What to use for discolouring?

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Tara_H

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Ok this may sound like a weird question but bear with me!

I really want to try this woodgrain soap where she uses a discolouring fragrance to produce the effect:

However, on reflection, the only discolouring FO I have is Hot Buttered Rum, which really doesn't seem appropriate for wood 🤔 (I'm quite fussy about matching scent to appearance.)

There's a decent selection of EOs at my local chemist, but for any FO I have to order online and they take an age to get here. Is there anything in can improvise with that would give me the same effect? I.e. slowly developing a slightly uneven colour over time. I have some good quality vanilla extract for baking which I'd be willing to use some of, if it would work. From what I gather the scent wouldn't carry through to the soap, which would be fine in this case.
 

ResolvableOwl

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It's really the vanillin you can watch doing its dirty business there. Add vanillin, and it will darken. Usually people are unhappy about it, since vanillin has such a terrific smell, and they try hard to avoid this reaction of vanillin with air.
What do you mean by “the scent wouldn't carry through to the soap”? It's the whole point of vanillin FO to add vanilla scent. Have you tried it and were disappointed? Same with the colour: Have you just tried to add regular vanilla extract to a soap batter and let it cure for a few days exposed to air?

Uneven colour can only come from uneven mixing. She did with her white/vanilla/mica layering; you already did something loosely related when fighting against your meat-style HP chocolate soap lump!

By the way, vanillin/vanilla FO is somewhat even a “natural” fragrance to wood, since it sometimes is made from wood (lignin).
 

Tara_H

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What do you mean by “the scent wouldn't carry through to the soap”?
I mean, I don't particularly want the soap to smell like vanilla, but I do want to get the effect. Tbh vanilla is not one of my favourite scents at the best of times, so if I was using a vanilla FO for this I'd be looking to blend or mask the scent with something else anyway.

The options I'm considering right now are:
  • Use a small amount of the Hot Buttered Rum FO, combined with something else that will give a better scent.
  • Use another scent entirely and add a small amount of baking quality vanilla paste.
  • Find a different additive that will give the same discolouring effect.
  • Give up for the moment and order a new FO online which is both appropriately scented and discolouring (the exact one yet to be identified)
Edit:
Have you just tried to add regular vanilla extract to a soap batter and let it cure for a few days exposed to air?
No, I haven't - I guess the outcome of that is what I need to know, will it discolour in the same way? If so, what quantity is needed for the discolouring effect?

This is a previous soap I made with the FO:
16176280576412747859145990841534.jpg

The discoloration was not desired in that case, but I'm interested to put it to a practical use.
 
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Tara_H

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ResolvableOwl

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I mean, I don't particularly want the soap to smell like vanilla, but I do want to get the effect.
OK, fair enough. The question is: which effect? If you want to have colour contrast, just go for whatever colourant you are comfortable to stir into your batter, it doesn't have to be an oxidation-effect FO. If you want to surprise yourself by hands-off colour magic, then you'll have to do your research … I've had promising results with sunflower purée in HP, currently trying to replicate in CP. If it's anywhere near presentable, I'll post it into the Lollipop challenge thread. If it stays as ugly olive-brownish as it is ATM, I'll post it here ;).
 

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You might need to make a small batch and try the vanilla extract with no other color or scent, see how it behaves.
I expect the scent won't stay but have no idea how much you will need for the color you are wanting.
 

Tara_H

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If it stays as ugly olive-brownish as it is ATM, I'll post it here ;)
Sounds good 🤣

The reason I'm keen to try this particularly is that I get the impression it gives a more organic effect as the layers are somewhat blurred. There's some great woodgrain effect soap tutorials which use many different colours to get the result but I find a lot of them still look a bit plastic or Disney looking...

You might need to make a small batch and try the vanilla extract with no other color or scent, see how it behaves.
Yeah, good plan. Next batch I'll make a little bit extra and do a sample test.
 

