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Tina05

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I am new to soaping, well I have been making soap for about 4 months I would say, a rookie. Yesterday, I made these two batches (pics below) and the white part (water soluble Titanium Dioxide) was used, do you think what happened was related to the Titanium Dioxide? Thanks
 

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lsg

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It looks like glycerin rivers to me. Glycerin rivers are more visible when using dense colorants such as pigments,(titanium dioxide). Glycerin is a natural byproduct of soap making.
"When cold process soap gets too hot the glycerin can congeal, which makes the rivers more visible. If they’re thick or clustered in one section of soap, it can be softer than the rest."
 

Tina05

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It looks like glycerin rivers to me. Glycerin rivers are more visible when using dense colorants such as pigments,(titanium dioxide). Glycerin is a natural byproduct of soap making.
"When cold process soap gets too hot the glycerin can congeal, which makes the rivers more visible. If they’re thick or clustered in one section of soap, it can be softer than the rest."
Thank you, that’s what I thought.
 

SPowers

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I'm new too and the last 2 of my batches both had glycerin rivers. I'm trying to get a handle on it. Tina05 is right about the TD but I've also heard that a high water percentage can also cause it. I'm trying to get a handle on the whole 'gel' or not to 'gel' and whether to insulate or not. It's a learning process and this is a great learning forum.
 

DeeAnna

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It's not glycerin. I have no idea why the BB people are telling people this -- it's not correct. If the "rivers" were really glycerin, they'd be sticky and goopy, and despite what the BB people say, they're not.

Rivers are just soap that looks different. This is an esthetic issue that bothers some people and not others. Except for the appearance, the soap is perfectly fine.

"Glycerin" rivers aren't caused by too much water or insulating, speaking strictly. Rivers are caused by the soap getting warm enough to go into gel (a semi-liquid stage in which soap is a sticky semi-translucent paste) and then cooling slowly. Both factors -- gel and slow cooling -- have to be present to get visible rivers.

Rivers are more obvious when pigmented colorants are used (titanium dioxide is well known for this), but any soap can have rivers -- it's just you might not always see 'em.

The temp at which soap goes into gel is lower if you use more water versus less. I'd say a 33% lye concentration (2:1 water:lye ratio) is a good choice to minimize the chance of rivers. I get them sometimes when I soap at 31% lye concentration, but seldom if I use 33% lye conc.

Insulating can cause the soap to cool slowly enough for the rivers to form if you choose not to reduce the water content. Reduce the chance of rivers by ensuring the soap cools more rapidly after it reaches gel temp. Don't insulate quite so much, or remove the insulation after the soap reaches gel so the mold is in the cooler open air, or cool the soap in front of a fan.

But honestly, the easiest solution to prevent rivers is to use less water so the soap has a higher gelling temperature.

Keep in mind if you use colorants mixed with water that this water will also raise the water content. You can get rivers in the parts of the soap where you add these colorants. It's easy to think "oh, it's just a tiny amount of extra water, it won't cause rivers" but it definitely can.

Soap that gets hot enough to go into gel is physically harder, so you can unmold and cut shortly after saponification is done. If the soap doesn't get that warm, it tends to be softer and sometimes crumbly which makes the soap more difficult to unmold and cut. Colors tend to be more saturated in a gelled soap, and the soap is often more translucent rather than opaque. On the downside, soap with dairy milk tends to be a little darker if it gels.

More info --
 

SPowers

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It's not glycerin. I have no idea why the BB people are telling people this -- it's not correct. If the "rivers" were really glycerin, they'd be sticky and goopy, and despite what the BB people say, they're not.

Rivers are just soap that looks different. This is an esthetic issue that bothers some people and not others. Except for the appearance, the soap is perfectly fine.

"Glycerin" rivers aren't caused by too much water or insulating, speaking strictly. Rivers are caused by the soap getting warm enough to go into gel (a semi-liquid stage in which soap is a sticky semi-translucent paste) and then cooling slowly. Both factors -- gel and slow cooling -- have to be present to get visible rivers.

Rivers are more obvious when pigmented colorants are used (titanium dioxide is well known for this), but any soap can have rivers -- it's just you might not always see 'em.

