Oh Lordy, I need help

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Since I’m new, I feel like I should start off with I do know how to make soap. My son had eczema when he was little, so my only option was to make his soap—he’d break out using anything else. But they weren’t fancy soaps, by any means. Purely utilitarian.

But a couple years ago, I met the most wonderful woman at a local fair here. Once we got to talking it turned out she lived less than 15 minutes from me… and her soaps truly had me in awe. Her artistry was so inspiring. So, just before Covid, December 2000, I finally visited her and she showed me how to a hanger swirl. Later, as I would try new things she was my constant guide—so generous with her knowledge and experience and sooo much fun. Sadly, Pauline died last year from Covid. She was in her 80’s and so frail.

Today something happened with a soap I have never seen and although I miss her every day, these are the days it really stings.

Anywho, I filled a typical recipe I found online, but holy cow does it look a mess. I was using a soap scraper for the first time, so I wanted a nice, fluid batter to allow for the learning curve. But it thickened up almost instantly and NOW, well, is this a false trace? Ive never seen that before but have heard about it. I honestly don’t know what I’m looking at here, but it’s literally weeping oil everywhere and separating.

The recipe is ans follows: 22oz OO, 11oz CO, 5oz CB, 5.24 oz lye, 10.64oz water. Colorants anre mica annd 3oz FO.

I uploaded a video below, but truly, I’m stumped.

Also, sorry about the lighting and sink. That’s the boys bathroom and it has the brightest lights in the house—and is also the grossest in the house. I don’t soap there!!
 

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lsg

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Your FO could be the culprit. Sometimes it accelerates trace. I have had soap get thick too fast and had to plunk it in the mold. As long as the soap doesn't separate, it should be OK.
 
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Your FO could be the culprit. Sometimes it accelerates trace. I have had soap get thick too fast and had to plunk it in the mold. As long as the soap doesn't separate, it should be OK.
I do think it’s separating, though. You can kinda see that on the video. Like chunks of blue soap floating in oil? What causes this… and is it false trace?

Also, sorry about the lighting and sink. That’s the boys bathroom and it has the brightest lights in the house—and is also the grossest in the house. I don’t soap there!!
Your FO could be the culprit. Sometimes it accelerates trace. I have had soap get thick too fast and had to plunk it in the mold. As long as the soap doesn't separate, it should be OK.
Also, my lye was room temp and my oils were about 115
 

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If you oils and Lye Solution was at 115F, you would not experience False Trace. False Trace usually occurs because your temperatures are so low that your Hard Oils and/or Butters are resolidifying. It should be noted that False Trace can lead to Separation. And it's Separation that you have, but not because of False Trace.

I have had quite a few FO accelerate...I just went through it with everyone one of my Christmas soaps. We guesstimated it was caused by the 'spice' notes that many "Christmas" scents have. It would have been such a big deal if I was doing a single color or layered soap, but I was doing Drop/Chopstick Swirls. There was no 'drop'...just lots of 'plop' by the spoonful, brute force swirling and lots of prayer.

I don't know the science behind spice and floral scents accelerating, but I do know that unless you are talking about soap on a stick, you can find ways to work with them.
 
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Yep, I surely can. If that doesn’t work, I to the crockpot is goes.
Sigh. Thank you, @KiwiMoose
What typically causes that? I’ve never seen it before
I bet it was your FO - name and brand? I'll look it up.

I don't know the science behind spice and floral scents accelerating, but I do know that unless you are talking about soap on a stick, you can find ways to work with them.
Yes - I have a ginger and saffron FO that is incredibly naughty but I go into battle with it purely because I love the scent. I've used it three times so far and will continue to do so.
 
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I bet it was your FO - name and brand? I'll look it up.
It’s Aroma Depot Pearberry

If you oils and Lye Solution was at 115F, you would not experience False Trace. False Trace usually occurs because your temperatures are so low that your Hard Oils and/or Butters are resolidifying. It should be noted that False Trace can lead to Separation. And it's Separation that you have, but not because of False Trace.

I have had quite a few FO accelerate...I just went through it with everyone one of my Christmas soaps. We guesstimated it was caused by the 'spice' notes that many "Christmas" scents have. It would have been such a big deal if I was doing a single color or layered soap, but I was doing Drop/Chopstick Swirls. There was no 'drop'...just lots of 'plop' by the spoonful, brute force swirling and lots of prayer.

I don't know the science behind spice and floral scents accelerating, but I do know that unless you are talking about soap on a stick, you can find ways to work with them.
Thank you so much. I have not worked with this FO before, but omg… FO’s can cause separation?! I did not know that!!

I bet it was your FO - name and brand? I'll look it up.
Is there a specific website you go to to look these up? I’ve always just checked the ifra to verify skin-safe percentages.
 

TheGecko

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Thank you so much. I have not worked with this FO before, but omg… FO’s can cause separation?! I did not know that!!
If they are not properly incorporated which can happen if it accelerates.