ResolvableOwl

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sunflower purée in HP, currently trying to replicate in CP. If it's anywhere near presentable, I'll post it into the Lollipop challenge thread. If it stays as ugly olive-brownish as it is ATM, I'll post it here ;).
Pessimistically, I expect this to become only worse. Originally, the batters have had nearly identical pale yellowish colour. This photo is after 4 h of CP reaction, the yellow colour already has become a bit more intense:
T+4h.jpg

After three days of curing, and one day after cutting/air exposure, the sunflower zones (7%ppo sunflower purée) have darkened considerably. But still far from the beautiful bright green that the sunflower phytochemicals are theoretically capable of.
T+90h.jpg
If you look closely, you can see a faint, greenish line between the light and dark zones (top left and bottom discs), that is somewhat bleeding into the light area.
I'll update you should something noteworthy happen to these guys (except for growing stearic spot metastases).


ETA early photo (this thread is about discolouration in the end).
 
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Tara_H

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Pessimistically, I expect this to become only worse. Originally, the batters have had nearly identical pale yellowish colour. This photo is after 4 h of CP reaction, the yellow colour already has become a bit more intense:
View attachment 55836

After three days of curing, and one day after cutting/air exposure, the sunflower zones (7%ppo sunflower purée) have darkened considerably. But still far from the beautiful bright green that the sunflower phytochemicals are theoretically capable of.
View attachment 55834
If you look closely, you can see a faint, greenish line between the light and dark zones (top left and bottom discs), that is somewhat bleeding into the light area.
I'll update you should something noteworthy happen to these guys (except for growing stearic spot metastases).


ETA early photo (this thread is about discolouration in the end).
Very interesting! And totally suitable for the woodgrain project. How exactly was this puree prepared/created?

I started a couple of tests myself this morning, one was a small amount from a larger batch split off and 1/32 tsp of vanilla paste stirred in unevenly. That was this morning and so far it seems more tan than the uncoloured parts of the main batch but too early to say for sure. The other was a combined test and challenge attempt, doing a white/copper/brown lollipop swirl with a normal FO and also a very small amount of the discolouring FO added only to the coloured sections. I'll be watching to see if there is any bleed effect into the white area over time.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Very interesting! And totally suitable for the woodgrain project. How exactly was this puree prepared/created?
Easy to make by yourself with a strong (durable) blender/stick blender: throw in sunflower seeds and blend them until they become a smooth paste, think of sunflower tahini.

But I don't want to stress my blender any further, and just buy it (great cooking/baking ingredient too!). A few organic grocery stores have it in the “alternative spreads” section, next to purées of various other seeds (peanut, sesame [= tahini], hazelnut, cashew, poppy, pumpkin seeds, …). “Sunflower butter” is a peanut butter substitute for allergics. Defatted sunflower flour works too, look for it in the gluten-free or low-carb corner of supermarkets and drugstores.
 

Tara_H

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Easy to make by yourself with a strong (durable) blender/stick blender: throw in sunflower seeds and blend them until they become a smooth paste, think of sunflower tahini.

But I don't want to stress my blender any further, and just buy it (great cooking/baking ingredient too!). A few organic grocery stores have it in the “alternative spreads” section, next to purées of various other seeds (peanut, sesame [= tahini], hazelnut, cashew, poppy, pumpkin seeds, …). “Sunflower butter” is a peanut butter substitute for allergics. Defatted sunflower flour works too, look for it in the gluten-free or low-carb corner of supermarkets and drugstores.
Perfect, I actually use ground sunflower seeds in baking sometimes - and now I know exactly the green you mean! I've had problems with muffins going a very vivid green, which is not terribly appetising... From what I recall it happens with recipes that include baking powder 🤔
 

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recipes that include baking powder
Exactly. Baking powder contains baking soda (NaHCO₃), which decomposes during baking to (locally) form an alkaline environment, in which chlorogenic acid will react with air to form green dyes.
It really annoys me that it is so unreliable to provoke/regulate this reaction, to create a sightly colour. My soap went olive-brown, but I wouldn't be surprised that it would turn your wood soap attempts into the brigtest, most vivid green of any natural colourants… Murphy's Law.
 

Tara_H

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I wouldn't be surprised that it would turn your wood soap attempts into the brigtest, most vivid green of any natural colourants…
Ha, yes, most likely! I know it reliably shows up in my baking within about half an hour of being exposed to the air. I wonder if heat is more likely to make it more brown? From memory the batter left behind uncooked tends to be more vivid than what I see in the cooked product.
Although I think you said it was working for you in HP?

You've really got my interest now... I wonder if putting it directly into the lye water (maybe in an ice bath) and aerating that before adding to the oils would help promote the green colour?
 

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