Tracking your cure

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MsHarryWinston

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I am having the COOLEST time tracking the cure from my very first batch of soap. I have chopped the 12oz batch into little pieces, enough for 16 weeks. I used the first piece 4 days after it was made. And then every week I grab a piece, use it for a week and then throw out the remainder, swapping it for a fresh piece. This way each weeks piece is "pure" and unaffected by previous use or steam from the shower etc.

In just a few weeks the soap has completely changed. Upon first use it had small tight bubbles and felt like washing your hands with wonderfully creamy lotion. Thing soft lotion looking residue would streak across your skin and I loved it. And then just now, BAM lather explosion. Big dense cushiony bubbles everywhere just coating my hands. It no longer feels like washing with lotion the streaks are completely gone, but more of a weightless feeling with a gentle slick of oil that I ALSO love. But one would think I used 2 completely different types of soap.

I suppose I'm sharing this with the forum to say thanks. Thanks for teaching me how important it is to KNOW your soap. To experience and track it and understand it. Because just reading about the change that can happen just doesn't compare to experiencing it for yourself right from day one. And I think that knowing this and really understanding it is one of the main things that will help me become a really great soaper.
 

MsHarryWinston

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Aaaaaand of course I just realized this is in melt and pour and not the lye forum. Will a mod please move this to "Lye" for me? Ta very much!
 

cinnamaldehyde

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It really is amazing how a soap can change over time, and still change after 4 weeks out. I like to cure for 6-8 weeks when I can because I feel that gives me the best indication of how the soap is going to "be" for the rest of its life.

The moment when your soap cures into a fantastic lather is really a fun one!
 

Chefmom

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It's great to hear that you discovered this!! I advise all people to test your soaps at different cure times to see for yourself how things can change...usually for the good. :) Try to save a piece to test at the 6 month window. Just to see how it goes. Don't forget to label and keep good notes! Nothing is worse than falling in love with an unlabeled soap that you can't track back to the recipe....
 

Steve85569

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It's great to hear that you discovered this!! I advise all people to test your soaps at different cure times to see for yourself how things can change...usually for the good. :) Try to save a piece to test at the 6 month window. Just to see how it goes. Don't forget to label and keep good notes! Nothing is worse than falling in love with an unlabeled soap that you can't track back to the recipe....
Most of us have been there!
Wow! What was this recipe?

Like salt bars. Cure 3 to 6 months and then try one. The difference between 3 and 6 is huge.
 

Chefmom

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Most of us have been there!
Wow! What was this recipe?

Like salt bars. Cure 3 to 6 months and then try one. The difference between 3 and 6 is huge.
lolol
the "recipe" wasn't anything really complicated or special. I have always been really really good at keeping batch notes...however....long ago I didn't follow up with labeling finished soaps. I figured that I knew who was who based on the scent (I rarely used colors)....well...scents fade and I tossed a bunch of creamy white soaps from several batches into one box. We moved and I didn't make soap for a long time, came upon this box because we needed soap. They were all in the 2+ year old range and all the scent was gone. I had no idea what was what. All of them had been tested and at the time, were considered "meh...not worth remaking".

Naturally, one stood out as a lovely soap. It took a long time and I eventually just cut one bar in half to try to find some scent left and a very faint fragrance I determined it was a plain jane grocery store soap, but I had altered the recipe and added cocoa butter. It was the first time adding cocoa butter, my original notes on the soap was "not worth the extra money to add cocoa butter". The recipe is pretty basic. 34% coconut 37% veg shortening 24% olive and 5% cocoa butter with 4% superfat. At the testing of 2-6 months it was "meh" at best. After 2 years it had a gorgeous thick lather, that lasted and even at 4% SF it left my skin feeling lovely.

That experience taught me to never discount an early soap, you never know until you give it a good cure....AND...I started using more cocoa butter and found that it is my hands down favorite butter, even in small amounts it can substantially change a soap (in my personal and very humble opinion).
 

MsHarryWinston

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Yup each soap that I have curing is labeled. I have some chopped into smaller week to week (and month to month after that first 6 week cure) tester pieces and then larger pieces that I plan to hold onto and see how they age. I'm not keeping a piece from my very first batch for years but from the third batch of that same recipe, just because I feel like it will be a more honest representation of what's what. I'll have had a bit of practice. That batch is already about half cured.

Testing from as soon as your soap is safe is really great for seeing differences when you start making different "types" of soap as well. I'm working on a shampoo soap right now which needs to have super lather. And while my standard soap starts of with a creamy wash then gets thick lather at week 2, my shampoo soap explodes into lather from day one and skips the creamy phase completely. These are things we REALLY need to know!
 
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