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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Anderson,IN,USA
    Posts
    130

    Sad Soap making question

    Newbee soap maker here,
    I just tried making a batch of cold process soap, got toward the end where I thought I was starting to get "trace" I had added a couple ounces of pre-melted beeswax, everything still ok. Then I added my final ingrediant of honey (2ounces) and I think that is when bad things started to happen. I noticed the opeac mixture was starting to (what I believe)
    "trace" then I noticed a red blob in the middle that spread everywere in the pan, then turned brown. Then it got worse as the mixture started to separate and look like brown cottage cheese. My temperatures were around 120 deg. It seemed like it happened just after I added the honey.
    Any ideas? Is the honey idea a big no no? I noticed there was no plug-in for the honey ingred on the lye calculator I was using.

  2. #2

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    I'm not sure what happened to your soap. I use honey in my soap. I add 1 tablespoon of honey just after my oils have melted and before I start to cool the oil mixture. The problem I have had is that the honey does not stir in well and shows up in the soap as little brown spots but, after the soaps have compeletely cured, the spots go away.

  3. #3

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    Should also tell you that I add beeswax to my soap as well. The beeswax I add at the start and melt it with my oils.

    The combination of honey and beeswax makes for very nice soap.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    2,174

    Default

    I don't see the point in adding honey in cold process soap, milled or melt and pour is another animal. JMO.

    Lye is calculated against fat, nothing else. If any adjustment would need to be made it would be the water content due to water content of the honey itself. But I wouldn't think it necessary for such a trivial amount.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  5. #5

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    I add it because honey is so good for your skin. I know it sounds like a small amount but, I have tried adding more and it didn't work out so well. You would be surprised how well 1 tab. of honey disburses through 6 pounds of soap! You can see the brown spots all through the bars of soap.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Anderson,IN,USA
    Posts
    130

    A couple more soap questions

    Hello, and thanks for the help,
    The reason I wanted to add some honey & beeswax to the soap was to make it "my nitch" at the farmers market. I can't really compete with the very experienced soapers that sell at the market and have so many wonderful different scents of soap. (not at my level of experience.)

    I failed to mention earlier that one other ingrediant I added at "trace" was 1/2 oz of sandlewood oil. My wife said this was a cheap brand and didn't mind if I experimented with it in the soap.I added this just before I added the honey. Could this cause the brown cottage cheese-like separation? The surface of this batch after I poured it into my mold was very lumpy and I couldn't even smooth it out (the surface) with a plastic putty knife.

    The first batch I made turned out well and is curing but has a playdough-like smell. It didn't contain honey or fragrance oil because it started to set up soo rapidly after I added the pre-melted beeswax.

    I will try adding the beeswax (per the advice given) with the oils. Also I guess I can rule out the honey as the problem. I think the little brown spots (as mentioned advice earlier) might add to the attractive handmade aspect as well.

    Maybe There is something about this cheap brand of sandlewood oil (brand name "Aromata") that caused things to turn brown & separate?

    Thanks again for the advice, I'll let you know what happens.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Posts
    134

    Default

    couple comments...
    Like beekeeper_sd, I add the beeswax to my oils. Depending on how much beeswax you are adding, you may need to bump up the temperature at which you add your lye solution. I think I mix at about 120 for my beeswax soaps.

    I would add the honey at trace (which is what you did). One thing to remember about honey (beeswax too, I think, and some other ingredients like goats milk), it gets hotter in the mold and it is recommended that you don't insulate the mold. Some have even gone to the effort of putting the soap in the refrigerator (not me... no room!) to keep it from going through the gel phase (and to keep it from browning).

    I am assuming that the sandalwood oil is a synthetic fragrance oil (FO), versus an essential oil, since you say that it is cheap. A couple things can happen with fragrance oils. First off, it is recommended that people do a test batch to see if the FO "behaves". Some fragrance oils can accelerate trace, to the point of "soap on a stick[blender]". If that happens it is recommended that you wait a little bit (maybe apply some indirect heat (double boiler?)) and take it to the gel phase where it can be more pliable again. Basically you will want to finish off the soap as "hot process (HP)" instead of cold process.
    Then there is the another problem with some FO. If they contain any vanilla they can turn brown. I don' t think most sandalwood FOs contain vanilla, but that is something to keep in mind.

    Lastly, I hope you know that almost every batch of soap is rescue-able by rebatching, except lye heavy batches.
    Happy soaping!
    Petra

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    2,174

    Default

    Most of the people I have seen selling soap at the farmers market are selling melt and pour soaps. They are using base that was purchased and not made by themselves. They tend to use heavy fragrance oils that give of a very strong scent. That alone is a draw for sales. It's also the primary cause of skin irritation if someone is prone to such things. But still it sells.

    If you are into cold process and essential oils because of the skin conditioning and healing properties, you will have your market that the melt and pour folks won't touch. But put the two side by side and the flashy, smelly stuff will sell more every time.

    You can make your own base and mill it for making your own melt and pour basically. You'll get more bang for the buck from your scent as it isn't fighting the sap process. And other goodies that aren't destroyed by it as well.

    If you want to compete with the other soaps, you have to first find out what you're up against. All soaps aren't created equal. And they draw different markets.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by LusciousHoney View Post
    couple comments...
    Like beekeeper_sd, I add the beeswax to my oils. Depending on how much beeswax you are adding, you may need to bump up the temperature at which you add your lye solution. I think I mix at about 120 for my beeswax soaps.

    I would add the honey at trace (which is what you did). One thing to remember about honey (beeswax too, I think, and some other ingredients like goats milk), it gets hotter in the mold and it is recommended that you don't insulate the mold. Some have even gone to the effort of putting the soap in the refrigerator (not me... no room!) to keep it from going through the gel phase (and to keep it from browning).
    I guess maybe I have lucked out or something cause I just add the beeswax to melt with my oils, add the honey just before taking off the burner and combine my lye and oils at 95-98 degrees. It seems to work every time.

    Also, if I want a lightly colored soap, I add colored beeswax and that gives me a nice soft color.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beekeeper_sd View Post
    I guess maybe I have lucked out or something cause I just add the beeswax to melt with my oils, add the honey just before taking off the burner and combine my lye and oils at 95-98 degrees. It seems to work every time.

    Also, if I want a lightly colored soap, I add colored beeswax and that gives me a nice soft color.
    I have tried similar temperatures but with larger volumes (about 200 oz) I have found that there is not enough working time if you use any of the saturated fats. If you don't preheat the colors and fragrance you can sometimes see the fats harden as the cooler fragrance oils hit the fats. My compromise temperature has been about 120F for all ingredients. I can only imagine that the temperature needed is a function of the ingredients.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    144

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bizzybee View Post
    I don't see the point in adding honey in cold process soap, milled or melt and pour is another animal. JMO.
    Honey (and other sugars) boost lather.

    The OP mentioned adding about 2 oz of honey to the batch. How big was the batch? More than about a tablespoon of honey per pound of oils will cause overheating.

    The easiest way to incorporate honey is to reserve some of the liquid called for to dissolve your lye, then warm that water with the honey, and add it very slowly when the soap is just starting to trace.

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