Syndet Shampoo Bar Trials

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amd

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Melt them down, add your choice of stearic acid, BTMS 50, or e-wax.
I'm avoiding those additives in this recipe following the More Mango recipe.

Edited to respond to @Hils67 as I didn't see her post until after I replied to Gemstone (and editing function does not allow quotes).
The organza bag is a great idea, and usually what happens to bars that fail drop tests. Ours is a scrubby mesh bag, and my daughter and I find the lather from it to be perfect for shaving. I'd like to try to get the failed bars remolded if I could, but if they don't, the ingredients will definitely not go to waste!
 
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Tara_H

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I don't have experience in this, but if they can be melted by microwaving as @Hils67 suggests, would it work to gently microwave them in a silicone mould so that you don't then have to re-shape? Or is that a crazy idea?
 

GemstonePony

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I'm avoiding those additives in this recipe following the More Mango recipe.
More bioterge-90 then, since that's the only anionic surfactant that I'm seeing in there, and I know from experience that SCI doesn't bind with oils (it's why we love it!). Mango or Shea butter might help thicken it as well, but you'll still want more of an anionic surfactant to help hold it all together. IME, liquid oils seem to require more surfactant to get them to bond to cationic surfactants than thicker ones, which is why my first though was to thicken the oil you already put in.
 

AliOop

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I'd go with melting in the microwave along with some extra hard butter. Maybe add a titch of distilled water if the texture isn't smooth enough. I've erred on the side of too much water before, and ended up with bars that never really hardened, so definitely go very lightly on that if you do add it. Thanks for sharing the pics and your process!
 

Quilter99755

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The last time I had some bars that crumbled, I just re-heated in the microwave, I think about 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring between; until it was very soupy and melted.It took a lot longer than I had expected. After they were molded they were very hard. I was using both powdered and noodles SCI, so I concluded that I just hadn't melted it together enough the first time around. But then I have not had the experience that you have had with syndet bars. I obviously have a lot more to learn.
 

AliOop

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The last time I had some bars that crumbled, I just re-heated in the microwave, I think about 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring between; until it was very soupy and melted.It took a lot longer than I had expected. After they were molded they were very hard. I was using both powdered and noodles SCI, so I concluded that I just hadn't melted it together enough the first time around. But then I have not had the experience that you have had with syndet bars. I obviously have a lot more to learn.
Thanks for sharing your experience! If I get a crumbly bar again, I'll try it your way first, with no additional additives.
 

Quilter99755

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Thanks for sharing your experience! If I get a crumbly bar again, I'll try it your way first, with no additional additives.
I do hope it works for you. I am so new at the syndet bars, I figured it was beginners luck. I use an organza bag for slivers of soap and did that for the one bar I used. It totally broke into crumbles. I wasn't ready to use the other 4-5 bars that way and figured I had nothing to lose. I was surprised at how long it took to melt it enough to get soupy. But the re-done ones have dropped on the shower floor and didn't break. Good luck.
 

AliOop

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I do hope it works for you. I am so new at the syndet bars, I figured it was beginners luck. I use an organza bag for slivers of soap and did that for the one bar I used. It totally broke into crumbles. I wasn't ready to use the other 4-5 bars that way and figured I had nothing to lose. I was surprised at how long it took to melt it enough to get soupy. But the re-done ones have dropped on the shower floor and didn't break. Good luck.
Thanks, I always appreciate hearing how others fare; it goes into the mental databank for "what to do if X happens." 😅 I've only had one random crumbly bar at the beginning; after that, the rest have turned out great. I've started using my mooncake press for more uniformity, with fewer crevices and uneven spots - much nicer than anything I can get from hand-pressing it into silicone molds. @violets2217 recommended putting some plastic wrap on the inside of the press to keep the bars from sticking. That was great advice, and I'm especially happy with this last batch. In the photo below, the shampoo bars are the round ones; the hearts are conditioner bars.
 

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Quilter99755

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Thanks, I always appreciate hearing how others fare; it goes into the mental databank for "what to do if X happens." 😅 I've only had one random crumbly bar at the beginning; after that, the rest have turned out great. I've started using my mooncake press for more uniformity, with fewer crevices and uneven spots - much nicer than anything I can get from hand-pressing it into silicone molds. @violets2217 recommended putting some plastic wrap on the inside of the press to keep the bars from sticking. That was great advice, and I'm especially happy with this last batch. In the photo below, the shampoo bars are the round ones; the hearts are conditioner bars.
I tried with the mooncake press, but didn't put the plastic wrap on the inside. It was a mess. I think the recipe I tried it on was way too dry anyway. Whenever I get around to making another batch I'll try that again. Somehow if I read the tip of plastic wrap it didn't stick in my memory! LOL This last time I used one of the hard plastic molds and with popping them in the freezer for about ten minutes, they came out perfectly!
 

amd

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would it work to gently microwave them in a silicone mould so that you don't then have to re-shape? Or is that a crazy idea?
Not crazy, maybe just not thought through all the way. Consider that microwaves heat from the inside out, so you would have uneven melting rather than uniform melting. You would need to stop and stir through several times to get it uniform, in which case don't bother with melting in the mold.

