Would really value some advice on this newbie dilemma

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"Help" would've been an easier title... but I see it was taken already : )

First off, hello! (waves) lurker posting a question for the first time!

I'm making a batch of soap tomorrow. Because of inventory shortages, and wanting to use a new "butter" from BB, I've had to re-figure my tested and true recipe. This recipe has little semblance to my trusty rusty — notably, more hard oils than I generally use.

Question:
When hoping to make a slightly complex design using a lot of hard oils... is it better to soap warmer so the hard oils stay in a melted state longer?

Sorry if this is a totally idiotic newb question, but its suddenly and fully "fall" here, and I'm soaping at MUCH colder ambient temps all of a sudden. Raw ingredients that used to be squishy are suddenly much more opaque and firm.

I'm using BB's "coffee butter" which I have come to learn is "Sweet Almond Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Coffee Seed Oil"... but not knowing how to run this through soapcalc, it was advised to "Pick the option for Crisco or another type of shortening. Since they both use hydrogenated vegetable oils that will get you close to the SAP value."

As a newb, I'm sure you know my brain is SWIMMING in formulating, tweaking, and reformulating in soapcalc, and on a good day, I'm more than a bit overwhelmed.

I've finally settled on this recipe (attached) which uses what I have available at the moment. But upon reading the bottle of my FO and learning it accelerates (🙄great), I'm now wondering if my usual soaping temp (115°) is too cool for so many hard oils.

THANK YOU!!!
 

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Good job, glad it went well! Even when using harder oils, you can soap cooler than 115F, which should slow down the trace. When the melted hard oils and butters are mixed with the warmed liquid oils, the melting temperature of the harder fats are lowered (to a point).

But hey, if you aren't having any trouble with a fast trace, then no need to change anything.

We do have an acronym around here about SUI, although it is debated as to whether it refers to soaping under the influence, or (soap supply) shopping under the influence. Cautionary tales abound... ;)
 
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Oh and.... has anyone absentmindedly refreshed their glass of cabernet while soaping and went "oh! I should've measured that!"

Not just me... right? 🤭
LOL. Actually, patient man that I am, I wait for my cocktail until after the pouring. And word to the wise and @AliOop , don't SUI! So I've been told. From a friend. Yeah, that's right, a friend.
 
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I wouldn't consider 6% of the new hydrogenated vegetable to be enough to require additional heating - but then i don't know what your usual recipe is. Coconut does harden in colder temperatures but the jury is still out on whether we even consider it a hard oil. Once melted and mixed with liquid oils it tends to stay melted. I don't use palm so I can't speak to that.
My usual recipe calls for 25% hydrogenated soy (soy wax) and 5% cocoa butter and I can soap at 40 degrees (circa your 100) no problem.
Anyhoo - sounds like it all worked well so that's great!
 
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Thanks all so very much! So the soap in question turned out ok so far. It's the brown one. And yup, it's a coffee soap. I made earth-scented soap the day before, and while I do love the smell, it totally overtook the entire house so I needed something to cancel out the lingering smell of dirt. And the coffee scent is just heavenly... I want to roll Ryan Reynolds around in it : )

@KiwiMoose I don't normally use palm either, but it was what I had to work with for this batch, it was a fairly large percentage, and it was brick hard, so I was kinda taken aback. Thank you so much!

While I'm here... I do have a question about colorants, and the soaps I mentioned at the top of the post are pictured below and illustrate my question perfectly:

One of the aesthetic aspects that keeps me intrigued with soap making is how the soap increases in beauty and complexity as it gets used, ie, the lovely subtle swirls that evolve as the bar gets used, like in the last photo. BUT, when working with FOs and ingredients that discolor — my resulting soap is often wildly different in color than I'd hoped for. I tend to be drawn to the accelerating and discoloring FOs, so this is a recurring theme I'd like to get to the bottom of.

My coffee soap, while I accepted it would be very brown due to the ingredients and FO, took on a strange greenish cast to it. I used brown, copper, and pale gold micas.​
My earth soap, which I also knew would discolor to brown, picked up a strange burst of blue. I used two shades of distinctly green mica, activated charcoal, and yellow oxide.​

Now, I'm thinking, I could start to try and combat this by using some TD, but I'm afraid to go that route. The third image is the one and only time I used TD, and while the effect is pretty nice, and it actually came out exactly how I wanted it too, the TD is very opaque.

I'm afraid however if I use TD as a color stabilizing tool, I'm going to add opacity and ruin the very thing I love about the aesthetics of the soap I make.

But I also am getting tired of never having a batch turn out the way I'd hoped. Aaaaand... I want to use the FOs that I want to use, not only have to select from the most perfectly behaving ones.

Clearly... I want to eat my cake and have it too. Is that too much to ask? 🤣

I soap around 115°, use SL with a heavy hand, and CPOP everything if that makes a difference?

Thanks all!
 

