Newbie Soap Maker - help with some issues

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sysoap

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Hi everyone,

After a lot of research and internet crawling, I finally made my first 3lb batch of soap. I have let it cure for 5 weeks and was finally able to test out my batch. However, there are 2 major issues that I am seeking help with.

1) After rinsing off the soap, it leaves a sticky/tacky feeling on the skin similar to the squeaky clean feeling when you clean plastic. It goes away after a few minutes, but it definitely is irritating and many other people that have tried it, mentioned the exact same thing.

2) The soap is very drying. I read on many forums that people say soap is not meant to be moisturizing since it is a wash off product. However, I have never used a soap that made my skin feel as tight as my homemade batch did. Is there anything I can do help with this?

Here is my cold press recipe that I used for a 48oz/3lb batch. All calculations were made through soapqueen calculator with a 6% superfat:

Olive oil (45%) - 21.6oz
Coconut oil (25%) - 12oz
Avacado oil (15%) - 7.2oz
Rice Bran oil (5%) - 2.4oz
Castor oil (5%) - 2.4oz
Shea Butter unrefined (5%) - 2.4oz

Lye 6.51oz
Distilled water 15.84oz
50mL of fragrance was also added after trace.

Superfat = 6%


Please help! Any suggestions or lessons from past experiences is appreciated.

Thanks :)
 

Obsidian

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The tacky feeling could be from the shea or it could just be the natural feeling of handmade soap. A longer cure might help, try the soap again after 8 weeks.
25% coconut oil can be drying for many people. I can't use more then 20%, 15% is even better for me. What I would do if I was you is alter the recipe a bit like this. You might only make 1lb batches until you find a recipe you like.

superfat at 8%
Olive 50%
coconut 15%
lard or palm 20%
castor 5%
shea 5%
 

Susie

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I would do more like this:

Coconut Oil, 76 degree- 15%
Lard(or palm)- 50%
Olive oil, pomace- 30%
Castor Oil- 5%

Sugar- 1 Tablespoon PPO(I like my bubbles)

Superfat- 5-8%(I use 5%, but I live in a humid climate and do not need a whole lot of extra conditioning.)
 

IrishLass

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I just ran the recipe through SoapCalc and it looks on paper like a great recipe- at least such a one that my own skin would be very happy with.

Hmmm....

A few trouble-shooting things that come to mind that you can check up on:

1) Did you weigh all your ingredients (it's much more accurate to weigh than to use volume measurements), and is your scale accurate (i.e. is it in the realm of possibility that your scale is acting wonky or that something was mis-weighed?).

2) Have you tongue-tested your soap for zap? And if you have, does it zap at all?


IrishLass :)
 

Spice

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how do you test for lye heavy? I use phenolphthalein.
 

sysoap

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I would do more like this:

Coconut Oil, 76 degree- 15%
Lard(or palm)- 50%
Olive oil, pomace- 30%
Castor Oil- 5%

Sugar- 1 Tablespoon PPO(I like my bubbles)

Superfat- 5-8%(I use 5%, but I live in a humid climate and do not need a whole lot of extra conditioning.)
You can just put sugar into the soap for extra bubbles? What? That's amazing! At what point do you add sugar?

I just ran the recipe through SoapCalc and it looks on paper like a great recipe- at least such a one that my own skin would be very happy with.

Hmmm....

A few trouble-shooting things that come to mind that you can check up on:

1) Did you weigh all your ingredients (it's much more accurate to weigh than to use volume measurements), and is your scale accurate (i.e. is it in the realm of possibility that your scale is acting wonky or that something was mis-weighed?).

2) Have you tongue-tested your soap for zap? And if you have, does it zap at all?


IrishLass :)


I did weigh all of my ingredients using a digital scale. It is accurate (from what I gather).

However, what is a tongue-tested zap? How do I do this? What is the reason you would do this test?

how do you test for lye heavy? I use phenolphthalein.
I have not tested for lye heaviness. I am blindly assuming that my recipe that I calculated from the internet would be enough to saponify all of the lye away.

Should I be testing my batch for lye content and ph? I haven't done either.
 

thesoapmom

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My first few noob batches had too much coconut oil as it ended up. I now do no more than 15%, and always add 5% Shea and 5% mango butter. Also added palm and it seemed to not be harsh (my first 3 were way too harsh esp because of the coconut oil I think.)
 

sysoap

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Wait, I just did a zap test and I got a zap on the end of my tongue!!

From what i've read, that means that my soap is lye heavy.

