First recipe - will it work?

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stephswan

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Hi Everyone!

Complete soap noob here - I have spent the last month watching youtube videos and reading books by Anne-Marie Faiola just to get familiar with all the lingo and science. The last of my ingredients (lye) is delivering on Wednesday so I will finally be able to start making my first soap, but before I start, I wanted to share my recipe and get any feedback.

I am using a 42oz silicone mold that I got off amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DCMMNL5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
and using Nature's Garden Candles FO in Asian Pear and Lily Fragrance or Bamboo Hemp. I don't really know what design I'm doing yet, probably just a 3 color swirl (using 3 different containers). Does this look alright to you? Is this recipe going to trace quickly making the 3 color swirl difficult? All feedback is highly appreciated - love that there is a forum full of people who love making soap and are open to helping others!

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Very excited to start this hobby!
 

SoapDaddy70

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You have to start somewhere so I would not get to caught up with the recipe. I will let more experienced people critique the recipe. What I would be more concerned with is that you are attempting a 3 color swirl for your first time making soap. A lot of people will suggest a very simple one color pour for your first time. So many things can go wrong attempting to mix 3 colors and do a swirl for your first time. Also, make sure you read the reviews for the fragrances you are using and make sure they do not accelerate trace. A lot of floral based fragrance oils have a tendency to accelerate trace. I am not trying to discourage you from trying what you want but it might be safer to go with something a little simpler for your first batch.
 

stephswan

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You have to start somewhere so I would not get to caught up with the recipe. I will let more experienced people critique the recipe. What I would be more concerned with is that you are attempting a 3 color swirl for your first time making soap. A lot of people will suggest a very simple one color pour for your first time. So many things can go wrong attempting to mix 3 colors and do a swirl for your first time. Also, make sure you read the reviews for the fragrances you are using and make sure they do not accelerate trace. A lot of floral based fragrance oils have a tendency to accelerate trace. I am not trying to discourage you from trying what you want but it might be safer to go with something a little simpler for your first batch.
Thanks for your feedback! My bf says the same thing about being too much of an over-achiever on my first attempt - I think I'm really going to need to listen to you guys.
 

Babyshoes

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Agreed, try a single colour for your first batch. I'm still fairly new myself so I can't give you too much feedback on the recipe, but I can tell you it will make soap! 😆
Probably a reasonable soap at that, the balance of oils doesn't look wildly unusual to me.

If you want to add a contrasting colour, consider mica in oil as a top decoration. You just mix up a very tiny amount of mica with enough lightweight oil to make it liquid, then drip or drizzle it on top. Run a skewer lightly through it to swirl. This was the top of my 4th batch ever...

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SoapDaddy70

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Also, make sure you read the reviews for the fragrances you are using and make sure they do not accelerate trace.
I just checked the Natures Garden website for both of the fragrances you are thinking of using and both of them say "slight acceleration" and the Bamboo Hemp says "Slight acceleration, stick blend and soap at cooler temps, slight ricing, separated but reabsorbs" These are not the type of fragrance oils you want to be using for a first time batch. Again, not trying to discourage you, but you want your first batch to be a relaxing pleasurable experience.
 

ImpKit

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If you are willing to wait for a new order, and you want a floral / plant-y fragrance, you might look at this:

I have a bottle of it (to be used this weekend in a soap for my mom, sisters, and nieces) and it smells very nice. My roommate, when presented with it (jokingly) demanded it was for him. lol. The soaping notes and reviews on it say no issues so it could be a good starter fragrance in that general family of fragrances.

As for your swirl... part of me agrees with everyone else saying a three color swirl might be a bit much. Part of me points out my own first soap, last summer, was a 3 color swirl... >_> I used a different recipe, one recommended by Katie Carson of Royalty Soaps. I've attached photos of the recipe I used and the outcome. It was peppermint scented.

These days I use shea butter in all of my soaps. They DEFINITELY trace faster than what the starter recipe I used did. That said... I find I don't like soaps without butters now... >_> So... I think for your first soap I would recommend making sure you have watched a lot of videos that tell you had to spot emulsion. I Dream in Soap, on YouTube, has a good video on that. And Soap & Clay has a video or two that talks about it. If you are set on doing swirls and cocoa butter, you DEFINITELY want to be sure you know how to only get to emulsion and not a step beyond it.

Edit to add: That recipe was designed to fit the EXACT mold you are using by the way. And it was enough that after filling the mold, it ALSO gave me some small tester soaps in a hexagon ice mold I had...
 

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Obsidian

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I have to ask why you came up with fractioned percentages instead of whole numbers? Its a while lot easier to weigh your amounts out when they are whole numbers.
 

ImpKit

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I have to ask why you came up with fractioned percentages instead of whole numbers? Its a while lot easier to weigh your amounts out when they are whole numbers.
I'm confused by this assertion. I'm also unsure about why stephswan went with percentages that aren't whole numbers; that's whatever though. I just don't see how weighing or measuring things out is easier or more difficult. Maybe it's because I have always used the grams measurements, not pounds or ounces. But unless you pick percentages and a total oil weight such that those percentages always come out an even / whole number of ounces... the final totals of each oil is still weighed out in partial ounces / pounds.

