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Sacrifice longevity/hardness for design

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SoapDaddy70

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I tried to have the best of both worlds today and it was an epic fail. Wanted to try some divider swirl that used 6 different colors. Not sure if it was the FO or my recipe but it reached thick trace before I could do anything. Wondering if this recipe had no chance for an intricate design or if it was purely the FO. I tend to think I did too many things that contributed to the fast trace. Do people knowingly sacrifice longevity and hardness of their bar to be able to make designs and use a recipe high in liquid/soft oil? Here is as much info as possible.

800g of oil
30% Palm
20% Avocado
20% Coconut Oil
15% Cocoa Butter
10% Shea Butter
5% Castor Oil
33% Lye Concentration
Anchored 56g of FO in 1 TBS of Bentonite Clay
Tussah Silk to Lye solution
1 tsp sugar dissolved in my liquid which was Aloe Vera Juice. Replaced all distilled water with the Aloe Vera Juice.
1.5 tsp Sodium Lactate to cooled lye solution
1/4 tsp ROE to oils
Added the FO bentonite mixture to oils before adding lye solution.
Both the oils and lye solution were around 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks in advance for any input. I managed to get it into the mold. I think it will be a great bar of soap albeit an ugly one.
 

glendam

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when I tried the Taiwan swirl technique, I did have to sacrifice longevity for design, I think I increased my fluid oils to 40% from 30%. In your recipe, 20-25% of fluid oils seem low for an intricate swirls technique. However, when I tried the ghost swirl technique, I learned that my regular recipe stays fluid longer if I use 40% lye to water concentration instead of 33%, provided that the fragrance is a slow mover. Very few fragrances decelerate trace or not affect it. Usually citrus types do well. I try to read the descriptions and reviews to see if a FO decelerates.

whenever I used bentonite my soap batter thickens, and I have heard the same about sugar. I also avoid sodium lactate for intricate swirls.
 

SoapDaddy70

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when I tried the Taiwan swirl technique, I did have to sacrifice longevity for design, I think I increased my fluid oils to 40% from 30%. In your recipe, 20-25% of fluid oils seem low for an intricate swirls technique. However, when I tried the ghost swirl technique, I learned that my regular recipe stays fluid longer if I use 40% lye to water concentration instead of 33%, provided that the fragrance is a slow mover. Very few fragrances decelerate trace or not affect it. Usually citrus types do well. I try to read the descriptions and reviews to see if a FO decelerates.

whenever I used bentonite my soap batter thickens, and I have heard the same about sugar. I also avoid sodium lactate for intricate swirls.
Thanks a lot for the feedback. The FO was something I had never used before and from a company I never used before. It was called Celestial Sea from a company named New York Scent. I think it was just a perfect storm of all things that should not have been done if I was looking to do an intricate swirl. I definitely want to try the 40% lye concentration for my next couple of batches. Thanks again. 🙂
 

KiwiMoose

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Yes I've been known to sacrifice hardness/longevity for design. However - that recipe you're using is asking for trouble isn't it? Palm, CO, and cocoa butter all in substantial amounts, plus castor. How about trying some OO?
 

Arimara

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Thanks a lot for the feedback. The FO was something I had never used before and from a company I never used before. It was called Celestial Sea from a company named New York Scent. I think it was just a perfect storm of all things that should not have been done if I was looking to do an intricate swirl. I definitely want to try the 40% lye concentration for my next couple of batches. Thanks again. 🙂
How fast is that company's shipping for you?
 

Arimara

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Yes I've been known to sacrifice hardness/longevity for design. However - that recipe you're using is asking for trouble isn't it? Palm, CO, and cocoa butter all in substantial amounts, plus castor. How about trying some OO?
The palm is fine. The butters would be the bigger issue. The recipe would benefit with more liquid oils. I only say this cause I'm about 30-45 minutes from OP on a decent day.
 

Arimara

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Sorry - unsure of what you mean here.
I mean that I'm really close to where OP lives so the most same conditions I deal with when soaping can be a concern for OP as well. In terms of palm oil, it tends to behave itself very well. I was also referring to a local NYC/ Long Island fact when it comes to travel- on good days with little to no traffic, it could take me (as a driver) about 30-45 to reach their neck of the woods (speed limits are much slower in this area versus other areas of the state, let alone region).
 

GemstonePony

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Swap 10% from cocoa butter to avocado oil, and it'll be nearly identical to my earliest bars. I actually need to make more, and was planning to try a Taiwan swirl in at least 4 colors. It's a lovely recipe. It also makes nice soap dough, should you be interested in that.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Yes I've been known to sacrifice hardness/longevity for design. However - that recipe you're using is asking for trouble isn't it? Palm, CO, and cocoa butter all in substantial amounts, plus castor. How about trying some OO?
I totally agree. Asking for trouble is a perfect way to put it. Funny thing is that this is the first time I didn’t use Olive Oil Pomace in my recipe. I was messing around and all the numbers looked great for this recipe but I should have known better than to think it would stay fluid enough for what I was trying.
 

