Tag Archives: what is saponification

Apr
26

Gel Phase


This entry was posted in all natural, bath and body, bath products, cold process soap, cold process soap colorant, cold process soap scents, essential oil, fragrance and color, Fragrance Oils, homemade soap, Natures Garden, soap fragrances, soap ingredients, Soap making supplies, soap mold, soaping terms and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

inhibited gel phase soap In an earlier blog post, we briefly discussed insulation of cold process soap. Through insulating your soap, you are encouraging the best environment for the gel phase to occur during saponification. Keeping the soap evenly heated using insulation will prevent a partial gel from occurring. But, still there are no guarantees. Even with the best insulation, you may still end up with bars of soap that have partial gel evident.

So, what if you prevented the gel phase in your soap?

Although this is possible, it is still not guaranteed. It can be very tough to prevent the gel phase. But, there are some factors that need to be noted to help you in your quest to stop the gel phase. These factors are: the size of your mold, and the various ingredients in your recipe. The saponification process involves heat; it is the nature of the soaping beast. Choosing to eliminate the gel phase will change some elements to your soap and soaping process.

But, before we get to that information, let’s look at some specific reasons to prohibit the gel phase.

First, since you are decreasing the amount of heat that is in your soap, this will allow you to introduce certain soaping ingredients that normally would be finicky. Examples of these heat sensitive ingredients would be: dairy products, heat sensitive colorants; prone to morphing, and fragrances or essential oils with a low flashpoint.

Dairy Products
Soaping with ingredients such as creams, milks, and butters for example will provide your finished bars with rich, extra moisturizing elements. However, soaping with dairy products can be tricky. With the heat that is involved with the saponification process, there is a chance that dairy products will burn. This results in both discoloration and an off smell in your soap. By preventing the gel phase from occurring, you allow these ingredients a fighting chance in soap. And, you can even produce a creamier bar of finished soap.

Colorants
Whether you are deciding to go the natural route with herbs, or using colorants that you worry may morph; preventing gel phase allows the window of opportunity to stay open. Certain herbs discolor or darker from the saponification process. The same is true for some colorants that completely alter like deep purple to brown.

Now, for the colorants in the finished soap when the gel phase is eliminated: the bar colors are bolder and more vivid. Even if you choose not to color your soap batter, the elimination of the gel phase stops the darkening of the fats and oils in your recipe, allowing for a “whiter” finished bar.

Scenting Options
If you do not want to rebatch your soap recipe, preventing the gel phase in your cold process soap may allow you to scent your soap with low flashpoint oils without worrying that the saponification process will eliminate the scent. It is also possible for fragrance or essential oil scents to come through stronger in the soap because of the reduction of heat.

As for what preventing the gel phase means for your soaps, there are key points you should know. First, you must keep your molded soap chilled for the full 24 hours. Depending on your recipe, you may have to keep the soap chilled for an additional 24 hours as well.

Now, when you are ready to unmold your soap, it is crucial to let your molded soap reach room temperature before trying to slice it. Not allowing your soap to be at room temperature before cutting may result with your bars being brittle, and breaking apart as you slice them.

As for the saponification process, since you inhibit the gel phase, it will take your soaps longer to complete the saponification process. What this means is that the soap will need additional cure time before it will be ready to use.

So, whether you choose to insulate or prevent the gel phase, it is really up to personal discretion. Regardless of the method, the result is the same; a finished bar of soap. The only variables that change are the molding environment and the cure time.

Apr
24

Insulate Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, cold process soap, homemade soap, make your own soap, Natures Garden, soap, soap ingredients, Soap making supplies, soap mold, wholesale supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

insulate soap As soap crafters, there are hundreds of variances allotted to us that allow our soaps to be special. Maybe it is the combination of oils in your recipe, the process to which you soap, your unique scents, your particular decorating method, or really any number of things that makes your soap exclusive. Well, in this blog post, we are going to throw a new option into the mix.

To insulate or not to insulate that is the question.

As with many aspects of soap making; when it comes to insulation, it is really a personal preference.

Being new to soap making, a lot of research is involved. You read, read, and read some more in order to learn everything you can about soap making. Well, as many of us found, insulating is always advised.

The insulating step involves taking your freshly poured, molded soap, and surrounding it with layers. These layers help to keep the soap at an even heat while the batter goes through the saponification process. During the saponification process, as the lye reacts with the various soap making ingredients, soap (and glycerin) is produced. The process itself is an endothermic reaction, meaning that it absorbs heat from the surroundings.

