What's Going On With My Soap?

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Misschief

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I've had this happen once before and I'm trying to figure out what it is and why it happens? The first time, it was my first attempt at a Taiwan Swirl; the soap turned out fine eventually so I'm not overly concerned, just curious.

Charcoal2 by Ev Skae, on Flickr

It looks grainy. There's no moisture, just that "fuzzy" look. It's a completely different recipe than the last one so I'm pretty sure it isn't the recipe. For full disclosure, though, here's the recipe for this batch:

40% Olive oil, pomace
20% Coconut oil
20% Palm oil
15% Avocado oil
5% Castor oil

At trace, I added 1 part peppermint oil, 2 parts star anise e.o. One third of the batter has titanium dioxide, the other two has activated charcoal. Once in the mold, I spritzed with 99% isopropyl alcohol and cpop'd it.

I didn't cpop the previous soap, which was a different recipe. I'm stumped. This has only happened the only two time's I've done a Taiwan Swirl, for some reason.
 

Dana89

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It still looks really nice though, would you post pics when you cut them?
 

Susie

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Soda ash is my guess. Can't see it well enough to guess anything else.
 

BlackDog

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I have no ideas other than soda ash, but just wanted to say that swirl is absolutely gorgeous! I hope it's just ash so you can wash it right off.
 

coffeetime

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I get that fuzzy ash on a charcoal and red clay soap that I CPOP. It's also got Star Anise EO, and it's the only soap I make that gets fuzzy ash. Now I'm thinking that maybe it's related to the star anise...
 

Misschief

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Star Anise is out because the other TSwirl was unscented. It doesn't look, or feel, like ash.

This is a 30 oz batch of soap and I added just over 1 tbsp of AC in just enough glycerine to make it a paste.

Honestly, apart from that texture, there's almost nothing similar to the two batches. I used CO and OO in both. The only other thing I did in both batches was to spray the tops with alcohol.
 

BakingNana

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Gorgeous swirl. Agree that the little bubbly surface effect is normally caused by overheating. Other than that, I don't have a clue as to the cause. Can't wait to see it cut!8)
 

mandy318

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The one and only time I used activated charcoal I got this fuzzy look. Over time it started looking more like soda ash.
 

kchaystack

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some people spray cp soap hoping to prevent ash. I am not convinced it helps, but it is a very common suggestion.
 

DeeAnna

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I have gotten that slightly bubbly, ashy look more when the soap has been CPOP'ed vs not CPOP'ed. It's related to temperature and water content of the soap during saponification. If you want to use CPOP and want to lessen the chance of this "look", then use less water in your recipe and see if that helps.

You can see this same effect in the "high water" soap described in Auntie Clara's article: http://auntieclaras.com/2014/05/glycerine-rivers-trying-to-understand-them/_dsc9598/
 

shunt2011

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I too think is ash. Also looks a bit overheated. I spray my soaps with 91% alcohol and keep it well covered and rarely ever get ash. I think the key is to keep air off it while it saponifys. As well as using lower water.
 

Misschief

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Well, I unmolded and cut my AC soap last night and took a picture this morning. I love the look of it, glycerin rivers and all. I did trim the top off as it looks fuzzy (without the feel of being ashy). The soap is already nice and hard and everyone who's smelled it loves the anise scent.

AC Soap by Ev Skae, on Flickr

I have gotten that slightly bubbly, ashy look more when the soap has been CPOP'ed vs not CPOP'ed. It's related to temperature and water content of the soap during saponification. If you want to use CPOP and want to lessen the chance of this "look", then use less water in your recipe and see if that helps.

You can see this same effect in the "high water" soap described in Auntie Clara's article: http://auntieclaras.com/2014/05/glyc...them/_dsc9598/
Thanks DeeAnna. I wondered if the water content might be the culprit. This one was a 30% lye concentration with water as 33.65% of oil weight. The only reason I used CPOP was to intensify the colours.

All in all, I have to say, I love the look of the finished soap. My granddaughter is already looking forward to trying it.
 

Seawolfe

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Oh MY GOSH that turned out SO pretty! I love that carved stone look! And Anise is just the perfect scent for that.
 

hmlove1218

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Absolutely gorgeous!! Looking at the inside, I definitely agree that this batch got a little hot. The only time I've had glycerin rivers is when my soaps got a little too warm while I CPOP'd
 
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