Practice makes... perfect disasters!

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emi

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Oh what a disaster!! I became too confident with the success of my previous simple soaps and tried several new attempts all at once in the last batch I made, which was only my 4th batch so far, and every new thing I tried went very wrong, or unexpected outcomes at best. But I learned a lot. I'm going to just ask about one of them here so scroll down to the very bottom for the questions. The following is what I wanted to try, my recipe that I thought would get me that result, and a list of each of my new attempts and how they went very wrong, just for the sake of sharing...


I was going to attempt a 2 tone bar, with some swirling! One batter was going to be oatmilk and honey, and the other was going to be a red soap, using red chard juice to sub for my water as a colorant and was going to add honey to that batter as well. I did a lot of studying and learned about water/lye concentrations and such to try to make batters that would remain a light trace so I could swirl. I also learned about using more soft oils to have a higher unsaturated fat content to saturated for having light trace for longer. And bought myself beezwax to add for hardness to compensate for those soft oils. My recipe:


coconut oil 76 degree 30% 150g

castor oil 10% 50g

canola 20% 100g

coco butter 15% 75g

rice bran 10% 50g

beezwax 3% 15g

avocado 12% 60g


water 157.07g

lye 67.32g

fragrance 15.5 g


8% superfat

30% lye concentration

500g total oils

1 TBSP honey


I combined the oils then split them into 250g and 250g for the 2 types of batter. The lye was also split in half for the 2 batters, 33.66g each. I used a little less than half of water content for red chard juice (72.07g) and a little more than half of water content for oatmilk (85g). 1/2 tbsp honey for each batter (which I had to sub 1/2 tsp of sugar in aloe batter instead of honey). I used 8g of lavender oil in the red chard batter and 7.5g of sage in the oatmilk batter, both at trace.

My disasters, in order...

1. I mixed the red chard stalk juice with the lye. it turned a deep green, then finally a not so pretty dark brown with darker brown specs in it. It also smelled like rotten vegetables. I threw it out and started over with frozen aloe I had leftover which I've used before successfully.

2. I added honey to the aloe/lye solution. It completely seized up on me and would not dissolve. I was too scared to heat it in the microwave. It did not feel particularly cold though. I had to take it out as one big chunk. I subbed with a bit of sugar which finally dissolved.

3. When I sprinkled my lye onto my frozen oatmilk cubes, it immediately turned a bright orange. Unexpected, but I didn't mind the color. As I continued to add the lye and mix, I also added honey, and what first was just a slimy consistency turned into a completely thick paste-like mixture, not smooth looking. The look of apple sauce, but the thickness and consistency of toothpaste. The bright orange turned into a more dull deeper orange. I used it anyway.

4. I added my aloe/lye mixture to my oils. It came to trace super fast. I had to scoop it into my sad little homemade mold, (which also proved to be a disaster).

5. Short of glasswear, by the time i cleaned out the container that had the aloe batter in it to mix the orange oat-paste/ lye mixture to my oils, the aloe batter in my mold was almost completely set. The oatmilk batter came to thick trace almost immediately. I just scooped it on top of the pretty much set aloe batter. I stuck a chopstcik down in there in some sad hope that I could still get some kind of swirl or something. I couldn't even get through the bottom aloe layer with my chopstick. I put some of the remaining batters of both types into my little silicone single bar molds, hoping that possibly the aloe batter would turn out to something usable, suspecting that the oat batter would be unusable somehow. I noticed in the next hour or so that my mold was incredibly warm. The single bars were already completely room temp.

6. Next day I went to unmold the sad little cardboard mold I spent an hour making, laminating it meticulously with packing tape. I completely damaged the sides and corners and finally had to cut the thing off because it wouldn't come out of the mold in one piece. It was about 4x4x5 inches or so. basically a cube. total holding about 500g of soap. while the other 200g went into 2 of my single bar molds. I salvaged about 2 slices (of what should have been 5) from my sad mold, which I also cut very unevenly. And it smelled funny. like a strange rot like smell.

I went ahead and started to cure what I could salvage. Let's see how they turn out.


What did I learn?


- I noticed that the soap in the cube mold had "gelled"! A phenomenon that wasn't clear to me until now. That heat trapped in that cube allowed it to keep the heat all that sugar generated. I now understand the whole oven thing I've read about. The bars in the single bar mold was much lighter in color. The oat batter ones in particular.

