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Batch turned beige, grainy, and semi-translucent


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Hey everyone!

I'm here with a concern that I can't find when searching the threads. I made two of my first batches of CP soap recently after feeling confident enough of my basic knowledge.

My first batch I borrowed from Susan Miller Cavitch in her Natural Soap Book; it's the recipe titled Soap Essentials I believe... of course, scaled down to fit a two pound batch. The recipe I followed is:

50% Olive Oil

31.25% Coconut Oil

18.75 % Palm Oil

I scented it with .5oz/ppo Patchouli. (Here I assumed my batch would discolor to a light brown due to this EO). I followed through with a stick blender off and on until trace and poured into my silicone mold from WSP (until my wooden ones arrive). I placed this mold with a piece of heavy cardboard on top into a warm 170 degree oven that I turned off immediately. Two hours later I noticed partial gel. Several hours later I got full gel.

From the photos you can see how creamy it was going into the mold at first, yet it never went back to being creamy after the full gel. Cut, the bars are grainy, beige, and are slightly more translucent.

The second batch was attempted with a completely different recipe, one to lower the oleic oils. I added seven oils in fact. Once again, it went into the mold creamy like pudding, yet it came out looking the exact same way as the first.

And i scented it with NG Lemongrass. This stuff smells like someone getting a perm at the salon! OMG!

Any insight? Is it my mold? Should I not let it gel? I'm in ND so I'm afraid that the temperature around may be too cool, therefore, I thought the oven would be a great place to insulate.

Here are the photos. The first is my first batch. The second is both of my batches cut and looking funny. I really thought they would be whiter and smoother.



Edited by ssolis
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Can you post your full recipe?

And I wondeer if it is the steric in the palm that I am seeing.

Sure! Here is the first:

12.8oz Olive Oil

8oz CO

4.8oz Palm Oil

9.728oz H20

3.687oz Lye

My second recipe:

3.84oz CO

3.84oz PKO

6.4oz Olive Oil

6.4 Palm Oil

1.56oz RBO

0.56oz Neem Oil

1.28oz Castor Oil

1.28oz Mango Butter

9.728oz H20

3.657oz Lye

(I had originally planned for 10% of neem in the recipe, but after pouring a few drops I realized it had to be much lower... so I made up the 10% with neem and RBO, so that's why the numbers look so funny)!

My temps for combining in both recipes was right at 100 degrees. Could this have been too warm? Maybe with the ambient temp being around 70, it just cooled weird?

Thanks for ANY help! I'm not familiar with the stearic in the palm, but both batches do look a little streaked.

Edited by ssolis
to make the recipe more readable!
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As best as I can tell from the photo, your soap looks like it came out good. It's not supposed to get that creamy look back after gelling. The appearance will vary with the recipe, but it's never as opaque as ungelled soap. It should look a little more translucent. Maybe it took some color from the FO if it's darker than you expected, but not all recipes come out very light. As for the graininess, I think maybe I see something but it's hard to tell exactly what it looks like. Maybe no big deal. Did you melt and mix the palm oil before you measured it?

You could always try to prevent gel, if the creamy look is important enough to be worth modifying your procedure. Or you could add some titanium dioxide to brighten it up. There are various natural colorants and additives that might increase the opacity as well.

But basically it sounds like you did everything right.

Edited by topofmurrayhill
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Thanks, ToMH! I am relieved to know that I am on the right track at least. And nope, I didn't melt and mix the palm oil before measuring or adding to other hard oils! Hmmm, I'll try that to see if I can get rid of the streaks. Do I need to melt and mix the PKO in the same manner?


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And nope, I didn't melt and mix the palm oil before measuring or adding to other hard oils! Hmmm, I'll try that to see if I can get rid of the streaks. Do I need to melt and mix the PKO in the same manner?

Oils like coconut and palm tend to separate into harder and softer portions at room temperature. Palm in particular often separates significantly into clear liquid and solid layers. These sorts of oils are best melted and mixed to make them homogeneous before measuring them out.

You can also use different versions of these oils that don't require any special consideration. Most suppliers sell PKO as solid flakes, 92 degree (versus 76 degree) coconut oil stays solid and mixed, and Columbus foods has a no-stir palm.

I've never specifically seen streaks from not mixing oils. People often blame palm oil for this problem, but I doubt it's the oil. If you soap at the proper temperature, the oils are clear and homogeneous and there's no way for anything to separate. Seems more likely to me that it could come from FO reacting with the lye and not mixing in sufficiently when added at trace. I just add fragrance to the oils. Maybe you can try that if you didn't do it that way.

Edited by topofmurrayhill
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Alright. I have one batch finished using the advice given. I'm not going to let this one gel (if I can help it)! I spent some QT with the the Palm Oil so we'll see if that was the major culprit regarding the streaks! I didn't put the FO in the oil yet, but if it still streaks, I will take that advice, Top! :)

Kitn, thank you! You guys are awesome!

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are you gellin'? hehe..I ALWAYS wanted to say that..

anywho! your soap looks AWESOME!! great job!

HA! I tried to explain to my hubby the science of soap making with options of gelling... and he said he was lost, that all he could think about was the commercial! :)

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