Tag Archives: saponification in soap

Mar
18

Color Morphing in Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, cold process soap colorant, Natures Garden, soap, Soap making supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

color morphing in soapColor Morphing in Soap

For any new soap makers out there like myself, do you have specific questions? For example, do you know which kind of soap colorant to use when you are coloring cold process soap? Or have you ever wondered about color morphing in soap? Here at Nature’s Garden, we offer two different kinds of colorants for soap: one being a our FD&C Da Bomb Soap Dyes, and one being our FUN Soap Colorants which are pigments dispersed in vegetable glycerin. The use of each kind of colorant is based on pH levels and the actual saponification process. The saponification process is considered the creation of soap by combining oils/butters and water with lye (which has a high ph). Throughout this process as the soap cures, the pH level (alkalinity) become lower.  It is important to understand that pigments tend to withstand higher ph levels better than dyes (especially when dealing with the color blue).  In our experiment, we show how blue dye and blue pigment perform in both melt and pour soap (soap that has already been saponified) and cold process soap (soap that is made from scratch and will undergo the saponification process).

In melt and pour soap, because it is technically already soap, it has already gone through the saponification process;  so the alkalinity is lower. The dyes, our Da Bomb colorants, do not cause any color morphing problems when used in melt and pour soap. They will color beautifully, as well as our pigments, or FUN Soap Colorants. In the picture below, this light blue colored bundt soap is made with melt and pour soap, as well as our Blue Da Bomb colorant. You can see how nice and pretty this blue coloring is. When melt and pour soap is colored with blue FD&C dye, it will produce a beautiful blue colored soap since the dye never has to encounter a high ph.

color morphing in soap

color morphing in soap

However, when different colorants are used in cold process soap, as seen below, the outcome is very different. Because cold process is made completely from scratch, it must undergo the entire saponification process.  This means that the pH levels are much higher in cold process soap. In the pictures below, the darker blue soap was made using our pigmented, Ultramarine Blue FUN Soap Colorant. The purple soap, (started as gray and turned to reddish-pink-purple as it sat) was created using our Da Bomb blue dye. (We have used our Shea Butter Cold Process Soap recipe for this part of our experiment).  It is evident that blue FD&C dye (our Da Bomb blue dye)  will morph in color when exposed to a high ph.

color morphing in soap

color morphing in soap

color morphing in soap

In conclusion:  When desiring a nice blue color for your cold process soap, it is wise to use blue pigments instead of blue FD&C dyes.  While the blue FD&C dyes work wonderfully in melt and pour soap, they will indeed morph in color when making cold process soap.

Please contact us here at Nature’s Garden if you have any questions, comments, or concerns at all! We are here to help you and to make sure you succeed at all of your creations! Make sure to check out all of our amazing free recipes and classes as well, especially all of our soaping classes! And keep watching for more Enlightened by Layla!

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Apr
29

Insulating Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath and body fragrances, cold process soap, cold process soap scents, homemade soap, Natures Garden, soap ingredients, Soap making supplies, soap mold and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

insulating soap In an earlier blog post, we discussed how insulating soap to promote gel phase was a matter of personal choice. Whether you insulate or choose not to, your soap will still be soap.

When it comes to whether you choose to insulate or not, really there are only two factors that will change. The first is the amount of cure time. Due to the fact that the saponification process is slowed down by the prevention of gel phase, your soap may need extra cure time before use. On the other hand, promoting a full gel phase for your soap means an accelerated saponification process with a normal cure time. And, the second difference is an aesthetic one.

The finished look of your soap will differ slightly based upon whether you choose to prevent gel phase or encourage it. By preventing gel phase (sticking your molded soap in the fridge or freezer), your finished soap will have a matte look to it. By promoting gel phase, your finished soap will have a slight translucent, shiny look to it. Again, however, please remember regardless of which method you choose either method results with finished soap.

When making soap, it is important to remember that the gel phase occurs during the saponification process. While your soap is in the mold, the various soaping ingredients react with the lye mixture, and heat is used to help the acceleration of the whole saponification process. When choosing to promote gel phase during saponification, it can be accomplished through means of insulation.

Insulating your soap means wrapping the soap with various layers in an attempt to keep the heat within the soap. Because the saponification process is endothermic (meaning the process pulls heat from its surroundings), keeping the soap insulated is the best means to successfully promoting gel phase throughout your whole soap. It will also help to prevent a partial gel. If you remember, a partial gel is where the center of your soap achieves gel phase, but the outside areas do not. This typically occurs because the outside of the soap looses heat in a quicker fashion therefore inhibiting the ideal environment for a full gel phase to occur.

Through the means of insulation, you can provide your soap with its ideal environment (heat wise).  And, when it comes to insulation for your soap, there are many different items you can use.  These items would include: newspaper, cardboard, blankets, towels, etc.  Practically, you can use any layer type material that will keep the heat in the soap (but never aluminum foil).

Many soapers will use various items in combination such as: wrapping the soap with saran wrap (especially if the soap has a decorated top), then covering it with newspaper, surrounded by towels, and finally placed under a box. There really is no limit for insulation. And, many believe that over insulating can never be done. Remember the key to insulating, if you are choosing to promote the gel phase; is to keep as much heat in the soap as possible.

However, please note: If you are soaping a recipe that does contain sugar or dairy products, you may want to go a little on the lighter side of insulating due to the fact that these items in your recipe will increase heat during the saponification process. Extreme insulating in these examples may cause the ingredients to “burn”, possibly resulting in discoloration and an off smell in your finished soaps.  It can also cause your soap batter to begin to bubble out of your mold.  You do however have the choice of preventing the gel phase for these types of recipes, and sticking your molded soap in the fridge or freezer.

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.