Hello! My first batches and thank you!

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Steven

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My first post & Hello!

My soaping journey started after receiving a bar of soap as a gift. I tossed it in the cabinet, as I prefer LS, and rediscovered it during my SOs Marie Kondo journey a month ago. I figured we should use it (instead of tossing it in the bin - GASP!) and it was AMAZING. I had to know how it was made.

So I googled and I ended up here. Oh MY GOODNESS so much information. Thank you to all the posters who share volumes - Genny, Zany, Deb, Kiwi, Misschief, and those who I can't recall off the top of my head.

I acquired some tools (SB, scale, spatulas), some oils, and lye and made a mold out of a small amazon box and duct tape and got started. Below is the result of a few small batches <500G. Side note: has anyone noticed how soapcalc goes from 1 lb to 16 oz to 500G when you change the measurement. 500g is not equivalent to 16 oz - that can be misleading for a first timer!

------------

• Batch 1
- Intent was to aim for a milder bar by lowering the CO from a common recipe
CO - 24%, Palm - 32%, OO - 42%, Castor - 2%
Lye Ratio - 2.7:1 / SF - 5%
Lessons: How to use soapcalc, Soda Ash, Partial Gel, Any issue with old oils?

I cut the loaf after the second day and it was pretty soft still. The soda ash started with in the first 4 hours.
The oils and lye I used was given to me by a friend. I discovered after making the soap that the oils were (except for the palm) expired. The CO was orange on the bottom, the castor oil had little floating things at the bottom. I'm not sure if that had any impact on the final product. Curious what you all have to say.

Batch1.jpg


Batch2, 3, and 4 were poured into in a wooden liquor box mold that I separated into 3 parts with some cardboard. I used roughly the same base recipe but changed a few things for batches 3 & 4. Placed into the refrigerator after pouring the last batch for 24 hours.

• Batch 2 - trusty ol' bar of soap, my control soap, base recipe a little harder than above
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Soda Ash strikes again! Need to switch to 99% isopropyl and not spray as much?

• Batch 3 - trusty ol' bar of soap, but used a local stout beer instead of water
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
Beer!
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Cracking, Boiling down a dark beer smells delicious but even frozen beer cubes in lye stinks (do not inhale), AIR BUBBLES (?) really ruined this batch, Too much isopropyl alcohol

I boiled the beer for a good 20 minutes to get rid of the alcohol and it seemed like I removed the carbonation but perhaps I did not? My guess is that the lye/beer combination accelerated the trace and I am pretty sure I acccidentally introduced a ton of air with the SB the end result is what you see. I'm also curious if a more viscous addition like the beer makes it harder to get rid of those bubbles? It was a motor oil type of stout. Also it smelled DELICIOUS, very bread-y and sweet.

Batch3.jpg

• Batch 4 - trusty ol' bar of soap + fragrance
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
17g of essential oil + 10g of sweet avocado oil that I mixed my fragrance in
Rosemary, Tea Tree & Grapefruit
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Cracking, Too much 91% isopropyl alcohol, Stearic Acid Spots or air bubbles (I thought I mixed my melted Palm Oil really well)

I thought the fragrance smelled WAYYYYY to strong after pouring it into the mold. Yikes. But it has mellowed off to a nice scent. Next time I will use a base note, switch to peppermint for a slightly sweeter aroma, and use more grapefruit as I don't even get a hint of it over the rosemary, tea tree. I know top notes don't tend to stick around well. Perhaps try something to hold on to the scent? Any idea why the different color strands in the bar? Is that from being cut with a knife?

Batch4.jpg

-S
 
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IrishLass

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Welcome, Steven!

Steven said:
Side note: has anyone noticed how soapcalc goes from 1 lb to 16 oz to 500G when you change the measurement. 500g is not equivalent to 16 oz - that can be misleading for a first timer!

Yep....they need to fix that. Thankfully, they are at least the correct equivalents when you hit 'Calculate' and 'View or Print Recipe'



Batch #1: That's going to be a very cleansing/drying bar with the high amount of coconut oil and the 5% superfat (If it were me, I would have either gone lower on the coconut or higher on the superfat, but that's just me). The softness at unmolding was most likely due to the high amount of water you used and also the partial gel. Don't worry, it will cure out quite hard over time. The ash is also most likely due to parts of your soap being ungelled (ash and ungelled soap go hand in hand in my experience).

To avoid partial gel, encourage full gel by insulating your soap....or avoid gel completely by placing your freshly poured soap into the freezer.

RE: the oils.....if the stuff floating at the bottom of your castor oil is kinda greyish and cob-webby, no worries. Lots of folks experience seeing this (me included) and Taylor over at MMS solved the mystery of what it is: https://blog.thesage.com/2012/04/24/have-you-ever-seen-this/

With the coconut and the olive being expired, though your soap may eventually develop DOS ("dark orange spots", aka rancidity).

