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AnotherSoapGuy

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Hello. Brand new to soap making as of yesterday. Despite poking around on the internet for many hours now, I suspect I may have made a mistake on my very first batch of cold processed soap, but I'm determined to fix it. I read this morning that if I don't like the scent, I can let it do its thing for a while (a week or two?), grate it finely, and then add it to a new batch of unscented soap as embedds. I used 1000g of oils (olive-630g, coconut-270g, castor-50g, cocoa butter-50g) and 18 grams of essential oils. I used 266.89g of water and 143.71g of lye. My lye concentration was 35%. My super fat was 3%. I used the soapcalc.net website and followed the instructions as best I could. I think I blended the oil and lye water well. Added the essential oils at, I think, the right time. Then kept blending until I saw a light trace. Then poured into the mould. So far, so good. I think. I used 2.5ml of ylang ylang, 2.5ml of patchouli and 13ml(ish) of ho wood. If you're thinking that's an odd combination, you're right. Not so great. Strong, and not what I was aiming for, but as I said, I'm a total newb. I was trying to duplicate the scent of a handmade soap I got for Christmas. I failed miserably, but that's ok. I'll just try again. Anywho, I would have been 15ml of ho wood except I managed to spill some.

From what I understand, I can use 0.7 ounces of essential oil per pound of OIL in my soap. So that should be 1.54oz in total, which is 43.65g. Also, as I was making my soap, and clearly not understanding the essential oil part, I understood 0.7oz per lb of soap, not just oil. That would have allowed me upwards of 2.24oz of essential oils in total (63.5g). So with my oil and lye water mix, it was a total of about 1450g, which is about 3.2lb. I know it's not even been a single day, but the scent is crazy strong even though I only used a total of 18ml (18g). So, will the scent always be stronger in the beginning, as it cures? I also went to eocalc.com this morning and it said that I shouldn't have used that much howood in my recipe. According to that website, and the IFRA standards, the amount of howood I used was waaaaay too much for the amount of oil I used or soap I made. For even a light scent, I should not have exceeded 3.4g of ho wood and the amount that I used has a big old red bar on it (big, fat no no). So I'm confused about how much is really enough. I'm glad I didn't use the 43g or 63g of total essential oils that is suggested.

Clearly, I made a mistake somewhere. Or, I'm just being impatient and the scent will fade soon enough. Or, I did in fact, use too much of the ho wood. Anywho, any advice or suggestions on how to move forward so that my next batch is better would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to do as much research as necessary, as I clearly haven't done as much as I should have. However, I'm finding some conflicting info and it's confusing.

Finally, my soap is slightly cracking at the top already and it's only been about 14 hours. Is that normal? I have no intentions to sell any soap I make. It's strictly for personal use. So esthetics aren't really an issue for me. As long as it's safe to use, and not overly fragrant, I'll use it up eventually.

Thanks again. On to the next batch (after some more research)
 

penelopejane

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Yes of course we can help you. Welcome to the forum.
What temperature did you soap at? Did you stick blend it? Did you cover it? Did you add other ingredients? Cracking is generally a sign over over heating which can be caused by sugar, honey or a few other factors like high coconut soaps. I checked your recipe In soapcalc and the quantities are right.

i don’t use oils or butters under 10% because I can’t detect them. Except for castor oil which I don’t use at more than 5% as it can cause sticky soap at higher than that depending on your recipe. You have 27% coconut oil. That is high in this recipe with just OO. I’d increase the cocoa butter to 10% and reduce the coconut oil to 10%. That’s just me because I find coconut oil drying and it makes a bar dissolve quicker.
This soap will take at least 3 months to cure. (You can use it before then but it will get better Over time). I add 3.5% sea salt to the water of high olive oil soaps and find they cure quicker and stay harder for longer with use. After a year it will be fabulous. Despite all the “numbers” OO makes a really hard, gentle soap.

EOs fade dramatically in soap. Wait 4 weeks before you confetti it. You used 18g/1000g oil = 1.8% most use 4% minimum. So your EO will fade quickly. Even at 6% most EOs fade in 3 months.

To test EO mixes it’s a good idea to put a cotton bud dipped in EO Into a zip lock bag to test the ratio with other EOs. So 2 parts of an EO would have the top and bottom dipped.
Maybe start with 500g mixes to start until you work it out.
If your mold is twice that size you can use a divider to section it off to half the size.
 
