Fluid Shave Soap

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Hoping one of you very knowledgeable soapers can help with my problem.

I've been making shaving soap for a while and have been trying to get it to be more fluid after cooking, but still harden up enough after cure to hold it's shape. Doesn't have to be rock hard. I'm ok with a soft puck that squishes when you squeeze. :)

I've seen youtube video's where they actually "pour" the soap into the mold ... I'm lucky if I can squish it into a mold.

Can I just add more water? That would certainly make it more fluid, but how long would it take to harden enough to get it out of a mold with extra water?

Does anyone have any tips or advise?

Here's my latest recipe:
25% lye concentration Liquid to lye - 3:1
naoh/koh - 40/60

1628716127063.png
 
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Free (not chemically bound) stearic acid will react instantaneously with lye to form hardly soluble soap. That's kind of what you want in the end, but it's indeed impractical to work with in a HP workflow. A neat trick is to not use free stearic acid, but chemically bound. Common sources are tallow, cocoa/shea/kokum butter, palm stearin, or (best) soy wax.

Adding water will not change much. You might consider adding sodium lactate, it can really help keep HP batter more fluid, and makes the final soap a bit harder.

Do you add extra glycerol?
 
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Free (not chemically bound) stearic acid will react instantaneously with lye to form hardly soluble soap. That's kind of what you want in the end, but it's indeed impractical to work with in a HP workflow. A neat trick is to not use free stearic acid, but chemically bound. Common sources are tallow, cocoa/shea/kokum butter, palm stearin, or (best) soy wax.

Adding water will not change much. You might consider adding sodium lactate, it can really help keep HP batter more fluid, and makes the final soap a bit harder.

Do you add extra glycerol?

Hmm ... interesting concept. I hadn't really thought about trying to get stearic high enough with regular fats. I think I'll trying playing with the calculator to see how it looks. :)

I have adopted the @DeeAnna method of creating shave soap. I melt the stearic separately and only add after hitting trace.

I do use sodium lactate, glycerin, and even yogurt to help with fluidity. But it doesn't help much. Maybe I need to add more?
1 tbs greek yogurt

Additives are for a 600g batch

1628727019082.png
 
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I did the Lindy cream soap with soy wax (or rather, the canola equivalent of it) (recipe/instructions), and it was infinitely easier to work with it than with free stearic acid (which is added in the recipe after most of the slow saponification reaction has been done).
Chemically a fat (triglyceride), soy wax brings some glycerol that doesn't have to be added afterwards.
It should be noted that all soy wax is not created equal, and many qualities aren't mostly-stearic, but more complicated – experiences do fill pages over pages.

Regarding the lactate/yoghurt, I have little experience with high-stearic soaps and how much one needs to achieve fluidity (if it's possible at all). My usual HP batches are rather low in hard oils, so these experiences aren't straightforward to transfer to shave soap. But it can't hurt to add more. 30 g sodium lactate should be still okay.
Honestly I don't know if lactate can cause a chalky appearance in HP soaps, but even if it does, it's not too bad for a shave soap – that isn't intended for direct skin contact anyway.
 
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Thanks @ResolvableOwl! I had not come across the Lindy Cream Soap, so reading the thread now. The pic she has of the soap right before whipping is exactly what my shave soaps looks like when it's time to mold. lol It's like a soft/sticky play doh.

I'm going to play with the calc a bit and see what I can come up with using hard fats/butters then make a small sample batch. I'll let you know if it works. :)
 

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