Oil on top of cold pour soap

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martinsmom13

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I just made my first batch of soap and it has been sitting for 16 hours. I only had it wrapped in a towel and over my vent (heat is on blast) but I checked it and there is 1/2 teaspoon of oil on top of my soap. I poured it to one side to measure it then tilted the mold so it would run back down the top of the soap. I don't know what to do. Did I not let is rest properly? I re-wrapped in saran wrap and now have it on a heating pad. I really need to start making my own soaps as my littles have very sensitive skin and we need all the moisture we can get. I am trying not to get discouraged but I followed the tutorials to the T and I am afraid this might be ruined. I will list the recipe below:

water- 150 grams
lye- 70.9 grams
fragrance- 10 grams (lavender)
castor oil- 50 grams
coconut oil- 150 grams
avocado oil- 50 grams
almond oil sweet- 50 grams
hemp seed oil- 50 grams
olive oil- 150 grams
and purple mica
 

TheGecko

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it has been sitting for 16 hours. I only had it wrapped in a towel and over my vent (heat is on blast) but I checked it and there is 1/2 teaspoon of oil on top of my soap.

Sounds to me like your soap overheated. Take it off the heating pad and unwrap it. Let it sit for a few days to see if the oil will be reabsorbed. If it doesn't, since this is your first batch, I'd just toss it (It's what I did).

I would start with a much simpler recipe. I have a friend who has sensitive skin and she love this:

Olive Oil (40.9%)
Coconut Oil (27.3%)
Palm Oil (27.3%)
Castor Oil (4.5%)

33% Lye Concentration
5% SuperFat

1 tea PPO Sodium Lactate

I have given the recipe in percentages so you can put them into a soap calculator to easily resize it. Actual measurements for 500 gram batch would be:

7.21 g Olive Oil
4.81 g Coconut Oil
4.81 g Palm Oil
0.79 g Castor Oil

5.10 g Water (distilled)
2.51 g Lye (NaOH)
1 tea Sodium Lactate (makes it easier to unmold your soap)

15.5 g FO
1 tea Mica

Wearing Eye Protection and Gloves, weigh your water and Lye separately, then slowly add your lye into your water and set aside (away from pets and kids) to cool. Alternately, you can freeze the water into ice cubes which will eliminate most of the fumes and cut down on cooling time. Do NOT use glass or aluminum containers!! Once the lye solution is cool, add in your Sodium Lactate.

Weigh your Coconut and Palm Oils and melt either in the microwave or on the stove. Add in your Olive and Castor Oils. Since this is a single color soap, go ahead and add your Mica to your oils and blend. Slowly add in your Lye Solution and blend to a Light Trace with 1 and 2 second bursts, stirring in between. Add your FO and either stir in with a whisk or spatula or with 1 to 2 second bursts. Pour into your mold, cover lightly with plastic wrap or a piece of cardboard and set it out of the way (top of the frig is good). This is a beginning soap for personal use, so we aren't going to worry about it gelling or not.

Give it 24 hours then take it down...press down lightly on the soap...does it feel like cheddar cheese? If you are using a silicone mold, can you pull the sides away cleanly? If the answer is yes...you can unmold your soap. Depending on the shape of your mold, you should be able to cut it into four 'bars'. Take a large, non-serrated knife and cut straight down. Don't pull the soap off the knife, twist. Place the bars on a piece of cardboard and put them back on the top of the frig...cover with a tea towel. About once a week for the next six weeks, flip the soap over so the edge on the cardboard get 'air'. You can use the soap after four weeks, but the extra two weeks will make for a better bar of soap. And of course, the bars you aren't using will continue to cure and get better.

Loosely wrap the bars you aren't using in some wax or parchment paper to keep them dust free.
 
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I am so sorry that this happened on your first batch! It could be a couple of things:

1. You didn't mix it well enough to emulsify the oils with the lye solution. There is something called "false trace" where the batter thickens quickly but it is not really emulsified. This can be caused by the fragrance, or from solid oils not being melted all the way before adding the lye solution.