- sugars create heat which accelerates trace. honey is a sugar. oatmilk has sugars in it. which equals heat, which equals faster trace, as well as gelling, especially if in a big chunk mold like that.

- I should not add honey with lye solution, (maybe unless it's quite warm?) I should add it after initial emulsification, or at trace.

- Oatmilk is odd. Do some more research.

- Beezwax pellets takes such a high temp to melt! I had to microwave my oils to such a hot temp! Next time I'll add them to a small amount of soft oil, melt them, then add that to the rest of my liquified oils.

- red chard juice does not work as a red colorant! (I made some anatto seed infused coconut oil for my next batch!)
- I need more containers
- don't be so cheap and invest in a decent silicone mold!


Yes, I bought a real silicone mold, more glass containers, as well as some pretty sample micas. :)



So my question to all of you wise soap makers is regarding trace. Does using more soft oils really help in sustaining a light trace? And I'm also always afraid of not blending enough, worried that lye is left unreacted. Is there a way I can be sure that the lye is all reacted without just blending the heck out of the batter? I definitely understand that heat accelerates trace. I tried using a higher water content of 30% lye conc than my previous soaps that were around 24% or so. What lye concentration would help to sustain light trace without requiring months and months of cure to dehydrate all that extra water? I also read an article on The Spruce to keep temp under 90 degrees to sustain light trace. Any other suggestions? I want to attempt one of those fancy swirly soaps! I'd appreciate any feedback!
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For a slower trace:

- Soap cool: room temperature lye and oils between 100-120 degrees works great for most recipes.

- Use lots of slow-tracing oils: olive oil, lard, HO sunflower/safflower, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil.

- Use fewer fast-tracing oils: PKO, coconut oil, babassu oil, palm, butters.

- Avoid using the stickblender at all, or use it very sparingly. Stick blend just to incorporate lye solution then switch to whisk.

- Avoid accelerating FOs.

- No beeswax. If you want a harder bar, you could dissolve some salt into your water before adding the lye.

- Low water content can actually help the batter stay fluid longer in some cases. Low water + high lard = all the swirl-time in the world.

I soap with room temperature lye, oils between 100-120F, high lard with lye concentration of around 35%. I have tons of working time. I recently did a soap with 10 batter divisions for different colours and I stickblended for about 10 seconds then divided my batter into my 10 cups. Took my time mixing the oil-dispersed micas into each cup and I still had tons of working time. It took a long time to reach trace and even then, I still poured it when it was quite liquid.
 

navigator9

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Every change or addition you make to your base recipe, comes with it's own set of unique characteristics. This is why newbies often hear the advice to change one thing at a time. This way, you will know what is responsible for the problems or differences, and have a better idea what to do about it. It's hard when you're a beginner, because you're so excited at the whole process, you want to try everything! But there are reasons to go slow. That way you get a better handle on each of your ingredients, their unique properties and challenges.

But you learned some valuable lessons! :) To address a couple of your questions...I add honey to the lye water after it has cooled off a bit, but is still warm, and I stir it well to make sure it's dissolved. The warmth helps to dissolve it. Yes, it will turn orange, but that will disappear later.

As far as identifying emulsion, I sympathize with you, that was difficult for me too. Honestly, it took me years before I was comfortable that my soap batter had reached emulsion. I would always keep blending until I had a very definite trace. What worked for me was just making lots of batches and watching carefully. When you first add your lye solution to your oils, you have a very definite oily layer on top, as you blend, that oily layer starts to be incorporated into the batter, and for me, when I get to that point that there no longer seems to be that layer of oil floating on top, I feel comfortable enough to pour, even though it hasn't reached trace. So again, it's one of those things that may take you some time, but you will get there. Watch very carefully as you're mixing, and you'll reach a point where you can recognize that it's enough. And just slow down a little bit, and you will save yourself some headaches. Have fun!

