Four colour swirl soapToday, I am sad, I tried to make a nice four color swirl, and it went wrong… the swirl is really nice, but the soap is very crumbly.


I have no idea why, I am sure I measured the ingredients well, my scale is good and moreover, I used a recipe I did once and turned out well.

I suppose, there is maybe a problem with false trace, but wouldn’t than there be parts of lye in my soap? Or at least a watery layer?

Moreover, I used 10% superfat, so if there was a slight excess of lye, it would not be that bad!



Ingredients Oils:1000g
Olive oil 25%
Palm oil 25%
Coconut oil 25%
Rapeseed oil 15%
Sunflower oil 10%
NaOH 134g
Distilled water 380g
At trace
Red oxide 1/2teaspoon
Green oxide 1/2teaspoon
Blue oxide 1/2teaspoon
EO Palmarosa 9 ml
EO Mandarine 15 ml

Mixing temperatures:
NaOH at 49°C
Oils at 29°C

Mold: old shoe box lined with baking paper

I gave the mixture couple stirs with blender. I didn’t want a thick trace and I knew it will take me some time to make the swirl. During whole process, there was no separation of oils and lye…


I mixed 3 parts of soap with colors and let the fourth uncolored.

Four-colour-crumbly-soap-colors Four-colour-crumbly-soap-color-2s

Then I started to pour the soap, altering colors in the following manner, until I had no more soap left. I inspired myself by this video:

 Four-colour-crumbly-soap-pouring  Four-colour-crumbly-soap-pouring-2

I did the diagonal swirl…


… followed by round swirl


I left soap three days in covered box, without touching it, and without insulating it.

Today I opened the box and it looked like this:


But when I cut it, i found that the soap is soft and crumbly, but not dry. It is rather like a pasta of a cake, I took some scrapes and put in a small plastic pot, this is how it looks like after passing with a finger:


The phenophtalein test went like this…



Update 25. September 2011 – the soap after a month or so was not that crumbly anymore and I was able to cut it. However, a large portion of soap, mainly where it was not insulated – top and sides – was still crumbly. The middle and bottom parts of soap seem more like a soap. I cut the crumbly (and according to phenophtalein test still caustic) parts of it and got pretty nice bars of soap, although half of their original sizes.


1) If you have liquid trace, you have to insulate your mold. Otherwise, the saponification will slow down as there is not enough heat being generated by the reaction itself and as a consequence, lye will not react well with oils and will rather react with air to create thick layer of soda ash.

2) To be on safe side, make the trace a little thicker.