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Very new to soaping but have a recipe question

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michael732

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I just purchased a fragrance oil from that has a reputation of accelerating trace. As per the comments left by other purchasers. My intent was to use the following:

Coconut oil 32%
Palm oil 32%
Olive oil 32%
Caster oil 4%
FO 4%
Water as a percent of oil weight 28.98%
5% Super Fat

However, I'm worried this will set up to quickly due to the use of the Coconut oil and Palm oil. I'm thinking I should lower the percentages to keep the batter more fluid and give me more time before it sets up. Also I also plan to use MICA colorants and TD as well as a red clay additive.

Some input and direction would be appreciated.
 

AliOop

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TD and clay also speed up trace. If you really want to use this FO, then I'd reformulate to use 40-60% lard, which is one of the slowest-tracing oils. The other thing to do is split and color your batter before adding the FO last, right before pouring. Also, make a very small batch to start and see how things go. Even with a high-lard recipe, and adding the FO last, you may not have time for swirls given all the accelerants you will be using.
 

michael732

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TD and clay also speed up trace. If you really want to use this FO, then I'd reformulate to use 40-60% lard, which is one of the slowest-tracing oils. The other thing to do is split and color your batter before adding the FO last, right before pouring. Also, make a very small batch to start and see how things go. Even with a high-lard recipe, and adding the FO last, you may not have time for swirls given all the accelerants you will be using.
Thank you for the quick response. My intent is to stay with these four oils for now. I don't want to start introducing more ingredients into the mix at my infantile stage of soap making. Would an increase of Olive oil kinda do the same thing? I thought I was buying a well behaved FO (At least that's what the description said). I guess if the batch starts to go south on me, I'll have to make due and salvage to batch some how.

Thanks for the help.
 

AliOop

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Well, lard is a go-to oil for many, many soapmakers, and for very good reasons. It makes wonderful soap, is very slow-tracing, and is very inexpensive (much less than other oils for most people). Many soapers use it instead of palm, for all of those reasons. But if you already have everything else on hand, it would make sense to use up all your palm before trying some lard to see what you think.

Olive oil is slow-tracing as well, but a good number of soapmakers aren't fond of high oleic soaps. For some, it leaves their skin tight, dry, and itchy. For others, the objection is the "snottiness" or slimy feeling of high oleic recipes. But since it is what you have, in order to slow down the recipe, you could try reducing both the coconut and the palm to 25%, and adding that amount to the olive oil. You could also use a higher percentage of water in your lye solution, soap at room temperature, and only stick-blend to emulsion, not to trace. All of those things should give you a little more time.

Good luck, and show us some pictures when you are done!
 

michael732

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Well, lard is a go-to oil for many, many soapmakers, and for very good reasons. It makes wonderful soap, is very slow-tracing, and is very inexpensive (much less than other oils for most people). Many soapers use it instead of palm, for all of those reasons. But if you already have everything else on hand, it would make sense to use up all your palm before trying some lard to see what you think.

Olive oil is slow-tracing as well, but a good number of soapmakers aren't fond of high oleic soaps. For some, it leaves their skin tight, dry, and itchy. For others, the objection is the "snottiness" or slimy feeling of high oleic recipes. But since it is what you have, in order to slow down the recipe, you could try reducing both the coconut and the palm to 25%, and adding that amount to the olive oil. You could also use a higher percentage of water in your lye solution, soap at room temperature, and only stick-blend to emulsion, not to trace. All of those things should give you a little more time.

Good luck, and show us some pictures when you are done!
Snottiness? I'm thinking that's something I don't want in my soap. I guess I shouldn't be married to any one recipe. And since its inexpensive, why not.

Thank you.
 

shunt2011

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If your set on using these oils, I would increase your palm to 35-40%, lower your CO it to 20-25%, castor 5% then the rest Olive. I’m one who dislikes olive over 20% or so, I prefer others more.

I’m a lard user as well. Easy to work with and makes amazing soap.
 

AliOop

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@shunt2011 great advice! I forget that I'm kind of an outlier in that high palm doesn't agree with my skin, so even though it does make nice soap and isn't fast-moving, I am always looking for ways to reduce it (or get rid of it). But you are so right - if he wants to use what he has on hand, raising the PO is a much better option for him with these oils, rather than going higher on the OO.
 

cmzaha

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Lowering the castor to 3% can also make a noticeable difference in the trace. I tested slow tracing recipes a few yrs back and it was surprising the difference it made. Just add in some Sugar or Sorbitol to up lather. I also agree with lowering the CO and upping the palm. I am another that does not use OO, but you could add in 15% Canola with your OO. Back when I used OO I would combine it with 15% regular Canola and never had DOS issues. It does help slow trace. You could go with 35-38% Palm, 20-25% CO, 15% Canola, 3% Castor with the balance OO.
 

TheGecko

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All three oils you have selected are the same that many soap makers start with, and often continue with. Your amounts are just fine.

