what are these spots?

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I have made several batches of lavender vanilla soap without problems but the last three batches I have made look like this! What are these brown spots (they are not DOS). I have no idea what has gone awry - any help/suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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I am familiar with the brown that vanilla causes and have simply embraced it but know I am doing something “wrong” here. I have made a number of batches previously without this happening. I buy my fragrance oil from New Directions Aromatics so I know it is a good product. I wonder if I need to mix my FO with some of my carrier oil before I add it to my batch. Here is my recipe (I should have included this but forgot) and my photo again. What would make it clump because, as you mention, that looks like exactly what is going on. I might add the FO only to the white batter (as it is going to turn it brown anyway). Maybe I should add the FO before I add the lye water? Hmm…
 

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It looks like FO discoloration to me as well. Did you add fragrance to the white part? It looks like the spots are only in the purple colored areas to me, but I haven't had enough coffee yet and 'old eyes' sometimes betray me. I'm also not seeing the border of discoloration that happens when soaps made with a discoloring FO tend to have when first cut and before discoloration is complete. Do you disperse your mica in oil or do you add it dry? Have you recently started using a new bottle of FO, even though it's the same fragrance from the same supplier?
 
I am familiar with the brown that vanilla causes and have simply embraced it but know I am doing something “wrong” here. I have made a number of batches previously without this happening. I buy my fragrance oil from New Directions Aromatics so I know it is a good product. I wonder if I need to mix my FO with some of my carrier oil before I add it to my batch. Here is my recipe (I should have included this but forgot) and my photo again. What would make it clump because, as you mention, that looks like exactly what is going on. I might add the FO only to the white batter (as it is going to turn it brown anyway). Maybe I should add the FO before I add the lye water? Hmm…
Is it possible that your temperatures have changed with the seasons? In other words, maybe your oils and lye solution are cooler, or warmer?

If I know that a fragrance won't accelerate, rice, or separate, I like to mix it into the oils before I add the lye solution. That allows me to get it thoroughly mixed so that it doesn't add post-lye mixing time (which can take me past emulsion into trace). Maybe give that a try?
 
Is it possible that your temperatures have changed with the seasons? In other words, maybe your oils and lye solution are cooler, or warmer?

If I know that a fragrance won't accelerate, rice, or separate, I like to mix it into the oils before I add the lye solution. That allows me to get it thoroughly mixed so that it doesn't add post-lye mixing time (which can take me past emulsion into trace). Maybe give that a try?
I am going to try that - will make a small batch however since I have “wasted” too many batches already!

It looks like FO discoloration to me as well. Did you add fragrance to the white part? It looks like the spots are only in the purple colored areas to me, but I haven't had enough coffee yet and 'old eyes' sometimes betray me. I'm also not seeing the border of discoloration that happens when soaps made with a discoloring FO tend to have when first cut and before discoloration is complete. Do you disperse your mica in oil or do you add it dry? Have you recently started using a new bottle of FO, even though it's the same fragrance from the same supplier?
I disperse my micas in oil before adding to the batch. I am going to try adding the FO before the lye water and see what happens.

My best guess is fragrance oil that isn't fully mixed or has clumped up for some reason. The vanillin in a vanilla fragrance oil causes brown discoloration. Did you make initial batches with the FO that did not discolor? What is the FO?
I think you are right!
 
You mention you embrace the discoloration but I am curious why you would mix the vanilla fo with the lavender portion of your soap. Vanilla usually goes very dark unless you purchase a non-discoloring vanilla. What I always did with my discoloring fo's such as my Dragon's Blood I separated my batter into however many pour cups I wanted for colors, usually 3 or 4 when using a dark discoloring FO. I would mix my DB thoroughly in one container, leave one uncolored, and color the 3rd and 4th with a bright mica then proceed with my swirl. Pour your discoloring FO first followed by your other colors into the natural colored batter. My Natural color always went into the mold and was usually a little more than my other colors including the discoloring FO batter.
 
You mention you embrace the discoloration but I am curious why you would mix the vanilla fo with the lavender portion of your soap. Vanilla usually goes very dark unless you purchase a non-discoloring vanilla. What I always did with my discoloring fo's such as my Dragon's Blood I separated my batter into however many pour cups I wanted for colors, usually 3 or 4 when using a dark discoloring FO. I would mix my DB thoroughly in one container, leave one uncolored, and color the 3rd and 4th with a bright mica then proceed with my swirl. Pour your discoloring FO first followed by your other colors into the natural colored batter. My Natural color always went into the mold and was usually a little more than my other colors including the discoloring FO batter.
Thank you. I will follow this suggestion.
 
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