Is there a specific website you go to to look these up? I’ve always just checked the ifra to verify skin-safe percentages.
The company that you purchased your FO from should have the information.
 
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It’s Aroma Depot Pearberry


Is there a specific website you go to to look these up? I’ve always just checked the ifra to verify skin-safe percentages.
I went to aroma depot.com and looked at the customer fragrance reviews. There are none! 'Pearberry fantasy' was the closest I could find. There is no soap making information either about how it might perform. I probably wouldn't buy from them without that information.
 
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I went to aroma depot.com and looked at the customer fragrance reviews. There are none! 'Pearberry fantasy' was the closest I could find. There is no soap making information either about how it might perform. I probably wouldn't buy from them without that information.
Sigh… same. I inherited several of these from my friend. I’m sure she would have known how to handle them. As for me, I’m just going through them and using a sharpie on the bottle to make notes. This bottle notes says “NO SOAP”

@KiwiMoose I hate to bother you, but I reworked this recipe and am going to use a FO I can find info on. Would you mind taking a look to make sure it seems ok?
 

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It does look OK - but I'm not sure how it compares to your previous recipe. What changes have you made?
I've never used tallow so not sure how that performs. Most people seem to prefer high oleic canola but I don't see any problem with what you have there. I am inexperienced with canola too.
The only thing i do notice is that your lye concentration is a little low at 29% - but that won't be too problematic if that's what you usually use. Most people average around 33% lye concentration. Lower lye concentration can contribute to a slightly warmer batch - thus gelling easier and possibly glycerin rivers.
Many people prefer less CO, as it can be a bit harsh/drying. I go for 20%, lots more go for still less than that (as low as 10%), but some people use it at 25% regularly.
I usually aim for palmitic/stearic in the high 30s combined for greater longevity. Yours is at 25 which is still fine, but it might be a fairly soluble batch. Oils such as RBO, Avocado and OO will help increase your palmitic.
Aside from all that you can use the recipe as-is and it will still make soap. :D See how it compares to what you usually make.
 
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It does look OK - but I'm not sure how it compares to your previous recipe. What changes have you made?
I've never used tallow so not sure how that performs. Most people seem to prefer high oleic canola but I don't see any problem with what you have there. I am inexperienced with canola too.
The only thing i do notice is that your lye concentration is a little low at 29% - but that won't be too problematic if that's what you usually use. Most people average around 33% lye concentration. Lower lye concentration can contribute to a slightly warmer batch - thus gelling easier and possibly glycerin rivers.
Many people prefer less CO, as it can be a bit harsh/drying. I go for 20%, lots more go for still less than that (as low as 10%), but some people use it at 25% regularly.
I usually aim for palmitic/stearic in the high 30s combined for greater longevity. Yours is at 25 which is still fine, but it might be a fairly soluble batch. Oils such as RBO, Avocado and OO will help increase your palmitic.
Aside from all that you can use the recipe as-is and it will still make soap. :D See how it compares to what you usually make.
Actually, that was the lye concentration in the original concoction.. which I’m going to increase based on your suggestion. Will that not make it move quicker, or does the lye concentration not affect that? I’ll also cut down on the CO and add some OO. Thanks so much!
 
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@KiwiMoose - well, it is definitely an upgrade! Using your suggestions I edited the recipe as below. I upped the lye, decreased the canola and added OO. I made sure I used a soap-safe FO and because I was doing two different ITPS’s I added more liquid oils, decreased the hard oils and brought it to a light trace (making sure not to over stick blend and waiting between each hand stir).

Lessons I learned: for the scraping bits, I need to stick blend that to a medium trace. It took FOREVER to harden up enough to scrape… and by that time, my second ITPS was already almost too thick too pour out.

Here’s my question though: The batter has set for almost 5 hours and is still very, very soft to the touch. It’s not separating (thank goodness), just super super soft.

Have you had experience with this (possible) problem before?
 

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The top was supposed to be a fluffy “sky”, but oh my was it ever thick. Fingers crossed. And hopefully, the “calico cat” that was scraped comes out ok. This one is giving me heartburn, for sure.
 

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The top was supposed to be a fluffy “sky”, but oh my was it ever thick. Fingers crossed. And hopefully, the “calico cat” that was scraped comes out ok. This one is giving me heartburn, for sure.
Mine wouldn't usually be hard to the touch until at least 10 hours, and that's only if i gel it. Sometimes longer. I would usually cut after 12 hours if impatient, or wait overnight and cut the next morning in most cases. My recipe is 55 or 60% saturated fats so is naturally a harder recipe.
 
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Mine wouldn't usually be hard to the touch until at least 10 hours, and that's only if i gel it. Sometimes longer. I would usually cut after 12 hours if impatient, or wait overnight and cut the next morning in most cases. My recipe is 55 or 60% saturated fats so is naturally a harder recipe.
Which oils do you typically use? Is it liquid enough for swirls and the like, or do you use a different recipe for that?

The recipe I usually make hardens quickly and I’m ready to cut the next day as well. But I’ve my results for swirling are a mixed bag, at best.
 
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