Is shea butter is the culprit?

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soapformywife

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Friends, recently I made my first try doing soapmaking. So I decided to make CP soap.

The recipe are following:
50% palm oil
26% olive oil
10% shea butter
7% coconut oil
7% castor oil
I also add citric acid 20 gr / 1 kg of oil.

I superfatted 5%

Since it is my first time making soap so I expect a lot of error, except about the lye handling, I really do the safety procedure carefully.

At first I forgot to melt the shea butter, so after pouring the oils to the bowl, I realized that and I put the bowl into my microwave and heat it until the butter melted.

After that I pour the warm lye solution to the warm bowl of oil, I noticed the bowl wasn't big enough so I put the lye solution little by little and turn on the stick blender rarely.

Not long after that the mixture thickened really fast and then started to granulate. In my mind I keep thinking what if the mixture is not even and some of the granules are lye heavy.

My last resort was putting that mixture to smaller containers and mix it manually while trying to press that granules into smaller pieces. I also add some micas to the smaller clumps.

The last thing I concerned with is that after I mix the colorant and after my hand too tired to stir the mixture while trying to get rid of the granules, the mixture is so thick and the color looks like a HP soap, a bit matte.

So I want to ask you, friend, what happened to my soap? Does it turn into a HP soap? Have I faced false trace because of the shea butter? Is my soap will be well? And how to test that my soap will be okay? Will the zap test will be enough?

I's sorry for my bad grammar,
Thank you.
 
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Welcome! If you can, please post your whole recipe. And share the temperature of your lye solution, oils, and the room. I'm wondering if your shea butter and palm oil solidified too early which can happen if it gets cold.

Did you put all the lye solution and all the oils/butters in one bowl, reach trace, and then divide into smaller containers? If you divided into smaller containers and then continued to add lye to the smaller containers, I would toss all of it. Each lye molecule needs to couple with an oil molecule. My fear is that some of your smaller containers would be lye heavy because there weren't enough oil molecules, and that some smaller containers would be oil heavy because there wasn't enough lye molecules. Does that make sense?

Were your micas made specifically for soap making?

I advise new soapers to make cold process soap with no colorants or scents. There are many steps to remember, safety precautions to remember, figuring out what trace is, etc. Good luck to you.
 

soapformywife

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Thank you for your reply @Zing . My complete recipe as below:

500 grams of palm oil
260 grams of olive oil
100 grams of shea butter
70 grams of coconut oil
70 grams of castor oil
20 grams of citric acid
145 grams of NaOH
380 grams of water

I didn't measure the temperature, but the lye solution and oil container was luke warm at my hand, and the room temperature is around 27 Celcius.

Yes I put all of my lye solution, reach trace (or false trace) the put them to smaller containers, and after that I didn't add more lye solution, I only add colorant because I learned from my mom that people at pharmacy business add colorant to identify that the mixture is well mixed.

About the micas, the supplier stated that the micas are cosmetic grade and could be used for soapmaking.

Well, now I realized that I shouldn't start big, I should start with the easiest recipe and increase the difficulty overtime. Thanks Zing.
 

TheGecko

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When first starting out, it’s best to start small and simple.

500g oils will get you 4 nice bars to try out.

35% Olive Oil
30% Palm Oil
30% Coconut Oil
5% Castor Oil

Run the above through you soap calculator with 5% Super Fat and 33% Lye Concentration.

Make your lye solution; cover an let cool until you can place hand comfortably against the side of the container.

Start melting your Palm Oil, When it’s about half melted, add the Coconut Oil. You don’t want it hot, you just want the oils fluid and clean. Add in your Olive and Castor Oils and give it a good stir. Add in your Lye Solution and blend to a light trace…pancake batter. Pour into you mold. Let it sit for at least 24 hours. It’ll be ready to unmold when you press on the top and it feels like a medium cheddar cheese. Slice into four, let sit for six weeks and enjoy.

ALWAYS purchases scents and colorants from reputable soap suppliers. My sister bought me a beautiful set of micas…they are absolutely gorgeous and yes, they say they are safe for soap making, but they aren’t advertised for soap makers, they are advertised for crafting first. That’s a major red flag for me and so they sit in the box.
 
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That is a LOT of water in your recipe. As noted by @TheGecko, I would change your water settings in the soap calculator. They are probably set to "water as percent of oils," which is more typical for making HP. A more typical CP setting is to choose "lye concentration" and enter 33%.
 
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