Soap surface getting white and looks very dry

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Kezban

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I still have problems with soap surface, even CP or HP.

When curing, soap surface is getting white. Looks like there is a thin white greyish layer on the surface. And also looks very dry.

I want it look shiny and a little oily to touch.

All of my soaps have this problem.

In the photo you can see a CP without fragrance oils. %7 SF and %9 EO. The green color is organic pigment and black is active carbon.

Any ideas about how to get a smoother surface?

Thanks a lot:)

Recipe:
%15 wheat germ oil
%15 sesame oil
%15 castor oil
%15 coconut oil
%40 cocoa butter

total oils: 380gr
EO: 41gr
SF: %7
Lye concentration: %25

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kchaystack

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You are getting soda ash. It happens when the caustic in your soap reacts to the CO2 in the air.

There are a bunch of ways people will tell you to prevent this, but it is different for each person.

I just let it form, and then once my bars are cured for 4-6 weeks I run each bar under hot water for a few seconds and wash the ash off. Then I let the bar dry for 24 hours before wrapping in shrink wrap. This tends to make the bars look very shiny.

You can also use a planer to shave off the top layer of the soap.
 

Susie

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Or you can just run the whole loaf of soap under the warm tap water before cutting. It is much easier to get rid of soda ash than prevent it.
 

DeeAnna

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I don't think you'll ever get a shiny, oily look to your soap without rinsing it like KC and Susie explained, even if you can reduce the amount of ash.

A suggestion -- try soaping with a higher lye concentration. Your 25% is low enough it may problems such as emulsion failure in addition to extra ash. I would bump the concentration up to at least 28%. Many soapers use 30% to 33% concentration for a lot of their soaps, but gradually work up to the higher lye concentrations if you haven't tried this yet.

Less water in your soap (higher lye concentration) can be helpful to reduce ash, but I don't know of a way to absolutely stop ash from forming.
 

Kezban

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Or you can just run the whole loaf of soap under the warm tap water before cutting. It is much easier to get rid of soda ash than prevent it.
If I wash the soap before cutting, will bars produce soda ash after cutting?

I don't think you'll ever get a shiny, oily look to your soap without rinsing it like KC and Susie explained, even if you can reduce the amount of ash.

A suggestion -- try soaping with a higher lye concentration. Your 25% is low enough it may problems such as emulsion failure in addition to extra ash. I would bump the concentration up to at least 28%. Many soapers use 30% to 33% concentration for a lot of their soaps, but gradually work up to the higher lye concentrations if you haven't tried this yet.

Less water in your soap (higher lye concentration) can be helpful to reduce ash, but I don't know of a way to absolutely stop ash from forming.
Thanks for your help DeeAnna :)

I mean like this soap (in the photo):
This one looks shiny, oily, solid..

Of course its not desirable to get a oily final product but my soap looks so dry that even by looking at it, you can feel it would dry your skin if you use it.
I dont know why Im obsessed with this thing..
Anyway, I'll try higher lye concentration :)

You are getting soda ash. It happens when the caustic in your soap reacts to the CO2 in the air.

There are a bunch of ways people will tell you to prevent this, but it is different for each person.

I just let it form, and then once my bars are cured for 4-6 weeks I run each bar under hot water for a few seconds and wash the ash off. Then I let the bar dry for 24 hours before wrapping in shrink wrap. This tends to make the bars look very shiny.

You can also use a planer to shave off the top layer of the soap.
Thanks for the info kchaystack,
I didnt know that,
I thought there are no more caustic in the final product if I add extra superfat.
But its a CP so the process is still going on when curing I assume.

But I get soda ash in superfatted HP soaps aswell, shouldnt all the caustic be gone when molded ?

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JayJay

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Hey there! No, ash does not form later. I'm not Susie but I use the method that Susie described. I run warm water over the top of the loaf before cutting it. I do this whether ash is visible at the time or not. The top of the loaf remains clear of ash. If I forget to wash the top, ash forms later. Hope this helps.