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Zany_in_CO

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And the coffee scent is just heavenly... I want to roll Ryan Reynolds around in it : )
Smack Laugh.gif

I'm afraid however if I use TD as a color stabilizing tool, I'm going to add opacity and ruin the very thing I love about the aesthetics of the soap I make.
Instead of TD, I use White Kaolin Clay -- it does double duty -- lays down a foundation for adding color and helps "stick" the fragrance. 1 tsp - 1 Tbls PPO
But I also am getting tired of never having a batch turn out the way I'd hoped.
It's just like any creative adventure... you start out with an idea and then, for better or worse, the creation takes over. All you can do is hope for the best and love what you create whatever the result. Remember, if you don't love it, others may! 🥰
Aaaaand... I want to use the FOs that I want to use,
Have you tried adding your fragrance to your warmed oils before adding the lye? Works for me! Still, be prepared to move quickly. :thumbs:

HTH
 
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I have an extremely naughty FO - Red Ginger Saffron - that I continue to do battle with even though it seizes like crazy. But yeah - I love it and I WILL use it, even it it kills me. The soap always turns out a little 'rustic' looking due to that but it smells divine so it's worth it.

And remember - soap do what soap do :D
 
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You guys are so awesome, thank you!

I've been curious about Kaolin clay, now seems like a good time to experiment. I've been trying to be clever with fast-moving FOs... not sure if it's the best idea or not, but I use the FO to suspend my micas instead of batter oil. This way I can work in sections of color and not have to incorporate the FO until the last minute I need it.

Ayup, soap is definitely going to do its thing. It is a fun crazy ride!
 
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Thanks all so very much! So the soap in question turned out ok so far. It's the brown one. And yup, it's a coffee soap. I made earth-scented soap the day before, and while I do love the smell, it totally overtook the entire house so I needed something to cancel out the lingering smell of dirt. And the coffee scent is just heavenly... I want to roll Ryan Reynolds around in it : )

@KiwiMoose I don't normally use palm either, but it was what I had to work with for this batch, it was a fairly large percentage, and it was brick hard, so I was kinda taken aback. Thank you so much!

While I'm here... I do have a question about colorants, and the soaps I mentioned at the top of the post are pictured below and illustrate my question perfectly:

One of the aesthetic aspects that keeps me intrigued with soap making is how the soap increases in beauty and complexity as it gets used, ie, the lovely subtle swirls that evolve as the bar gets used, like in the last photo. BUT, when working with FOs and ingredients that discolor — my resulting soap is often wildly different in color than I'd hoped for. I tend to be drawn to the accelerating and discoloring FOs, so this is a recurring theme I'd like to get to the bottom of.

My coffee soap, while I accepted it would be very brown due to the ingredients and FO, took on a strange greenish cast to it. I used brown, copper, and pale gold micas.​
My earth soap, which I also knew would discolor to brown, picked up a strange burst of blue. I used two shades of distinctly green mica, activated charcoal, and yellow oxide.​

Now, I'm thinking, I could start to try and combat this by using some TD, but I'm afraid to go that route. The third image is the one and only time I used TD, and while the effect is pretty nice, and it actually came out exactly how I wanted it too, the TD is very opaque.

I'm afraid however if I use TD as a color stabilizing tool, I'm going to add opacity and ruin the very thing I love about the aesthetics of the soap I make.

But I also am getting tired of never having a batch turn out the way I'd hoped. Aaaaand... I want to use the FOs that I want to use, not only have to select from the most perfectly behaving ones.

Clearly... I want to eat my cake and have it too. Is that too much to ask? 🤣

I soap around 115°, use SL with a heavy hand, and CPOP everything if that makes a difference?

Thanks all!
Imho and could be wrong here as am not an expert on mica coloring. There may have been a bit of blue in that brown mica which mixed with the yellows of the gold mica would cause the green tint.
Regarding the burst of blue could have been from from the green mica. Green is made of yellow and blue.
 
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I will add that activated charcoal consistently turns navy blue or blue grey in most of my recipes, unless I use so much that it is deep black and gives grey lather.

Here is an example from my first fallopian tubes + ovaries + uterus butterfly swirl soap. ;) Only three colors went into the mold: TD white, carob powder brown, and AC black. Those gray, black and blue swirls are all from the same cup of black soap that was layered in and then swirled. 🤷‍♀️

CAE3F37A-9374-44AD-81A5-0E651D2FF875.jpeg
 
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Hmmmmmm @bwtapestry you may be on to something... thank you! I'm coloring inside the lines with regards to where I get my ingredients... all from properly soapy places, no questionable amazon stuff, I don't know enough to discern good from bad yet. But, colors have to be created somehow. Hmm. I'll be paying more attention for sure now.

@AliOop how very Georgia O'Keefe of you! I say that jokingly, but I LOVE the sensuality of your artistry, anatomy lesson aside. And the denim blue is such a compliment. Echoing @Zany_in_CO, if you (lovely soap creator you) don't love something, someone else (newbie star-struck me) may very well. And love it I do indeed!

So, I made a batch tonight, heavily using AC (hope not so much the suds are dark grey), and it looked POSITIVELY GREEN despite the only other color being a brilliant navy blue. [slaps forehead]

So.... newbie takeaway from this lesson is... color is an utter crapshoot, full of surprises, until you've replicated it and got it down pat. Which is simultaneously comforting, fear-inducing, and exasperating to no end. As any thoroughly good art form should be. : )

Really glad to have stumbled across this group! Thank you!!!
 
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Well @Ephemerella your soaps are so pretty, but I get that you want colors to be more predictable. Heat definitely affects the colors, so you could try soaping around 100F. Then CPOP half the batch, and let the other half do its thing. Compare colors and see what you get. Then next time, try soaping around 90F and do the same. Then 80F... you get the idea, yes? I realize this means you must make so much soap to test your colors. It's a tough job, but you are strong, you can do it! 😁
 

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