Mixing essential/fragrance oils after dilution

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Dec 2, 2021
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I have recently made my first batch of liquid soap (paste) but have a couple questions regarding mixing in essential/fragrance oils. I purchased some polysorbate 80 but should I mix the polysorbate 80 with the EO/FO before mixing it into the diluted LS or can I add the polysorbate 80 into the diluted LS with EO/FO already mixed in?

I have been adding it into my diluted LS afterwards but a cloudy sort of layer keeps forming on top. I assume this is the EO/FO separating. Is this correct? I am attaching a few photos of what of I am talking about.


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I have never had to use Polysorbate 80 for mixing the essential oils. Yes, it will get cloudy but that usually clears up after a few day of letting the liquid soap sit.
You also might try warming up your liquid soap by putting it in a water bath heated to about 180°F. Let the soap get that warm and let it sit for about an hour. I have done this in the past and it works quite well usually.

You did do a ZERO percent super fat right? Your soap has a slight haze to it. Usually let your LS sit for a couple of weeks will clear things up, even if there's a slight cloudiness to it. One thing I have done in the past is to make a solution of KOH and distilled water equal to 1% of the oil's weight and add it to the LS. Then after a couple of days or so, things start clearing up. I had to do that one time when I forgot to set the super fat percentage to zero in the SMF calculator.
Ditto what @Professor Bernardo said. Warming the LS before adding fragrance helps to incorporate it. Most of the time you won't need to add PS-80 or PS-20 (which also works well). Although it's out of fashion these days, I always sequester my LS for 2 weeks after dilution. That allows any sediment to settle to the bottom, or excess oil to rise to the top. It not only helps to correct any problems but it also helps to clarify a cloudy batch.

That being said, when Poly-80 needs to be added to "solubize" an EO/FO, I use it at a rate of 1 part EO/FO to 3-4 parts Polysorbate. I measure some of the dilution water into a glass. Add the Polysorbate. Stir until clear. Add the fragrance. Stir to clear. Then allow it to set for a while to see if any oil rises to the top. If it does, repeat the process until no more oil rises to the top. Then add to the batch.

Polysorbate 80 is amazing stuff. Here's a thread you may find interesting:

They wrote “superfat” once but three times “superfast” instead. Freudian typo?)
Good catch, @ResolvableOwl ! I was just thinking the same thing when I looked at the OP's pictures. I have seen that layer of unsaponified oils on top many times when I was on the Liquid Soap Makers Yahoo Group. It's a Rookie mistake of rushing to dilute before the batch is "done", i.e., fully saponified. For HP, it's best to wait a day or 2 to dilute. A ZAP test isn't always reliable. For CP it takes 1-2 weeks to finish saponification. A clarity test is a better indicator of whether the batch is ready to dilute or not.


Altho others may disagree, I find phenothalein drops to be the most reliable test as shown in Carrie Petersens GLS video, 5:00 minute mark. ;) :thumbs:
I wonder if the OP used distilled water in both the soap paste process and dilution. If not, haziness will be an issue with no way to correct it except for a long sequester time.