Fragrance oil addition - with the oils?

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mzimm

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Hi all,
I've been a fan of Soaping 101's YouTube videos (well, ANY soaping video, really---I confess I binge-watch them all!), and one remark that I hear frequently in her videos is, "to avoid surprises, we'll add our fragrance to our oils before adding our lye solution." I've posted this question to her website, but I'm pretty sure either the answer is buried somewhere in previous comments or she's too busy to respond, or both.
Now what exactly is she saying? I understand that FO's and/or EO's can wreak havoc on a batter, but can you really avoid them, or forestall them, by adding them to your oils? What's your experience been?
Today I made a batch of Soleseife, and just HAD to try one of Brambleberry's FO's, "Salty Mariner" in it, even though I 1) had never tried it before, 2) knew it had a reputation for seizing & ricing, and 3) had never made brine soap before. (Did I mention that I'm a bit of a risk-taker? :-? )
So I soaped pretty cool, strained the salt/lye solution, and mixed that FO into my oils first. It was pretty fast-going, but I did have enough time to do what I'd planned, which was an in-the-pot swirl with 2 colors. All-in-all a happy experience. The soap unmolded and was cut after 4 hours.
I tend to conclude that Soaping101's remark was on point, at least as far as my one experience supports. So how about your experiences---do they support or disprove it?
 

Seawolfe

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I have only tried it once, and my batch still ended up as a plop o' layers rather than a swirl - but who knows? Maybe it would have been worse if I added the FO later.

There has been a super great suggestion here (sorry I cant remember who), that if you have a known accelerator/seizer - use that to your advantage for clean layers. Get to emulsion, separate to different colors, then add your FO proportionately to ONLY the color you want to pour - mix fast, pour it in, make nice layer. Let it set a bit. Then add the FO to the next color and repeat. I thought that was genius.
 

dixiedragon

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I think it's because the FO is dispersed through the oils before you add the lye. Vs if you add the FO to the soap batter, you have it very concentrated in one spot.

Also, you are doing less mixing of the soap batter. Mixing speeds everything up. So if you blend the oils and FO together, then you can add the lye water, blend to light trace (or just to emulsion) and then pour, without having to further blend the lye batter by adding fragrance.
 

grassyriver

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I tried this the other day with a FO I've used many times without issue. Thought it might save me time and effort to just mix it in beforehand. My recipe set up so quick I was plopping it into my mold as fast as I could. I won't be trying that again.
 

mzimm

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There has been a super great suggestion here (sorry I cant remember who) said:
Seawolfe, that is an inspired suggestion! I have been wanting to do a "clean-layer-gradation" for some time, and think it would be a great - and safe - way to use those fast-movers.

I tried this the other day with a FO I've used many times without issue. Thought it might save me time and effort to just mix it in beforehand. My recipe set up so quick I was plopping it into my mold as fast as I could. I won't be trying that again.
grassyriver, I was wondering if that might be the case as often as not. And by "surprises," I suspect Soaping101 means that you'll find out sooner rather than later, which isn't usually much help at all! And to have it cause a quick move using a familiar FO that behaves otherwise, well that just ain't right.
 

shunt2011

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I've been doing it this way for quite awhile now. Generally have lots of time to swirl, layer or do more detailed things with my soap. The only time I don't do it is if I know it's a superfast mover and I want to swirl. I then separate out my batter and stir in the fragrance when I'm ready to pour. Plus, I never forget my Fragrance.
 

Muskette

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In my experience, adding the misbehaving FO to the oils first made the situation worse. I think it's because the FO was in contact with the batter for much longer than usual by the time I got my batter separated and colors blended in. I tend to take a while with the colors as I adjust shades and probably overmix them for fear of speckles. For me, it works better to separate, get the color right, and then whisk FO into each color just before pouring. I suppose it all depends on your design and how quickly you can get your colors blended. I soap at 40% lye concentration, so that may have something to do with it as well.
 

navigator9

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I've been doing it that way for a long time, and I do feel that I have more control of the situation. I like to add FO and color to the oils first, and stick blend really well. Then, when I add the lye, I'll know it's a fast mover if it immediately turns opaque, without ever stirring or stick blending. That's my sign not to stick blend at all, I'll usually take out the stick blender at that point and stir with my spatula. With most FOs, it probably doesn't matter, but with an unknown FO, or one known to accelerate, I think that it helps.
 

FlybyStardancer

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I find that it helps prevent ricing, though acceleration not so much. lol But if I have a really fast-mover, I'll add the FO to the oils, soap cool, and hand-wisk in the lyewater. That seems to help keep things in control (though I still don't go for multi colors!). I've also done it where I've taken advantage of accelerators to get nice layers, such as in the soap I made for the holiday swap last year.
 

fluffmuffin

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I almost always add the FO to the oils before adding lye--and like others have stated, if I know or suspect it will misbehave, I definitely stir by hand instead of stick blending to keep things under control. I also plan on a single color or ((very)) simple swirl and move quickly. Only took me one super ugly seized batch to be incredibly wary of adding any FO to emulsified batter. Ohhhh it still makes me sad!! It turned almost immediately solid and had weird brown chunks of what I assume was the FO. Yuck!
 

mzimm

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Then, when I add the lye, I'll know it's a fast mover if it immediately turns opaque, without ever stirring or stick blending. That's my sign not to stick blend at all, I'll usually take out the stick blender at that point and stir with my spatula. With most FOs, it probably doesn't matter, but with an unknown FO, or one known to accelerate, I think that it helps.
Navigator, I think you just answered my question about Soaping101's "surprises" remark. Having the FO in the oil already is what gives you the heads up as soon as the lye water hits the oils, and you can adjust your mixing method to accommodate the "surprise." Otherwise, you may be stuck with a batter already at or past trace that could then only get worse when you add the FO. Thanks for that insight!
 

cmzaha

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I have only tried it once, and my batch still ended up as a plop o' layers rather than a swirl - but who knows? Maybe it would have been worse if I added the FO later.

There has been a super great suggestion here (sorry I cant remember who), that if you have a known accelerator/seizer - use that to your advantage for clean layers. Get to emulsion, separate to different colors, then add your FO proportionately to ONLY the color you want to pour - mix fast, pour it in, make nice layer. Let it set a bit. Then add the FO to the next color and repeat. I thought that was genius.
I never mix accelerating fo's into my batch oils. I want my lye and oils to be just emulsified before adding in fo's especially known accelerators. I have tried that method and actually had the oils leak and do all things nasty that soap can do. Using a know accelerator does work very nicely with layers. Seperate your fo and only add to one layer at a time. Works great.

LOL, SeaWolfe your soapies usually are ploppy....
 

Obsidian

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I've tried this technique a few times with misbehaving FO's and it never helps. Now the only time I add the scent into the oils first is if I am using a very well behaved FO and am planning multiple colors, that way I don't forget FO in one of the colors.
 

Sujata

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this and had both seizing and ricing disasters with CPOP but just wondered if the hot process avoids this happening?

Sujata
 
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