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Zany_in_CO

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AnotherSoapGuy

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Hello. Thank you for the quick reply. I did stick blend and cover it as soon as it went into the mould. It's still covered. I even wrapped a towel around it. I saw a youtbue video of a lady who explained many things about soap making and she does it, so I did it too. She seems very knowledgeable. I looked at my soap this morning because I was curious but for the most part, I'm happy to leave it alone as long as I need to. Just not entirely sure how long "need to" really is. From what I understand, the essential oils can affect the time the soap may need in the mould before I can take it out to slice it up and help the drying/curing phase. I did not add anything other than the oils listed above. No colours or clays or anything like that. I plan to keep the first few recipes simple. As for temperature, what do you mean by "what temperature did I soap at?" I'm pretty green here. I think my biggest concern now is (well, many of them actually).....did I overdo it with the essential oils I used, risking skin irritation when it's fully cured in 4-6 weeks? If so, will I have to grate it and add it to other unscented batches to dilute the howood essential oil quantity used?

I'll certainly make a smaller batch next time. I'm just unclear on the recommendations of amounts of EO's to use. For the most part, it's really about personal choice (some like it stronger or weaker than others). I'm concerned about overdoing it and causing an adverse reaction.

For the EO test you suggest, would putting a single drop onto a q-tip work rather than dipping a cotton ball? Wouldn't the cotton ball absorb an uncontrollable amount? It's entirely possible I'm not understanding, just yet.

For info for Newbies, please read:
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/hello-very-new-here.79701/#post-832582

Essential Oil Education
https://momprepares.com/essential-oils/

For Ho Wood Uses and Benefits
https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/ho-wood-oil.asp

For Recipe Feedback
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/forums/recipe-feedback.34/

TIP: It's best to post the SoapCalc printout or take a screenshot of your recipe when asking for feedback... saves me from having to do it myself. ;)

Thank you for the tips. I will read all of those. Also, I'll be sure to add my soapcalc recipe for the next time.
 

penelopejane

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Hello. Thank you for the quick reply. I did stick blend and cover it as soon as it went into the mould. It's still covered. I even wrapped a towel around it. I saw a youtbue video of a lady who explained many things about soap making and she does it, so I did it too. She seems very knowledgeable. I looked at my soap this morning because I was curious but for the most part, I'm happy to leave it alone as long as I need to. Just not entirely sure how long "need to" really is. From what I understand, the essential oils can affect the time the soap may need in the mould before I can take it out to slice it up and help the drying/curing phase. I did not add anything other than the oils listed above. No colours or clays or anything like that. I plan to keep the first few recipes simple. As for temperature, what do you mean by "what temperature did I soap at?" I'm pretty green here. I think my biggest concern now is (well, many of them actually).....did I overdo it with the essential oils I used, risking skin irritation when it's fully cured in 4-6 weeks? If so, will I have to grate it and add it to other unscented batches to dilute the howood essential oil quantity used?

I'll certainly make a smaller batch next time. I'm just unclear on the recommendations of amounts of EO's to use. For the most part, it's really about personal choice (some like it stronger or weaker than others). I'm concerned about overdoing it and causing an adverse reaction.

For the EO test you suggest, would putting a single drop onto a q-tip work rather than dipping a cotton ball? Wouldn't the cotton ball absorb an uncontrollable amount? It's entirely possible I'm not understanding, just yet.
I’m really slow at typing messages and edit a lot so you have to give me time to respond fully. Go back and read my message now that I’ve finished and see if some of your questions are answered.

I cover all my soaps too but I know how my recipes react.
Soaping temperature is the temperature your Oil mix was When you started to pour.
moots of people don’t bother doin more than hand testing temps but I like them to be around 42*C (110*F) to avoid Stearic spots and get a consistently no streak soap.
You would have fully dissolved your coconut oil and cocoa butter and the castor and olive would have brought it to a good temp. What temperature was your lye? Did you just mx the lye with water, wait for it to dissolve and pour it in straight away or was it hand warm?

If the lye was just mixed hot that might have caused over heating and cracking.
 

TheGecko

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From what I understand, I can use 0.7 ounces of essential oil per pound of OIL in my soap.

I'll certainly make a smaller batch next time. I'm just unclear on the recommendations of amounts of EO's to use. For the most part, it's really about personal choice (some like it stronger or weaker than others).
Welcome.

