Wanting To Start Making Soap But Have Many Questions

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Nienna

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Hi,
So I want to get into making soap but I have many questions, I have been googling but its a little overwhelming so I was hoping to get some straightforward answers to my burning questions so I can make up my mind a bit. I am a 'researcher' so I tend to like to have as much information as possible before even trying something out, even if it may not be relevant right away I like to have things straight in my head.

  1. Does the amount of mica colourant and the amount fragrance affect the consistency and performance of that soap? I see a lot of recipes that just say to put in whatever colour and fragrance you want but never mentions amounts.
  2. I saw on another tutorial that said you should mix your mica up with some isopropyl alcohol first before putting it into your base, but again no measurements, how much is too much? How much is not enough? Also I saw a cool technique that made a pretty effect in melt and pour where they mixed up colour and dripped it into the mould and poured the base over top and let it swirl naturally, but again no measurements, how do a make a colour solution for something like that?
  3. Is there a resource somewhere that lists what carrier oils go well together and what percentages they should be used in?
  4. For melt and pour soaps I read it forms a skin fast and also hardens very quickly and can be challenging to work with. If it forms a skin do you just mix it up or do you have to heat it up again?
For questions 1 and 2 can I get answers for both melt and pour and cold process if there are differences.

Also I do have a health condition that does mean I have a few cognitive impairments which is why I tend to ask questions on fourms if googling answers are confusing or hard to find. Thank you for any help and advice.
 
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Hi Nienna,
I have not made melt and pour soap so i can't speak to that, but for cold process the mica and FO can sometimes affect the consistency of the soap batter (FO more so than the mica). The bad news is that there is not really any way to tell if it will, and by how much. The best way I find is to read the soap performance notes AND the customer reviews before purchasing. I have bought many FOs that say they don't accelerate, but when I use them, they do. So I always say that when i review a product.
Have a look at PureNature | New Zealand's leading online supplier of natural skincare and Home - Zen Aroma - They both have good products and also help tutorials and recipes on their websites.
N.B for cold process - DO NOT mix the mica with alcohol - use a bit of oil instead. I tend to use about half a teaspoon of mica with one-two teaspoons of oil for 500g of soap. If I want a stronger colour I add a bit more until it looks about right.
 
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Welcome to the forum! So many kiwis now!

I too usually do tons of research before acting. But with cold process soap, when I started, I was blissfully unaware of all the YouTubes and this forum and I just dived in.

With micas, I use @KiwiMoose 's amounts and technique -- but most of the time I just dump the mica right in to the batter. For scent, there are fragrance oils and essential oils. I use essential oils and get my usage rates from Find Free Essential Oil Blends - Essential Oil Calculator .

My recommendation if you make cold process is to make a batch without colorant or scent. There are many steps to master and getting to trace is a learning curve.

Also, I recommend you look up @Zany_in_CO 's holy trinity recipe.

Other good sources for beginners are Free Beginner's Guide to Soapmaking: Common Soapmaking Oils - Soap Queen and .

Dive in and keep us posted!
 
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The answer for using mica in m&p is yes mix in alcohol first, and use just how much you want. The nice part of it is you just let the alcohol evaporate so your mica just becomes powder again for reuse. Melt and Pour base will form a skin when it is cooling down that you can gently stir back in while pouring only if your soap is still hot enough to melt the skin. Do try to stir your soap once it is in the mold. In my opinion, m&p has a larger learning curve than cp or hp soapmaking.
 

Zany_in_CO

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WELCOME TO SMF! Please take a moment to tell us a little about your experience making bath and body products and anything else you care to share. This will help us to help you or encourage you going forward.