Batch #2: Spraying alcohol is a hit or miss affair. It never worked for me all that well with preventing ash. What does work for me is fully gelling my soap and not uncovering/unmolding until it is fully set and cooled off.

Fatty acid-wise, this batch is a tad bit softer than the first, although it should feel harder out of the mold because you used less water than you did in the first. And because it is less cleansing/drying it should feel more mild to your skin, but generally speaking, it is still fairly high on the cleansing scale. I don't know what your superfat % was, but for my own skin, I would need to go with at least an 8% superfat with this formula.

Batch # 3: I've only ever made 1 beer soap, so I'll leave this one to those more familiar using beer in soap.

Batch #4: Stearic acid spots come from soaping too cool. I soap my formulas that contain lots of fats/butters with a high stearic content no lower than 110F. Any lower than that, and I usually end up with stearic spots.


IrishLass :)
 
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I know others will chime in, too, but first... welcome to the addiction. I see you've jumped in with both feet. Well done!

I do get ash occasionally, especially with one or two of my regular soaps. I embrace it. It's purely cosmetic and doesn't affect the performance of the soap. I also never spray my soaps with alcohol; I consider it a waste of alcohol, really.

Irish Lass has already made some of the comments I was going to make so I won't make them. :)

When it comes to beer soap, or any soap really, go easy with the stick blender. There's no need to blend it into submission. I do make sure my beer is a) either very cold or b) partially frozen when I add my lye to it. I add the lye verrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyy slowly, making sure each addition is completely incorporated before adding the next bit. When adding the lye/beer solution to the oils, I mainly stir and only use the SB sparingly. It doesn't take long. It looks to me like you just got too much air into the batter.

All in all, for your first few batches.... well done. Now the true learning begins. Ask questions. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. I'm looking forward to seeing your further attempts.
 

Steven

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@Zing - I think I didn't execute quickly enough one way (full gel) or the other (no gel).

@IrishLass - You should've been included in the original post along with the other folks. I've read A TON of what you've shared as well. My sincere apologies, the recipe for batch 1 had the percentages for CO and OO switched. It's actually 42% OO and 24% CO. Must've been my head getting ahead of my fingers. I'll update it.

Good to know about the oils and I think (as I mentioned above to Zing), I'm getting a feel for the gelling or no gelling thing. My goal was to have the bar be fully opaque I just didn't expect the soap to gel so much at room temp. Now I know my baseline.

I'll have to do some more reading on water. In my first recipe the water was a 2.7:1 ratio and I thought the bar may have been a bit soft because of the higher water ratio. I read somewhere that 2.3 or even 2:1 is manageable so I tried that on the follow-up batches. You are right though, the last three batches were much firmer right out of the gate.

Also re: superfats. The batch 2 & 3 had a 5% superfat calc-ed into it. Batch 4 was probably a bit higher because I added the EOs that were chilling in 10g of Sweet Almond Oil which was not in my original base recipe for the batches. I didn't recalc the lye, just dumped it right in. Total oils for the batch w/o SAO was about 450g.

You say that you would need 8% superfat for this recipe. Now my gears are turnin - 1) I've heard at some point SFs will inhibit bubbles/lather - so is this just what you found to be a good compromise for your soap qualities? Did you try 10% and 5% or is this something that you've just conclude mathematically? 2) Do soapers do things to try and control the fatty acids that exist in excess? Is that even possible or is the superfatting always done across the board?

@Misschief - Thank you! I definitely poured the lye right into the frozen beer block. I'll try your technique next time! I'll also try easing in on the SB. I have the cheapie Hamilton beach one and I've been doing small batches and have found things come to trace in a VERY short time. I really can't tell the difference between the two buttons. They both seem like turbo mode. The plastic quart sized paint buckets are moving all about. It makes me a bit nervous. It may also blending up small bits of the bottom of the plastic bucket in the areas where it is raised. I need to find something else I'm more comfortable with to make my soap in that won't go scooting across the table. I'm left choosing to hold the SB with one hand and the bucket with the other, which leaves me with a not so sure grip on the SB OR both hands on the SB and a dancing bucket. Yikes!
 

Dawni

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I'll have to do some more reading on water. In my first recipe the water was a 2.7:1 ratio and I thought the bar may have been a bit soft because of the higher water ratio. I read somewhere that 2.3 or even 2:1 is manageable so I tried that on the follow-up batches. You are right though, the last three batches were much firmer right out of the gate.
Here's a good read on water, by our very own DeeAnna. And while you're there, that whole website has a ton of valuable info.