P.S. Sadly, chard and almost all of the other things we'd like to use to color soap, will be negatively affected by the lye monster, including the beautiful pink hibiscus tea I thought would make such a nice, pink soap. Nope. Also the pink rose and peony petals I so carefully dried and lovingly sprinkled over the top of my soap. But even brown, beige, uncolored, unscented handmade soap is a wonderful thing!!! Never forget that. :-D
 
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emi

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Wow, what helpful information! Thank you all so much! I've definitely spent more time reading about soap making than I have actually making soap in attempt to avoid common pitfalls and educate myself. But at the end of the day nothing substitutes experience.
 

emi

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For a slower trace:

- Soap cool: room temperature lye and oils between 100-120 degrees works great for most recipes.

- Use lots of slow-tracing oils: olive oil, lard, HO sunflower/safflower, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil.

- Use fewer fast-tracing oils: PKO, coconut oil, babassu oil, palm, butters.

- Avoid using the stickblender at all, or use it very sparingly. Stick blend just to incorporate lye solution then switch to whisk.

- Avoid accelerating FOs.

- No beeswax. If you want a harder bar, you could dissolve some salt into your water before adding the lye.

- Low water content can actually help the batter stay fluid longer in some cases. Low water + high lard = all the swirl-time in the world.

I soap with room temperature lye, oils between 100-120F, high lard with lye concentration of around 35%. I have tons of working time. I recently did a soap with 10 batter divisions for different colours and I stickblended for about 10 seconds then divided my batter into my 10 cups. Took my time mixing the oil-dispersed micas into each cup and I still had tons of working time. It took a long time to reach trace and even then, I still poured it when it was quite liquid.

*[FONT=&quot]Thank you for all this information! From all the reading I've done about trace, I never found anything about coconut oil being a fast trace oil. The 4 batches I've done so far all had mostly coconut oil and all 4 had quick trace, so that definitely backs up my experience! I see that you mentioned lard and palm oil to be [FONT=&quot]slow[/FONT] trace oils which are both oils I want to avoid. I've already had someone tell me on previous thread that a vegan palm free soap will simply not make a good quality soap. If that's true, I'm willing to settle with the best soap I can make without those oils. The 3rd batch I made were salt bars which I love, so I'll use salt instead of beeswax to help with hardening. I have seen recipes that are 100% olive oil which is something I have not tried yet. But since that is a [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]slow[/FONT][/FONT] trace oil maybe I can use mostly olive. And since butters are fast trace, maybe I could use avocado oil instead for conditioning properties? Castor oil seems to be pretty necessary for lather, so I'll bring that down to 3% as suggested. And for cleansing properties I read that coconut is good for that, but instead of a large percentage, maybe just 15-20%? And should I completely stay away from adding honey or sugar to keep trace slow as well? I know it generates heat, but will that contribute to fast trace? So how about something like this?

olive oil - 50%
avocado oil - 15%
rice bran - 15%
castor - 3%
coconut oil - 17%[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]1tsp/lb of oils added with warm lye solution[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] lye concentration - 35%
superfat - 5%[/FONT]
 
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emi

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Every change or addition you make to your base recipe, comes with it's own set of unique characteristics. This is why newbies often hear the advice to change one thing at a time. This way, you will know what is responsible for the problems or differences, and have a better idea what to do about it. It's hard when you're a beginner, because you're so excited at the whole process, you want to try everything! But there are reasons to go slow. That way you get a better handle on each of your ingredients, their unique properties and challenges.

But you learned some valuable lessons! :) To address a couple of your questions...I add honey to the lye water after it has cooled off a bit, but is still warm, and I stir it well to make sure it's dissolved. The warmth helps to dissolve it. Yes, it will turn orange, but that will disappear later.

As far as identifying emulsion, I sympathize with you, that was difficult for me too. Honestly, it took me years before I was comfortable that my soap batter had reached emulsion. I would always keep blending until I had a very definite trace. What worked for me was just making lots of batches and watching carefully. When you first add your lye solution to your oils, you have a very definite oily layer on top, as you blend, that oily layer starts to be incorporated into the batter, and for me, when I get to that point that there no longer seems to be that layer of oil floating on top, I feel comfortable enough to pour, even though it hasn't reached trace. So again, it's one of those things that may take you some time, but you will get there. Watch very carefully as you're mixing, and you'll reach a point where you can recognize that it's enough. And just slow down a little bit, and you will save yourself some headaches. Have fun!