I don't mean to sound rude, but, to put it plainly, If you've never made soap before, asking about colorants and fragrance is like "putting the cart before the horse". It's best to save those questions until after you've made a few test batches. :thumbs: ;)

I am a 'researcher' so I tend to like to have as much information as possible before even trying something out, even if it may not be relevant right away I like to have things straight in my head.
Brilliant! That's the way to go about it. You have much ground to cover. :nodding:

Since you like research, take a couple of weeks just exploring the forum and how things work here. Hopefully, this link will help:

ADVICE TO BEGINNERS
 

TheGecko

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Welcome. Totally get how overwhelming it can be, especially when you get conflicting information or suspect information.

Does the amount of mica colourant and the amount fragrance affect the consistency and performance of that soap? I see a lot of recipes that just say to put in whatever colour and fragrance you want but never mentions amounts.

Yes, for all soap...M&P, Cold Process, Hot Process, Liquid, Dual Lye. Regarding 'fragrance'...whether it is Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil you first have safe usage rates; this is the maximum amount of that fragrance that you can use without causing harm. Floral scents in FOs and Spice scents in EOs tend to accelerate in CP...I don't do HP or M&P so I'm not sure there. FOs and EOs are also liquids and too much liquid as a whole can cause issues.

The biggest issue with using too much Mica is that it will discolor your bath water and stain washcloths. And if you add too much as with a 'mica line', your soap layers can separate.

I saw on another tutorial that said you should mix your mica up with some isopropyl alcohol first before putting it into your base, but again no measurements, how much is too much? How much is not enough? Also I saw a cool technique that made a pretty effect in melt and pour where they mixed up colour and dripped it into the mould and poured the base over top and let it swirl naturally, but again no measurements, how do a make a colour solution for something like that?

You don't want to mix mica with alcohol for Cold or Hot Process soap, but it's okay for M&P. For CP/HP, you should use glycerin or oil. But you don't HAVE to pre-disperse your mica...you can add it straight in to your oils or batter, but it does often take more blending putting it in dry into batter. I do recommend pre-dispersing clays, oxides, pigments, neons, ultramarines for various reasons.

General rule of thumb is 1 tea per pound of. Some micas you may need more, some micas you may need less...depends on color saturation.

Is there a resource somewhere that lists what carrier oils go well together and what percentages they should be used in?

Yes and no. BrambleBerry has a list of Common Soap Making Oils that lists attributes, recommended rates, if it is comparable to another oil, etc. It's not a bad place to start, but it's not absolute. To be honest...soap making is VERY individual (what works for you, may not work for someone else) and it's a lot of trial and error. Take Coconut Oil...BB says that it can be used as high as 33%, but recommends 15% for dry or sensitive skin. I have dry skin and use it at 20%, but I also have a 5% SuperFat and I use other oils and butters.

For melt and pour soaps I read it forms a skin fast and also hardens very quickly and can be challenging to work with. If it forms a skin do you just mix it up or do you have to heat it up again?

I haven't worked with a lot of M&P, but I have researched and watched videos and yes, once it reaches a certain temperature it will start to form a "skin" and depending on how thick the layer of soap, it can harden fairly quickly. If your M&P is still fairly warm, you can 'dissolve' the skin by stirring it back into the rest of the soap or you may have to reheat it for another 15 to 30 seconds. You don't want to overheat M&P...it will burn.

Yes, because M&P is very thin and fluid, and cools and hardens fairly quickly it can be challenging to work with. Heavy additive will sink to the bottom and a lot of swirls simply aren't possible. Layers though...magic with M&P.

My recommendation is that you start with a simple soap recipe (CP)...no scent, no colorant...and make a small batch of soap (16oz-20oz total). BB has very basic recipe: Simple & Gentle Soap Project that uses just Olive Oil, Palm Oil and Coconut Oil and the Instructions are easy to follow. You'll want enter the percentages in a Soap Calculator and scale it down since the weights they give results in a 50 oz batch. Then after you make a few batches, get some a couple of trial or 1oz FOs and add scent. Then get some Sample Micas and add color.