I decided to try crumbling the bar and melting. I also did a weight calculation to volume, even thought I don't have mango butter I do have shea butter which has a "close enough for me" density to mango butter, so I melted the shea butter to see the volume and compared that to equal weight of the walnut oil that I used, and added enough weight to the walnut oil to equal the volume measurement of the shea butter. I'm not sure that really made sense, but as it did seem between my two experiments that the one with butter mixed more correctly than the liquid oil, that being short the liquid oil as a binding ingredient was more the problem. Water does not seem to be enough of a binding ingredient once it evaporates off as those bars spontaneously broke. So for the bars that I made I was short approximately 6g of liquid oil by weight to equal the same volume. This probably isn't a good/preferred formulating technique, and more sciency people than me will probably debunk it... but that's what I did!

The bars crumbled extremely easy with my fingers, so that wasn't the mess I was anticipating. I added the additional 6g of walnut oil, and then zapped it in the microwave for two 30 second increments. I probably should have done one 30 and one 15 and that would have been plenty. It melted very nicely together. I probably could have skipped the additional liquid oil I think, or perhaps should have waited to see how it melted out. Would have saved me a bit of time if I had thought of it. I did need to let the mixture cool, it was extremely moldable (and fun to play with) but had a tendency to ooze out of its shape. I had a bit of fun playing with it while it was cooling :) It molded very nicely, the first bar I did molded very smoothly. The second bar has a bit more texture and lines as I did scrape the drier harder bits out of the melting bowl into the press mold before shaping it.

So what I learned from all this is that for the More Mango recipe, it is probably better to apply heat to get it to a moldable consistency rather than adding water. I don't think one would need to melt fully in that case, just enough to give the mixture a bit more "sticky together". I don't think I would worry then about adjusting the oil quantity at all. I should note that I did not add more fragrance or preservative to my remolded bars - even though I probably did kill off the preservative. They still smell great! These will be going to the boys shower and at the rate they've gone through the other shampoo bar, I don't think they'll have time to grow any nasties. If these were going elsewhere, I would have added more preservative once the mixture had cooled.
shampoo-3.jpg

So far all of my testers have come back with positive reviews of this formula (minus the comments regarding breakage and crumbling, which I think this experiment has resolved), so once I confirm with this round of bars that I have figured out the source of the mixing/crumbling issues and the correct fix, and compare to the C14-16 bars (which I haven't made yet, our second son graduated from high school over the weekend so I did not have as much "play time" as I would have liked)... I think the "more mango" bar is going to be a winner for me.
 

Quanta

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I always heat my bars. I tried it at room temperature only in the very beginning and it was a disaster. I think my ratio of dry to wet ingredients was also off quite a bit back then as well, and my recipe and process have changed significantly since then. I find it is much easier to heat everything so that is the only way I do it now.
 

amd

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I always heat my bars.
That's the way I've always done it (well... the 3 years I've been playing with shampoo bars) as well. I think that's what intrigued me the most about the More Mango recipe was that it was moldable without heat. For a soapmaker, I really have very little patience, so the fiddly bits of heating through and then waiting to cool to add preservative can leave me a bit frustrated. I have a good laugh at myself for my impatience at silly things like this quite often.
 

Quanta

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That's the way I've always done it (well... the 3 years I've been playing with shampoo bars) as well. I think that's what intrigued me the most about the More Mango recipe was that it was moldable without heat. For a soapmaker, I really have very little patience, so the fiddly bits of heating through and then waiting to cool to add preservative can leave me a bit frustrated. I have a good laugh at myself for my impatience at silly things like this quite often.
The More Mango recipe was specifically designed without BTMS and Cetyl Alcohol, so it makes sense that it's at least moldable when at room temperature. Those ingredients are what made mine need to be at least warm when adding the melted ingredients. At first I tried adding the melted stuff to room temperature surfactants and it... did not work. At all. But I would imagine that even a recipe without them would still bind together better if it was heated.
 

violets2217

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The last two times I’ve played around with my shampoo bars I heated them up until they are soupy... in a strong double layered ziplock bags. Then when they cooled down enough kneaded in the preservative and FO. It’s kinda fun.. and not so messy! I’ve never had to add water to any of my bars but I’ve also always either used cocoa butter or kokum butter. And they’ve been hard as a rock.I’ve never replace with a liquid oil though.. Shampoo Bars are so high maintenance sometimes!
 

amd

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I made the More Mango with C14-16 and the horsetail butter blend last night. I held back the preservative, at .5% I didn't think it would affect the binding, so I felt safe leaving it out until I knew if I would need to add heat or not. I did microwave for 15 seconds, and it came together wonderfully, so I added the preservative and gave it a good kneading through. They're drying now, but it will be a few weeks before hubby tests them. He snagged the French Green Clay bar I made the previous week and is liking that one too, especially on his face.

I've been using the bentonite clay & charcoal bar on my face (HBM's rhassoul clay bar using bentonite and charcoal instead) and I like that quite a bit for that. I don't like it for my hair though, it pulled my color out (good thing I was getting it recolored on Friday anyways), so I'm glad I found an alternate use for it.
 

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