from now it, it seems like the most convenient way of going about it.
 
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