2. The fragrance wasn't mixed in well enough, and it has pooled on top.

Thankfully, it is only 1/2 a tsp, which is not that much. From plugging your numbers into the soap calculator, it looks like you had a 5% superfat, which gave you a nice safety margin. Sometimes the oil will reabsorb over time. If it does not reabsorb within a day or two, then pour it off, and check your soap to make sure it doesn't zap. If it doesn't zap, it is still usable soap.

On another note, if you are making soap for sensitive skin, the high amount of coconut oil that you used may be too harsh. If you aren't opposed to using animal fat, lard is one of the best oils for highly-sensitive skin. It's also very cheap at the grocery store! Using the other oils you have on hand, you could try something like:

Lard 60%
Coconut oil 15%
Sweet almond oil 10%
Avocado oil 10%
Castor oil 5%
 
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I would not necessarily toss it. If it hardens up enough to un-mold you might want to cut it with gloves to see the inside, over a plastic container that can catch and contain the seeping oils and liquid if there is anymore inside. It can be a good learning experience as to what overheated soap looks like.

You could also smash it up dump all the oil that has seeped out into a crockpot or a nonreactive container and oven rebatch it. It can certainly be saved into a useful soap.

You also do not need to rebatch immediately it can sit until you get around to it. Just make sure you do all this over a plastic container that can safely contain the liquids and oils that may seep out, because you want all included in the rebatch as I mentioned above.
 

martinsmom13

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Sounds to me like your soap overheated. Take it off the heating pad and unwrap it. Let it sit for a few days to see if the oil will be reabsorbed. If it doesn't, since this is your first batch, I'd just toss it (It's what I did).

I would start with a much simpler recipe. I have a friend who has sensitive skin and she love this:

Olive Oil (40.9%)
Coconut Oil (27.3%)
Palm Oil (27.3%)
Castor Oil (4.5%)

33% Lye Concentration
5% SuperFat

1 tea PPO Sodium Lactate

I have given the recipe in percentages so you can put them into a soap calculator to easily resize it. Actual measurements for 500 gram batch would be:

7.21 g Olive Oil
4.81 g Coconut Oil
4.81 g Palm Oil
0.79 g Castor Oil

5.10 g Water (distilled)
2.51 g Lye (NaOH)
1 tea Sodium Lactate (makes it easier to unmold your soap)

15.5 g FO
1 tea Mica

Wearing Eye Protection and Gloves, weigh your water and Lye separately, then slowly add your lye into your water and set aside (away from pets and kids) to cool. Alternately, you can freeze the water into ice cubes which will eliminate most of the fumes and cut down on cooling time. Do NOT use glass or aluminum containers!! Once the lye solution is cool, add in your Sodium Lactate.

Weigh your Coconut and Palm Oils and melt either in the microwave or on the stove. Add in your Olive and Castor Oils. Since this is a single color soap, go ahead and add your Mica to your oils and blend. Slowly add in your Lye Solution and blend to a Light Trace with 1 and 2 second bursts, stirring in between. Add your FO and either stir in with a whisk or spatula or with 1 to 2 second bursts. Pour into your mold, cover lightly with plastic wrap or a piece of cardboard and set it out of the way (top of the frig is good). This is a beginning soap for personal use, so we aren't going to worry about it gelling or not.

Give it 24 hours then take it down...press down lightly on the soap...does it feel like cheddar cheese? If you are using a silicone mold, can you pull the sides away cleanly? If the answer is yes...you can unmold your soap. Depending on the shape of your mold, you should be able to cut it into four 'bars'. Take a large, non-serrated knife and cut straight down. Don't pull the soap off the knife, twist. Place the bars on a piece of cardboard and put them back on the top of the frig...cover with a tea towel. About once a week for the next six weeks, flip the soap over so the edge on the cardboard get 'air'. You can use the soap after four weeks, but the extra two weeks will make for a better bar of soap. And of course, the bars you aren't using will continue to cure and get better.

Loosely wrap the bars you aren't using in some wax or parchment paper to keep them dust free.

I started to unmold the sides to see and it will unmold but I don't feel its ready yet. I do think it overheated! YIKES. I am trying to find some sodium lactate somewhere near me and having no luck. I guess I will have to order it. I will try this recipe for my next go around. I have been making molds out of shoe boxes since they are so expensive. I have one wooden mold w/ silicone liner that is currently holding my oily loaf.