Your first batch of soap should have been around 500 grams with NO scent or colorant; but that is just my personal opinion. You can buy 4" Square Silicone Molds or 6" Slab Molds for less than $10.00. Get a couple of each to test new recipes, colorants, scents and additives.

As for the amount of Essential Oils that can be used...it's going to depend on the EO. SOME you can use at 0.7 oz PPO, some you CANNOT! EOs like Lemon, Orange, Lavender are three I know off hand that can be used at that rate, but Spearmint and Peppermint are about half that rate and Clove and Cinnamon is even less...around 0.08. Regardless of how much you like a scent, it's about SAFE USUAGE RATES.
 

Zing

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Welcome! And keep us posted on this batch and future batches!
 

AnotherSoapGuy

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Thank you all for your help. Just to give you an update....... My spidey senses kept telling me that I made many-a-mistake. So I kept poking around. Something I had forgotten to mention, was that I had used fractionated coconut oil. That's what was available to me. However, for some odd reason, although I saw it as an option while entering my recipe, I didn't choose it. I chose the coconut oil 76 option. Not sure what was going on there. Brain fart perhaps. Maybe I was too focused on the killer brownies I had planned to make afterwards. These bad boys are so good, you'd consider taking a running tackle at your own kids for the last piece. I digress. Clearly, I wasn't as prepared as I had thought. So when I re-entered my recipe into soapcalc with the correct type of coconut oil, it turns out I should have used 290g of water, rather than 266g. Also, I should have used 156g of lye, rather than 144g. From what I have seen on-line, fractionated coconut oil is not recommended for what I did. Probably not a good idea for soap newbs. It's all good. Lesson learned. Also, my recipe was for 30 grams of EO's but somehow I only ended up using 18. I'm starting to wonder if I was even awake when I did all this. I'm not going to speak for all men, and this is just a joke, but perhaps there's some truth to my wife suggesting that I don't always follow instructions well. They are in fact, instructions. Not suggestions.

It's funny what we choose to retain when trying to learn something. Misguided or otherwise. One person I watched on youtube, suggested that the lye/water concentration and oil temperature difference didn't really make a difference when you choose to mix them. So, this person didn't wait too long to mix them and clearly I didn't wait long enough either. So it sounds like that's why my soap cracked a bit.

My soap is still in the mould, feels firm to the touch, yet slightly oily when I rub my finger across it. No pools of oil, no beads of oil. Just ever so slightly oily to the touch. Based on the number of mistakes I made and the types of mistakes, is this salvageable or am I about to have to nicest smelling garbage can in the neighbourhood?

None the less, it was fun and I will try again. With a much smaller, and simpler, 500g batch and little to no EO.

Let the newb jabs begin.
 

Zing

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Great to hear an update. You may want to plug your recipe into a calculator and post it here for specific feedback. It sounds like you learned a lot from your experience. I compulsively follow recipes and double-check or triple-check weights each time I pour an ingredient. You are right, they are not suggestions! You want to make sure each lye friend bonds with an oil friend, and you want to make sure you use safe levels of essential oils.

I am not an expert on fractionated coconut oil in cp soap so will wait for others to share their opinion. My understanding is that it is a lightweight oil and easily absorbed into skin so it must be nice in leave-on products like lotions and balms. However, I do not know what saponification does to it.

For essential oil rates, use a calculator such as Orchard Plow Essential Oil Blend - Modern Soapmaking or Bramble Berry's.

So you used less lye than you should have used. This is much better than using too much lye! Your soap will have a large super-fat -- oil friends just floating out there alone without being bonded to a lye friend. You started with a super low super-fat of 3% and you just increased it with the low amount of lye.

When I was new, I obsessed over temperatures. Now I just use my hand on the oil mixture bowl and the lye/liquid pitcher. If it is just warm to the touch, I combine them. Once combined and poured into a mold and covered under towels, it all heats up again to gel.

Good luck,
 
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penelopejane

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Don't throw it away. Give it a 8 - 12 week cure time and see how it goes.
Fabulous that you have found a solution to your problem. Best to buy the 76* Coconut oil and use the fractionated stuff for cooking or for your skin.
Good luck next time. I've been soaping for 5 years and I am a pedant so I follow the recipe exactly including temps so every soap turns out exactly as the last one of the same recipe. Not everyone does but it sure makes life easy.
 
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