P.S. Sadly, chard and almost all of the other things we'd like to use to color soap, will be negatively affected by the lye monster, including the beautiful pink hibiscus tea I thought would make such a nice, pink soap. Nope. Also the pink rose and peony petals I so carefully dried and lovingly sprinkled over the top of my soap. But even brown, beige, uncolored, unscented handmade soap is a wonderful thing!!! Never forget that. :-D

Thank you for your reply! It is so true what you said about being an excited newbie and wanting to try all these new techniques and ingredients all at once! I definitely am guilty of that! On my next batch I'm going to focus just on getting a slow trace so I can do a simple swirl with 2 colors. This time I'm going to use the pretty micas and oxides I ordered meant for this application.

I will take your suggestions on how to watch for that emulsion point too. I will also not use my stick blender as suggested by toxicon, because I found in my previous batches that within seconds of blending with the stick blender it would go to thick trace, (which i know now was mainly because of the oils I chose). I'll look out for that oil layer you speak of and really pay attention to how the batter changes as I mix it slowly by hand.

What a shame about those rose petals! That's how I felt with the chard. It was such a beautiful deep red color that I did a double extraction and froze it into ice cubes just for it to be all thrown out! And yes I agree that the colorless beige or brown soaps are absolutely fine too. My previous batches were all that color with the exception of the last one with the oat that turned orange. I was actually going to go on with the brown chard lye solution, but it smelled funny. It had a very strong vegetal smell that was quite unpleasant.

I came up with a new rough draft recipe I'd like to try next based on all the suggestion I received. I posted it in response to toxicon too, but here it is. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again!

(I'm trying to avoid animal oils as well as palm oil which I know is difficult, and was even told that it is impossible to make a quality soap without those oils. So the best possible soap without those oils is fine with me! :mrgreen:)

[FONT=&quot] olive oil - 50%
avocado oil - 15%
rice bran - 15%
castor - 3%
coconut oil - 17%
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]1 tsp/lb salt added to warm lye solution
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] lye concentration - 35%
superfat - 5%[/FONT]


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navigator9

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Thank you for your reply! It is so true what you said about being an excited newbie and wanting to try all these new techniques and ingredients all at once! I definitely am guilty of that! On my next batch I'm going to focus just on getting a slow trace so I can do a simple swirl with 2 colors. This time I'm going to use the pretty micas and oxides I ordered meant for this application.

I will take your suggestions on how to watch for that emulsion point too. I will also not use my stick blender as suggested by toxicon, because I found in my previous batches that within seconds of blending with the stick blender it would go to thick trace, (which i know now was mainly because of the oils I chose). I'll look out for that oil layer you speak of and really pay attention to how the batter changes as I mix it slowly by hand.

What a shame about those rose petals! That's how I felt with the chard. It was such a beautiful deep red color that I did a double extraction and froze it into ice cubes just for it to be all thrown out! And yes I agree that the colorless beige or brown soaps are absolutely fine too. My previous batches were all that color with the exception of the last one with the oat that turned orange. I was actually going to go on with the brown chard lye solution, but it smelled funny. It had a very strong vegetal smell that was quite unpleasant.

I came up with a new rough draft recipe I'd like to try next based on all the suggestion I received. I posted it in response to toxicon too, but here it is. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again!

(I'm trying to avoid animal oils as well as palm oil which I know is difficult, and was even told that it is impossible to make a quality soap without those oils. So the best possible soap without those oils is fine with me! :mrgreen:)

[FONT=&quot] olive oil - 50%
avocado oil - 15%
rice bran - 15%
castor - 3%
coconut oil - 17%
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]1 tsp/lb salt added to warm lye solution
[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] lye concentration - 35%
superfat - 5%[/FONT]


Save

We were all newbies once, that's why we're so familiar with how it feels, and the impulse to want to try it all and do it all...now. By going a little slower, and getting the basics under your belt, it can only save you time and failed batches down the road. As far as using the SB, what many of us do is to use it in bursts of just a few seconds, and then stir with it, burst, stir, until it's at the point of emulsion or trace that you want to pour. This gives you more control of how fast or slow things are moving. And like I said, the emulsion thing is something you get more comfortable identifying, the more experience you have, and the more batches you've observed.

Good luck with your next batches, we look forward to following your progress! :)
 
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Welcome to the learning process!
navigagor9 already said it better than I could.

