What's this on my soap!

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Dec 11, 2013
Messages
1,136
Reaction score
543
Location
Northern CA
Last night, I noticed my experimental butter shampoo bar had white stuff on the surface. They were curing on a soap rack the whole time without disturbance.

I have no idea what this is!

I saw it two years ago when I made 100% Shea butter soap. I ended up throwin all of them out.

It looks like mold. :-( to me...is it?

This time, there was Shea butter, too but, just 30%. Again, it had exact same stuff on the surface of every bar. They look gross :x

Here is the recipe:

20% Coconut

10% Babassu 10%

30% Shea Butter

10% Mango Seed Butter

13% Macadamia Nut

17% Castor

Buttermilk 100%(no water), pink clay & lavender EO
SF 5%
Water as % of oil - 30%

Made on 01/14/14

Can anyone tell me what it is?

Thank you!

IMG_4687.JPG


IMG_4688.JPG


IMG_4690.JPG


IMG_4698-001.JPG
 
I have seen ash soda ash plenty of times. If you carefully look at the pictures, white stuff is more like a cluster of tiny dots or like little goose bumps.

To find out wether it's the soda ash or not I did a pH testing using Phenolphthalein. Right away, the soda ash soap (right) reacted to a Phenolphthalein but this(left) did not.

IMG_4701.JPG
 
Last edited:
It resembles a fat bloom to me, that you get on chocolate for example from the cocoa butter. Since the recipe is butter heavy and it happened before on your Shea Butter soap I wonder if that could be it. I personally wouldn't throw any out.

Curiosity, why so much Coconut oil and then added babassu? 30‰ cleansing oils seems awfully high for shampoo, and the sf isn't high either. Is it an attempt to balance the high percentage of butters?
 
I would try washing a bar and seeing if it will come off. Did you tongue test it? I have wondered too in the past if some of the spottiness on high butter content bars is like the dusty separation you see on chocolate sometimes. I wouldn't throw it away for certain.
 
It resembles a fat bloom to me, that you get on chocolate for example from the cocoa butter. Since the recipe is butter heavy and it happened before on your Shea Butter soap I wonder if that could be it. I personally wouldn't throw any out.

Curiosity, why so much Coconut oil and then added babassu? 30‰ cleansing oils seems awfully high for shampoo, and the sf isn't high either. Is it an attempt to balance the high percentage of butters?


I don't know about the "fat bloom, " I guess that's probably what it is. Can you tell me more about the fat bloom?

After I cut it off the affected areas, it looked perfectly okay. I won't throw them out this time.

I was trying to formulate a recipe for oily hair(my teen girls) with a good amount of cleaning value, lots bubbles & creamy soap. I thought with such high amount of butters, it won't be too drying on girls' scalp. My girls really have greasy hair.

Thank you for your input Lin!
 
I have had this happen when I've used very high % of shea (especially with no gel) and also with shea and babassu in combination. It appeared on the cut surfaces a few days into cure. I assumed it was a variety of ash. I think it steamed off but it was a while ago.
 
I would try washing a bar and seeing if it will come off. Did you tongue test it? I have wondered too in the past if some of the spottiness on high butter content bars is like the dusty separation you see on chocolate sometimes. I wouldn't throw it away for certain.

It did not come off when I tried to wash a bar. Yes, I did the tongue test but I did not feel anything. I think it's something to do with high amount of butters in the recipe.

This time, I will keep them. Thanks Newbie.

I have had this happen when I've used very high % of shea (especially with no gel) and also with shea and babassu in combination. It appeared on the cut surfaces a few days into cure. I assumed it was a variety of ash. I think it steamed off but it was a while ago.

I insulated this batch of soap in an ice box with a wool blanket. So this soap went through a gel stage. I've tried to wash them off with water(like soda ash), but it was way too stubborn. I could only get rid of them with a knife.

I think it's definitely something to do with high amount of butters. It's worse looking than soda ash. The tiny dots give me goose bumps, yucky!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Ha! I would either shave the surfaces or give them a good scrub with a dish scrubber, if you don't like the surface. All that lovely butter... must keep!
 
Sorry, I'm on my phone so I can't help too much. But you can Google fat bloom, or chocolate fat bloom to learn more. Basically parts of the cocoa butter separates from the crystalline structure and moves it's way to the surface. There are different theories on exactly what is going on within the chocolate. So since the appearance is so similar, and you have a high amount of butters I can't help but wonder if that's what's happening. Shea Butter has a high amount of unsaponifiables, so maybe some of those unsaponifiables are hitching a ride on the water molecules and moving through the structure (colloid) to the surface of the soap. If this is what's happening it may look bad, but will have no real detrimental affect on the soap. Since its a shampoo it may sort of add to the superfat value so to speak on the first use. In bloomed chocolate it can affect the texture and that crispness of properly tempered chocolate, but it's still edible.
 
Ha! I would either shave the surfaces or give them a good scrub with a dish scrubber, if you don't like the surface. All that lovely butter... must keep!

Will do Newbie! Thanks:)!

Sorry, I'm on my phone so I can't help too much. But you can Google fat bloom, or chocolate fat bloom to learn more. Basically parts of the cocoa butter separates from the crystalline structure and moves it's way to the surface. There are different theories on exactly what is going on within the chocolate. So since the appearance is so similar, and you have a high amount of butters I can't help but wonder if that's what's happening. Shea Butter has a high amount of unsaponifiables, so maybe some of those unsaponifiables are hitching a ride on the water molecules and moving through the structure (colloid) to the surface of the soap. If this is what's happening it may look bad, but will have no real detrimental affect on the soap. Since its a shampoo it may sort of add to the superfat value so to speak on the first use. In bloomed chocolate it can affect the texture and that crispness of properly tempered chocolate, but it's still edible.

It makes sense! Thank you Lin!
 
Thank you, everyone, for this posting. I made 100% shea butter soap and this issue was perplexing me to no end. Please see these pictures of what I believe to be fat bloom. This is a waxy-feeling coating on all sides of the soap, including cut sides, and does not seem like soda ash to me. I agree with @Lin that these may be unsaponifiables or shea butter migrating to the surface as the soap is curing. This might be why it shows up within the first couple of weeks of cure, whereas soda ash shows up within about 24 hours.

Something to keep in mind with soaps that are made with lots of shea butter - their unsaponifiables also seem to mute the colors, in my opinion. It's hard to make a really vibrant 100% shea butter soap with crisp lines. These soaps below are 12% superfat, which I know is a little high, and this might be a reason for the lack of crisp lines. I know not having a high water content also helps with getting crisp lines.

How to fix the issue? I have not tried this, but, by sheer luck, I happened upon a Tree Marie Soapworks video where Terri discusses that it is really important to melt cocoa butter just to its melting point and not further. She says this will help prevent fat bloom. I have not tried this yet, but I will.

Thanks to @Ellacho @Lin @newbie @judymoody @coffeetime
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20240530_141552099_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20240530_141552099_HDR.jpg
    2.6 MB · Views: 0
  • IMG_20240530_153015734.jpg
    IMG_20240530_153015734.jpg
    3 MB · Views: 0

Latest posts

Back
Top