Am I missing something?
 

earlene

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The recipe looks okay. Is your skin young & healthy? Not sensitive or old (like mine)? I ask because, the amount of Coconut Oil would be too high for my skin, but might be just fine for yours. If your answer to question #1 is yes, then go for it.

It is a little larger batch than I recommend for beginners, but you already have the mold, and it's not a huge batch. If you can get your hands on a one-pound mold in the future, that's a nice size for small test batches. But in the meantime, go for it with the mold you've got.

I absolutely agree that one color or no added color is going to be a lot easier for a first time soap. If you use a stick blender, be careful not to over-use it. Minimal stick blending is better. You want to quit using it when the soap batter is like very thin pancake batter (if you know what that's like; not everyone makes pancakes, I know.)
And do be cautious about the fragrance you choose. Read the reviews for each of them on their websites. It's best to choose one with multiple reviews that verify it "behaves well" and does NOT say things like "accelerates" , "acceleration" , "ricing", "separation", "soap on a stick". "Discoloration" is okay, as long as you know ahead of time, so it won't surprise you; you would be prepared for a darker color as the soap cures. However if you want a soft pastel color, don't choose a discoloring fragrance. If you can't find reviews for a fragrance, ask here and if anyone here has experience with it, you may get some useful feedback.

You may have already done all the research you need to do, so forgive me if I am repeating what you already learned:

Assuming you are making this via the Cold Process method, make sure your oils are not too hot, but warm enough to keep the Cocoa Butter melted & clear; if it's warm enough for that, your CO (coconut oil) will also be clear. If you made your lye solution ahead of time and allowed it sufficient time to cool down, mix them together when they are close in temperature (simply a touch on the outside of the containers should tell you that.)

If your plan is to do Hot Process, of course, that's fine, too, but temperature precautions above are less a concern. Just watch it carefully so it doesn't volcano (stir it down if it does & turn off the heat.) I assume you are doing CP, though because of the lye concentration you chose (less water.)

I have to ask why you came up with fractioned percentages instead of whole numbers? Its a while lot easier to weigh your amounts out when they are whole numbers.
I'm confused by this assertion. I'm also unsure about why stephswan went with percentages that aren't whole numbers; that's whatever though. I just don't see how weighing or measuring things out is easier or more difficult. Maybe it's because I have always used the grams measurements, not pounds or ounces. But unless you pick percentages and a total oil weight such that those percentages always come out an even / whole number of ounces... the final totals of each oil is still weighed out in partial ounces / pounds.

Am I missing something?
I suspect she entered the ounces and with some tweaking of the formula to get the profile she was after, that soapcalc adjusted weights & percentages.

But true, scale accuracy and ease of weighing out ingredients is a factor to consider.
 

MGM

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I concur with the others: keep it simple the first time. I didn't: my first loaf had 3 colours and an unknown FO and guess what? It accelerated and got lumpy and was stressful and not as lovely a product as it could have been. There's a lot to be said for making an uncoloured, unscented soap for your first time. You'll have hundreds of batches to experiment once you get the idea of emulsion and trace and pouring and not forgetting steps and remembering all the safety stuff. I also agree that you may want a smaller batch, if you have a mould. And if you don't have a mould, try a milk carton!
 

stephswan

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Thank you all for the feedback - I'm going to relook at my recipe before I attempt my first batch. @Obsidian @ImpKit great question - lol, I have no idea how I got half percentages. I think I was trying to work backwards (I started with an xcel recipe before plugging it into the soap calculator). Will tweak it a little so they are whole numbers, just so it's a bit easier to work with. Thank you for calling that out!

@ImpKit - Your soap turned out so pretty! I'll definitely try that scent. I'm currently trying to try a different bunch of scents to see which are my favs. I actually took Katie Carson's soap recipe and added the cocoa butter (just for extra moisturizing) and I think I'm with you on always having butters in my recipe. Thank you for the youtube video recommendations too, i'm going to watch those before I attempt my first one.

@earlene thank you so much for your feedback. I don't have sensitive skin, but I would like a very moisturizing soap (we currently use Dove for sensitive skin), so I will be shaving back the CO. In terms of molds, I did also buy individual silicone molds (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GRHDX5T/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1), so I'm going to take your advice and start with those first. I just got so excited to cut them and see the surprise inside (I might be getting too ahead of myself). In terms for temperature, (yes, I'm trying cold press - I should have stated that in my original post) I was targeting 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (i'm hoping this is warm enough to keep the CB melted)- do you suggest I mix the Lye way before so it has time to cool?

Overall, I'm just so grateful for this community in sharing their feedback. Going to stick with 1 color and fragrance that does not accelerate - Just have to wait a little longer now to get some more ingredients. and also a smaller mold, just so I'm not "wasting" too much product - the time will come when I get to cut the loaf. I just have to be patient.
 

stephswan

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@MGM you are all right - I am just getting way ahead of myself. Better to have my first experience be a pleasant one so I will still be motivated to keep going lol. thank you for sharing your first soaping experience.
 

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