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Learning More the Hard Way

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Kathymzr

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Resolved to make some of my wonky Neem soap into confetti bars. I think that will look good and make a happy addition to another kind of soap.

Resolution #2 to stick to known FO (I.e. Brambleberry) or thoroughly research FOs before using. I made another soap using a combo of Ocean Rain, Plumeria, and Coconut. I used ocean colors, intending on just a pretty layered blue soap. As I poured in the lye, I realized my gloves were not on. Fumbling to put on gloves, the batter accelerated so fast there was hardly time to stir! Once again I mashed it into the mold. I use quart milk cartons. By the time I filled the mold, the batter was like play dough! Ha! That was kind of fun moshing it with my fingers and arranging the top! I put it in the freezer as I had used coconut milk.
The FOs together really accelerated the batter, so my lesson today is to keep a diary of FO experiences and be more cautious about their behavior. Should this happen in the future, I got an ice cream scoop for a new soap look! LOL
 

shunt2011

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Just an FYI that I've learned personally. Ocean scents and floral are usually move fast additions to soap. Nothing fancy. If they are real fast mover and I want to do more than 1 color. I'll bring my soap to emulsion, separate & color then stir in the FO. You putting a floral and Ocean together you set yourself up from the start.
 

Kathymzr

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Used the Neem soap. Excellent. Will make again.
Cut the coconut milk soa. Just fine. Yay.
 

Kathymzr

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Oh thank you!!

I wasn’t sure about coconut milk, it’s not really dairy, but didn’t want to chance it.

Yes, I figured I set myself up for acceleration too. Won’t do that again! And am keeping journal. Fortunately, the soap is just fine!

I rely on your helpful comments, even when I learn the hard way—I seem to want to experience the why of why it didn’t work!! Thank you for this forum! More soaping today!
 

penelopejane

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Note that shunt was talking about known tricky FOs when she said to add them last. You only really need to add the FO last if it is a known accelerator - often floral scents, rain scents or ocean scents.

There is an FO review chart (extensive - in the fragrance section of the forum) where people have reviewed various scents to help you. Also the soap FO suppliers generally warn you about accelerating FOs in their descriptions: I never use accelerating or ricing FOs. Life is easier without them.

If you add the FO last make sure it is well mixed in or you might have weepy bits in your soap.

If your FO is known to play nice add it to the oils before SBing as this ensures it mixes in thoroughly. If it is a minor accelerator and you add it to your oils you can control it by SBing less. Lots of options but bottom line is your FO needs to be mixed in well.
 

Kathymzr

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I will study FO review chart and ask suppliers, paying much more attention to it! Definitely an area that needs expertise. I should have made my moniker “LTHW” (Learning The Hard Way)!
 

penelopejane

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I will study FO review chart and ask suppliers, paying much more attention to it! Definitely an area that needs expertise. I should have made my moniker “LTHW” (Learning The Hard Way)!
Unfortunately making soap is one of those things we all had to learn the hard way. I think it’s because it’s all down to personal preference and your environment and the oil prices where you live.

In the beginning Lots of people just want to be told a recipe and process but as you can see no recipe is loved by all and no process is followed by all. It really requires trial and error of what suits your skin and your personality and your soaping room’s environment and your nose I’m afraid.
 

Kathymzr

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Actually, I love the learning and experimenting! Hearing of others’ experiences on the Forum is encouraging, and I’m so pleased to find people like me! Lol.
 

KristaY

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When my daughter was a teen, her favorite B&BW scent was plumeria. I was so excited to make soap for her when I found the scent, especially since it smelled exactly as I remembered OOB. Fortunately I made a 1 lb test batch so didn't waste much. It was one of the fastest accelerators I've ever come across. Brought the batter to emulsification then whisked in the FO. It was shocking how fast it became soap on a stick! All I could do was mash it into the mold and hope for the best. The best it was NOT. It was so crumbly and horrible I ended up tossing the batch out. That was about 6 years ago so I don't remember where I got it or what I did with the rest of the FO. Because of that experience, I cringe when I hear "plumeria" mentioned, lol.
 