I would not necessarily toss it. If it hardens up enough to un-mold you might want to cut it with gloves to see the inside, over a plastic container that can catch and contain the seeping oils and liquid if there is anymore inside. It can be a good learning experience as to what overheated soap looks like.

You could also smash it up dump all the oil that has seeped out into a crockpot or a nonreactive container and oven rebatch it. It can certainly be saved into a useful soap.

You also do not need to rebatch immediately it can sit until you get around to it. Just make sure you do all this over a plastic container that can safely contain the liquids and oils that may seep out, because you want all included in the rebatch as I mentioned above.
I would not necessarily toss it. If it hardens up enough to un-mold you might want to cut it with gloves to see the inside, over a plastic container that can catch and contain the seeping oils and liquid if there is anymore inside. It can be a good learning experience as to what overheated soap looks like.

You could also smash it up dump all the oil that has seeped out into a crockpot or a nonreactive container and oven rebatch it. It can certainly be saved into a useful soap.

You also do not need to rebatch immediately it can sit until you get around to it. Just make sure you do all this over a plastic container that can safely contain the liquids and oils that may seep out, because you want all included in the rebatch as I mentioned above.

It might be the best option at this point. From what I could see when peeling the side down a bit, it looks mushy? I have no sodium lactate so :(

I am so sorry that this happened on your first batch! It could be a couple of things:

1. You didn't mix it well enough to emulsify the oils with the lye solution. There is something called "false trace" where the batter thickens quickly but it is not really emulsified. This can be caused by the fragrance, or from solid oils not being melted all the way before adding the lye solution.

2. The fragrance wasn't mixed in well enough, and it has pooled on top.

Thankfully, it is only 1/2 a tsp, which is not that much. From plugging your numbers into the soap calculator, it looks like you had a 5% superfat, which gave you a nice safety margin. Sometimes the oil will reabsorb over time. If it does not reabsorb within a day or two, then pour it off, and check your soap to make sure it doesn't zap. If it doesn't zap, it is still usable soap.

On another note, if you are making soap for sensitive skin, the high amount of coconut oil that you used may be too harsh. If you aren't opposed to using animal fat, lard is one of the best oils for highly-sensitive skin. It's also very cheap at the grocery store! Using the other oils you have on hand, you could try something like:

Lard 60%
Coconut oil 15%
Sweet almond oil 10%
Avocado oil 10%
Castor oil 5%

I def think it is the fragrance oil that is seeping out. I touched it and it feels just like it. I will get some lard! Everything was going fine until I put in the fragrance oil and then it turned to pudding in 1 second. *tears*
 

Obsidian

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Sodium lactate won't help a soap that has overheated and separated. It just helps a soap firm up a bit harder, quicker. You can do the same with a teaspoon of salt ppo.

Fragrance oil that causes accelaration often will cause overheating too. Where did you get your fragrance? Is it specifically for lye soap? The kind you get at hobby stores is not suitable for CP.
 
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Congrats on your first time and sorry about the mystery result. I'll just normalize it and say that I learn something from every soap I make. I have nothing to add because @TheGecko , @cmzaha , and @AliOop are all generous professional experts.

Ditto to using fewer oils as you first start out. My firsts used just 3. And another plug for adding a solid oil. It's also good that you are using just one color and one fragrance. I personally use essential oils for scent and don't have to worry about misbehaving fragrance oils. And sodium lactate was a gamechanger for me -- if I was close, I'd lend you some. I get sodium lactate from Bramble Berry. Most folks here recommend low amounts of coconut oil but you have to experiment for what works for you. Even when I did 25-30%, my super-sensitive skin was okay.

When I first started, I wasn't motivated to make soap because of my sensitive skin. But my family and I noticed a DRAMATIC difference using homemade soap and I have never gone back to store-bought. I previously had spent a fortune on prescription- and over-the-counter lotions and creams -- and now my fortune goes into soaping supplies. :)

And this forum is fantastic -- not just when I first started out but even now. Don't get discouraged, support and help is all around you! Can't wait to hear about your second batch!
 

martinsmom13

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Congrats on your first time and sorry about the mystery result. I'll just normalize it and say that I learn something from every soap I make. I have nothing to add because @TheGecko , @cmzaha , and @AliOop are all generous professional experts.