We're soapers. Of course we did that.
I have a mini stick blender that I use just because I tend to over blend. I use less coconut than you but that took quite a while and lots of help from the forum.

Lye concentration, oil blends , temperature and additives are all variables that each one of us tend to work out over time.
I'm no expert but I have learned a lot here and I am still being educated by those with more experience and know how than I.
 

cherrycoke216

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Just a little FYI, olive oils at 50% will need more curing time than 1 month for it to be a better soap. ( less slimy, gooey, & water soluble ) and avocado oil & rice bran oil, too, are high OLEIC acid oil acts pretty much the same as olive oil.

ETA: Palm is fast tracing oil. And your recipe will do much better with 40% lye concentration if you limit your stickblender and sugar usage.
 
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Nao

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What cherrycoke said. And I know it's tempting to change the 50/50 ratio of hard and soft oils, but don't, it won't turn out nice. As others have said, don't go overboard with the stick blender and sugar and you should be fine. :mrgreen:
 

cherrycoke216

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What are you using the glass containers for? If it is anything to do with lye, don't! Glass will etch and shatter.


Great catch, Susie! I meant to say that but forget about it as I type. Is it early onset Alzheimer's? :headbanging:
 
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Y'all answered all her other questions, so I was able to focus solely on that, and I read the thread several times to be sure someone else had not covered that.

It is not early Alzheimer's. It is just having a life in addition to this forum. We get distracted.
 

emi

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We were all newbies once, that's why we're so familiar with how it feels, and the impulse to want to try it all and do it all...now. By going a little slower, and getting the basics under your belt, it can only save you time and failed batches down the road. As far as using the SB, what many of us do is to use it in bursts of just a few seconds, and then stir with it, burst, stir, until it's at the point of emulsion or trace that you want to pour. This gives you more control of how fast or slow things are moving. And like I said, the emulsion thing is something you get more comfortable identifying, the more experience you have, and the more batches you've observed.

Good luck with your next batches, we look forward to following your progress! :)

UGHHH! What a bummer!! I'm quite sure I need to throw it out. I made another batch using the recipe I suggested above. here it is exactly:

olive 50% 250g
avocado 15% 75g
rice bran 15% 75g
castor 3% 15g
coconut 17% 85g
water 123.17g
lye conc 35% 66.32g
super fat 7%
fragrance 15g

500g oil total

sat/unsat, 30/70

I'm completely forgot to add salt. Anyway, everything was going well and I was so proud of my new colorants I was using and the pretty swirl I managed. So, once I had my oils combined at room temp and added the somewhat cooled down lye water, I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker, I split the batch into 2 containers to create my 2 colors. blue mica and black oxide. By the time I mixed in my blue mica, the other batter waiting for the black had already kind of set. I had to mix it up again to loosen it to mix in the black oxide. So I thought I was safe since it had practically set! I used a swirl technique of pouring the black into 3 spots in the blue batter and then poured it into my mold. I put a layer of saran wrap on the top and covered it with a towel. I felt the warmth through it a while later which I was happy that it would therefore gel properly. Today I took off the towel and noticed that there was some clear liquid that had gathered between the saran wrap and the soap. I pulled it off, got some of the liquid on my finger and touched it to my tongue. and yup, there it was. The infamous electrocution sting of lye I've heard so much about. So that's it right? I need to throw it all out? There's no recourse in saving this batch, correct??
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navigator9

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UGHHH! What a bummer!! I'm quite sure I need to throw it out. I made another batch using the recipe I suggested above. here it is exactly:

olive 50% 250g
avocado 15% 75g
rice bran 15% 75g
castor 3% 15g
coconut 17% 85g
water 123.17g
lye conc 35% 66.32g
super fat 7%
fragrance 15g