Zany_in_CO

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It was shocking how fast it became soap on a stick!
TIP: When that happens, just leave your spatula or spoon or SB in the batch, set the timer and walk away for 5 minutes. When you come back, the batch will be going into gel and it's easy to stir and mold up. You can also add an ounce or two of cold water to cool it down. ;)

PS: I discovered this trick one day when "soap-on-a-stick" happened to me. I wasn't sure what to do... a bit befuddled... so I walked away to think about it. When I came back, lo and behold, the batch was gelling and it was so easy to stir at that point and mold up. :thumbs:
 

Kathymzr

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Oooo! Thanks soo much for these tips! Now I’ll know not to panic!!

I just made another batch using coconut lemongrass from BB. I make small batches. The buttercup yellow from BB turned orange! But it looked ok. I finally did most everything right, even though I mixed up too much of one color. Also, my milk carton molds are going away. Too much trouble. But I had plenty of working time. I just want to get a decent technique. I figure beauty will find me!
 

KristaY

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TIP: When that happens, just leave your spatula or spoon or SB in the batch, set the timer and walk away for 5 minutes. When you come back, the batch will be going into gel and it's easy to stir and mold up. You can also add an ounce or two of cold water to cool it down. ;)

PS: I discovered this trick one day when "soap-on-a-stick" happened to me. I wasn't sure what to do... a bit befuddled... so I walked away to think about it. When I came back, lo and behold, the batch was gelling and it was so easy to stir at that point and mold up. :thumbs:
I've since learned to let it gel in the soap pot but didn't know about the cold water so that's a great tip! I wasn't overly concerned at the time since it was just a test batch and I didn't care how it looked, so I just mashed away. :eek:
 

cmzaha

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When my daughter was a teen, her favorite B&BW scent was plumeria. I was so excited to make soap for her when I found the scent, especially since it smelled exactly as I remembered OOB. Fortunately I made a 1 lb test batch so didn't waste much. It was one of the fastest accelerators I've ever come across. Brought the batter to emulsification then whisked in the FO. It was shocking how fast it became soap on a stick! All I could do was mash it into the mold and hope for the best. The best it was NOT. It was so crumbly and horrible I ended up tossing the batch out. That was about 6 years ago so I don't remember where I got it or what I did with the rest of the FO. Because of that experience, I cringe when I hear "plumeria" mentioned, lol.
California Candle Supply has a very realistic Plumeria that lasts well in soap. It has no discoloration but does accelerate. It does not go to soap on a stick, but you still need to work quickly. I have been using this plumeria for years.
 

KristaY

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California Candle Supply has a very realistic Plumeria that lasts well in soap. It has no discoloration but does accelerate. It does not go to soap on a stick, but you still need to work quickly. I have been using this plumeria for years.
That's good news Carolyn! I'll give that one a try. I'm sure my daughter will be pleased so thanks for the info!
 

Kathymzr

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What do you think about using Lavender EO with a couple of drops of peppermint EO? Will this be a problem with acceleration do you think?
 

Kathymzr

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Accidental lessons today. So, trying to be oh so perfect with my soap today, I split off my batter and mixed the colors. Batter nice and thin. I usually get thick batter fast. Hmm. Realized that I had forgotten to add the sodium lactate to the lye water so I quickly split it among my colors. What else could I do? Poured the colors (too dark but that’s the another issue) . Then I realized that the reason I was always getting thick batter was that I was putting the sodium lactate into the lye water then waiting for it to cool. By that time even the lye water was thick! Today it set the lye water on a bowl of ice but then forgot the SL! So I’ve been blaming stirring too long, FOs, color, stupidity, likely failure at soapmaking, etc....duh, just duh!
 

Kathymzr

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My Fancy-Dancy expensive oil sumptuous Sultry Black Jasmine and Neroli soap (BB) of pinks and green looks like old Spam.

I don’t even think it’s fit for confetti. So my learned lesson is to not use those exotic expensive oils with untried color, method combos!

My (little) house smells fabulous though with the fan in the bars while they cure. I might think of what do do with it. The soap is mighty fine—probably just keep it for myself. Haha!
 

Basalt

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Kathymzr how much Sodium Lactate are you using? I also add SL to my lye and cool it to room temp before adding to oils but it's still thin and watery. If I am making a 1kg batch of oils I use 20g of SL. If you soap too hot it can also accelerate trace.
 

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