Ditto to using fewer oils as you first start out. My firsts used just 3. And another plug for adding a solid oil. It's also good that you are using just one color and one fragrance. I personally use essential oils for scent and don't have to worry about misbehaving fragrance oils. And sodium lactate was a gamechanger for me -- if I was close, I'd lend you some. I get sodium lactate from Bramble Berry. Most folks here recommend low amounts of coconut oil but you have to experiment for what works for you. Even when I did 25-30%, my super-sensitive skin was okay.

When I first started, I wasn't motivated to make soap because of my sensitive skin. But my family and I noticed a DRAMATIC difference using homemade soap and I have never gone back to store-bought. I previously had spent a fortune on prescription- and over-the-counter lotions and creams -- and now my fortune goes into soaping supplies. :)

And this forum is fantastic -- not just when I first started out but even now. Don't get discouraged, support and help is all around you! Can't wait to hear about your second batch!
I am so not discouraged now that I unmolded it. I still have a lot to learn. I don't have any shea butter either so I am limited to the oils I have. I have coconut, almond oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, and castor oil. I don't know how to make a hard soap with those ingredients and no sodium lactate. I did order a ton from bulk apoc. so I guess I will go back there and order some more. This is getting expensive! How do you get essential oils in bulk? Ty for your reply.

Sodium lactate won't help a soap that has overheated and separated. It just helps a soap firm up a bit harder, quicker. You can do the same with a teaspoon of salt ppo.

Fragrance oil that causes accelaration often will cause overheating too. Where did you get your fragrance? Is it specifically for lye soap? The kind you get at hobby stores is not suitable for CP.
OH BOY, it was from Hobby lobby. There is my problem. I could visibly see things going wary once I added that fragrance. I have so others from Bulk apoc. do they work well with CP?
 

Obsidian

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OH BOY, it was from Hobby lobby. There is my problem. I could visibly see things going wary once I added that fragrance. I have so others from Bulk apoc. do they work well with CP?

Best thing to do is go to bulk apothecary website and look up each fragrance and see what it says.
Usually fragrance from a soap supplier is good for CP but sometimes its not or its finicky and tends to misbehave.
 
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I wouldn't spend any more on molds, fragrances or sodium lactate right now.

If anything, buy a tub of the cheapest lard you can find at Walmart or the local grocery store. Then make a nice small batch of simple soap with one or no color, and no fragrance to start. If you want it to harden faster, as Obsidian noted, you can dissolve 1 T of salt per pound of oils in your water before adding the lye.

Once you get a successful batch under your belt, that will give you the confidence to branch out into more complex recipes and designs. Everyone here will be happy to help and cheering you on.
 
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I have coconut, almond oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, and castor oil. I don't know how to make a hard soap with those ingredients and no sodium lactate. I did order a ton from bulk apoc. so I guess I will go back there and order some more. This is getting expensive! How do you get essential oils in bulk? Ty for your reply.
Olive oil can make for a hard soap but requires a longer curing time. Also, while you wait, try @Obsidian 's suggestion for plain salt (no experience here but sodium lactate is a salt). I order essential oils from Bramble Berry and look for their sales, I order the less expensive ones. When I win the lottery, I'll get sandalwood. Also, I've also ordered their samplers so I don't put out a lot of $ if I end up not liking something. From time to time I'll compare prices and BB still is more economical. Also, I get alerted when there's a new thread in "Member Classifieds" and recently made out bigtime from @cmzaha 's recent destash!

I meant to say earlier, castor is mandatory for me at 4-6%. High percentages can make for a softer soap.
 
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I will mention that I make very hard soap and have never used Sodium Lactate, it just is not necessary. In fact, I was given almost 3/4 gal of SL a while back and I still have never used it. I also do not use Salt to help harden. This was even before using vinegar. Palm, Tallow, and Lard will make a very nice hard long-lasting soap when balanced with liquid oils. I personally love a tallow/lard combo higher on the tallow and 35%+ Palm for my vegan soaps to produce a hard long-lasting soap.

