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caroljean

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I made two batches of soap (beginner soaper) with a basic recipe OO 35, PO 30, CO 30, Castor 5, SF 5%. First batch I added 1 teaspoon bentonite clay and lavendar eo and the water:lye ratio was 2.4:1 - it came out beautifully. To the second batch I used rooibos tea in place of the water and added nothing to it, but changed the water:lye ratio to 2.2:1 Soaped at the same temperature for both, approx 47C. I don't hate how it looks but I can see that something went wrong.. any ideas?

IMG_5244.jpg
Oh my goodness, when I see it in such a huge format it looks like a huge ham :D
 
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Hello! I am also a newbie and am not too great with technical explanations, but the marbling you see there looks like glycerin rivers. The rooibos tea probably caused the soap to get pretty hot (I think because of the natural sugars or tannins), as you soaped at a pretty hot temperature too. It's purely cosmetic though, and looks pretty cool! Your soap should still be okay to use.

I'm not sure if these will fix the issue entirely in the future, but you could try cooling the tea before making the lye solution, steeping the tea for less time (not sure how strong you made it, but I think this factors in too!), using part tea/part water, or soaping at a cooler temperature.
 

caroljean

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Hello! I am also a newbie and am not too great with technical explanations, but the marbling you see there looks like glycerin rivers. The rooibos tea probably caused the soap to get pretty hot (I think because of the natural sugars or tannins), as you soaped at a pretty hot temperature too. It's purely cosmetic though, and looks pretty cool! Your soap should still be okay to use.

I'm not sure if these will fix the issue entirely in the future, but you could try cooling the tea before making the lye solution, steeping the tea for less time (not sure how strong you made it, but I think this factors in too!), using part tea/part water, or soaping at a cooler temperature.

Ah ok.. I have heard that term but wasn't sure how that looked. Glad I can still use the soap! The tea was cool when I added the lye to it, but I made a super strong brew - it steeped for a few hours and was almost black. Not sure I would be too quick to use the rooibos again. Thanks for the help and enjoy your soaping journey :)
 
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Ah ok.. I have heard that term but wasn't sure how that looked. Glad I can still use the soap! The tea was cool when I added the lye to it, but I made a super strong brew - it steeped for a few hours and was almost black. Not sure I would be too quick to use the rooibos again. Thanks for the help and enjoy your soaping journey :)

No problem! I soaped with tea recently too, and then read somewhere about making a less strong brew to prevent overheating or discoloration. Soaping has a lot of interesting learning curves. 😌 Good luck and enjoy your soaping journey too!
 

DeeAnna

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It's rivers, yes, but the reason for rivers is not simply that the soap got too hot.

Rivers are caused by conditions that allow the soap to (1) get warm enough to go into gel and then (2) cool slowly and (3) there are added colorants or other ingredients (whatever the brown speckles are) that made the "rivers" easy to see.

You have to have (1) AND (2) to get visible rivers to form, (3) just makes them obvious.

If you want to know more, here's my article on the topic -- Soapy Stuff: Crackling, streaking, and mottling
 
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It's rivers, yes, but the reason for rivers is not simply that the soap got too hot.

Rivers are caused by conditions that allow the soap to (1) get warm enough to go into gel and then (2) cool slowly and (3) there are added colorants or other ingredients (whatever the brown speckles are) that made the "rivers" easy to see.

You have to have (1) AND (2) to get visible rivers to form, (3) just makes them obvious.

If you want to know more, here's my article on the topic -- Soapy Stuff: Crackling, streaking, and mottling
Isn't high liquid another factor? Or does that just make it gel at a lower temperature, so the resulting glycerine rivers are more likely?
 

DeeAnna

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"...Or does that just make it gel at a lower temperature ..."

This.

If you use a lot of water (lower gel temp) but cool the soap more quickly, rivers are less likely to form.

If you use less water (higher gel temp) and cool slowly, ditto.

The soap that is most likely to get rivers is one that has a lower gel temp AND cools slower.

And then the last part of the puzzle is the presence of some kind of insoluble particulates to make the rivers more visible to the naked eye. Titanium dioxide is a common culprit but other particulates work too. A century or more ago, soap makers used red ochre (iron oxide) to make "figged" soap (aka soap with rivers).

A lot of people come to the conclusion they should cool the soap so it doesn't gel, but that is a tough and often unreliable way to solve the problem.

The most common solution of "popping the soap into the freezer" is way easier said than done, because you're fighting against the normal nature of the saponification process. People post on this forum on a regular basis to complain about batches that were put into the freezer and still went into gel.

The easiest single solution to the problem, if you view rivers as being a problem, is to use a 33% or higher lye concentration. My article offers other suggestions as well.
 
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caroljean

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It's rivers, yes, but the reason for rivers is not simply that the soap got too hot.

Rivers are caused by conditions that allow the soap to (1) get warm enough to go into gel and then (2) cool slowly and (3) there are added colorants or other ingredients (whatever the brown speckles are) that made the "rivers" easy to see.

You have to have (1) AND (2) to get visible rivers to form, (3) just makes them obvious.

If you want to know more, here's my article on the topic -- Soapy Stuff: Crackling, streaking, and mottling

Thanks so much.. and thanks too for the link! I will print that off to add to my growing pile of notes. I didn't know that you are 'Classic Bells' - I had yesterday printed off your water:lye ratio sheet to try to understand the whole concept better, great info.
 

Iseleigh

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I have nothing to add other than that pic looks like a well marbled piece of Wagyu beef and I want it solely for that reason.
 

caroljean

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I have nothing to add other than that pic looks like a well marbled piece of Wagyu beef and I want it solely for that reason.

Oh my goodness.. I had no idea what Wagyu beef was so I googled it and you are 100% correct! Best description for sure! If you lived closer I would gladly mail you a chunk of it :)
 

Dawni

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I've made meat soap once lol its here somewhere haha but yours looks like the more expensive kind hahaha

I kid. Its an interesting texture and I love those :)
 

caroljean

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I've made meat soap once lol its here somewhere haha but yours looks like the more expensive kind hahaha

I kid. Its an interesting texture and I love those :)

Haha the more I look at it the meatier it becomes - it's growing on me :D Doubt I'd ever be able to replicate it!
 

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