Honey Patchouli Shea & Cocoa Butter CP Soap

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I made a wonderful and luxurious soap the other day, based on this recipe . It smells awesome, and I only hit one snafu while making it:

Word of warning to folks out there who plan to use a spice oil (such as patchouli) in their cold process (CP) soaps: Add the oil to your oil blend before you mix in the lye water. This is a bit counter-intuitive because you’re usually taught to add the scented oils after you’ve blended the lye and oil together. Trust me, if you add the spice oil after you’ve blended the base oils and lye, you’re in for a ride. There is some kind of odd and very exothermic reaction your soap goes through if you add the spice oil at the wrong step. I was too freaked out to take pictures of what was happening, so I can only describe the reaction:

  1. I blended the melted oils with the lye water until the soap almost reached trace.
  2. I added some honey and patchouli oil to the soap and blended with the stick blender.
  3. Within a minute, the soap turned into some kind of gel, and I thought, “Oh no, we are hitting trace too fast. Let’s pour into the mold ASAP.”
  4. I poured the soap into the mold, and within a few minutes, the temperature of the soap went from 130F to 187F. Panicked, I poured the soap back into the mixing bowl and started stirring with a spatula so that the soap would cool down.
  5. As I’m stirring, the soap stops taking on the texture of a gel, becomes more liquid-y, and changes color from opaque brown-gray to opaque orange-brown.
  6. I pour it back into the mold, and try to smoosh it down with the spatula.

The soap smells great and works fine, but it is a little ugly. I did some investigative work, and realized that it was the timing of the addition of the spice oil that undid me… Oh, well.

Ingredients for twelve 4 oz bars of soap (in a 48 oz loaf mold, ~3 lbs of soap):
*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 3.175 oz. cocoa butter
  • 3.175 oz. shea butter
  • 3.175 oz. castor oil
  • 3.175 oz. palm oil
  • 9.524 oz. coconut oil
  • 9.524 oz. olive oil
  • 11.502 oz. water
  • 4.359 oz. lye
  • 1 tbsp paprika (coloring)
  • 1.5 tbsp honey and patchouli fragrance oil

Directions:
(Refer to this post for more detailed instructions)

  1. Mix lye and water together, set aside to cool.
  2. Mix oils together and heat to 130F.
  3. Mix fragrance oil and base oil blend.
  4. Once the oil and lye water are within 10 degrees of each other, add lye water to oil blend, and mix with stick blender.
  5. After you reach trace, pour soap into mold.
  6. Cut the soap after 1 day, and then cure for 6-8 weeks.

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