Where did I go wrong - no lather?

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lidia

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OK, so this is about the fourth or fifth time making cold process soap with lye. I hate to do the same thing twice, so each time I mix different things in somewhat different proportions. One thing is constant: I always use tallow in my mixes.

This time I used :

15 ounces tallow
15 ounces coconut oil
10 ounces castor oil

I used the sage.com lye calculator as usual and mixed the above with 5.6 ounces lye in about 6 ounces of water and 8 of milk (first time working with milk!). That was only two days ago, however, normally the freshly made soap lathers but this time it does not. It also leaves my gloved hands somewhat sticky. Any ideas what's causing this? Is my soap going to improve with time? Is it still good for anything? I'm going to make another batch this weekend, cause I doubt this creation will be good enough for Christmas gifts! :( Oh, well, that's ok. That's the price of experimenting. I just hope I learn something from this.

Lidia
 

lenarenee

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Okay, that's an interesting but unbalanced recipe.

Let me suggest something like this:

5% castor oil
15% coconut oil
20 - 30% olive oil
50 - 60% tallow

If you let me know what other oils you have on hand, I can suggest more recipes. For instance, I have a tallow and shea butter recipe that I love.

Btw, the recipe you used is doing to be unpleasantly drying for many people's skin. Coconut oil contains a lot of lauric and myrisitc acid which are drying; tallow also contains those fatty acids, albeit smaller percentages.

Another suggestion: in my experience both olive oil and tallow take longer to cure into a nice soap. (And I love tallow) So if you want something ready for Christmas, lard would be better. Again, I'd be happy to share some more ideas with you if you'd let me know what you have.

By the way, don't throw your soap out yet....I'm sure there's someone here who can help you rebatch that into a nice soap!

And skip the milk for now, you're very new at this and milk can smell bad and cause heating.
 
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Susie

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That soap needs time to cure (4-6 weeks) to develop lather. Don't give up hope on it yet.

I agree about cutting down the amount of CO. My max is 20%. Adding sugar (1 tsp PPO) will increase the bubbles, while Castor Oil 5% will make the lather stay longer.

It is really too late in the year to be making soap to give away. You only have 4 weeks, and you don't know if that batch is going to develop DOS or be drying (it would be very drying to me). If you MUST make soap for Christmas presents, what about trying some MP? I understand there are some really good soap bases on the internet. You could ask for recommendations in the MP forum.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with Lenarenee and Susie. Unbalanced recipe, may be harsh to the skin from that much coconut oil, needs more curing before deciding on lather, and too late for Christmas.

Here's my contribution to the discussion --

You seem to be trying to create an incredibly lathery bar with your choice of recipe. Problem is you are counting on castor oil to do a big part of that job. Castor enhances the lather created by the other fats, but if you use too much you can actually cut the lather! This high amount of castor may be what's making your soap sticky.

Also your superfat is a bit higher than I would use, and that too may be cutting your lather and increasing stickiness, but others will probably disagree with me. :) I would also say the problem here is more likely the castor than the superfat.

My suggestion is to keep the castor to less than 10% -- most people use about 5% -- and formulate a nicely lathery recipe with other fats. Then you will get more benefit from the castor. Lenarenee's recipe is a nice one.
 

dixiedragon

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Your recipe is 25% castor. That's a lot of castor. The recommended amount here on SMF is 5-10%. That is probably what is making the soap sticky.
 

JayJay

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I ditto Dixie and Dee. I would cut the castor way back.
 

annalee2003

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I agree with DeeAnna and dixie. I remember reading on another thread somewhere on here that too much castor can actually make a bar sticky. Cut back on that and you should be fine.
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
You know what? Your recipe kinda looks to me like you may have stumbled upon a good beginning for a possible shave soap formula. Try lathering it with a shave brush and see what happens. For what it's worth, I use 20% castor in my own shave soap....tallow, too.


IrishLass :)
 

lidia

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Thank you all very much for responses! I'll wait to see if this soap is usable for anything, when it cures. The shaving soap idea is interesting - thank you IrishLass. If the lather is still very low in 4 weeks, I wonder if I can use it in my washing machine. Although, if it continues to be "sticky", then it's probably not a good idea...

I have just bought some almond oil, I normally use in my soaps, so the next batch will certainly contain that. I also have shea butter and olive oil, so will bring them back in to the mix. It's good to know about less than 5% castor oil. It seems that unless I make a mistake myself, I don't learn... :???:

Lastly, I give my soaps to a few friends every year, and will let them know to wait a few weeks before using, so it should be still ok for Christmas.

Lidia
 

Jhonywalker4090

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I have not tried it yet but I have seen a lot of recommendations for SFCI M&P base on the M&P forum.
 

lidia

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Susie - thank you for letting me know that I should not use this soap in my washing machine. I had no idea that laundry soap should not be superfatted.

SudsSanity - Thank you for the link! I already made my second batch yesterday and the proportions look much better: almond oil 37%, tallow 37%, shea butter 13%, coconut oil 8%, castor oil 5%. Looks promising, over 50% conditioning properties. It was much softer than any soap I made before.

Lastly, Jhonywalker4090, I understand MP is Melt and Pour, but what is SFCI? Where can I look up all the abbreviations used in these forums?

Lidia
 

lidia

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Thank you Susie. Unfortunately SFCI is not there. I'm guessing SF is superfat, but what's CI?

Lidia
 
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