Shaving soap FAIL

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HappyBeeSoapCo

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Hi all,

I just attempted my first shaving soap and what a disaster. I read so much and watched so many people make it and of course mine is nothing like theirs. Here's what happened, and maybe you can give me advice. First I am trying to save it somehow cus those ingredients are bloody expensive!

Recipe: sort of based on the soaker Keven Devine's recipe for doing cold process shaving soap. I ran it through soap all and soapee and all seemed to match so I went with it.

I only made a 250 gram recipe for a test batch.
Avocado oil. 13%
Castor oil. 13%
Mango seed butter. 19%
Stearic acid. 24%
Deer tallow. 31%
Goat milk instead of water. 95 grams
NaOH. 12 grams
KoH. 29 grams (this is a 60/40 split as he recommended after testing)
Super fat 10%
Added my 15 g of EO to 1 tsp silk peptide and 1 tsp kaolin clay for slip

Couldn't even blend it, it was soap on a stick immediately even though I had my oils pretty hot, n. 140 F. I panicked and added 7 grams of aloe juice stupidly. The oils separated and I couldn't get them back together. I now have a crumbly mess in my crock pot trying to see if I can save it by cooking it. Do you think it can be salvaged?

Help please?
Now it seems to have gelled but I am not sure how long to cook it. This has definitely helped it. Here is what it looks like after about 45 minutes in the crockpot on high (I turned it to low about 15 min ago).

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MySoapyHeart

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It is wise to use crock-pots on low when making soap, or the soap will scorch, and turn brown. Especially with milk in it.
I have never made shaving soap before, so those who have will chime in and help you in that regard. But just wanted to say that with very small recipes like yours, and this is a very small batch, only 250 grams, or 8.8oz, it is even more important to measure correctly because a even small error in your batch is much greater than if you say doubbled your recipe. Next time make 500 grams, that will lower your chance of something go awry.


Teast for readyness: Dip a spoon in the soapy mixture. Wet your finger with water, and carefully rub finger against the soap. Touch your finger with your tongue. If it tasts sweet/soapy with NO zap, it is good to go and all the lye is neutralized. If it zaps, even a littlebit cook it until it taste like soap without any zap.

ETA: Don`t scrape the sides and add into the soap, it will make your soap get those lumpy bits that don`t melt. Scrape out clean soap without the crumly bits so you get a smooth soap. The leftover soapy bits you can scrape out and shape into a ball or whatever.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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There is a great shaving thread here. If you google 'my first shaving soap site:soapmakingforum.com' you'll see it. It's huge, but worth the time reading it if you want to make a shaving soap
 

HappyBeeSoapCo

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Thanks for steering me to that thread, I will continue my reading . You're right MSH, I just turned it to hi to get it hot then turned it down to low. But it seems to have cooked very quickly, it already gave me no zap after an hour so I molded it. I usually make these small 250 g test batches for normal cp but not in the crockpot. I think that's why it cooked so fast, not much there to cook!

At least I found out from the zap test that this soap lathers up like mad! So maybe it's not a complete fail after all. I think I will just use water and try it that way next. then both waters and oils can be hot. Sigh, testing, testing.....forever testing.
 

DeeAnna

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It's the stearic acid that caused your soap to saponify so quickly and turn so dry and firm. Read the thread The Gent shared with you and you will learn that this is normal for soaps of this type.

You only gave percentages for your fats, so I can't say for certain but you may need to use more liquid too. I use no higher than a 25% lye concentration for HP soaps and that's what I'd use for a shave soap recipe like this.
 
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cgsample

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I stopped using the stick blender and went back to a spoon.
 

IrishLass

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Here are links to two very helpful (and long) shaving soaps threads here on the forum: Shaving Soap With NaOH and KOH and Songwind's thread My first shaving soap is a success!

I agree with DeeAnna- the stearic is what caused such an immediate reaction. When I make my shaving soap with stearic, I heat the stearic on it's own in my oven set at 215F until completely melted, and then I turn down my oven to 180F to keep it nice and liquid while I heat my other oils on the stovetop to 200F. When temp is reached, I add my hot, melted stearic into my other melted oils with a whisk (no stickblending from here on out), then I whisk in the lye(s) before commencing to HP the mixture in my oven to zaplessness (oven is still set to 180F). This works like a charm for me in keeping my shave batter from turning into soap on a stick because of the stearic.


IrishLass :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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The person/people that you are making this soap for - what soaps do the generally use? That can be a guide on which way you could go with ingredients.

I have a fairly accurate scale (0.1g) so I can make 50g batches in plastic tubs using the microwave. Even with that scale, 50g is jolly fiddly and takes a steady hand to get it right and I much MUCH prefer making a minimum of 100g even with that scale. But this means I can make variations and test them quickly to find out what I like
 

IrishLass

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My own test batches are 227g, but when I make them I use my super sensitive scale that can weigh accurately down to .01g/.0005oz. I wouldn't attempt them without it........... and I round down to the nearest 10th on the lye and round up to the nearest 10th on the oils.


IrishLass :)
 

HappyBeeSoapCo

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Thanks for all the good feedback. This forum is really great in that! I have now read a lot of Songwinds thread, 20 pages or so and of course you are all right, no stick blender, more liquid (25% lye concentration) and I think Dee Anna's 2 stage approach and double boiler are worth a try. So, I will get back on the horse and make a new batch tomorrow. I think I might also try one of the soft 100% KoH recipes like Songwinds. I will post the results and hope it all goes well.

