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Question regarding stearic acid

Hello! New member, but I've referenced the forums before and generally had most of my questions answered just by scouring through and never needed to post to find solutions, until now.

I've been a hobbyist soaper for about 5 years now, I do it purely for the fun, experience, and the awesome gifts I get to make by hand.

However, this year I wanted to start making more interesting soaps and I've dove into the niche of clear and transparent soaps. My very first batch was surprisingly a success, but it was almost a disaster! Long story short, I spent several hours just mixing all my ingredients together to get them all to even out. When I added my solvents (glycerin, alcohol, and sugar solution) it rapidly cooled down the soap before it could all be dissolved and I had to manually crush and whisk all the chunks. The recipe I've modified uses about 20% stearic acid in the base oils, so when I add my solvents, it can with stand the water a little better after hardening. However the only thing that made it possible was the amount of olive oil I used (40%) without that, I'm certain I wouldn't have been able to mix it thoroughly enough to saponify properly. Because the next day I tried to make a batch using only coconut oil and stearic acid, and I couldn't get it past the stage where everything gets hard before the trace stage. I mean, it went from mashed potatoes, to bricked mashed potatoes, and I tried letting it finish on it own, but only resulted in it trying to separate.

So on to my question. Does it seem like a good idea to make my coconut bars normally, let them cure a few days, shred them with a grater and put that into the alcohol to dissolve. While simultaneously mixing melted stearic acid flakes into the glycerin, to be added to the dissolved soap.
My goal is soap that's extremely transparent to really impress my friends and family this Christmas. I know to do that, I need high levels of solvents, and that in turn, I need high amounts of something like stearic acid that won't discolor the soap, while adding a significant amount of hardness and durability. Preferably without spending 4+ hours doing a full body work out. I'm not much concerned with the amount of time working and/or letting it all dissolve, but I just don't have the muscle power to force it to do so. And my blender isn't very fond of that extreme of work either.
My concern is, if I'm adding stearic acid post saponifying, are there any reactions I should be extra cautious of, and is it safe to be used on the skin without saponifying with the rest of the soap?
From what I believe to understand is that pure stearic acid flakes don't really undergo saponification, they just bond to form the soap salts. But I also worry that a 20% ratio might not be safe for skin contact.
In the original recipe I modified, the soaper used 20% stearic acid, and 80% coconut oil and used equal parts alcohol to oil ratio, and 2 to 1 glycerin to oil ratio (glycerin being the 2) and it was as clear as glass

My successful batch does dry out my hands a tad with repeated use, but I think if I could superfat it with vitamin E and a small amount of fractionated coconut oil in post I can make it less harsh without reducing too much of the transparency.
Any information would be helpful and let me know if there's a better way to achieve a firm, clear bar.
When I say transparency I mean, I want to be able to read a book through the soap resting on paper with very little blurriness.

I've attached a photo of my successful batch, it's pretty clear, but the olive oil really discolored it and prevented it from being as clear as it cold have been. 20210813_182357-01.jpeg
 
Hello! New member, but I've referenced the forums before and generally had most of my questions answered just by scouring through and never needed to post to find solutions, until now.

I've been a hobbyist soaper for about 5 years now, I do it purely for the fun, experience, and the awesome gifts I get to make by hand.

However, this year I wanted to start making more interesting soaps and I've dove into the niche of clear and transparent soaps. My very first batch was surprisingly a success, but it was almost a disaster! Long story short, I spent several hours just mixing all my ingredients together to get them all to even out. When I added my solvents (glycerin, alcohol, and sugar solution) it rapidly cooled down the soap before it could all be dissolved and I had to manually crush and whisk all the chunks. The recipe I've modified uses about 20% stearic acid in the base oils, so when I add my solvents, it can with stand the water a little better after hardening. However the only thing that made it possible was the amount of olive oil I used (40%) without that, I'm certain I wouldn't have been able to mix it thoroughly enough to saponify properly. Because the next day I tried to make a batch using only coconut oil and stearic acid, and I couldn't get it past the stage where everything gets hard before the trace stage. I mean, it went from mashed potatoes, to bricked mashed potatoes, and I tried letting it finish on it own, but only resulted in it trying to separate.

So on to my question. Does it seem like a good idea to make my coconut bars normally, let them cure a few days, shred them with a grater and put that into the alcohol to dissolve. While simultaneously mixing melted stearic acid flakes into the glycerin, to be added to the dissolved soap.
My goal is soap that's extremely transparent to really impress my friends and family this Christmas. I know to do that, I need high levels of solvents, and that in turn, I need high amounts of something like stearic acid that won't discolor the soap, while adding a significant amount of hardness and durability. Preferably without spending 4+ hours doing a full body work out. I'm not much concerned with the amount of time working and/or letting it all dissolve, but I just don't have the muscle power to force it to do so. And my blender isn't very fond of that extreme of work either.
My concern is, if I'm adding stearic acid post saponifying, are there any reactions I should be extra cautious of, and is it safe to be used on the skin without saponifying with the rest of the soap?
From what I believe to understand is that pure stearic acid flakes don't really undergo saponification, they just bond to form the soap salts. But I also worry that a 20% ratio might not be safe for skin contact.
In the original recipe I modified, the soaper used 20% stearic acid, and 80% coconut oil and used equal parts alcohol to oil ratio, and 2 to 1 glycerin to oil ratio (glycerin being the 2) and it was as clear as glass

My successful batch does dry out my hands a tad with repeated use, but I think if I could superfat it with vitamin E and a small amount of fractionated coconut oil in post I can make it less harsh without reducing too much of the transparency.
Any information would be helpful and let me know if there's a better way to achieve a firm, clear bar.
When I say transparency I mean, I want to be able to read a book through the soap resting on paper with very little blurriness.

I've attached a photo of my successful batch, it's pretty clear, but the olive oil really discolored it and prevented it from being as clear as it cold have been. View attachment 1312202
I too make soaps as a hobby but you're doing something I've never attempted before. Wish I could help. Post more if you figure it out. I'd like to hear more as would some other hobbyists I'd guess.
 
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