When to add hard butters

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gigisiguenza

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I've tried to use Shea butter and both times there were problems. First time it thickened up so quick it made pouring a pain in the booty. The second time, the loaf cake out so hard and crumbly it was a disaster.

This has me wondering if it's the way I'm adding it. I've been melting it along with the other hard oils and SB it in, and maybe I shouldn't be - but I dunno when else I would add it LOL.

Any suggestions? I'd really like to try it.

TIA :)
 

Obsidian

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I always add it up front with all my other oils. How much are you using and what are your other hard oils? I've used 20% shea before and it behaved fine.
 

shunt2011

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I too add it all up front and haven't had any issues. I just melt all my hard oils/butters then add my liquid. Mix well. Maybe you are over blending it?
 

gigisiguenza

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It was 10% in both attempts and the only hard oils I use are co and lard. I do indeed tend to be a little SB happy, but I was so dang careful not to. Sigh. I'm shea-challenged LOL
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Try the recipe without the butters, just up the lard instead - see if you notice a difference in the soap itself. Some can, others cannot, which means you might not actually be getting any benefit for all the trouble.
 

Obsidian

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Did you reduce the lard in the recipe that has the butter? what temp do you soap at? at 10% you shouldn't have any issues.
 

IrishLass

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Whenever I soap with hard butters in my mix, I make sure my soaping temps don't go much below 110F. If they do, I usually get pseudo-trace, i.e., not a true trace where the thickening is due to true saponification, but is instead due to the harder fats re-solidifying/precipitating out of melted suspension because the temps are too cool for them...... which results in stearic spots in my finished soap.

I've found 110F to be the sweet spot for me and the particular way that I soap, where my harder fats stay in suspension long enough for the chemical reaction of the lye solution to kick in and basically 'take it from there'.

I know that hotter temps can speed things up for some formulas, but with my formulas with butters and harder fats like hydrogenated PKO, the hotter temps actually give my batter a lovely medium-trace fluidity that can last up to 45 minutes to an hour.


IrishLass :)
 
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penelopejane

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I do what Irish Lass does - 110 degrees. I use 10% Shea butter but have used more. I use CO too. I melt the butter and CO and add the oils but depending on the recipe I have to heat the CO and Shea butter a bit more than just melted to bring the total oils to temp.

It means I can't do master batches but I feel more in control with single batches as I like to know it's precise and it finally works this way.

I don't heat my OO for Castile soap.

Was the hard and crumbly one left too long before you cut?
Do you force gel or let them cool on the bench?
I think there may be two separate issues here.
 
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MissBee

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I made some batches recently with 15% shea. I don't like taking the temperature of anything, so I just make sure the oil bucket remains comfortably warm to the touch. I'm a lazy soaper but it hasn't caused any issues.

Oh, and I melt the shea into all my other oils on the stove using a low temp setting. That way all the oils are toasty. *shrug*
 

Arimara

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Whenever I soap with hard butters in my mix, I make sure my soaping temps don't go much below 110F. If they do, I usually get pseudo-trace, i.e., not a true trace where the thickening is due to true saponification, but is instead due to the harder fats re-solidifying/precipitating out of melted suspension because the temps are too cool for them...... which results in stearic spots in my finished soap.

I've found 110F to be the sweet spot for me and the particular way that I soap, where my harder fats stay in suspension long enough for the chemical reaction of the lye solution to kick in and basically 'take it from there'.

I know that hotter temps can speed things up for some formulas, but with my formulas with butters and harder fats like hydrogenated PKO, the hotter temps actually give my batter a lovely medium-trace fluidity that can last up to 45 minutes to an hour.


IrishLass :)


IrishLass :)
I had luck with that temperature too. I generally like to keep things over 100 degrees though.
 

Dharlee

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I've done 10% and 15% both and not had problems except the time I did 15% I had to wait an extra day to unmold because it was sticky. Could the FO have anything to do with it?
 

GraceDarlingSoaps

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I use Shea Butter between 5 and 10% in every batch, it is lovely on the skin and is used a lot in Africa for skin and hair products. It does not melt as easily as Palm oil and CO but I microwave all my hard oils slowly together, the Shea is the last to dissolve, then I add this to my liquid oils. I have had a bad experience when I did not melt the Shea properly and had to rebatch. I soap between 30 and 35 degrees C. Persevere with the Shea, I think it is worth it for a beautiful quality soap.
 

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