500g oil total

sat/unsat, 30/70

I'm completely forgot to add salt. Anyway, everything was going well and I was so proud of my new colorants I was using and the pretty swirl I managed. So, once I had my oils combined at room temp and added the somewhat cooled down lye water, I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker, I split the batch into 2 containers to create my 2 colors. blue mica and black oxide. By the time I mixed in my blue mica, the other batter waiting for the black had already kind of set. I had to mix it up again to loosen it to mix in the black oxide. So I thought I was safe since it had practically set! I used a swirl technique of pouring the black into 3 spots in the blue batter and then poured it into my mold. I put a layer of saran wrap on the top and covered it with a towel. I felt the warmth through it a while later which I was happy that it would therefore gel properly. Today I took off the towel and noticed that there was some clear liquid that had gathered between the saran wrap and the soap. I pulled it off, got some of the liquid on my finger and touched it to my tongue. and yup, there it was. The infamous electrocution sting of lye I've heard so much about. So that's it right? I need to throw it all out? There's no recourse in saving this batch, correct??
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I would follow the above advice from Susie and TEG. I think, for a beginner, you're over complicating things for yourself. I'm sure beginners hate to hear my advice, but it's just this kind of situation that I'm trying to help them avoid. Instead of multi colored swirls, why not just a one color bar for now? In my own experience, it takes some practice to feel comfortable with a project as complicated as yours was.

When you say "somewhat cooled down lye water", it leads me to think that your lye was still on the warm side. I soap at room temp. I make my lye solution the night before, so when I use it, it's truly at room temp. This helps things to move more slowly.

" I mixed by hand, then did little short bursts with the SB as suggested. I only had 500g of oil so there wasn't a whole lot of mixing to do anyway. But I mixed it around, looking carefully for that oil slick to disappear. When I was pretty sure it was good, and felt it getting thicker," If your batter is at the emulsion stage, it shouldn't be getting thicker yet. Did you try dribbling some of the batter on top, to see if it left a trace? These are some things you could be focusing on if you didn't have so many other things, like dividing your batch and using multiple colors and swirling to concentrate on. Getting the basics down will help you with all of the other things, because once you're comfortable with the basics, you don't have to think about them, and you'll be able to give all your attention to the "fancy stuff".

I'm really not trying to stop you from having fun and being creative, I just hate the idea of newbies becoming frustrated and deciding that soaping is not for them. I want all of your batches to be a success! :)
 
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emi

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Yes, absolutely. I took on more than I can handle! I left the soap alone for about a week and it did "absorb back" that liquid somehow and it completely disappeared leaving a kind of ashy residue. Is that the ash I've heard of that can be avoided by spraying alcohol on it? I did the tongue test from the surface, as well as cut in into bars and touched my tongue to those areas too and there was no sting at all! Just tasted like normal soap! I don't get it. It just seeped back into the soap? Susie and the Efficacious Gentleman both said to wait to see if it would re-absorb, which it totally did. How did it do that? Why did you say "with that much olive oil you will have time to wait for it see if the liquid absorbs back in"? I even bought myself phenothaline solution to do a test, but by the time it arrived, it was passing the tongue test with flying colors. Any thoughts on its use?

And about the glass! I shouldn't be using glass for mixing the batter or for the lye solution then?? I guess just from cooking I assumed glass was the most non-reactive material possible. So I should use plastic containers for everything? I bought these little glass beakers just for mixing colorants into small amounts of oil. That's ok right? just to use for oil and colorant? But I should only use plastic measuring cups and bowls for the lye solution and batter mixing. And of course can't use those for anything but soaping.

So as suggested, i'm just going to make one color (or no color) bars for at least the next few batches. I'll use the various oils I've collected and try to learn its various properties, not just from reading about them, but by actually doing it myself! I have so far collected oils of olive, coconut, safflower, avocado, castor, canola, rice bran, and shea butter, cocoa butter, crisco, and beeswax. The more reading I do about beeswax, the more pointless it seems to be. Its only use seems to be for hardening which can be achieved by simply adding a bit of salt. I read even that it is really used as a gimicy sales pitch just so it can say it has "honey and real beeswax!" on the label. I bought a sample box of 12 essential oils and few FO that I'm having a hard time liking much else than lavender, eucalyptus, and lemon. This whole venture was to save me some money on buying $5 soap bars, and now I've probably spent close to $200! But I don't care. This is so much fun. I'm getting obsessed!

I'm a little at a loss though of how I should go about learning about these different oils. Should I start with making a batch using 100% of a particular oil, then add another oil to it for the next batch and compare? Or use a particular multi-oil recipe and increase or decrease the amount of 1 particular oil in that recipe to learn about its properties? I'm guessing I should stay away from additives like salt or sugar for now until I get a good grip on oils first?

Thank you all again so much for your replies and holding my hand through all of this! It gives me much more hope and confidence to keep trying.
 

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