This “heat stage” of soap making is commonly called the gel phase. During the gel phase, saponification works at an accelerated rate, hardening the fats of your recipe. This phase will also be the time where any discoloration of ingredients or colorants will occur from the heat.

Keeping the soap uniformly heated will prevent a partial gel from occurring. Not keeping the soap uniformly heated allows for the soap that is in the center of the mold to stay hot, while the soap on the outside loses heat rapidly. And, since the saponification process is endothermic, it needs to be able to draw heat from its surroundings. What this results in is an off colored look in the center of your soap, usually in an oval like shape. This shows that the center of the soap gelled, and the outside of the soap never reached gel phase.

Speaking in terms of soap, gel phase or not reaching gel phase does not harm the soap itself. The soap will still function after cure; it is only an aesthetic issue. So, it is for this reason that it is often believed that insulation is vital to an amazing looking bar of cold process soap. But, there is an alternative.

Lets look at the flip side.  If you do not want to insulate the heat in the soap, what would happen if you chilled the soap instead?

Chilling your molded soap would prevent the gel phase from occurring. This would be a handy trick of the trade for a few reasons. It should however, be noted though that in order for the gel phase prevention to occur, you need to be able to control the area. Operating out of a loaf mold for example, still allows enough soap in the middle for a partial gel to occur. You want to keep the size of the soap easily manageable for temperature reasons. Remember, because saponification deals with heat, while the lye and fats are reacting, heat will be present. To completely increase your chances of preventing the gel phase, you must minimize the area that needs chilled, aka use smaller molds.

Not insulating your soap, and instead placing your freshly molded soap into the fridge or freezer for 24 hours will help to prevent the gel phase from occurring. But, please note the size of your soap will directly determine whether the gel phase will occur or not.   This also rings true for the soaping ingredients that are in your recipe. Chilling your soap is not a guarantee, partial gelling can still transpire.

In closing, there is another option if you choose not to insulate your soap. There are benefits and drawbacks to chilling your soap. Stay tuned for a future blog posts discussing preventing gel phase and what the outcome will be.

 

Mar
19

Hot Process Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, fragrance oil, Fragrance Oils, handmade soap, hot process soap, Natures Garden, Soap making supplies, soap mold, sodium lactate and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

hot process soap Hello everyone!

I just finished my second round of training in…..wait for it…..HOT PROCESS SOAP MAKING….(insert scream)….dunt, dunt, duuunnnn!!!

Yep, that was my initial thought as the word Lye came into the conversation.  However, going through the checklist and noting that safety glasses, gloves, and a mask are extremely necessary for any recipe containing this soaping ingredient, I felt safer.  Although, the well written instructions helped as well.

This hot process soap recipe is pretty lengthy and I almost felt like I was engaged in a major project.  So I decided to take each step slowly and precisely.

After reviewing the process, something I thought was interesting was that I would be using a crockpot to slowly cook the ingredients.  Now, I will certainly never look at my crockpot the same way again!  Please remember that you CAN NOT use this or any other household item you use for these types of recipes (containing Lye) for everyday cooking.  They MUST be kept separate!

Now, another key factor for soaping is that all of the measurements must be exact in order for your recipe to work properly.  Hot process is similar to cold process but you are “cooking” your ingredients in the crockpot.  This heat speeds up the “saponification” process.  Yea that IS a big word!  What does it mean?  It means “the process of the chemical reaction that the lye solution and the oils/fats/butters go through when making soap.”  Another interesting thing I learned during my adventure was a little thing called a soap calculator.  Yea, it’s a calculator used to determine if all of the ingredients you want to use are going to work together and figures out how much of everything you will need.  This is a definite must in the world of soap making.

I knew I was gonna like this recipe when I was told to watch for when my creation looked like mashed potatoes and when it does…it’s done!  I mean, who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?  Keep in mind you must be patient when making this type of soap because the process is slow going.  The stirring and cooking and watching is the longest part, aside from the setting up of the soap.  This soap doesn’t look as pretty as some of the other recipes while in the molds, but the results are ones you will be happy with.  If you don’t make your own soap, but you buy other peoples; I hope after reading this, you look at it a bit differently.  Just knowing what all is involved in the homemade soap making process, gives you a whole new understanding.

However, I hope you all try this recipe if you have never made soap before.  

Please Note: With the exemption of the lye and water, all other soaping ingredients can be purchased at Natures Garden.  Also, if this is the first time you are attempting the process of making soap (like me), please review these classes to familiarize yourself with the processes.

