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Thickening Shea Butter - Newbie here

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ForTheDogs

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Hello everyone,

My apologies straight away - I'm very new to this and I fear I'll be asking questions that some may find silly.

I'm your classic, "Let's have a go at this" guy that fell in love with melt and pour, got halfway ok at it and now I'm obsessed. Many soaps I do are actually not bad and like most, I sell a few here and there online, although it's nothing more than a glorified hobby right now.

The first of what I'm sure will be many questions starts with how I can thicken Shea Butter. I would like to try to make multi-color bar soaps (I have the molds, colors, etc), but my continuous failed attempts have seen me have blues and greens and reds, etc, turn into a solid single color.

Am I too quick to stir the colors together?

Do I need to thicken the shea butter base I use?

If so, how?

Again, my apologies for what the veterans may see as a rookie mistake, but I'm keen to learn.

Thanks!
 
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luebella

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Are u talking about regular shea or shea melt and pour? If melt and pour the colors blend together you'll want to do swirls or layered pours and cooler temps. If you cool one layer and add in really hot melt and pour second layer.. It will melt the first and blend. Is this what you mean? Shea Butter at room temperature by itself is thick
 

ForTheDogs

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Shea Butter melt and pour. I have toyed with the olive oil base, glycerin and lavender too - standard stuff bought at Michaels and suchlike.

I fear that the longer I leave it to cool before pouring to make the swirls, it won't actually swirl as it'll be too thick.

I'm guessing that's another rookie mistake, yes?

Let me give you a for instance;
I see videos like this;

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T50Lyyj6HPY[/ame]

...and think, "I wouldn't be able to do that, as my Shea Butter base is *WAY* runnier than that."

So, I try the method of getting a mold and pouring 4 colors into 4 sectioned-off "compartments". I wait a while, stir just a little to try and get the swirl effect, but manage to end up making red, blue, green (for example), turn into a solid chunk of dark blue/purple instead of a swirly effect.

Wait a little? Let it cool, perhaps?

I'm open to advice. :)
 
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galaxyMLP

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That is a video of cold process soap making. Unfortunately you can't do that technique in the video you posted with MP soap. However, there are other swirl techniques you can do. I'll link to a video of one I like. :)

https://youtu.be/pDahcrv3JmY
 

ForTheDogs

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OK, excellent, this is precisely what I need to learn.

And the first question I'm going to ask is what is that clay stuff and why is it important? Is that like an exfoliant that can be bought in the soap section at a craft store?

I've seen the term Cold Pour thrown around a few times, but I figure if I stick to melt and pour for now, I'll try and "master" that first before trying something new. Thanks for that heads-up.

In the video, it looks to be a slow process. Is there no quicker way to do larger quantities? Impatience, I know, it's a flaw!
 

galaxyMLP

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You can most definitely do it in larger batches. Yes, the clay in the video is just an additive for exfoliation/appeal. The person who makes this video is particularly meticulous and has amazing MP creations. I really love watching them. Fascinating and relaxing.

This is one of the more advanced ones I've seen:

https://youtu.be/upqMfmfXieM

I know for MP soap, swirls like this require precise temperature control so that you can control the viscosity and make sure your colors aren't too hard or too liquidy.

If you really want to get into MP swirls you'll need to use a double boiler (and not a microwave) and get a thermometer (I recomend an infra red one).

Cold process soap is very different from melt and pour soap. You start with oils and lye. There is a large learning curve and the process is very different. But like MP soap, the end result will be soap!

ETA:
This is a good one for a big loaf:
https://youtu.be/H-UdCRTicjk
 
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ForTheDogs

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Yes, I've been using the double boiler method since the very first bar I made. I've never even touched a microwave.

I'm definitely going to look into getting a thermometer. Up till now, everything has been done by "feel", and while what I've done has been pretty good, I would like "pretty good" to be more towards "excellent"! :)

Thanks for your help and advice - more questions will come, I can promise that.

Thank you!
 

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