The temp at which soap goes into gel is lower if you use more water versus less. I'd say a 33% lye concentration (2:1 water:lye ratio) is a good choice to minimize the chance of rivers. I get them sometimes when I soap at 31% lye concentration, but seldom if I use 33% lye conc.

Insulating can cause the soap to cool slowly enough for the rivers to form if you choose not to reduce the water content. Reduce the chance of rivers by ensuring the soap cools more rapidly after it reaches gel temp. Don't insulate quite so much, or remove the insulation after the soap reaches gel so the mold is in the cooler open air, or cool the soap in front of a fan.

But honestly, the easiest solution to prevent rivers is to use less water so the soap has a higher gelling temperature.

Keep in mind if you use colorants mixed with water that this water will also raise the water content. You can get rivers in the parts of the soap where you add these colorants. It's easy to think "oh, it's just a tiny amount of extra water, it won't cause rivers" but it definitely can.

Soap that gets hot enough to go into gel is physically harder, so you can unmold and cut shortly after saponification is done. If the soap doesn't get that warm, it tends to be softer and sometimes crumbly which makes the soap more difficult to unmold and cut. Colors tend to be more saturated in a gelled soap, and the soap is often more translucent rather than opaque. On the downside, soap with dairy milk tends to be a little darker if it gels.

More info --
Thanks for such a detailed post. I have been told to reduce water and use a 33% lye concentration which I will start on my next batch.
 

Tina05

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It's not glycerin. I have no idea why the BB people are telling people this -- it's not correct. If the "rivers" were really glycerin, they'd be sticky and goopy, and despite what the BB people say, they're not.

Rivers are just soap that looks different. This is an esthetic issue that bothers some people and not others. Except for the appearance, the soap is perfectly fine.

"Glycerin" rivers aren't caused by too much water or insulating, speaking strictly. Rivers are caused by the soap getting warm enough to go into gel (a semi-liquid stage in which soap is a sticky semi-translucent paste) and then cooling slowly. Both factors -- gel and slow cooling -- have to be present to get visible rivers.

Rivers are more obvious when pigmented colorants are used (titanium dioxide is well known for this), but any soap can have rivers -- it's just you might not always see 'em.

The temp at which soap goes into gel is lower if you use more water versus less. I'd say a 33% lye concentration (2:1 water:lye ratio) is a good choice to minimize the chance of rivers. I get them sometimes when I soap at 31% lye concentration, but seldom if I use 33% lye conc.

Insulating can cause the soap to cool slowly enough for the rivers to form if you choose not to reduce the water content. Reduce the chance of rivers by ensuring the soap cools more rapidly after it reaches gel temp. Don't insulate quite so much, or remove the insulation after the soap reaches gel so the mold is in the cooler open air, or cool the soap in front of a fan.

But honestly, the easiest solution to prevent rivers is to use less water so the soap has a higher gelling temperature.

Keep in mind if you use colorants mixed with water that this water will also raise the water content. You can get rivers in the parts of the soap where you add these colorants. It's easy to think "oh, it's just a tiny amount of extra water, it won't cause rivers" but it definitely can.

Soap that gets hot enough to go into gel is physically harder, so you can unmold and cut shortly after saponification is done. If the soap doesn't get that warm, it tends to be softer and sometimes crumbly which makes the soap more difficult to unmold and cut. Colors tend to be more saturated in a gelled soap, and the soap is often more translucent rather than opaque. On the downside, soap with dairy milk tends to be a little darker if it gels.

More info --
I really APPRECIATE your explanation, I learned something new! I believe I used too much water, plus the extra water for the TD, next batch I should remember to use water discount. Also, I have to add to what I previously wrote that the white batch cracked in the middle but I sprayed 99% alcohol to prevent ash (I shouldn’t have done that because the soap was already white, I think?) and maybe I sprayed too much.

So, when I saw the cracked I thought it was because the temperature was too high and I put it in the fridge, I don’t know if that helped to create the rivers. But the other batch looks like the rivers are only in the Titanium Dioxide part?
 

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DeeAnna

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You didn't give your recipe, so it's hard to say why the one soap cracked. Cracking like this is often a sign of overheating which can happen for a variety of reasons -- high coconut, naughty fragrances, soaping fairly warm, etc. I really don't think the cracking was caused by spraying the top with alcohol to prevent ash.

