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First soleseife batch (first ever batch!), critiques please and thank you!

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Karyn

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Hi everyone!

I've made my very first batch of soleseife and I think I like it very much but since it's my first ever batch of any sort (woohoo!) I would love some feedback.

For starters, here's my recipe:
2.4 oz lye
4.37 oz 20% brine solution
5.29 oz coconut oil
10.58 oz olive oil pomace
.88 oz castor oil
.88 oz shea butter
a few drops of grapefruit seed extract
no fragrance or color added

I made these on 1/13, so that was about 10 days ago.
So, everything went according to plan with the mixing, even though I was nervous.
Trace was fairly obvious, thankfully.
I put the mixture into a 6 cavity silicone mold and the tops of the batter had little swirls on it because that's how congealed it was when I put it in the molds. It was pretty though and I wasn't exactly fighting the batter. It just ended up with waves or swirls on the top side.

I let the mold sit overnight and they were ready to come out the next day.
I set them upright on a parchment lined cookie sheet and they seemed pretty happy.
The next day there was a ton of rain and as they were already sitting in my drying closet (just without the dehumidifier and fans on) I decided to turn on the dehumidifier to about 44% and one of the fans on low.
At that point, they were already pretty hard.

I read a lot online about what 'curing' actually is and how to measure it and found a number of people advising to weigh the bars and they're cured when the weight stabilizes. My tester bar has been at 97 grams for a few days now (since when I started weighing them) and so according to the idea of stable weight = fully cured, they should be done? That can't be. It's been 9-10 days!

They're pretty little things! I washed my hands with one last night and liked it a lot.
Here are my questions/concerns...

1. Even though they're really hard and pretty, they just can't be cured in 10 days!!!

2. Half of the bars are perfect and the other half show a tiny little exterior hairline crack in a place or two. They really are tiny. I just pried at one pretty hard and got it to separate from the main body of the soap. It didn't just readily fall off without some force.
Did I harden it too quickly with the dehumidifier? Is that where the hairline cracks came from?
There are only a few, but I'd rather they not be there.
How would they affect the wear going forward? Will they always be a weak spot or would using them (adding water) allow them to self-heal?
If I shouldn't use the dehumidifier then I won't, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Also, I can't figure out how to tell when they're really cured, unless the weight idea is really the way to go. And, by the time I turned the dehumidifier on, they were already pretty hard and that was almost right away.

I love these soaps...just want to make them correctly! Thank you for any help :)
 
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dixiedragon

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Welcome to the forum! Pics?

I've never made soleseife, but I have made salt bars. The hairline crack might just be because the soap is a bit brittle - salt soaps tend to be. You may be able to push them back together if the soap is still relatively new and soft.

Nope, not cured at 10 days. I prefer 6-8 weeks. Some people here are adamant about curing salt bars for a year. I suggest you keep washing your hands with it once a week for 8 weeks or so, just to see how it changes.
 

amd

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Congrats on your first soap - and a soleseife! Side note: it's a bit more helpful to us if you can put your recipe as % oils along with the weights... some of us don't like to do math [this girl] and it helps us get a quicker answer to you. If you ran your recipe through a soap calc, the % should be readily available. That said... if I did my maths right...

Your water to lye ratio is 1.8:1, so there's less water to evaporate. Your weights may stabilize before the soap is really cured. I would give it at least 4-6 weeks just on principle. I cure mine for 8 weeks. Curing is more than water evaporation. Also, a few days in between weighings isn't enough time, the weight might still dropping, just at small increments outside of the decimals on your scale. So if on day one it weighs 4.8175 oz and your scale truncates to 4.81 oz, on day 3 it might weigh 4.8150 oz but your scale is still reading it at 4.81 oz. When I tracked my curing weights, I always had at least a week between weighings.
 

Dawni

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The weight stabilizing is probably just the excess water evaporating. That's the water part. The rest of the recommended weeks is for whatever chemistry that has to go on, to give you a great bar of soap.

If you like it now, wait a few weeks and I'm sure you'll love them! When I tested my first soleseife after only two weeks I was unimpressed but after 2mos they were lovely.

I have a theory but not sure if it has merit. Maybe the brittle-ness at this point, hence the hairline cracks, is water evaporating faster than the components of the soap having a chance to "bind" together? I've read here several instances where people got cracks but that's when they used loafs and it fractured while cutting.

Lols hopefully someone more knowledgeable will confirm or refute this.

Congratulations on your first soap! We want to see pics! :D
 
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