Welcome to the forum! Several of the members you mentioned haven't been on for a while but what they've left behind is a goldmine. A lot of good info is also added almost daily by our other "old-timers" like some of them call themselves lol. Looks like you did your research, with how your first batches turned out. Now you'll also get great advice when you need it. Your soap will only get better!
 

Steven

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@Dawni that is an excellent read! I was always wondering about the importance of the correlation between the amount of water and oils. When I switched to lye ratio to water for the last three batches it made WAY more sense to me. Thank you for sharing, very clearly stated and easy to follow.

@Deborah Long that's too many steps anyway! ;)
 
A

amd

Here's how I get the most consistent results with beer:
1. Boil for 10 minutes. My husband found a sciency article in one of his brewing magazines regarding "cooking off" alcohol. The article stated that it is impossible to boil off 100% of the alcohol. Boiling for 10 minutes will remove 70-80% of the alcohol, 15 minutes 85% and 20 minutes 90%. After 20 minutes was minute changes, so boiling for longer doesn't really matter. [Article paraphrased by me.] 70-80% is good enough for me to make my beer "safe" to add lye solution - e.g. the beer doesn't try to volcano out of the pitcher when I add the lye.
2. Chill beer in fridge over night. I am not a fan of adding lye to anything frozen. I have neither the patience or faith to make sure it is mixed properly. Mostly the lack of patience. Add lye to beer. Throw a rag over the top of the lye pitcher and let it sit until the next day or until it is 80°F (if I'm being impatient and want to make soap the same day). I can do this because I have a separate soaping space from our living spaces so I don't have to worry about other people. You can use an ice bath/cool water bath to cool the lye to 80°F if you want.
3. Heat oils to "just warm" and somewhat liquidy. My recipe is 65% hard oils so as long as I can pour it without it being chunky I'm good.

I tried beer soap a lot of ways, and this was what worked best for me. If my lye solution was hot, everything moved way too fast to get any kind of colors, swirls etc done. I found 80°F to be the highest temp I could use and keep the batter nice and fluid.
 

Steven

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@amd - I read a similar thing about boiling alcohol. This was a high percentage barrel aged beer (14.3%) and I was just being overly cautious.

When you mentioned mixing lye into something frozen, have you found it take extra time to properly mix? When I added mine to the frozen beer cube it didn't take much time (although maybe my impatience was what caused my problem!), I just dumped it in, stirred it, and then sat it out on the balcony. It was actually around 80 degrees when I went to add it to the oils. I ended up putting it in my hot water bath (instant pot!) to bring the temp back up a bit to be closer to the oils, which were hovering around 114. Based on what I'm reading some people appear to argue that it completely unnecessary!

Have you added any EOs to your beer soap that you were particularly fond of? My beer soap smells like a dark sweet bread (amazing!) and I'm trying to think of scents that would compliment it well. Maybe something woody and something sweet. Can't wait to try another batch of this. Already thinking of bumping up the superfats, being careful with the SB, and a little EO.
 
A

amd

When you mentioned mixing lye into something frozen, have you found it take extra time to properly mix?
I've only tried it once, and it was such a mess. I couldn't get the lye to dissolve and my ice cubes had clumped into one big block that was impossible to stir. I gave it a good try for about 5 minutes (I've mentioned my impatience, yes?) and then said I would never mess with frozen stuff again. Glad you got yours to work!

Have you added any EOs to your beer soap that you were particularly fond of?
I don't use very many EO's (they're expensive and very few of them stick in soap for a long haul). One mix that I do like is Spearmint:patchouli at 4:1 although I haven't tried it in a beer soap. Dark Patchouli would be nice by itself in a beer soap.
 
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Welcome! You jumped in with both feet. I admire your courage to try Beer soap this soon. I waited almost a year and a half because it scared me and I HP Only and there isnt a ton of HP Beer soap info out there.

**Step number 1 - Admit that you will never have enough shelving and that your soaping space has become unmanageable.
 

Rogue-Soaper

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Welcome Stephen. You really did jump in with both feet. Congratulations.
Yes, there are really great soapers here who are willing to help everyone. As for the addiction part, sorry but I think most of us are enablers.
 

Cherrydene soapy

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My first post & Hello!

My soaping journey started after receiving a bar of soap as a gift. I tossed it in the cabinet, as I prefer LS, and rediscovered it during my SOs Marie Kondo journey a month ago. I figured we should use it (instead of tossing it in the bin - GASP!) and it was AMAZING. I had to know how it was made.

So I googled and I ended up here. Oh MY GOODNESS so much information. Thank you to all the posters who share volumes - Genny, Zany, Deb, Kiwi, Misschief, and those who I can't recall off the top of my head.

I acquired some tools (SB, scale, spatulas), some oils, and lye and made a mold out of a small amazon box and duct tape and got started. Below is the result of a few small batches <500G. Side note: has anyone noticed how soapcalc goes from 1 lb to 16 oz to 500G when you change the measurement. 500g is not equivalent to 16 oz - that can be misleading for a first timer!