White soap can get ash just like any other soap, and the texture and appearance are quite different than just soap. as your photos in your first post show. So remove it if you want -- there's no reason why you shouldn't if you don't like the look of ash.

I was betting you had used TD mixed with water in the lightest-colored soap. There's nothing wrong with TD in water -- I use it too -- but you do have to be mindful of this kind of result.

When I wrote my article about rivers (the first link in my previous post), I calculated that if I added roughly 1 tablespoon of extra water per pound of oils when coloring my soap, this added water would reduce the lye concentration from 33% to 31%. It's fairly easy to add that much extra water if I mix my colorants in water and I'm adding enough colorant to get an intense color. This little bit of extra water can mean the difference between rivers versus no rivers.
 

Tina05

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You didn't give your recipe, so it's hard to say why the one soap cracked. Cracking like this is often a sign of overheating which can happen for a variety of reasons -- high coconut, naughty fragrances, soaping fairly warm, etc. I really don't think the cracking was caused by spraying the top with alcohol to prevent ash.

White soap can get ash just like any other soap, and the texture and appearance are quite different than just soap. as your photos in your first post show. So remove it if you want -- there's no reason why you shouldn't if you don't like the look of ash.

I was betting you had used TD mixed with water in the lightest-colored soap. There's nothing wrong with TD in water -- I use it too -- but you do have to be mindful of this kind of result.

When I wrote my article about rivers (the first link in my previous post), I calculated that if I added roughly 1 tablespoon of extra water per pound of oils when coloring my soap, this added water would reduce the lye concentration from 33% to 31%. It's fairly easy to add that much extra water if I mix my colorants in water and I'm adding enough colorant to get an intense color. This little bit of extra water can mean the difference between rivers versus no rivers.
Thank you DeeAnna, I will be sending the recipe tomorrow so you can take a look! Thank you very much again!!!
 

Zing

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Welcome to the forum! I got glycerin rivers once using TD and got a lot of help from this forum. Now when I use titanium dioxide, I soap at low temperatures and less water and haven't gotten rivers since. I also call unexpected results "rustic." When I had that first batch with rivers, I was really disappointed but gift recipients loved it and wanted to know how I created that 'texture.' :)
 

Tina05

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Welcome to the forum! I got glycerin rivers once using TD and got a lot of help from this forum. Now when I use titanium dioxide, I soap at low temperatures and less water and haven't gotten rivers since. I also call unexpected results "rustic." When I had that first batch with rivers, I was really disappointed but gift recipients loved it and wanted to know how I created that 'texture.' :)
Thank you Zing, around what temperature do you recommend?

I invite you to provide the recipe here in this thread -- it would be good to let everyone participate in the conversation.
Below is what I used for the colorful one:
I invite you to provide the recipe here in this thread -- it would be good to let everyone participate in the conversation.
Hi DeeAnna, below you will see the recipe for the Swirl one:

-Olive Oil 29%
-Sweet Almond Oil 8%
-Apricot Kernal Oil 8%
-Rice Bran Oil 9%
-Castor Oil 8%
-Mango Butter 10%
-Shea Butter 15%
-Coconut Oil 11%
-Grapeseed Oil 1%
-Beeswax 1%
-Water 32.15% + 1 Tbsp for the TD
-Lye 29%

I realized after all that I used too many ingredients!!!

The recipe for the white soap:

-Olive Oil 30%
-Sweet Almond Oil 8%
-Apricot Kernal Oil 8%
-Castor Oil 8%
-Mango Butter 10%
-Shea Butter 15%
-Coconut Oil 10%
-Grapeseed Oil 11%
-Water 32.20% + 2 Tbsp for the TD
-Lye 29%

There was a lot of water in both recipe, my mistake that I forgot to discount.
 

penelopejane

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Below is what I used for the colorful one:

Hi DeeAnna, below you will see the recipe for the Swirl one:

-Olive Oil 29%
-Sweet Almond Oil 8%
-Apricot Kernal Oil 8%
-Rice Bran Oil 9%
-Castor Oil 8%
-Mango Butter 10%
-Shea Butter 15%
-Coconut Oil 11%
-Grapeseed Oil 1%
-Beeswax 1%
-Water 32.15% + 1 Tbsp for the TD
-Lye 29%

I realized after all that I used too many ingredients!!!

