Has this ever happened to you before- colourless crackles in soap?

by Lili


1. In my last two CP batches I have noticed colourless crackles - like sort of color separation throughout entire soap (see photo). I have done everything as usual.

It is your basic soap recipe, I mixed lye and water at 40 celsius degrees, color is yellow mineral pigment-oxide, I pre melted it in small amount of olive oil, added it before soap started to trace, eucalyptus and lemon essential oil mixture is added at trace- just as usual, and it would normally turn out great.

The only difference I have noticed these two times is - gel phase - which in most cases does not happen to my soaps although I insulate them properly (in blanket).

Could this crackles be caused by gel phase, and why does it happen sometimes and sometimes not if procedure is the same? In order to prevent gel phase should I just skip insulation part and leave soap uncovered?

2. What is your method for adding honey to soap? I once tried to add it to my HP soap.

I premelted 1 table spoon of honey in small amount of distilled water from recipe, added it at trace, but when I started to cook it the batch got separated in 3 phases with chunks floating on top and clear brown liquid in the middle. I had to threw all batch.

Thank You in advance!


Sorry for the delay in answering...I'm extremely behind right now.

1. Your soap not only went through the gel phase, it overheated. That is what has caused the crackly, seperated look.

When insulating soap, it is a good idea to check on it once in awhile to see if it has started to gel. Once the gel reaches the edges of the mold, take all the insulation off and allow it too cool.

If you see the center start to rise or develop a crack, take the insulation off as well. This means that the soap is getting too hot.

2. I add honey to the base oils before mixing in the lye solution. It does not mix in properly but will disburse through out the batch as the mixture starts to trace. You can add it to thinly traced soap as long as the honey has been heated but I find the other easier. Do not add any more that 1 tsp per pound of base oils or the soap may overheat.


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Crackling in soap
by: Greg Oxnard

Hi. One of the theories for the unsightly translucent veins which can appear in cp soap is that it's natural glycerin which has coagulated during saponification due to high temperatures. In my experience titanium dioxide in the recipe is the usual culprit since this seems to help generate high temperatures during gel phase. This is frustrating if you want to use TD to emphasise a nice swirl. The only solution I've found (short of not using TD), is to soap at low temperatures, cool your mouod in the freezer prior to pouring the soap, then put the moulded soap straight into the freezer for a few hours to inhibit the gel phase. After two or three hours transfer the mould into the main body of the fridge and leave overnight. This works better if you're using a smaller mould, partly because of the size of your freezer, but also because a small mould allows heat to dissipate more easily. Amd this minimises overheating. The following day remove the soap from the fridge and allow it to sit in the mould for at least another day. The soap will sweat in the mould, but will be ok. If you de-mould too soon it will be very soft and is prone to damage. Note also that because you've prevented gel, the soap will still be undergoing saponification and the pH will be higher. So soaps which are prevented from gelling are softer at first and need more drying. The above is not an infallible rule and sometimes gel will happen whether you want it or not. It's tricky, and one of the more difficult technical problems to overcome in cp soapmaking (at least, for me).

by: Anonymous


thank you, advice is welcome at any time :)

In meantime I think I figured out what might have caused these crackles. That time I overmixed soap to thick thick trace in order to texture the top easier and I think that it caused soap overheating. I have never tried it again and it has never happened to me again!

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