Slow Trace vs. Soft Bar?

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

mechanolatry

Active Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
10
Location
Philadelphia, PA
So I'm trying to come up with a nice, slow trace recipe with the oils I have on hand. But now that I'm looking over the values of what I put together, I'm wondering if the bars will end up being really soft and take forever to cure. Suggestions?

Here's the recipe:
Olive Grade A: 50%
Coconut: 25%
Avocado Oil: 17%
Mango Butter: 5%
Castor Oil: 3%

I also have: Babassu, Sweet Almond, Cocoa Butter, and Shea Butter.
 

BattleGnome

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Messages
1,652
Reaction score
1,468
With my experience (however limited it is), the coconut oil should make for a hard bar. If you're worried the coco butter should help as well but I don't think you'd have to worry.

I will add that I've never worked with avocado oil or mango butter and have no idea what they bring to a soap.
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,497
Reaction score
2,645
You may have a wait on your hands but the bar will be hard. Depending on your skin, the coconut oil might be a little high and very cleansing so you may want to consider a higher superfat for it like 7% or so.

Just so you know, avocado oil adds a slickness to a soap that olive oil won't and mango butter is pretty nice in a soap. You may want to try to vary this up with babassu instead of coconut in another batch or replacing the mango butter with shea or cocoa butter all so you can learn which ones you like. I personally would use babassu over coconut but babassu is really nice on your skin too. But in truth, you have a great starter recipe that's tweakable, brave, and totally along the lines of how I soap. :mrgreen:
 

CaraBou

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
3,078
Reaction score
3,178
Location
Montana
I think your recipe is fine the way it is. Depending on your mold (silicone?) and how fast (warm) the soap saponifies, you might need to wait a couple days to unmold it. Adding another 5% butter, especially cocoa butter, will help its hardness. It can also help balance the coconut oil Arimara cautioned about, in case you are sensitive to that level (25%). And by the way, I regularly use 25% coconut oil and do not find it a problem, but you'll have to figure out your own tolerance.

Perhaps an even better option for slowing trace than recipe is technique. Be conscious about your stick blending. Use short bursts, and as the oil/lye mixture looks like it is mixing together well, reduce the frequency of the bursts. That will allow you to closely examine the batter for the point at which the oils and lye solution reach emulsion. Newbie posted a great video on the SMF YouTube site about identifying emulsion. At emulsion the mixture will stay together without thickening, and give you time to add colors or whatever you need to do. Mix purposefully after that point to get the trace you want -- or better yet, stop blending before you get to desired thickness, because at some point the batter will thicken on its own despite your wishes. Additives, especially fragrances, can greatly affect the rate of thickening.
 
Last edited:

mechanolatry

Active Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
10
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Ok, here's my update recipe:

Olive 50%
Coconut 15%
Avocado 12%
Babassu 10%
Mango 5%
Cocoa 5%
Castor 3%
-------------------
h2o discount: 36%
Superfat: 8%
Sodium Lactate: 2%

Whew that's a lot of oils. :) Quite a few of them are going to expire soon, so I'd hate to waste them by not using them. I'm going to go try this recipe as a simple soap (aka. no swirls or anything too crazy) and see how it behaves/cures/hardens. Thanks for all the help and suggestions! I can post the results, if anyone is curious.
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,497
Reaction score
2,645
Ok, here's my update recipe:

Olive 50%
Coconut 15%
Avocado 12%
Babassu 10%
Mango 5%
Cocoa 5%
Castor 3%
-------------------
h2o discount: 36%
Superfat: 8%
Sodium Lactate: 2%

Whew that's a lot of oils. :) Quite a few of them are going to expire soon, so I'd hate to waste them by not using them. I'm going to go try this recipe as a simple soap (aka. no swirls or anything too crazy) and see how it behaves/cures/hardens. Thanks for all the help and suggestions! I can post the results, if anyone is curious.
Which ones are going to expire? You can always get some vitamin E capsules and squirt one in your oils.
 

joy.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2015
Messages
106
Reaction score
45
Location
AZ, USA
I make a bar that's really similar to your original recipe, with 10% shea and 10% cocoa butter replacing some of that olive. I use slightly more castor and slightly less avocado. It cures out pretty hard, but it can take awhile if you use more than 2:1 water:lye. It's a really nice soap, too. : )
 

mechanolatry

Active Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2012
Messages
40
Reaction score
10
Location
Philadelphia, PA
Pics!

Here's the soap I made on 8/10/16:

The mica swirls ended up getting very messy cause the trace was so thin, I wasn't used to it. But wow... thin trace forever, it seemed. Not to the point that it never thickened, I just had so much time to work.

Here they are cut:

I used micas in refined A olive oil, dripped it on top then swirled. The main color is charcoal and black oxide- I used 2 tea. charcoal + 1 tea. black oxide for a 2 lb recipe.

So since that first batch turned out so well, I decided to try 2 slightly more complicated ones. This first one is scented with Absinthe FO from Nature's Garden. It loves to rice and get thick super quickly. But lo and behold, I even had time to do a mica pencil line. I forgot to get photos before I cut it up.


And my final trial batch is this one. Pardon my ashy tops.
I definitely cut them too early, this batch especially. So I'm going to wait a bit on that. But look at that marbling!!


So in conclusion, I definitely had enough time to do all kinds of things with my soap. They were a bit crumbly though. Other than waiting to cut them, any suggestions for less crumbs? They were well insulated in a room I keep at around 80F.

BTW, the soaps were hard enough to slip out of the molds 24 hours later, but def. needed a few days before cutting.
 

Arimara

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
3,497
Reaction score
2,645
Those are pretty nice. I have a recipe not to far off from yours. You can read it here if you like. I waited until it was hard to the touch to cut it (somewhere around 12 hours or so) and I have not had too many crumbs, if any. I've tried it subbing shea for the mango and I have a slightly softer soap because of that. Where I'm getting at is that you may have to do some tweaking to perfect that recipe of yours. I wouldn't do it until your soap is fully cured as it would be a great opportunity to learn if you actually like that recipe.
 

joy.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2015
Messages
106
Reaction score
45
Location
AZ, USA
So in conclusion, I definitely had enough time to do all kinds of things with my soap. They were a bit crumbly though. Other than waiting to cut them, any suggestions for less crumbs? They were well insulated in a room I keep at around 80F.

BTW, the soaps were hard enough to slip out of the molds 24 hours later, but def. needed a few days before cutting.
I love the marbled one!

I've had crumbly soap once. I think it was related to using a lot of pigment.
 
Top