What caused ridges, oil on top?

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Zing

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I'm a new soaper with several great experiences. My most recent one was a problem and I'd like to know how to prevent this in the future. I poured using the thinnest trace yet. After pouring in the mold, it was the hottest soap yet and yellowish-orangeish oil appeared on the surface of the mold during the first couple hours. I unmolded it, cut it, and there were mini ridges throughout, and I sliced off the top skin of oil. It's an interesting appearance, but not the smooth one I'm used to. I used:
4 oz grapeseed oil
9.5 oz olive oil
9 oz cocunut oil
9 oz palm oil
1.5 oz castor oil
4.6 oz lye
10.9 oz water
0.2 oz cedarwood EO
0.8 oz lemongrass EO
0.8 oz rosemary
It smells wonderful. Should I have poured at medium trace? Should I not have insulated with towels? I'd appreciate any advice.
 

cmzaha

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Welcome to the forum and Hi. Pictures would help us maybe figure out what happened. I am wondering if it overheated and the fragrance oil seeped out.
 

Zing

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I mixed lye and oils at 120 degrees and covered with a towel like I always do. I used my basic recipe with the only difference being titanium dioxide and new EOs and pouring at a much thinner trace than I usually do. I've attached a photo of the ridges.
 

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BattleGnome

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Those look like glycerin rivers. They are harmless and generally happen when soap gets too hot. For some reason a hot TD soap brings them out. It’s one of those things some people love and others hate and you can never get em when you want to. Soaping around 100F can help prevent them if they bother you. It’s all cosmetic and I think they usually look pretty cool. I love how yours almost looks like a heavily veined/marbled stone
 

Kamahido

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Those also look like glycerin rivers to me. The oil seeping out of top is probably just the fragrances bleeding out a bit. Give it a day or so to reabsorb. Then give it a good old fashioned zap test to make sure all is well.
 

earlene

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Lovely glycerin rivers.

So what did you do with the oily soap that you cut off the top?

I have had FO's seep out of soap, then reabsorb after left to sit on it's own for a period of time. I would have been happy to get such gorgeous glycerin rivers, but it was more of a solid color soap. I thought I'd have to throw the soap out, but left it all together in the same container (afraid it would leak more oil all over the place) and miraculously did not end up with a pool of oil at the bottom of the container and no oil slicks on the cut bars of soap anymore either.
 

shunt2011

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I agree with the others. Just glycerin rivers. Just a cosmetic thing won't affect the soap at all. With the TD and it getting so hot, that's what likely caused it. I have had it happen too a few times. The oil was probably just your EO seeping. I would have left it and it probably would have just absorbed back in.
 

Zing

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Thanks everyone. I had been googling 'tunnels' which was NOT my problem. I've now learned more about glycerin rivers. For this batch, I'll just say it adds to its charm. :)
 

SaltedFig

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Lovely glycerin rivers!

The TD can travel with the soap as it moves around and forms from the different fatty acids (slow cool down can highlight this effect). Another pigment that can do this is very fine charcoal powder (as an example, there are a few).

Please remove your curing soap from those metal racks - the metal will react with the new soap and (by causing DOS) can ruin your efforts.
 

soapmaker

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Agree with the rest. One added thing is that I don't insulate when I use TD if I don't want that crackled look. I will even set it in a cool room so it doesn't gel. About the rack, I'm not sure if it is a coated rack or not but I use old refrigerator or freezer racks that are coated and have never had any problem at all. Plain chrome baking racks will cause DOS but not the coated ones, IMHO.
 

Zing

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Lovely glycerin rivers!

The TD can travel with the soap as it moves around and forms from the different fatty acids (slow cool down can highlight this effect). Another pigment that can do this is very fine charcoal powder (as an example, there are a few).

Please remove your curing soap from those metal racks - the metal will react with the new soap and (by causing DOS) can ruin your efforts.
Thanks for reminding me about the racks! I normally put wax paper on the rack, not sure where my head was this time.
 

DeeAnna

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I might think about soaping a bit cooler -- closer to 100-110 F rather than 120 F. Your solid fats should be just warm enough to melt completely and become clear, but no warmer than necessary to get that job done.

The lye concentration in this recipe is about 29%. I would also give some thought to increasing the lye concentration (not water as % of oils) closer to 33%.

Both of these ideas will make it less likely your soap will overheat in the mold (the liquid on top is probably due to slight overheating) and less likely to get "rivers."

If you put your molded soap in a comfortably warm place, you might not need to use any insulation. That again will reduce the chance of overheating. This is a trial-and-error thing -- you'll just have to experiment to see what works best for you.
 
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