By the way-- ash doesn't change the soap. You noted that it looks dry. It may look dry but it's the same soap underneath the ash. :) It's just a cosmetic thing as far as I understand. I actually leave the ash on my salt bars because I like the way it looks. :)

If I wash the soap before cutting, will bars produce soda ash after cutting?



Thanks for your help DeeAnna :)

I mean like this soap (in the photo):
This one looks shiny, oily, solid..

Of course its not desirable to get a oily final product but my soap looks so dry that even by looking at it, you can feel it would dry your skin if you use it.
I dont know why Im obsessed with this thing..
Anyway, I'll try higher lye concentration :)
 

Obsidian

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That shiny soap looks like has been washed but I've also seen similar texture in soaps that are gelled. Do you gel your soaps? HP shouldn't still be caustic when you mold it, are you zap testing it before hand?
 

kchaystack

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If I wash the soap before cutting, will bars produce soda ash after cutting?
Maybe. If you cut before the saponification reaction is complete, you could develop ash. Making sure your soaps go thru gel phase will help prevent this.


Thanks for the info kchaystack,
I didnt know that,
I thought there are no more caustic in the final product if I add extra superfat.
But its a CP so the process is still going on when curing I assume.

But I get soda ash in superfatted HP soaps aswell, shouldnt all the caustic be gone when molded ?
As long as you measure correctly and use a good soap calculator - there is no caustic left in a soap, even if you do use a lye discount of 0. But it takes time for all of the lye to react with the oils, up to a couple days. A low lye concentration needs more time to complete.

As for HP - I do not do HP, but I would guess if you are getting ash you might not be cooking long enough so the reaction is still taking place.
 

DeeAnna

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My soap doesn't look that shiny unless the bars have been rinsed in water like others have explained. My bars normally have a soft matte finish, not shiny.
 

newbie

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I have never seen a cut bar of soap look this shiny without a water rinse. Ever.

If you like a higher sheen after rinsing, substituting 25-50% of you coconut oil with palm kernel oil will increase the sheen. Some people like and some don't.
 

lenarenee

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Virtually all my soaps develop ash, and the bars continue to ash for weeks!

Rinsing does very little for mine unless I rinse off entire layers of soap thickness. If I'm desperate, I'll plane - but that takes off a lot of soap and wasting that much bothers me. Plus when I give a rinsed bar to someone it looks like I'm giving them a used bar! Ew.

So I usually my soaps alone with their "frosting" on top!
 

Kezban

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Alright, I'm going to try all these methods, Im sure they'll help.

So one last question;

Are these white cracks in the whole surface glycerin rivers?
I did not use any TD but I added organic pigment as colorant.

I mixed lye at around 35-40°C with the oils, and used a wooden mold.

I guess the main reason of glyceryn rivers is heat.
But I need some heat to prevent soda ash (soap needs to go thru gel phase)

So how can I manage to prevent the cracked look on the surface?

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DeeAnna

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Crackling and mottling are not necessarily caused by heat, but more by the soap being in a semi-liquid gel state and cooling slowly. The slow cooling from a liquid allows the different types of soap to crystallize into solid form at different times. This causes pigments to concentrate into the parts that stay liquid the longest and also for layers of different soap to form. Both create texture and color differences. I don't call this glycerin rivers because it doesn't have anything to do with the glycerin in the soap.

Best way to minimize the chance of streaking/mottling is to avoid gel. Best way to avoid gel is to use less water in your recipe. Best way to do that is to set your lye concentration to at least 30% and probably more like 33%.
 

KristaY

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This is one of those phenomenom that give the soap interest and dimension, in my opinion. I like it and I think your soap looks great!
 

CTAnton

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AfricanWhiteLotus...I find the addition of the sodium silicate interesting....2 questions in my mind...
how much do you add , let's say PPO?
does the bar of soap still behave with lather unimpeded?
 

cmzaha

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The main problem I find with polishing the soap is customers think they are used, if selling.
 

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