Trouble with Lavender EO

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Millie

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Has anyone had trouble working with lavender EO in cold process soap? I have 24 batches of soap under my belt and three of them have gone wrong. The first was a ricing issue I learned to fix thanks to this forum. The other two batches that went wrong were lye heavy lavender soaps.
Before I attempt another lavender soap, I want to know if there is something about this essential oil I don't understand or if it is coincidence that the two times I made this mistake happened to be lavender.
The two clues I have that there is some mystery to this EO are bloggers meantioning more DOS with lavender soaps and someone mentioning that trace reverses when adding this EO.
I add EOs to the oils and blend before adding lye ever since the ricing issue. The first bad lavender I poured at light trace. The second bad lavender I poured at med-light trace, but I stirred in pigments mixed with OO by hand.
Any thoughts? Sorry for the long post and thanks if you got this far!
 

dixiedragon

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I think you may not have pure lavender EO. lavender eo is VERY well behaved. I think it actually slows trace a bit! Lavender EO does oxidize over time, which may make your soap a bit off-colored. Nothing too dramatic - when I added my old lavender the soap batter turned orangish but it cured out into just an off-white. Read the ingredients on the bottle. It may be "lavender oil" meaning it's mixed with some kind of saponifiable oil (such as almond oil) or mixed with mineral oil. It could also be mixed with alcohol, which would cause separation I think.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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My thoughts, too. Lavender EO is a ***** cat to use- you don't even need to add it to the oils before the lye or anything like that - unless there is an issue with the "eo"
 

Millie

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Thanks for the feedback! The EOs I used were from NDA, havent had trouble with them before. The first attempt I used french lavender, the second attempt 80% 40/42, 20% french lavender. Looks like the issue lies with me
 

Millie

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Update: I went to throw away the soaps and tried one last zap test - no zap! I might hold onto them for a bit and invest in a ph kit. Still think they shouldn't be good. The freezer paper I lined my mold with was brown in spots and oils seeped through to the wood mold. Never had that happen before. The soap was crumbly after unmolding and now it isn't. Weirdest soaping experience ever.
 

cmzaha

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I am always the odd man out, but I do have some Lavender that accelerates, slightly not soap-on-a-stick acceleration, which is 40/42 from Camden Grey. This is not the first time I have had accelerating Lavender, but I do not remember if it was from NDA or not.

I really have to wonder how you came up with two lye heavy batches of soap. It takes quite an overage of lye to actually end up lye heavy, depending on liquid percentage
 

Millie

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It is strange, the first batch had a 7% superfat, the second one 4% (my usual) in a tried and true recipe. I'm wondering if the issue was false trace. Still bugs me though. Thanks for sharing your experience!
 

TokraDog

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First and formost, essential oils are not created equally. The poorer quality EOs oils are more likely to cause problems in your soaping. Never mix brands of EOs in the same soap batch and only use 'pure' essential oils. It may cost a little more up front but the resulting aroma is your soap superior.. I only use EOs when I soap and never use one EO. I build layers of aroma considering base, middle and high notes when I blend. Thus I always blend Lavender with another EO, for example Lavender, Lime. The biggest problem is longevity of the aroma. I also consider the properties of the EOs that I use, just as I do my base soap making oils. I find my soaps with additives, like clays, retain the ES aroma much better. My absolute favorite EOs is Australian Sandalwood and Rosewood. However the cost of the former has skyrocketed to $88.00 per 10 mls!!! So I keep my Sandalwood for personal use.
 
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Millie

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Thanks for your input, Tokra. As an update, I kept the batch and it seems fine now and smells heavenly. (I'll keep the batch to myself to be on the safe side, but no signs of irritation so far). I saw someone on the forum mention that it always takes an extra day or two before they can unmold their lavender soaps. I think I was just being impatient. As for the first bad batch, it was my first attempt at a light trace, and probably ended up being more of a light emulsion. All my soaps since then have been good, still haven't tried another lavender though :)

I tend to play more with base and mid notes, top notes fade so rapidly in cp. I like the scent of a soap to fill the shower, without having to press my nose to the bar.
 
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lenarenee

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I going to love picking your brain! Why don't you use more than one brand of EO in a soap - simply to recognize a trouble maker if your soap doesn't turn out right?

What do you consider "poorer" quality eo's?

I have some lemon myrtle eo, which can only be used in tiny amounts, but gives a decent scent, but still fades fairly quickly. Any suggestions on how to improve that?
 

Millie

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Isn't Rosewood endangered? I have a 'natural blend EO' dupe. I am surprised how many companies claim to carry the real thing for about the price of my dupe, so maybe I am misinformed.
 

DeeAnna

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If buying EOs from reputable sellers, I'm puzzled about the advice to not mix brands.

What I do know, and this is corroborated by Robert Tisserand, co-author of Essential Oil Safety, is that some EOs can oxidize over time to form chemical compounds that can be troublesome. Oxidized EOs can irritate the skin if used in lotions and other leave on products. Oxidized EOs can also trigger the formation of all-over rancidity in soap; I have personal experience with this.

Lavender is one of the EOs to be careful about. Store lavender EO in the refrigerator if possible, buy from reputable sellers, and buy only enough that you can use reasonably quickly. Be familiar with the smell of your lavender EO, and when it begins to have a slightly "off" odor (it's not a big change, but you can smell it if you educate your nose), use it for purposes other than skin care or soap -- put a few drops in the water when washing floors, etc.
 
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lenarenee

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Aha - good to know. I don't use many eo's in soap, but lavender is certainly one of them.

Can all eo's be store in the refrigerator?
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, they can, Lenarenee. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an EO that is harmed by being stored at cool temps.

Some EOs will become very thick in the fridge (and some are thick at room temp!) Patchouli comes to mind. You would want to let those warm up before use.

My experience with lavender EO -- when I was making my first batches of soap, I (like so many beginners) wanted to use only EOs in my soap. I decided to make one batch of soap, divide it at trace, and add lavender EO to one half and peppermint EO to the other. I knew my lavender was older, but didn't think too much of it at the time other than I knew I wanted to get it used up and thought adding it to soap was a nice way to do that. :think:

I put the soap away to cure, checked it maybe 12-16 weeks later, and realized the soap was turning all-over rancid on me. What really stuck in my mind, however, is not that the whole batch eventually went rancid, but that the lavender scented bars turned yellow and unpleasant long before the peppermint ones did. I knew the only thing that was different was the EO, but I didn't know why. I later learned about the troubles that older, oxidized EOs can cause and realized that had to be the key.
 

TokraDog

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Hi All,
I meant to say in my previous email, 'EOs are not created equally'. If you're a registered business most essential oil companies offer trade discounts thus reducing the price of good quality EOs. If your mix EOs from different companies it is difficult to identify the 'cause' of any soaping problems that occur...I learnt this the hard way. I do however, use one 'blended' EO sold as such from the supplier. Often smaller suppliers do not follow strict rules for export, hense are more likely not to be pure. As I use high proportions of good quality base oils in my soaps and don't like to waste a batch.
 
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