Shave soap cure times

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Mschwartz

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I’ve been using Carrie Seiberts book and tweaking some of her ideas. I have been heating oils and stearic to close to 200 degrees and the lye water to around 150-160. I’m using her modified cold process principle. I have been curing the traditional 6 weeks. My understanding is with hot process a week is all you need. With my soaping at such high temps can I cut the cure times down? Thanks!
 
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Not an expert on this by any stretch - but my understanding on this is that HP doesn't cut down on cure time, merely saponification time. A well-cured bar is always milder than a 'fresh' one, particularly when using on the face.
 

DeeAnna

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"...with hot process a week is all you need..."

This is a long standing myth that many HP soap makers refuse to let die.

Hot processing only shortens the saponification time, not the cure time. Since you use more water typically in HP soap making compared with CP soap making, the cure time can arguably be longer for HP than for CP.

I prefer to cure my shave soap the same length of time as my bath soap -- KiwiMoose is right that you want to make sure that shaving soap is well cured before you use it, due to it being used on delicate facial skin that may also be somewhat irritated by shaving.

Be careful about heating your fats that hot and then pouring in a cooler lye solution. This puts you at higher risk for having a steam explosion -- if the conditions are right, the lye solution boils and produces steam, and erupts through the hot fat, spattering hot fat, steam, and liquid lye solution all over. Not saying this WILL happen, but it certainly can and has happened -- people report this kind of accident from time to time.
 

Mschwartz

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"...with hot process a week is all you need..."

This is a long standing myth that many HP soap makers refuse to let die.

Hot processing only shortens the saponification time, not the cure time. Since you use more water typically in HP soap making compared with CP soap making, the cure time can arguably be longer for HP than for CP.

I prefer to cure my shave soap the same length of time as my bath soap -- KiwiMoose is right that you want to make sure that shaving soap is well cured before you use it, due to it being used on delicate facial skin that may also be somewhat irritated by shaving.

Be careful about heating your fats that hot and then pouring in a cooler lye solution. This puts you at higher risk for having a steam explosion -- if the conditions are right, the lye solution boils and produces steam, and erupts through the hot fat, spattering hot fat, steam, and liquid lye solution all over. Not saying this WILL happen, but it certainly can and has happened -- people report this kind of accident from time to time.
Thanks for the information. I wasn’t aware of the hazards of hot soaping. I do add the lye solution very slowly so maybe that’s why I have been getting away with it. This soap is more like a paste because of the water content I’m using. I put it in plastic containers as well which has always made me wonder on cure times as well.
 
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As was said, HP needs a cure like co (or even longer) but as another point I don't always cure my shaving soap as a rule as such - I can use it within a couple of days. It gets better with a cure of course, but a well made shave soap is also very much usable within the cure period I find
 

DeeAnna

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...I do add the lye solution very slowly so maybe that’s why I have been getting away with it....

Actually it's more that your temps are low enough to be below the danger zone. Adding lye solution slowly to overly hot fat is one of the factors that actually increase the chance of a steam explosion.

(1) take accurate temps if you're going to soap using a high temperature HP method and (2) combine your ingredients when you KNOW all your ingredients are comfortably below the boiling point of water (212 F / 100 C).

A person can get away with guessing at temps when doing cold process or normal lower-temp versions of the hot process, but when you're doing a high temp method, don't guess at the temps.
 
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Actually it's more that your temps are low enough to be below the danger zone. Adding lye solution slowly to overly hot fat is one of the factors that actually increase the chance of a steam explosion.

(1) take accurate temps if you're going to soap using a high temperature HP method and (2) combine your ingredients when you KNOW all your ingredients are comfortably below the boiling point of water (212 F / 100 C).

A person can get away with guessing at temps when doing cold process or normal lower-temp versions of the hot process, but when you're doing a high temp method, don't guess at the temps.
I will second this. I used to do a fair amount of HTHP and only had one problem ever. It happened exactly as @DeeAnna said. I accidentally overheated my oils and didn’t stop to take the temp before adding the lye solution. It was totally my fault and totally preventable. I consider myself extremely fortunate no one was hurt, since there was quite a caustic hot mess to clean up.
 

DeeAnna

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Another SMF member said they left fats to warm up in the crock pot for some time. I'm not sure why the crock pot heated the fats extra hot, but it did. When they poured the lye solution into the fat, the steam burst caused lye solution and hot fat to spray all over including in their face. They said they would have gotten splashed in the eyes if they hadn't been wearing eye protection.

I think it's easy to forget about fat temperatures because a person can't tell if fats are at the desired temperature just by looking. It's not like water that starts to bubble and simmer about 180 F simmer and boil when it reaches 212 F.
 

Mschwartz

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Thanks for the advice. I check temperature thankfully. I’ll definitely remember that though.

As was said, HP needs a cure like co (or even longer) but as another point I don't always cure my shaving soap as a rule as such - I can use it within a couple of days. It gets better with a cure of course, but a well made shave soap is also very much usable within the cure period I find
I always lather check after a week. I can’t say I notice a huge difference with a week compared to six on lather.
 

Nav

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I make my own shaving soap after having used 200+ soaps over 15 years.
Sensitive skin pushed me to make my own unscented shaving soap.

I do a semi-hot process using the microwave method (not a crockpot). I use 30% lye concentration for my 70% KoH soap. I leave it to cure (after un-moulding) for as long as possible so I ensure I still have 3+ months of soap to use so that the new batch can cure for minimum 3 months.
The soap is killer!
One of the best I've ever used, if I do say so my self!

also, I noticed initially that if I use the soap with less than 30 days cure, my skin doesn't like it at all. I guess it was still too harsh, even though there was no tongue zap after the first 10 days of curing.
After the one month point, I can use it without issue and it works wonderfully. After 3 months, the lather is even better!!
 
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That’s so awesome! Do you have any pics to share?

I’m about due to make a new batch myself, and am looking forward to trying a new recipe I’ve been sitting on for awhile.
 

Nav

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That’s so awesome! Do you have any pics to share?

I’m about due to make a new batch myself, and am looking forward to trying a new recipe I’ve been sitting on for awhile.

Unfortunately I didn't think to take pics.

Having used so many shaving soaps as part of my hobby, I got to know the fatty acid balance etc so making my own was the next logical progression.

I'm so glad I took the step as I absolutely love the soap recipe I make.
It's very unlikely I'll purchase another shaving soap ever again!

Please share how you go with your new recipe!
 
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