ETA: I would check out this site for fragrance oils. They have nice ones at good prices. I highly recommend reading the reviews before buying a fragrance. Natures Garden Wholesale Candle & Soap Making Supplies-Fragrance Oils
 
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Obsidian

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I'll second natures garden. They usually have great reviews and notes on how the FO will act in soap.
 

earlene

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Soapmaking as a hobby gets pretty expensive, that is true. Hard soaps with soft oils is possible, though, even without Sodium Lactate, but you have ordered it as you said, so it will help your recipes harden up a tad bit earlier to unmold. When you run out of it, you can switch to a table salt dilution instead.

IF you are okay with using animal fats, the lard suggestion is a good one, but as I know personally, not everyone likes lard or wants to use animal fats. Also, as a frequent traveler, I have discovered lard isn't always easiliy available in all Walmarts in this country, as I tend to look in the oils aisle in every store I enter while traveling.

Soap with a high percentage of olive oil will harden up quite a bit, but takes a longer cure than soaps with a lower percentage, usually.

IF you want to try soap with some hard oils that are easier to obtain than by internet order, I don't know if you have a Dollar General or a Walgreens or similar stores that carry Cocoa Butter in a push-up stick, but I used it when I first started making soap. Locally, I have purchased it in brands called "Queen Helene" or "Cococare", in 1-ounce containers. which is a perfect size for a small batch of soap. It looks like this:
1609159546234.png
1609159588986.png

Costs vary by store, but at Dollar type stores, it is very affordable, particularly if only for a test batch.

If you keep your butter type hard oils at only 15% of the recipe, this is a good choice for a beginner.

Another option, although on the rather expensive side, is Spectrum brand shortening which is 100% palm oil. It can be found in Target in the grocery section if you have a Target near you, as well as some other grocery stores, but it is not cheap. It is 100% Palm Oil and plugs right into a soap calculator as such; it looks like this, but may have a white lid in some stores, as online I see a new packaging is also available:
1609160152838.png

The VitaminShoppe also carries Spectrum Shortening (palm oil). If you can find it, shop around, as prices vary quite a bit on this product.

Palm will harden your soap and is worth trying at least once to see if it's something you like. You can always start ordering it from Soaper's Choice at much more reasonable price (per pound) at a later date once you know if you like it in soap.

Soaper's Choice is in the Chicago area in Illinois, so shipping to TN would be affordable for you. I usually get my orders from them within 2 days, sometimes the very next day. I have learned it's best to order more than just one item, however, as the shipping for four 7-pound containers of oil is the same as the for only one 7-lb container. Their prices are very good, even with shipping; the bottom-line price per pound or price-per-ounce, whichever way I want to calculate it, is almost always better than any other vendor.

There are other oils that can be used to harden soap as well, and sometimes vendors will have special pricing or huge sales, and you'll find we tend to share that information with each other when we run across it, so check back here in the Shopping Recommendations forum for any such notices.

Soy wax is another hard oil that can be used to harden soap, although not used as widely as some of the other hard oils, and you probably won't find it locally. There are many threads here on SMF about using Soy Wax in soap, if you want to look into that in the future. Soy oil, is not the same thing at all, so don't confuse the two.

Coconut oil, although considered a hard oil, and does harden soap, it also attracts water and makes soap less long lasting and melt away faster. Plus high amounts of coconut oil in some formulas tend to be too drying for some skin. There are folks who are fine with higher percentages of CO in soap, but that is not true for everyone. I think that some men tend to tolerate it better than some women, but it also depends on the formula itself.

And some folks have mentioned that their soap formula changes for wintertime from what their skin can tolerate in the summertime. That makes perfect sense if you skin is very dry in winter, which I know mine is right now.

Edited to add:

I forgot to mention using Crisco shortening or GV shortening (the Walmart brand). They are both in some of the soap calculators, although if you want to use it, you won't be able to use a couple of the the calculators, as not all of them list in their list of oils. So I suggest using the one here on the forum (link) or Soapee.com as both have these shortenings listed. Not all Walmarts carry both types of GV shortening, however, so you are limited to what you can find locally in that regard, but it is an option for adding either palm or animal fat, depending on what is available in your local area IF you have a Walmart. Great Value brand belongs to Walmart, but you should be able to find Crisco shortening in many grocery stores.
 
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