discounting your lye liquid may enable you to unmold your soaps sooner as in the case of a softer soap like a castille. because less liquid is evaporating from each bar there is less shrinkage weight wise per bar. i'm on the fence as to whether or not cure time is less. i still wait at least 6 weeks. i'm a believer they only get better with time.
some fragrance's do not play well with large water discounts, and will rice or seize.
i find too that if i do a discount that is steeper then 2x my lye amount, i get more ash, others don't have that problem, ( but then i don't gell either, at least not on purpose)
You CAN go as low as a 50% lye solution, but that is for experienced soapiers and good acting FO's. I have soaped as low 45% lye strength with a castile using goat milk. Typically, I soap at 30 to 33% depending on the FO and since I use GM to reduce my lye strength.
The most I have went is 40% and even then... I sometimes have to move fast. Soap that is normally slow, moves much quicker. I like it, but sometimes my outcome isnt as good as will a less discount.
You just have to experiement with it.
Soap shrinks less due to less water in the soap
Quicker curing time
Fast moving FO's generally cant be used
stronger Lye solution BE CAREFUL
Less time to play with swirls etc.
Less liquid means less chance of a wrapped bar after cure and a faster cure time. Most soapiers consider a 33% lye solution a discount. I totally agree with Shannan, (Smellitlikeitis) and anything between 33 to 40%, you better move super fast and forget floral scents and super fancy swirls. :wink:
I soap at 50% or equal parts lye and water if I am using water. I soap at 45% when using milk.
I don't swirl often because I just plain suck at it - but I know several soapers that soap at 50% that do gorgeous multi colored swirls.
It has a lot to do with the oils that you use and the scent too. For example Olive oil can take forever to trace. If your recipe has a lot of Olive oil in it - you have plenty of time to work with some organization. Some florals are wonky at full water so it's really just a matter of testing there. I soap florals that I am testing at full water (small batches) and start working my way down until I get soap on a stick. And it's not just florals. I have a spiced orange that I have to move at the speed of lightning at full water when I soap it. It sells well though so I do it.
I use high discounts because the soap is nice and hard and sellable at two weeks. Are they better at 4 weeks? Of course. But I get the same product in two weeks as full water soapers get at 4. Again - it's all about the recipe.