Fixing Liquid Soap Separation

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SudsyKat

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Me again! I'm still poking around with my liquid soap, trying to see what I can do with it. I made my first batch and it's separating. I have some ideas - can you let me know if you think any of this will work? (By the way, just for background - after over an hour of on and off stick blending, I still had not reached anything close to a taffy stage, so I gave up and figured it wasn't going to get any better. I started cooking it - I still got a very translucent paste and kept cooking that for about 2 hours. Total cooking time was close to 4 hours)).

So, my ideas are:

1. I've heard that alcohol can act as an emulsifyer (I have no idea how much, what temperature, or how exactly to use it).
2. I could purchase a real emulsifyer like sorbitan stearate, polysorbate 60 or polysorbate 80. I saw these suggested at http://www.makingcosmetics.com/troubleshooting-19.html. I don't really know how to use these, but I'm willing to try anything.

I figure this is a good learning experience.

Here are my ingredients:


(41%) Olive Oil 6.175 oz (175.058 g)
(20%) Sunflower Oil 3 oz (85.049 g)
(13%) Coconut Oil 2.03 oz (57.55 g)
(20%) Castor Oil 3 oz (85.049 g)
(6%) Palm Oil 0.88 oz (24.948 g)
Total Oils: 15.085 oz (427.653 g)
Water 5.732 oz (162.508 g)
KOH – 2.888 oz (81.867 g) (3% Superfat)
Thanks for your help!
 

agriffin

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Hey SudsyKat!

Is this the statement you are going off of?

"My soap separates
Cause: Understirring or the lack of a stabilizing emulsifier are the most frequent causes why liquid soap broths separate in the double boiler.
Solution: Keep stirring your emulsion until it thickens to a viscid consistency. To make your emulsion permanently stable, add some alcohol or, even better, a true emulsifier like sorbitan stearate, polysorbate 60 or polysorbate 80."

If so this refers to the initial combination of the lye solution with the oils. Not after it is done.

You can add alcohol or glycerin to help with your initial combination to help you reach emulsion. THis is for the paste.

To be honest, I would just start over. You've already diluted and judging by your picture in the other thread...there was a major layer of something...whether it was unsaponified oils or who knows. But something definitely went wrong. I would concentrate your efforts on a new batch.
 

SudsyKat

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Thanks so much, agriffin. Yes, I was referring to that part you quoted. That's probably good advice, to just move on. 1. Do you think this batch is worth keeping as it is - just using the "you have to shake it up first" method?

2. What do you suppose caused this? I'm thinking maybe you have to have a fair amount of heat to help bring the mixture to trace. The snowdrift farms instructions indicate that you bring the mixture to trace (and it would be fairly warm - I think mine started at about 125 degrees), and THEN you turn on the slow cooker. However, I'm thinking that since it was taking forever and I had gone over an hour without reaching the taffy stage, maybe the mixture had cooled down so much that it wouldn't emulsify properly. 3. Or maybe adding the xantham gum caused the problem (I didn't observe whether or not it was separating before I added the gum).

One interesting lesson learned is that you can get to the translucent paste stage and still have separation in the final product. Then again, if the xantham gum was the culprit, the final product may have been okay otherwise.

I'll do another batch once I get some insight into how to avoid this in the future. Thanks again - you've been very generous with your time. :)
 

agriffin

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I'm making some liquid soap right now...taking a ton of pics...and I'll do a tutorial.

There's so many factors that could have caused it. I would just move on to your next batch. If you're getting the same results then try more to figure out what went wrong.
 

M.Leffew

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I stumbled on this thread trying to figure out why my own liquid soap is separating... I didn't use a slow cooker as I don't have one or the counter space for one. I used the hot process method I found on Humblebee&Me. I dissolved the soap paste I hot distilled water and it seemed to sort of foam. I let that sit over night (covered) and then added some soap safe fragrance to it at the lowest percentage recommended by candlescience only to have it thicken back into paste. I then added more distilled water(an oz or so at a time) and thinned it out. My soap looked a little like foam but thicker, so I bottled it. When I got up this morning I found that it has separated into half foam half shower gel... not sure what to do here...
 

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I stumbled on this thread trying to figure out why my own liquid soap is separating... I didn't use a slow cooker as I don't have one or the counter space for one. I used the hot process method I found on Humblebee&Me. I dissolved the soap paste I hot distilled water and it seemed to sort of foam. I let that sit over night (covered) and then added some soap safe fragrance to it at the lowest percentage recommended by candlescience only to have it thicken back into paste. I then added more distilled water(an oz or so at a time) and thinned it out. My soap looked a little like foam but thicker, so I bottled it. When I got up this morning I found that it has separated into half foam half shower gel... not sure what to do here...
This is an old thread (I've never even seen these members post since my joining several years ago, not sure if they are still active), so you would do better to post your question in a new thread. To answer your question though, it just looks like you haven't diluted it enough. It doesn't really appear to be a separated layer of oils or anything. You could try adding poly 80 too, it didn't register to me that you added fragrance...so add half the amount of poly as your fragrance and that may help too. (Still looks like it just needs more water from the picture though)
 

M.Leffew

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This is an old thread (I've never even seen these members post since my joining several years ago, not sure if they are still active), so you would do better to post your question in a new thread. To answer your question though, it just looks like you haven't diluted it enough. It doesn't really appear to be a separated layer of oils or anything. You could try adding poly 80 too, it didn't register to me that you added fragrance...so add half the amount of poly as your fragrance and that may help too. (Still looks like it just needs more water from the picture though)
thank you! This is my first ever batch of liquid soap so it's new territory for me
 
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