Glycerin rivers or soap?

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May 6, 2022
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Hi, I am quite new to cold process soap making and sometimes have trouble identifying if the transparent strokes in my soaps are due to glycerin rivers, air bubbles or just not enough colourants. I recently made a 2 layered soap with orange, yellow and white swirls at the bottom, and a pure white layer on top. Attached are the photos. As you can see, there are transparent streaks in at the bottom layer, as well as in between the 2 layers. The bottom layer is supposed to be a mixture of orange, yellow and white. However, the yellow colour is totally gone - presumably because I didn’t add enough colourants.

In this case, are the transparent streaks glycerin rivers or is it from the yellow layer or are they air bubbles? (The top layer was too traced when I poured so there might have been lots of air bubbles)

Any tips here will be very much appreciated, thank you!


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Definitely glycerin rivers. Which yellow colorant did you use? Who is the manufacturer (or your source)? Did you use the same measurement and equal portions of soap batter when you mixed your colors?

Some yellows are more prominent that others, and some colors can bleed or migrate. The same can be said for the orange, or perhaps it is my monitor. But to me the look is more like bacon with very little orange, more of a look of two shades of pinky meat streaks and the clear-ish bacon fat.

In any case the soaps look very nice, even if the result is not what you intended.
Thank you for all your advise! I didn’t know that yellow tends to disappear in cold process - it was very vibrant before the gelling phase! I used liquid pigment dispersions - yellow from Aussie Soap Supplies and orange from diff supplier. This is actually my 2nd batch. In the first batch, I used both colourants from the same supplier but the yellow disappeared too. Thought it was issue with the colourant, so I switched to Aussie Soap Supplies. I will be adding more yellow in the next batch!

There is a thick transparent straight line between both layers so I thought it might be air bubble or something. Is it common for a glycerin river to be so distinct and straight?
I was assuming mica was the colorant - I don't know about using a liquid pigment and the effect of gelling and fading. Sorry for any confusion.
No worries, what you said made sense too! I have made the same design twice and the yellow colour always disappears
Good looking soap there. When I get an unintended result, my trick is to call it "rustic." It's just a cosmetic thing and the soap will be fine.

Do any of your colorants contain titanium dioxide? TD can increase the chances of getting glycerin rivers, and soaping at high temperatures. Now I soap when all ingredients are at room temperature. I also change my lye solution. For the lye : lye+liquid, I use 32.5%. Do a search for Auntie Clara's to learn more.

I don't like the look, personally, unlike certain, how shall we say, eccentric Kiwis here. The good thing about when I got glycerin rivers was accidentally stumblin upon this Forum!

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