Shave soap question

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Sonya-m

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I'm in the process of attempting my first shave soap. I decided to try Lee's from his blog.

I've mixed the lye water to the oils and it turned apple sauce like but now is pretty dense - not very loose and certainly can't be stirred.

Do I just leave it in the slow cooker to do its thing?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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How did the blog say it should be at this stage? I only make very small batches so I don't know how a larger batch will behave. If you used the mostly-SA recipe, then it can get pretty solid at first until it cooks a while.
 

Sonya-m

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The blog had pics of the 'apple sauce' stage then shows it being pushed down - write up said a bit like pushing down bread dough but mine is very thick.

I've also scaled the recipe down to half the original

This is it now

ImageUploadedBySoap Making1435520663.226262.jpg

I have my SF and FO still to add, it's been cooking around 1 hour now
 

Sonya-m

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Ok I've added them but it's not smooth. It's looser but there are a lot of harder lumps in it
 

Obsidian

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Maybe try adding a bit of water? I've never had shaving soap get that hard before but I think Lee uses more steric then I do.
 

vyadha

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I've had similar results in the pot. I don't know this recipe but when I've had soaps look like that I add scent and SF. Then pack into molds. Haven't had to rebatch yet.
 

Sonya-m

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Well this is it, you can see the bits where the SF didn't mix in

It's also very hard - using just KOH, I would have expected it to be softer

I'd assumed my KOH was the 90% variant as it was flakes - it doesn't zap

Any idea what went wrong?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Well this is it, you can see the bits where the SF didn't mix in

It's also very hard - using just KOH, I would have expected it to be softer

I'd assumed my KOH was the 90% variant as it was flakes - it doesn't zap

Any idea what went wrong?
There is no image :(
 

Obsidian

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How much water did you use? Using high steric just naturally makes a harder soap, your recipe might need to be made with extra water to counter that. If its really lumpy, you can always rebatch.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I think it is just lumpy. We have all had that to some degree while making shaving soap.

Were things getting cooler when it started to harden up? Stearic melts at a higher temperature, so if it was cooling off then it might well have been causing issues
 

shunt2011

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I have had some that turn out that way. I've not had it solidify in the pot though. I've started doing the 2 part process. I mix my lye with my CO and other oils while I melt the stearic on the stove. Once everything is combined I had the melted stearic and continue from there. It's made a huge difference in my shave soaping experience. When it's zap free I add my SF and my glycerine.
 

LBussy

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My smaller batches were definitely more difficult to manage. I don't think you did anything wrong. The reason the larger batches are like "mashed potatoes" is because there's enough heat to create steam and enough volume to capture it. That's why I make the bread dough analogy because that's exactly how it behaves. When I scale up to a larger batch my larger crockpot doesn't have enough heat so it does that there too - the 1 lb batch seems the sweet spot. This is also why I specify the longer cook. It's partially to do with how it behaves physically.

Yes this is a very hard recipe compared to other KOH recipes - which is why I always question why people think they need to use NaOH. You can certainly make a puck with this recipe. Being so hard the most challenging part is getting the FO and SF mixed in well. I have experimented using a mixer (inspired by Lindy's cream soap writeup) and that does seem to work very well. I have not noticed that any lack of perfect homogenization causes any issues - the ones that don't mix as well for me perform the same as those which do.

I think you did well! Let us know how it performs.
 

Sonya-m

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I think it is just lumpy. We have all had that to some degree while making shaving soap.

Were things getting cooler when it started to harden up? Stearic melts at a higher temperature, so if it was cooling off then it might well have been causing issues

No, if anything it was when it got hotter

Oh well, I guess hubby will be one to decide.
 

Sonya-m

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My smaller batches were definitely more difficult to manage. I don't think you did anything wrong. The reason the larger batches are like "mashed potatoes" is because there's enough heat to create steam and enough volume to capture it. That's why I make the bread dough analogy because that's exactly how it behaves. When I scale up to a larger batch my larger crockpot doesn't have enough heat so it does that there too - the 1 lb batch seems the sweet spot.

I think you did well! Let us know how it performs.

Ok, maybe the bigger batch next time if my husband and other male guinea pigs like it

I will report back - just waiting for hubby's shaving brush to arrive
 

Obsidian

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Sonya, steal that brush and try your soap on your legs. Handmade shave soap is better then any junk that comes from a can. I've always had terrible ingrown hair and irritated skin, not anymore. I get a super close shave with no irritation.
 

LBussy

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No, if anything it was when it got hotter
I only lose 3-4% moisture in a cook. I can see where in a smaller batch you might lose more and have that issue. My 100g test batches were done in sealed food storage containers.
 

Sonya-m

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Sonya, steal that brush and try your soap on your legs. Handmade shave soap is better then any junk that comes from a can. I've always had terrible ingrown hair and irritated skin, not anymore. I get a super close shave with no irritation.

Noted!! Will do
 

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