What am I doing wrong?

MrSheaSoap

New member
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
9
Hi everyone,

Attached is an image of 100% pure Shea butter soap with lavender heads blitzed into the mix. I've found that the majority of my batches have this crumbly texture primarily towards the bottom of the soap (i.e. the first lot that hits the bottom of the mold) and am wondering why this happens.

Any input will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you :)
 

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ChemicalPyros

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Lebanon
Could you please post the full recipe. and the process.
it could be due to a lot of reasons, mainly as SirenSoapsNZ mentioned an excess of lye, if you are using additives such as sodium chloride, citric acid, clays, ... too much can cause this crumbling.
It may also be due to the fact that you are cutting them too late in the process.
 

MrSheaSoap

New member
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
9
Have you done the zap test to see if its lye heavy?
Many thanks for your prompt reply, SirenSoapsNZ.

I never knew this test existed but I'll do it at some point today. I'll follow the guidance on how to do the test and let you know :)
 

MrSheaSoap

New member
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
9
Could you please post the full recipe. and the process.
it could be due to a lot of reasons, mainly as SirenSoapsNZ mentioned an excess of lye, if you are using additives such as sodium chloride, citric acid, clays, ... too much can cause this crumbling.
It may also be due to the fact that you are cutting them too late in the process.
The recipe is super basic, in fact, it's the most basic I've ever made! I used organic, unrefined shea butter with a superfat of 10% (although I typically go for a 7-8% superfat) with the only additive being lavender heads (roughly 2 tablespoons that were added to the lye mixture and blitzed).

I'm yet to conduct the zap test but if excess lye is one possible factor then I think it might be worthile using more than one online soap calculator to see whether there is variance.

In terms of cutting, I always cut the following day and this batch was no exception.

I honestly thank you for this feedback and will keep you posted as to what I find.
 

ChemicalPyros

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
33
Location
Lebanon
To the best of my knowledge, the most likely culprit in this case is the unrefined shea butter.
Unrefined oils/butters have different saponification numbers that vary from batch to batch, and the unsaponifiables that are still present may affect the properties of the soap.
So my suggestion to you is to measure the saponification number of your shea butter (if you have multiple batches, I suggest you mix them and determine the saponification number once and for all). Then use this number to calculate the lye necessary for saponification. Then use the lye diluted at 25%, this will hydrate the soap more and make it less prone to cracking, but it will increase the curing time.

Hope this helps
 

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