Efficacious and IrishLass, where did you find scales with accuracy to .01 gram? I would like to find one. Mine is only accurate to a full gram so I have been rounding up or down. You are so right that with these small test batches even a small discrepancy will be exaggerated.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I bought mine on Amazon. I have just ordered a 30kg/1g beast so I have something for larger batches, too. But that was from aliexpress and I can't vouch for the vendor on their smaller 0.1g scales
 

IrishLass

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I live in the US, but for what it's worth (in case they also sell the same brand in Finland), the scale I use is a Jenning's JSR-200 scale, and I bought it from LotionCrafter's located here in the state of Washington.

It's a small scale (small enough to fit in one's hand), and weighs accurately as low as .01g/.0005oz to as high as 200g/7oz. I really love the little thing. Besides test-batches of soap, it enables me to successfully make lots of other things in small test-batches, such as lip balms, lotions, body butters, etc....., which is great for a non-selling hobbyist like myself who loves to make all kinds of B&B things, but doesn't want my house bursting at the seams! lol


IrishLass :)
 

DeeAnna

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My digital scale is older and was sold as surplus chemistry lab equipment. It might not be the latest and greatest, but it's lovely for my needs. It stays on indefinitely, it weighs up to 2200 g, and reads to 0.01 g accuracy. Came at a price though ... about $350. I'm sure there are some good deals out there if you look, but this was the right scale at the right time for me.
 

HappyBeeSoapCo

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2nd attempt today using Songwinds recipe. I made 250 g batch. I used 20% of the water as goats milk. I added 1 tsp sodium lactate to the lye mixture. I used 100% KoH. Recipe:
CO. 120 gr
SA. 130 gr
KoH. 60 gr
Water. 150 gr
GM. 38 gr
Glycerin. 38 gr

I was going to use 1 tsp kaolin clay mixed with 15 gr EO but when it wasn't turning out I left it unscented to not waste the oils.

I used soap maker 3 liquid soap recipe builder.
I held back the goats milk to add with the glycerin because I don't like to cook goats milk, seems to defeat the purpose of having it in there.

I melted the CO in double boiler and the stearic acid separately. I mixed the lye and water and SL and stick blended with the CO to pudding stage. I added the stearic avid and whisked and stirred to combine then started cooking it at 80C. After 20 minutes it started to again turn into crumbles, I kept cooking it but after 1.5 hrs it was still very sappy. I then added the goats milk to see if it would help. It didn't make it less crumbly but it did make it zap less after 30 mins. Then I added the glycerin. It stayed crumbly and the glycerin didn't really mix in.

I decided to dilute it like a LS and try to find some use for a liquid shaving soap. Hmmm, maybe all that CO will wash dishes! Just washing out the soap pan makes my hands scream in dryness and run for the lotion.

I think I will cheer myself up tomorrow by making a lovely batch or two of CP Valentine's Day soap before trying again. I have to figure out the problem then try again. I guess I have to try one with no goats milk at all and I need to check that another calculator gives me the same liquid calculation. At this moment I'm stumped and eyeing up the whisky bottle I got for Xmas
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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If you are adding in the extra glycerin as Songwind did, you won't need the clay. But it is all down the preference of the men in your circle who will end up using it - if they want clay then give them clay. But the glycerin works just as well as is acceptable to all - many of us will not use a soap with clay in it.

Clay was a boxer, not an ingredient...........
 

IrishLass

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HappyBee- I couldn't tell from your post, but was the stearic completely melted before you added it into your traced soap?

Also, regarding the clay.... I agree with the good Gent- you may not need it with this type of formula. This is my own experience, but when I tweaked my own shave formula around to include a goodly amount of pure stearic acid (previously, I had never used pure stearic acid in my formula), I found out that I could actually leave out the clay that I had previously been using. Somehow, the 28% of pure stearic I subbed in for a portion of my tallow and butters was able to do the job of the clay in my formula and then some.


IrishLass :)
 

HappyBeeSoapCo

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HappyBee- I couldn't tell from your post, but was the stearic completely melted before you added it into your traced soap?

Yes, I melted it separately and added it after pudding stage.

Also, regarding the clay.... I agree with the good Gent- you may not need it with this type of formula.

I didn't really think about the clay, I was adding it to the EO as usual to help them stick better. But maybe yes, I will also leave that out when I try again this week.

My best guess at this point is that I can't use goats milk at all and if that doesn't solve it then I will use a higher water content, eg. A lower lye concentration. I've been using 25% but maybe the heat requires even lower due to evaporation during the cook.

Thanks again for offering ideas...
HappyBee
 

DeeAnna

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I think you won't be able to dilute this type of soap into a flowable product. When you add liquid, the soap will be nicely pourable for awhile, but will gradually firm up to a gluey paste. It's all that stearic.
 

hmlove1218

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Forewarning, I know absolutely nothing about shave soaps as I haven't ventured there yet, but could you maybe be cooking it at too high of a temp if it's getting all crumbly? Maybe your crock pot runs hotter than others. Perhaps try cutting it on and off every 15-20 minutes to try and keep the temperature low.

Again, I know nothing about shave soaps and I'm not very talented with HP, so I'm just shooting in the dark. I do find this very intriguing though and hope you can find out what's going on soon!
 

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