Start with just a plain soap...no additives, scent or colorants. A small batch...about 16 oz/454 grams. Get a feel for the recipe. Stick blend in very short bursts to light trace and then stop. Let it sit and see how long it takes for you batter to thicken up to a medium-thick trace (still pourable).

TD and oxides will thicken you batter. I recommend mixing 1 tablespoon water and 1 tea of TD and then use just one teaspoon of the mixture to your oils and lye solution and then stick blending in very short bursts to again, get a feel for what TD can do. If you would like it a little whiter, add another teaspoon.

Next batch...try your fragrance...no colorant. Add after you reach a light trace and stir in first, then a couple of quick bursts with your stick blender.

Allow a good four weeks before testing your soaps. The batch size will produce four approximately 5 oz bars and you can cut them in half if you would like to have other folks' opinions.

I started with those four oils and then experimented with other oils, butters and various amounts. I still use them along with Cocoa and Shea Butters. It is completely up to you what oils and butters you want to use. Some folks like Olive Oil, some don't. Some folks like Coconut Oil, some don't. Some folks like Lard, some don't. Some folks like Palm Oil, some don't. You get the picture. Regardless of what anyone tells you, it is all about personal preference.
 

GemstonePony

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I consider moving 10% of the CO to palm, but otherwise your formula looks ok, and you need to make soap to use it to know what you like.
I would make at least one batch with a non-accelerating fragrance (or no fragrance) because you will need some experience before tackling a swirl with a known accelerator. If possible, fragrance a small portion of a batch with the fragrance in question so you know what level of acceleration to expect, and color said batch with some of the colorants in question so you know how they behave.
If you still want to do swirls, here are some things that can buy you more time to work, but it'll require more finesse and math.
1. Figure out how what percent batter you want each color to be, do the math on how much your batter will weigh altogether, and calculate about how much to pour for each color. Your measuring probably won't be completely precise, so your final number might be a little different than expected, but there shouldn't be enough difference to change the impact of the colors or fragrance.
2. Pre measure and pre disperse all additives in separate containers. If possible, soap with your additives before hand so you know to what extent they thicken trace as well.
3. Pre measure fragrance for each color in separate containers.
4. Blend all your oils together before you add the lye, and soap in the 80-90°f range.
5. Stick blend as little as possible. I prefer 1-2 second bursts, stirring the blending portion into the batter between bursts. Others go as high as 2-3 second bursts every 4-6 seconds, but the really important thing is to stop blending before or at emulsion. If you have to blend TD or clay that's unfortunate, but use spatulas, stir sticks, popsicle sticks- whatever your utensil of choice- wherever possible. I use water-soluble TD and have never blended it in and it's been fine, but I know some TDs don't work that way.
5. Make sure you don't have any areas of unincorporated oil or water, but separate for colors just before you reach emulsion, so mixing the colors in will get it just barely past emulsion. You'll need some experience to know when this point is, since overshooting it may make your batter harder to manage, and if it doesn't emulsify before you pour you may end up with caustic, dangerous soap.
6. Give each color it's own stirring utensil, so you don't have to waste time cleaning them between colors or steps.
7. Any coloring elements that may accelerate trace should be added last, so they don't have as much time for their naughty ways.
8. After your colors are in and you know you've got emulsion, add the fragrance, once again adding to any accelerating colors last.
9. Be prepared to settle for a different design than you hoped for based on how fast your batter moves. If you're planning individual molds, have a prepared loaf mold or similar as a backup plan just in case you need to dump it all in a hurry.
Hope this helps!
 

linne1gi

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Well, lard is a go-to oil for many, many soapmakers, and for very good reasons. It makes wonderful soap, is very slow-tracing, and is very inexpensive (much less than other oils for most people). Many soapers use it instead of palm, for all of those reasons. But if you already have everything else on hand, it would make sense to use up all your palm before trying some lard to see what you think.

Olive oil is slow-tracing as well, but a good number of soapmakers aren't fond of high oleic soaps. For some, it leaves their skin tight, dry, and itchy. For others, the objection is the "snottiness" or slimy feeling of high oleic recipes. But since it is what you have, in order to slow down the recipe, you could try reducing both the coconut and the palm to 25%, and adding that amount to the olive oil. You could also use a higher percentage of water in your lye solution, soap at room temperature, and only stick-blend to emulsion, not to trace. All of those things should give you a little more time.

Good luck, and show us some pictures when you are done!
I agree on lowering the percentage of Castor Oil to 3%. Castor Oil on it's own has very little lather - instead it sustain the bubbles produced by other oils. I disagree on increasing your water, as this contributes to another set of problems - soap heats up quicker and stays hot longer with increased water, produces glycerin rivers and contributes to an excess of soda ash. Definitely try not to over stick blend, 1-2 second bursts, (I literally stick blend for 5 seconds when I am going for emulsion). Soap cool, have your colorants pre dispersed in a light oil. And good luck.
 

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