What is wrong with my soap?

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May 4, 2015
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Why does the white in my soap look like this??? I used titanium dioxide for the white.

Cool Water soap.jpg
That crackled appearance is called glycerin river or crackles. It's not uncommon when using titanium dioxide. Many believe that it can be prevented by using a water discount in your recipe.

Don't worry, the soap is safe to use! I think it's beautiful....I try to get those rivers on purpose, and the blue and white is lovely!
Using full water and overheating can cause TD crackling. I also find water soluble TD more subject to glycerin rivers and crackle. Glycerin rivers can occur but crackling usually occurs with td use or at least the crackling is much more noticeable. Some people actually like the look of crackle. Water discounting usually helps because the soap will tend not to heat as much with less water.
I dont have rivers often..but wish I knew how to make them appear when I wanted to..I like em in some designs :) Very pretty soap btw
It's one of those pretty accidents you get when you're soaping. Write down exactly what you did, including ingredients, temp, and method, in case you want to repeat it later. The blue and white contrast with the distressed appearance is beautiful!

Then, go try to do what you wanted using another approach. I'm assuming you wanted a smooth bar? Try soaping at lower temp so you have more time to play with the trace and swirls. You have the colors controlled pretty well already. Your next batches will probably please you very much.
Hello to you, too! :rolleyes:

It is also in the blue sections, just not as noticeable. As others have said, reducing water amount can help a great deal

Eta - this is based on the information that you gave, which is very little. Can you let us know the full recipe as without that we can only suggest things that it is likely to be, rather than tell you what it is
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Thank you all! I am a new soaper and am still learning. And boy, is there a lot to learn!!!! Here is my recipe:

16.5 oz. coconut oil
16.5 oz. palm oil
13.8 oz. sunflower oil
5.5 oz. almond oil
2.7 oz. castor oil
2 oz. cool water FO

7.8 oz. lye
19.2 oz. water

Can you tell me how to discount water?

I added the TD after the lye water
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I find that I get the crackle if I use full water and the gel gets really hot. It could also be stearic crackle if you didn't melt and stir your palm oil before using. I don't mind it too much when it happens. I think it adds character.

Hello and welcome! Another thing I see is you are using a high percentage of CO and that seems to get hotter in my experience anyway.

You may want to trim the size of your batch to no more than 2 lbs. You are making 5 lbs and that's an expensive mistake if something goes bad. Another thing is you may want to drop your CO to 20-25%. For some 30% CO is pretty cleansing, though some can handle it.
To discount water, first start using "lye concentration" rather than "water as % of oils". You're going to get more consistent results in your soaps by making this one change.

The approximate lye concentration for "full water" soaping is about 28% for a balanced blend of fats. Use that 28% lye concentration as your rule of thumb for "full water" soaping.

To soap with a water discount, set the lye concentration to something higher than 28%. Don't make huge changes -- just a percent or two is plenty. I'd suggest you try a 30% lye concentration for your next batch and see how that works for you.

You want to find a lye concentration that is high enough to prevent the crackling you don't like and also to prevent the soap from going into gel, but not so high that your soap traces too fast so you can't do your fancy work. Many soapers use 30% to 33% routinely for recipes that have a balanced blend of fats.

Soaps that have a large amount of any one type of fat might do better, however, with a different lye concentration. For example, a 100% olive oil soap might give good results at 40% lye concentration, because it traces very slowly when the lye concentration is lower. A high coconut oil soap might be happier at a low 28% lye concentration, because it traces too fast and often overheats in the mold when the lye concentration is higher than that.

For more about why lye concentration makes more sense to use versus "water as % of oils", please read: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=53642

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