The recipe for the white soap:

-Olive Oil 30%
-Sweet Almond Oil 8%
-Apricot Kernal Oil 8%
-Castor Oil 8%
-Mango Butter 10%
-Shea Butter 15%
-Coconut Oil 10%
-Grapeseed Oil 11%
-Water 32.20% + 2 Tbsp for the TD
-Lye 29%

There was a lot of water in both recipe, my mistake that I forgot to discount.
You have so many different oils that it is going to be difficult for you to determine the different properties of the different oils.
I don't use less than 10% of any oil because I can't detect a different oil at a lower percentage.
Except for castor oil which I use at 5% otherwise it makes sticky soap for me.
The grapeseed oil has a short shelf life and is known for causing DOS. I wouldn't use it at all.
Almond oil and apricot oil have similar properties in soap - might be worth comparing in two soaps. .
Mango Butter and Shea butter also have similar properties in soap - might be worth comparing in two soaps.

Beeswax is good to make a soap harder but you have to soap fairly warm (110*F) to keep it liquid so you don't get lumps in your soap.

Look at this recipe. It makes a great bar of soap (NOT as a shampoo but as a body/face soap. Soap is not good for hair - do further research on this topic.)
Maybe you could tweek it with your ingredients and wind up with some soaps you can compare to see what properties of oils you like and suit your skin.
 

Tina05

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You have so many different oils that it is going to be difficult for you to determine the different properties of the different oils.
I don't use less than 10% of any oil because I can't detect a different oil at a lower percentage.
Except for castor oil which I use at 5% otherwise it makes sticky soap for me.
The grapeseed oil has a short shelf life and is known for causing DOS. I wouldn't use it at all.
Almond oil and apricot oil have similar properties in soap - might be worth comparing in two soaps. .
Mango Butter and Shea butter also have similar properties in soap - might be worth comparing in two soaps.

Beeswax is good to make a soap harder but you have to soap fairly warm (110*F) to keep it liquid so you don't get lumps in your soap.

Look at this recipe. It makes a great bar of soap (NOT as a shampoo but as a body/face soap. Soap is not good for hair - do further research on this topic.)
Maybe you could tweek it with your ingredients and wind up with some soaps you can compare to see what properties of oils you like and suit your skin.
Thank you so much for your advice Penelopejane, I will look into that! Thanks so much!
 

DeeAnna

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-Water 32.20% + 2 Tbsp for the TD
-Lye 29%

I don't understand what you mean by these percentages. Is the 32.2% the "water as % of oils" amount? Does "lye" at 29% mean the lye concentration? Or something else?

If talking about "water as % of oils" and "lye concentration" please give only one (preferably the lye concentration) with the name in full, not shorthanded, as "water as % of oils" or "lye concentration". Otherwise it gets way too confusing.

Also when you give ingredients in percentages and then throw in a volume or weight (as in 2 T of TD), but no other weights such as total weightf oils, it's impossible to know what you mean by this either. Did you add that 2 T of TD to 100 ounces of oils? Or only 10 ounces?
 

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I used to get rivers when I started as well. I found that soaping at a lower temp (90-100) and using a lye concentration of 33% took care of the issue for me. I've also become lighter handed on my TD (and mica/colourant in general) use which I'm sure has helped as well. All my batches still reach full gel this way, too.

I also find that keeping a simple recipe (only 4 oils) is ideal for me as I learn more about soap making and makes it WAY easier to rule things out when trying to determine why a batch didn't turn out ideally.
 

Tina05

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I used to get rivers when I started as well. I found that soaping at a lower temp (90-100) and using a lye concentration of 33% took care of the issue for me. I've also become lighter handed on my TD (and mica/colourant in general) use which I'm sure has helped as well. All my batches still reach full gel this way, too.

I also find that keeping a simple recipe (only 4 oils) is ideal for me as I learn more about soap making and makes it WAY easier to rule things out when trying to determine why a batch didn't turn out ideally.
EllieMae, thank you for your help! I will start trying that!
 

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