Now, the problem is that most the lye calculators online recommend using only about twice the amount of liquid to the lye. So, for one kilogram of oil, you’d have to use 130 grams of lye (more or less depending on the saponification value of the used oils) and no more than 375 ml. of liquid (distilled water, juice, tea, Aloe Vera gel).
But on my sodium hydroxide box, here in Spain, it says: add 500 grams of lye to 3 kg of water and mix with 3 kg of oils. That’s equal amounts of water and oil! and 100 grams more lye that the online lye calc. recommends for a 0% superfat 3 kg oils!!!!
Although, in my previous soap making projects I went by the online lye calculators and it all turned out OK (maybe a bit too fat), this time the soap making instructions on the Spanish Sosa Caustica box suited me just fine. I wanted too use a lot of Aloe Vera gel and as little oils as possible. So I downsized the box instructions to a half a kilo of oil: :
- 500 grams Olive Oil;
- 500 grams Aloe Vera Gel.
- 80 grams of Sosa Caustica (Sodium Hydroxide or NaOH)
Most online lye calculators would strongly disagree with these ratios but I went ahead and made the soap regardless.
I chilled half of the Aloe Vera gel and frozen the other half in ice cube trays.
I added the lye to the chilled liquid and while mixing I added the ice cubes.
By the time I finished the ice cubes, the lye was dissolved and the lye solution was just warm enough to be added to the unheated Olive oil.
I used the stick blender to mix and the soap traced eventually after about half an hour, blending for 1 minute every five minutes.
I simply poured into a soap mold, covered it with plastic and left it overnight.
In the morning, I uncovered the soap. To my horror, there was some liquid that leaked at the bottom of the box. There was a grainy texture on top of the soap with the same liquid rested between the grains. I took the soap out directly over my polished wood dining table. The weird liquid dripped on my table. When I wiped it off, I also wiped some varnish off my table. Things weren’t going very well. I took everything outside on the plastic table.
I used a potato peeler to peel the outside layer of the soap. I’ve got a nice surprise for a change. The soap inside was harder than any soap I have ever made, smooth opaque and white. I decided it looked good enough to lick (if you think I’m crazy in doing so, google it! : tongue test in soap making) . Well I did get a strong zap so I jumped to the conclusion that the soap is lye heavy…which it would be according to the online lye calculators.
I put 4 bars on cure and see how they evolve over time.
I threw the rest of what I thought were lye heavy soap, in a plastic bag with 50 grams of coconut oil and left it in the sun to melt. After an hour of sunbathing in the summer sun, everything was soft and squishy in the bag. I massaged the bag to make sure the lye heavy soap and the coconut oil get to know eachother very well :). I then added orange and lemon essential oils and orange food coloring, mixed well, took it inside to cool off a bit, rolled just like you would roll play dough into a stick and used it in making the sun in my sunset soap.
The cured white Aloe Vera soaps weren’t lye heavy after a few days.The soaps hardened even more within a week. I used them for hand washing. They bubble well, they don’t soften nor get squidgy in the humid bathroom environment. Therefore, after three weeks, I’m ready to repeat the experience just to see whether I can use a little bit less liquid and a few grams less lye to avoid any leaking caustic liquid.
Lots of Aloe Vera Juice, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil Soap Recipe Revisited.
This is my second attempt to use as much Aloe Vera Juice as Possible in Cold Process soap making.
- 400 grams Olive Oil
- 200 grams Coconut Oil
- 100 grams Sunflower Oil
- 100 grams Caustic Soda dissolved in 200 grams of Aloe Vera juice ice cubes and 50 grams cold coconut milk.
- 1 tbsp Activated Charcoal and two tbsp Carrot Oil added at trace
- Lemongrass EO, Grapefruit Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil,
I put the Aloe Vera ice cubes and the coconut milk in a Pyrex jug. I put the jug in a large box half filled with cold water and two ice boxes. By keeping the Aloe Vera Juice cool, while dissolving the lye, the plant healing properties may be preserved. Or so I hope.
When the lye was dissolved, I added the solution to the oils. I started blending.
This time, the soap mixture took ages to trace.
I got so bored mixing that I’ve remembered that I never tried fresh lemon peel in soap so I took about a quarter of the not even close to tracing soap mixture out in the Pyrex Jug. I grated the zest of two lemons and added them to this sample.
I blended for less than five minutes and it traced. I poured the lemon zest soap in two flower soap molds. I covered them in plastic and placed one in the fridge and one on top of the fridge. That’s how I experienced first hand what gelling soap or not gelling soap is all about. The soap that has been in the fridge overnight, has more color and more scent to it. It looks a bit scruffy – I haven’t been gentle enough when taking it out of the mold.
Back to the main Aloe Vera Soap batch. Finally, it reached a light trace or it looked like it. I split the mixture in two and added carrot oil to one half. It turned a lovely orange color.
I poured the white mix and the orange mix in my poorly lined wooden box. I swirled the soap and noticed that the box leaks! The soap mixture was actually quite runny so I thought that maybe that light trace wasn’t a trace after all. I’m not one for giving up too early so I poured everything back into the mixing jug. I cleaned up the mess. and prepared the box again, this time making sure I’ll line it with baking paper and line it well.
By this time, the soap mixture was ready to reach a proper trace. I blended only for one minute and it looked like a proper steady trace. I split the orange soap mixture in half again. I added activated charcoal to one half and poured the soap mixture again in the better lined makeshift wooden soap mold. I used a stick to make some swirls, covered it lightly with a kitchen towel (i the heat of the summer) and allowed it to gel over night on top of a cupboard.
In the morning I was ready to cut the soap. It was very soft but manageable. A few days later it was hard enough to handle for a photo shoot:
A couple weeks into the curing process, this good looking swirls soap is still squish-able. It lathers OK and it maintains its shape when handled gently but my daughter delights in pushing her fingers into anything that gives so I decided to cut a few of the soap bard into shapes and different small pieces to use later in a new creative batch of soap.
The new batch of soap with added previously made soap bits:
Olive Oil – 1000 grams
Aloe Vera – 18 % of the oil weight
Coconut Milk: 10% of the oil weight
Sodium Hydroxide: as calculated by the Soap Calc with a 5 % superfat
Added at trace:
- Fresh Lemon Peel – finely grated and blended with a more Aloe Vera Gel (another 10% of the oil weight) –
- Lemon Essential Oil and Grapefruit Essential Oil.
I divided the soap mold in two halves using a clear plastic sheet and got as creative as I could by adding layers of pre- made soap trims, shavings, shapes, cuts, etc: Here are the results:
A few weeks after, these soaps are rock hard, although not quite as pretty as I planned. As for the bubbles: it does lather all right (I guess the Aloe Vera helps) – a rich, stable, lotion like and rather slimy lather. . It rinses very well though leaving the skin clean (well, I didn’t yet tested the soap with dirty oily hands… but my guess is that this soap won’t be very cleansing) … However, the soap leaves the skin soft and well moisturized. I didn’t need to use hand cream after washing hands. Perfect!