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Beth

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Hello, I have been reading threads in most of the forums here for a while now, and I think it is time to make it official.
Soapmaking is my new craziness, and as all of my crafts obsessions, I already spent more than I should in supplies. But it is the first time I use one of my crafts in the shower. I decided to make soap after I asked few sellers in several farmers market if their soap had lye in it (I thought I had allergy to it), and they would say “NO!!” Which is a big lie, right? Every time I heard the no, it would not settle well with me because I grew up knowing that every soap has lie in it (and why I used liquid shower soap instead of a bar). So, after my husband insisted that he wanted an artisan soap instead of a liquid soap, I decided to do some research and look for a soap that would meet “my needs.” Needless to say, I was hooked after my first reading (thanks Soap Queen).
Then I made my first soap after six months reading about the soap process, oils properties, safety measures, difference between fragrances and essential oils, and type of safe colors to use in soapmaking. After I used 0.5oz of my expensive EO, and I evaporated in the gelling process, I decided that I would make unscented soaps. So far, only my coffee bar is scented with coffee oil that I made myself.
I had one failed batch that taught me so much. I tried to make a Charcoal soap adding clay to it. The mixer I was using was not strong enough and not all the oils saponified, and I also added a bit more charcoal than the recipe asked. The result was a soap that had streaks of lye in the middle, which I thought it would go away after six weeks. I decided to re-batch the soap and add it to a half-pound soap recipe. It worked perfect, but I had a super-fat, and soft, soap that was black like tar. A month later, I decided to do another re-batch adding another half-pound soap recipe, but I decided to add colloidal oatmeal and roasted oats to it. Now I have a moisturizing soap that makes a mess in the shower (roasted oats falling from it), but it feels good on my skin. However, it dries my face too much, so I can only use it for hand or body. After reading a thread here about curing time, I decided to allow all of my soaps to cure for six months before using it.

My first collection.jpg My 1st two soaps.jpg Charcoal fail.jpg
By the way, to mix my oils I bought one of those paint mixers that can be attached to a drill. What a difference it makes when mixing the soap!!
 

IrishLass

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Welcome, Beth! Your soap looks lovely!

You probably know this by now, but once a properly made soap is fully saponified, there is no more lye in it....it has all chemically reacted with the oils and turned into the completely different substance we know as soap. That's most likely why the folks at the farmers market were answering your question of whether their soap had lye in it with a 'no'. Although they may have made it with lye, there is no more lye in it once properly saponified. Or, it's possible their soaps could've been melt & pour syndet bars made with synthetic detergents instead of lye.

For what it's worth, you can always tell whether a soap has been made with lye if the ingredients list things such as sodium cocoate, sodium palmate, sodium tallowate, sodium olivate, ect..... all of those names are the technical nomenclature of the specific type of soap created by reacting lye with specific oils. For example, sodium cocoate is the type of soap you get when you react lye with coconut oil, sodium palmate is soap made by reacting lye with palm oil, sodium tallowate is soap made by reacting lye with tallow and sodium olivate is soap made by reacting lye with olive oil, etc... On other labels you might see the term "saponified oils of...." instead, which is another way of saying the soap was made by reacting lye with oils.


IrishLass :)
 

TheGecko

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Hello, I have been reading threads in most of the forums here for a while now, and I think it is time to make it official.
Soapmaking is my new craziness, and as all of my crafts obsessions, I already spent more than I should in supplies. But it is the first time I use one of my crafts in the shower. I decided to make soap after I asked few sellers in several farmers market if their soap had lye in it (I thought I had allergy to it), and they would say “NO!!” Which is a big lie, right? Every time I heard the no, it would not settle well with me because I grew up knowing that every soap has lie in it (and why I used liquid shower soap instead of a bar). So, after my husband insisted that he wanted an artisan soap instead of a liquid soap, I decided to do some research and look for a soap that would meet “my needs.” Needless to say, I was hooked after my first reading (thanks Soap Queen).

Is it a lie? If you asked me if I made soap with lye (sodium hydroxide) I would say 'yes'. If you asked me if there was lye in my soap, I would say 'no'...and I would NOT be lying for the reasons @IrishLass gave. And while ALL 'soap' is made with lye, 'cleansing bars' and 'beauty bars' are not...which is why they aren't called 'soap'.

Then I made my first soap after six months reading about the soap process, oils properties, safety measures, difference between fragrances and essential oils, and type of safe colors to use in soapmaking. After I used 0.5oz of my expensive EO, and I evaporated in the gelling process, I decided that I would make unscented soaps. So far, only my coffee bar is scented with coffee oil that I made myself.

My understanding is that the majority of EOs have a boiling point of between 200-300F and while soap can get fairly hot during the saponification process, mine hasn't exceeded 160F. But I don't use additives that could potentially raise the temperature of the soap. From my experience, many manufacturers have an EO or FO calculator which will let you know how much you should use to get a light, medium or strong scent and/or how much you can safely. Not all EO/FOs are equal. You might have paid big bucks for an EO that wasn't of high quality to begin with or you might not have used enough or your combination of oils might have changed or masked the original scent.

I had one failed batch that taught me so much. I tried to make a Charcoal soap adding clay to it. The mixer I was using was not strong enough and not all the oils saponified, and I also added a bit more charcoal than the recipe asked. The result was a soap that had streaks of lye in the middle, which I thought it would go away after six weeks. I decided to re-batch the soap and add it to a half-pound soap recipe. It worked perfect, but I had a super-fat, and soft, soap that was black like tar. A month later, I decided to do another re-batch adding another half-pound soap recipe, but I decided to add colloidal oatmeal and roasted oats to it. Now I have a moisturizing soap that makes a mess in the shower (roasted oats falling from it), but it feels good on my skin. However, it dries my face too much, so I can only use it for hand or body. After reading a thread here about curing time, I decided to allow all of my soaps to cure for six months before using it.

Okay. Activated Charcoal is not a clay...it's powdered carbon that has been heat processed to 'activate' it. The carbon comes from burning bamboo, coconut husk, willow peat, wood, coir, lignite, coal, etc....think ashes. You don't need a mixer or stick blender to make soap...you can use a spoon or a whisk...it'll take longer, but it's how soap was made for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. Key to making soap is emulsification; that is the point where your oils and water will not separate. Light Trace is the recommendation...it's when the lye is starting to bind with your emulsified liquid. As long as you achieve light trace, you know that your oils and water have emulsified and will not later separate.
 

Beth

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@IrishLass and @TheGecko, thanks for the feedback. I reread my thread and I think I should add a little note to it...

What I meant and failed to say is that I would ask the person selling the soap if it was made with lye, not if the soap had lye in it. Yes, there is a significant difference between the two questions, but no one ever gave me the correct answer to my question. However, if they did, I would be buying soap from them and not making my own.

About the essential oils: I used Yong Living essential oil, and I have no idea what its boiling point is. I just know that I expected a scented soap, but it was not. I have a scale that weighs up to 4oz, so I am positive I put the correct amount specified in the recipe.

About the charcoal soap: what I meant is that I added clay to the charcoal, not replaced it. I would call it a clay soap if it did not have charcoal in it.

About the stick blender: I remember seeing the housemaids making soap in my family farm when I was growing up. Nope, not doing that. I do not have their strong arms, and my old drill works well.

I will do a research on “cleansing bars” and “beauty bars,” as I thought they were soap.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.
 
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