Once you get some soap making under your belt, then you can start to develop your own recipe. This is where you want to learn about Soap Qualities and Fatty Acids and how they contribute to Soap Qualities and in what oils and butters you can find them. But something you need to consider...1) The purpose of soap is to get you clean. 2) Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic substances and will destroy the majority of "benefits" of an oil/butter. 3) Soap is a wash on/rinse off product and is only on your skin for maybe five to ten minutes. 4) Squeaky clean is great for dishes and pots and pans, but not for skin or hair.
 

Nienna

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WELCOME TO SMF! Please take a moment to tell us a little about your experience making bath and body products and anything else you care to share. This will help us to help you or encourage you going forward.

I don't mean to sound rude, but, to put it plainly, If you've never made soap before, asking about colorants and fragrance is like "putting the cart before the horse". It's best to save those questions until after you've made a few test batches. :thumbs: ;)


Brilliant! That's the way to go about it. You have much ground to cover. :nodding:

Since you like research, take a couple of weeks just exploring the forum and how things work here. Hopefully, this link will help:

ADVICE TO BEGINNERS
I understand some of my questions aren't relevant for a beginner but as I said in my post I would rather know these things now and have a better understanding of the process before even starting. I won't even try something before I have decent understanding of the whole thing.

Thanks everyone for the replies. I spent more time researching last night and I think I'm going to try melt and pour first.

The more I see it the more cold process or even hot process does not appeal to me. I don't think it would be compatible with other elements in my life.

But I am excited to try melt and pour even if it's more of a learning curve. I ordered a small starter kit so hopefully by this time next week I will have done a batch.
 
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I understand some of my questions aren't relevant for a beginner but as I said in my post I would rather know these things now and have a better understanding of the process before even starting. I won't even try something before I have decent understanding of the whole thing.

Thanks everyone for the replies. I spent more time researching last night and I think I'm going to try melt and pour first.

The more I see it the more cold process or even hot process does not appeal to me. I don't think it would be compatible with other elements in my life.

But I am excited to try melt and pour even if it's more of a learning curve. I ordered a small starter kit so hopefully by this time next week I will have done a batch.
That's great! M&P can be a lot of fun. Be sure to give us an update with some pics of your first soap. :)
 

GGMA0317

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I see. I can't say I'm surprised. I've never done M&P but I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
 
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Nienna

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Hello!

No matter what you've read about CP soap, I'm here to tell you it's not complicated at all.

I no longer work with Fragrance oils but I use Essential oils quite frequently.
I use them at 0.5 to 1 oz pp of CP soap.
A very easy formula to start with is:

70% Olive
5% castor
10% coconut
10% PKO
5% Lard
1/2 oz or 1 oz lavender 40/42
7% Superfat

Or 90/10
90% OO
10 pko or coconut
0.5 - 1oz pp essential oil
7% Superfat
oatmeal
powdered goat milk
or other additive.

Soap at room temp lye and Oil. You can add oatmeal(colloidal or baby) to the oils and blend. Add the essential oil while stirring and then pulse your stick blender in between stirring to watch for trace.

I rarely use colorants but when I do, I set aside a small bowl to blend colorant with small amount of soap right after mixing oils with lye. If it's liquid colorant I use a few drops and blend until shade is reached (make a note)

For test batches and guest bars I use paper loaf/ baking pans. No need to line but the bottom should be supported if you plan to move after pouring.

I have made and sold the two formulas I have listed- BOTH got excellent feedback. I cure them 6 months to a year if I plan to sell. If not selling-6 weeks for 70/30 and 8 weeks for 90/10
You can sub the OO with another oil. I've tested many variations.
I've enclosed photos of Paper Baking Pan Soap.

Thanks for the info, I will keep it in mind in case I need it. Right now I have decided to focus on melt and pour, for various reasons but mostly due to my personal circumstance, health condition, space limitations etc. One day I might try cold pressed but right now I think the simpler the better for me.
 

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