------------

• Batch 1
- Intent was to aim for a milder bar by lowering the CO from a common recipe
CO - 24%, Palm - 32%, OO - 42%, Castor - 2%
Lye Ratio - 2.7:1 / SF - 5%
Lessons: How to use soapcalc, Soda Ash, Partial Gel, Any issue with old oils?

I cut the loaf after the second day and it was pretty soft still. The soda ash started with in the first 4 hours.
The oils and lye I used was given to me by a friend. I discovered after making the soap that the oils were (except for the palm) expired. The CO was orange on the bottom, the castor oil had little floating things at the bottom. I'm not sure if that had any impact on the final product. Curious what you all have to say.

View attachment 36587


Batch2, 3, and 4 were poured into in a wooden liquor box mold that I separated into 3 parts with some cardboard. I used roughly the same base recipe but changed a few things for batches 3 & 4. Placed into the refrigerator after pouring the last batch for 24 hours.

• Batch 2 - trusty ol' bar of soap, my control soap, base recipe a little harder than above
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Soda Ash strikes again! Need to switch to 99% isopropyl and not spray as much?

• Batch 3 - trusty ol' bar of soap, but used a local stout beer instead of water
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
Beer!
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Cracking, Boiling down a dark beer smells delicious but even frozen beer cubes in lye stinks (do not inhale), AIR BUBBLES (?) really ruined this batch, Too much isopropyl alcohol

I boiled the beer for a good 20 minutes to get rid of the alcohol and it seemed like I removed the carbonation but perhaps I did not? My guess is that the lye/beer combination accelerated the trace and I am pretty sure I acccidentally introduced a ton of air with the SB the end result is what you see. I'm also curious if a more viscous addition like the beer makes it harder to get rid of those bubbles? It was a motor oil type of stout. Also it smelled DELICIOUS, very bread-y and sweet.

View attachment 36589

• Batch 4 - trusty ol' bar of soap + fragrance
CO- 32%, Palm - 32, OO - 32%, Castor - 4%
17g of essential oil + 10g of sweet avocado oil that I mixed my fragrance in
Rosemary, Tea Tree & Grapefruit
Lye Ratio - 2.3:1
Lessons: Cracking, Too much 91% isopropyl alcohol, Stearic Acid Spots or air bubbles (I thought I mixed my melted Palm Oil really well)

I thought the fragrance smelled WAYYYYY to strong after pouring it into the mold. Yikes. But it has mellowed off to a nice scent. Next time I will use a base note, switch to peppermint for a slightly sweeter aroma, and use more grapefruit as I don't even get a hint of it over the rosemary, tea tree. I know top notes don't tend to stick around well. Perhaps try something to hold on to the scent? Any idea why the different color strands in the bar? Is that from being cut with a knife?

View attachment 36590

-S
Welcome to this great forum I am new to soap making and have found my extended family with all these lovely people. Have a look at the soap cal linked to this forum soapmakingfriend.com it is so easy to use. Happy soaping :)
 

Hawksquill

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Love the way you framed things going unexpected or awry as "lessons"! I'm curious about the percentage of rosemary to tea tree to grapefruit that you used...I'm considering a batch of CP with exactly those EOs (or possibly just rosemary and tea tree) and was surprised to read that they didn't come through at all for you.

I was planning to use the recommended .5 oz of EO per pound of oils that I've seen recommended online for both rosemary and tea tree, with perhaps a bit more of the rosemary, maybe .6 oz. Would you recommend bumping this up a bit to try to get the scents to come through?

I'm new here too, welcome and hope to see you around! :)
 

Steven

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@msunnerstood So true. the bars are sitting in a cardboard box that is used for craft beer cans. Highly recommend them as they can be stacked, have handles, are made from recycled paper, and are recyclable!

@Hawksquill I used 11g Rosemary, 3g Tea Tree, 3g of Grapefruit (all EOs). The bars are smelling nice now, but I haven't tested any in water. I still cannot smell any grapefruit and I don't expect that to change. For some context, I am fairly sensitive to scents and find most perfumes and colognes to be off putting - I get headaches. So my personal preference is to be on the more subtle end of the spectrum. When I make another batch I'm going to reduce the rosemary, possibly switch to peppermint, and consider a base note. I found the tea tree to be medicinal smelling (vick's vapor rub) at first but it has mellowed a bit. I've read that for citrus EOs (largely considered top notes) you need EOs that are X5 + folded if you want the scent to "stick" in the bar. I'm guessing that means my grapefruit EO doesn't have much potential for sticking around. I could bump up the amount and see what happens. If I do that, I'll post an update.
 
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