TheGecko

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Your recipe is 75% Hard Oils...no way you're going to be able to do a 6-color design unless you are doing layers and dividing and mixing each layer separately. And convention for clay is 1 teaspoon PPO and you were double that...clay absorbs water, even if dispersed with FO.

When using an FO for the first time, ALWAYS do a test batch first so you know how it is going to work with your recipe.

I am fortunate that my recipe with its 60% Hard Oils gives me lots of 'play time if I want it. But I don't think you have to sacrifice anything...I think you just need to cure longer.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Your recipe is 75% Hard Oils...no way you're going to be able to do a 6-color design unless you are doing layers and dividing and mixing each layer separately. And convention for clay is 1 teaspoon PPO and you were double that...clay absorbs water, even if dispersed with FO.

When using an FO for the first time, ALWAYS do a test batch first so you know how it is going to work with your recipe.

I am fortunate that my recipe with its 60% Hard Oils gives me lots of 'play time if I want it. But I don't think you have to sacrifice anything...I think you just need to cure longer.
Yea. I was guilty of not being well thought out on this occasion. Luckily it was only 2.5lbs of soap and I do not sell so I will have 8 bars of an ugly soap that I can chalk up to a good learning experience.
 

glendam

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Thanks a lot for the feedback. The FO was something I had never used before and from a company I never used before. It was called Celestial Sea from a company named New York Scent. I think it was just a perfect storm of all things that should not have been done if I was looking to do an intricate swirl. I definitely want to try the 40% lye concentration for my next couple of batches. Thanks again. 🙂
Most ocean fragrances do accelerate, and badly! I hope your next attempt is more successful!
 

dibbles

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When I want a lot of time, I use lard at 40%, so if you aren't opposed to animal fats, that is an option. I think all hard fats move more quickly than lard and the combination of palm and the butters at 55% is probably contributing to the problem. I agree that using more liquid oils will help. Do you not like olive oil for some reason? That could be a good replacement for some of the hard fats in your recipe.

In my experience @glendam is correct that a 40% lye concentration will trace more slowly, but you have to be absolutely sure that your FO will not accelerate even one tiny little bit. And sometimes acceleration you didn't necessarily notice with your normal LC will be magnified at 40%. I use sodium lactate and sugar in most of my batches and don't ever have issues from either one. Leave out the bentonite clay.
 
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SoapDaddy70

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When I want a lot of time, I use lard at 40%, so if you aren't opposed to animal fats, that is an option. I think all hard fats move more quickly than lard and the combination of palm and the butters at 55% is probably contributing to the problem. I agree that using more liquid oils will help. Do you not like olive oil for some reason? That could be a good replacement for some of the hard fats in your recipe.

In my experience @glendam is correct that a 40% lye concentration will trace more slowly, but you have to be absolutely that your FO will not accelerate even one tiny little bit. And sometimes acceleration you didn't necessarily notice with your normal LC will be magnified at 40%. I use sodium lactate and sugar in most of my batches and don't ever have issues from either one. Leave out the bentonite clay.
To be honest I have not considered using lard yet. No real reason. As for the olive oil, this instance was the only time I have not used olive oil in a recipe. As a new soapmaker I find myself doing things just because I read about them, that was the reason for the bentonite clay. Read somewhere that it helps anchor the scent. I need to start making better decisions on my own and not just do things by rote because I read it somewhere. Sometimes a fail like this can actually be a positive in the long run. Thanks for the advice.
 

dibbles

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To be honest I have not considered using lard yet. No real reason. As for the olive oil, this instance was the only time I have not used olive oil in a recipe. As a new soapmaker I find myself doing things just because I read about them, that was the reason for the bentonite clay. Read somewhere that it helps anchor the scent. I need to start making better decisions on my own and not just do things by rote because I read it somewhere. Sometimes a fail like this can actually be a positive in the long run. Thanks for the advice.
Then I would really encourage you to try lard - it can be a game changer in terms of working time. It also makes a lovely bar of soap IMO. It can be easy to doubt your choices for what is going into your soap recipe. It doesn't hurt to try things you read about, but trust what you learn about the soap you make in regard to what you like.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Katie Carson has her recipe available online and it’s perfect for an intricate design. It’s 40% olive oil. That’s the recipe I use when I have 6 colors.
I actually just ran that recipe through Soap Making Friend and this is exactly the point of my post and what I do not fully understand about recipe formulation. Obviously people that sell soap need to make them visually appealing in order to stand out from the crowd. I get that, but are they also purposely not concerned with longevity so their bars don't last that long so people buy more often? I think I am starting to realize that the artistic swirly design part of soapmaking may not be for me. I think my recipe is going to make a **** good bar of soap. My mistake as a newbie was not properly formulating it for what I was hoping to do. I am also probably obsessing too much about the recipe property numbers. I do not mind the fact that I failed miserably in the design aspect. I am just trying to decide what kind of soapmaker I want to be. I watch a guy on You Tube named Uncle John and he is a no nonsense guy that is only concerned with formulating a good bar of soap. Since this is a hobby for me I do not know if I should be having fun and not obsess about the recipe properties. Sorry for thinking out loud.
 

hlee

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You should definately be having fun !
Try smaller batches so you don't get buried in soap.
 
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