First two soaps-One success and one lesson learned

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by JJBlaine, Oct 23, 2019.

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  1. Oct 23, 2019 #1

    JJBlaine

    JJBlaine

    JJBlaine

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    As a new soaper, I really would like to thank the members of this board who so generously share their experience, opinions, and advice here. I have been lurking for a few months while gathering up my supplies (and courage) to try my hand at making my first soap(s). The amount of knowledge I have acumulated from browsing through the posts on this forum have been enlightening, encouraging, and invaluable. Thank you all so very much!

    About 3 weeks ago, I finally dived in and made my first two batches! Holy frijole! My first soap is the nicest bar of soap I have ever used! My second soap is not quite as nice as my first, but I did learn a few things. :)

    1&2-Test Batch & Oatmean Honey Buttermilk.jpg

    I decided on this recipe to start with. Even though I am thrilled with how my first batch turned out, I would love to hear suggestions for how I could build on and improve it. :)
    • 25% Olive Oil
    • 25% Soybean Oil
    • 20% Coconut Oil
    • 10% Shea Butter
    • 10% Cocoa Butter
    • 10% Castor Oil
    • 5% Superfat
    • 38% Water
    • No colorants or Fragrance
    I started using the first soap to wash my hands after about a week so I could see how it changes as it continues to cure. The lather is so bubbly and creamy. I have exceptionally dry skin, and as far as I can remember, my hands have always been horribly scratchy. After just a week of using this soap, my hands feel better than they have in 30 years! I cannot be more thrilled to not only have made my own soap, but to have my first batch turn out so awesome. :)

    I am a little less thrilled with my second soap. I had written down a recipe that called for a whopping 1/2 cup of ground oatmeal for a 100g batch. Even though I used the same recipe as above, I added that much oatmeal (which I ground myself)! Plus 2 TBSP honey, and 2 TBLSP Buttermilk Powder, thinking it would make the lather even more bubbly and creamy. As if it weren't enough, I added Oatmeal and Honey F.O. and decided to test cinnamon and cocoa powder as colorants.

    My mistakes:
    • I over-blended the batter, so I had to spoon plop it all into the mold.
    • I think all of my powdered ingredients soaked up the superfats, and negatively affected the bubbly and creamy qualities.
    • The cinnamon and cocoa powder both turned out to be almost the same color, so other than a learning experience, it was a waste of time and ingredients.
    • The oatmeal is quite scratchy, which I actually don't mind too much in a hand soap (just not as much of it), but definitely would not like in the shower.

    I am considering using the oatmeal soap for confetti in another soap to spread out all of that oatmeal.
     
  2. Oct 23, 2019 #2

    KiwiMoose

    KiwiMoose

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    These look great! Welcome to the addiction.

    Hey - you could make your own oatmilk ( https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/how-to-make-oat-milk) and then make an oatmilk soap with the 'oatmeal' soap as confetti, or chucks even. Be warned that the oatmilk goes gluggy when the lye is added so you will need to pass it through a sieve when adding to your oils.
     
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  3. Oct 23, 2019 #3

    runnerchicki

    runnerchicki

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    Congrats on your first two soaps!

    When I first started making soap I often overdid it on additives and found that I couldn't troubleshoot the recipe very easily because I was never sure what was causing whatever issues I had. Since you had success with one recipe, why not stick with that as a starting point and try adding one additive at a time and see what it adds to the soap? When I took this approach I was able to see what I liked and what I didn't much easier and I could also tell if there was a diminishing return if I added more of that same additive on a subsequent attempt.
     
  4. Oct 23, 2019 #4

    shunt2011

    shunt2011

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    Congratulations!! They both look good.

    Couple things, the dry ingredients won't soak up your superfat so no worries there. Also, when grinding your own oats I grind mine almost to powder. No scratchy.

    The only thing I see with your recipe is the soy bean oil, soy bean oil has a shorter shelf life than many oils. Anything with a short shelf life I don't recommend using over 10-15%. Unless it's HO.

    Also, your soaps are still curing so I would just let them rest and check them out again at a later date. They always get better with age. Some take longer than others. I make an Oatmeal Milk and Honey soap with Oats, honey and coconut or goats milk and add powdered milk as well and never have a problem with lather/bubbles.
     
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  5. Oct 23, 2019 #5

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    You’re off to a great start! I like the design of the oatmeal soap and find the colors and even the texture to be appealing. As mentioned above, you really don’t need much of most additives. I still have some trouble estimating and almost always wish I had used less. I guess less is more :)

    I rebatched or threw away some of my early batches and have come to really regret it. I’m missing the opportunity to learn how those soaps would have changed over time. If nothing else, I encourage you to cut some of the oatmeal soap into small pieces to use as testers. Some of my early soaps seemed very soft early on due to high soft oils but have become much harder and make wonderful rich bubbly lather 4-5 months later. Butter-rich soaps and soaps with 40% palm that seemed resistant to lathering for a couple of months are increasingly making rich, dense lather. I now put two of each soap I make away in a labeled paper bag to check in 6 months or a year.
     
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  6. Oct 23, 2019 #6

    TheGecko

    TheGecko

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    Congratulations!

    I'm still new to soaping myself and my first three months I had as many failures as I had successes and I hadn't yet found this forum. I view failures not as 'failures', but as 'opportunities to learn'.z

    Some things I have learned:

    1) Less is more. You don't need a gazillion oils/butters and/or a ton of different additives.

    2) Get a 1-lb mold. While a 2-lb mold isn't all that big, it's cheaper and less disheartening to lose a small amount of ingredients than a larger amount.

    3) Start small. I started with sample/trial sizes of colorants and scents. Yes it is more expensive in the beginning, but less so in the long run as you don't end up with quantities of stuff you don't like and/or don't work out. As an example, an 8 oz purchase of a FO that seized massively the first time I used it (I neglected to read the reviews) and not only tossed out 2lbs of ingredients, but a mixing bowl that was destroyed when I tried to chip the soap out. I lucked out though and learned to work with it.
     
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  7. Oct 23, 2019 #7

    JJBlaine

    JJBlaine

    JJBlaine

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    Thank you to all who took the time to reply, for the sage advice, and the wonderful encouragement.

    • KiwiMoose - Using oat milk sound downright decadent. I am definitely go to try it in my next batch!
    • runnerchicki - that sounds like wonderful advice. I definitely have to show a little more restraint sometimes, lol.
    • shunt2011 - Thanks for the tip on the Soybean oil...I did not realize it had a shorter shelf life. I'm glad to know I didn't lose my superfat, but such a massive quantity of powders definitely had an effect. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it improves over the next few weeks.
    • MobjackBay - Thank you for sharing your experiences, it is very encouraging. Even if I do decide to confetti the soap, I will keep a few bars set aside to see how they fare over time.
    • The Gecko - I prefer the term "unexpected results". That naughty FO made you a much better soaper than a hundred well-behaved ones ever would have! Great advice on the one lb loaf...Now that I have all my basic oils and tools, I think it will be my next purchase.
     
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  8. Oct 26, 2019 #8

    CatahoulaBubble

    CatahoulaBubble

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    I put my oatmeal in the blender til it's powdery for the soaps where I want to add the oatmeal but not have a coarse texture.
     

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