Lessons in Patience, Soap Variation

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May 13, 2023
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Being in my early 60s, you'd think by now I'd have learned all the lessons in patience a person would need to learn, but you'd be incorrect. Today's lesson: my first clay-and-pumice soap experiment.

At the end of May I decided to try making a simple recipe that I found in the book Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola, but of course I couldn't leave it simple. I decided to try adding clay and pumice I'd recently purchased. The original recipe really is a straightforward one, with olive oil at 50%, palm at 24%, and coconut oil at 25%. The total oil was 850 grams, and I added ~18 grams of salt and 21 grams each of the clay and pumice.

Everything went well enough during the mixing, and I poured it into individual molds, including some fun 'sugar skull' candy molds I found at the thrift store. This is where my impatience kicked in. Although I told myself these would have to cure for at least 6 weeks, based on my reading, I couldn't help squeezing and poking at the bars daily. They wouldn't seem to harden! I thought I'd be shredding these and using them in a rebatch, and I was very disappointed, giving myself little internal lectures on the folly of winging it with additives. Finally I just ignored the soap. Last night, right at the 6-week mark, I noticed them on the drying rack, grabbed one, and discovered that I can barely dent the bar with my fingertip. Tapping it gives a great hardwood sound, and slicing off the rough surface reveals a sleek bar. My first test hand-washing shows a smooth, low lather. My hands felt a bit sticky at first, but as soon as they finished air drying the stickiness has entirely left and my skin feels smooth and not dried out. Very nice results for a bar I thought I'd be recycling three weeks ago!

As @The_Phoenix told me in another thread, you really can't tell much about a soap before the three-month point, so I'm looking forward to revisiting this batch after August 20.

Maybe someday I'll learn patience, but more likely I'll be dead before that happens...


  • Three Oils w Clay and Pumice Recipe.pdf
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  • Pumice_01.jpg
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  • Pumice_02.jpg
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  • Pumice_03.jpg
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