Soap Making Safety
Making Your Own Soap Recipe
Soap Making Terminology
Finding the Perfect Recipe
Soaping Oils Properties

Here are the steps that I took to make my very first batch of Hot Process Soap.  I also included pictures to show you the process.  In the end, I ended up with (4) beautiful 1 pound loaves of soap.

Step 1:  Prior to making this hot process soap recipe, clean and sanitize your work area.  Then, put on your safety gear.  You will want to wear gloves, a face mask, and safety glasses while preparing this recipe.

safety gear for soap making

Step 2:  Now, turn your crockpot on a low heat setting.  Then, place one of your mixing bowls on your scale.  Next, weigh out the 503 grams of Olive Oil, 408 grams of Coconut Oil 76, 109 grams of Castor Oil, and 340 grams of Palm Oil.

hot process soaping ingredients

Step 3:   Once you have all your oils weighed out, place them into the crockpot.  Heat this on low until the palm oil and coconut oil 76 are in a liquid state.  Stir occasionally.

soaping oils in the crockpot
Step 4:  Now, get your two mixing bowls.  In one bowl, weigh out your 188 grams of lye.  In the second bowl, weigh out your 517 grams of water.

weigh out your lye and water
Step 5:  Next, take your lye and water bowls to a well ventilated area.  NEVER add the water to the lye!  Slowly add small amounts of the lye to the water.  Stir in between each addition of the lye to the water.  DO NOT breath in the fumes.  Continue doing this until all of the lye has been mixed into the water.

stirring the lye water

Step 6:  Now, weigh out and add the 50 grams of sodium lactate to the lye water.  Using your spatula, stir this slowly to incorporate.

adding sodium lactate to the recipe

Step 7:  Carefully, add the mixture of the lye water and sodium lactate to the crockpot.  Then, give this a quick stir with your spatula.

adding the lye water to the crockpots

Step 8:  Now, get your stick blender.  Place the stick blender into the crockpot and start to blend.  You will want to do this for about 10 minutes off and on.  Keep your blend periods short.  In between blending, use your spatula to clean the sides of the crockpot.

stick blending the soap batter

Step 9:  Once the batter has been well blended, add 8 grams Teal Fun Soap Colorant.  Now, stick blend to incorporate the color.

adding the colorant to hp soap

Step 10:  As you blend in the color, you will notice the soap batter will resemble pudding.  Now, take your spatula with a little bit of soap batter on it and carefully in a spatter like motion, let the batter fall back into the crockpot.  You are looking for trace.  You will know trace when you can see “lines” of batter from your spatula.  A full trace is reached when the line stays on top of the rest of the soap batter.

soap batter at trace

Step 11:  After trace has been reached in your soap batter, place your lid on your crockpot.

Step 12:  Stirring periodically with your spatula, allow your soap mixture to cook.  You will want to check it every 15 minutes or so.  This is done to ensure that the soap cooks evenly, and does not scorch on the bottom.  As the soap cooks, you will notice along the sides of the crockpot that the soap looks dry.  The soap batter will even take on a waxy look.

soap batter with a waxy look
Step 13:  After about an hour has elapsed, your soap batter will have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Now, place your mold on a flat surface near your crockpot.  Please Note:  This hour time can vary based on your soaping oils.

the look of hot process soap batter before adding fragrance oil

Step 14:  You will want to move quickly for this step.  If you are using herbs or other additives, you will want to add them now.  If not, add 85 grams Purrs & Paws Fragrance Oil.  Then, stick blend to fully incorporate.

adding fragrance oil to hot process soap

Step 15:  Now, in a scooping manner; begin filling your pound loaf molds individually.

filling your mold with hot process soap

Step 16:  When the mold cavities are all filled, carefully hit the mold against the counter top.  This motion will release any bubbles of air that may be trapped in your soap batter.

filled soap mold with hp
Step 17:  Now, insulate your soap.  Once the soap has been covered, let it cool and harden overnight (for about 12 hours).

insulate your hot process soap
Step 18:  The next day, when your soap has completely cooled and hardened, you can remove it from the mold.  Then, cut the soap into bar size.  Your soap is now ready to use.  Please Note:  If you are seeking a harder bar, allow the soap to cure longer.

finished hot process soap

Overall, making this soap really was a lot of fun and I felt really creative, like a mad scientist….mmmwwaahahaha…(clearing throat)…

Well kids, until my next adventure, have a FABULOUS day!
Cindy

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.