Q's

1) Does that mean I should never use the soap? Or should I cure it for a longer period of time?

2) I was using the soapqueen calculator for 6% superfat...how can it be lye heavy using this recipe?

3) Should I just decrease the amount of lye being used but keep the same recipe of oils if I like it?

:(

Thanks for your help everyone!
 

IrishLass

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If it were me, the first thing I'd do is test my scale for accuracy. Sometimes they can be 'off' and we don't even know it..... until we check it. If your scale did not come with a calibrating weight, you can check it by weighing different things of a known weight. You'll want to check for accuracy at the low end and also at the high end. If you live in the US, you can test the low end by using 5 US quarters (they should weigh 1 oz). Checking the accuracy at the higher end depends on your particular scale's maximum capacity. For example, if it has a 5 lb. capacity, look for something with a known weight of 2 or 3 lbs. And if it has a 10 lb. capacity, look for something with a known weight of 5lbs or so.

Question 1: As for what to do with zapping soap- let it cure for longer. I recently read a wonderful discussion regarding lye-heavy soap on the following thread here on the forum (read post #13 by DeeAnna on page 2 of the thread): http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=42922&highlight=andalusian

Question #2: It shouldn't be lye-heavy using that recipe. That's why I think you should check your scale's accuracy.

Question 3: At the risk of sounding like a total bore ;-), I would check the accuracy of your scale first before changing anything in the recipe.


IrishLass :)
 

kylie_au

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If your scales are not accurate you will have too much lye, which means lye heavy / zappy soap.

you need to check your scales. i check mine every week. If batteries are getting a little low, that can make scales act up too.

if i had the money i would get electric scales for soaps etc, but that is not happening any time soon :)
 

sysoap

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Great suggestions everyone.

I double checked my electronic scale with a known weighted scale that I took from my sister's kindergarten teaching supplies, and it is accurate. Checked with 10, 20, and 50g weights.

It seems like no one is worried about the recipe being lye-heavy, so I guess I should just wait. I will wait another couple of weeks and check the pH or zap test.

Thanks everyone. If anyone has any more suggestions, I will be continually checking this thread.

Does anyone have any suggestions about the drying effect my soap seems to have? I.e. my skin feels very tight (like a lot more tight than dove).
 

IrishLass

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Great suggestions everyone.

I double checked my electronic scale with a known weighted scale that I took from my sister's kindergarten teaching supplies, and it is accurate. Checked with 10, 20, and 50g weights.

It seems like no one is worried about the recipe being lye-heavy, so I guess I should just wait. I will wait another couple of weeks and check the pH or zap test.

Thanks everyone. If anyone has any more suggestions, I will be continually checking this thread.

Does anyone have any suggestions about the drying effect my soap seems to have? I.e. my skin feels very tight (like a lot more tight than dove).

Hmmm.....the recipe as written should not end up lye heavy- nowhere even close. If it's not your scale, then something else must be afoot.....Is it possible you could have mis-weighed an ingredient, or maybe forgot to hit the 'tare' button at some point as you were weighing things? Or maybe you misread or transposed one ingredient amount for another? Trust me, such things happen to the best of us at some time or another. :lol:

This next possibility may be grasping at straws seeing as how the soap is at least 5 weeks old now, but did the soap go through the gel stage? I ask because un-gelled soaps take longer to mellow out than fully-gelled soaps.

As for suggestions about the drying effect of the soap...... Since the soap is zapping, I would stop using it until all zap has ceased. The dryness is most likely due to lye-heaviness rather than the amount of coconut oil at this point, not that I'm ruling the coconut oil out, mind you, but since it's still zapping, the lye-heaviness is the most obvious telling thing. Once it has stopped zapping, bathe/shower with it again, compare the difference, and then we can go from there.


IrishLass :)
 

Seawolfe

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Are you sure you got zapped? Its not just an icky taste, its a physical feeling - almost exactly like licking a battery.

How long has the soap been curing?
 

sysoap

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I am overwhelmed with the support I am getting from this forum. All of you are awesome! Thanks so much for all of your advice. I will let it cure for another week or so and test it again. Maybe after 3 weeks if it is still zapping me (and yes, it was like i little shock on my tongue) I will rebatch it with more oil.
 

Susie

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IMHO, if it is still zapping at 5 weeks, I would rebatch. This must be lye heavy indeed, and I sincerely doubt that it is going to improve much with nothing but time.

Rebatching is not the end of the world. Everyone who makes soap rebatches a few batches at least.
 

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