Sweet Cheeks Soap Company

To Ash or Not to Ash?

Some soapmakers don’t mind having ash on the tops of their soaps while others do everything in their power to prevent.  When it happens to my soaps I embrace it I love how it gives my soap the appearance an extra dimension, as you can see in the pictures posted below.

Chalky ash layer on top of citrus scented soap
Chalky ash layer on top of citrus scented soap

Many soapermakers  question how and why this happens to soap, while you can have duplicate soap recipes, made at the same time and yet one batch will get ash while the other does not.  It is a puzzling mystery to me but I have my own thoughts on possibilities why ash may occur. The reason could be a combination of factors  or just a single one.  Below I listed conditions in which I have had ash occur or thoughts of why ash could occur.  The funny thing is the only time I don’t get ash is when I really want!

  • Insulating soap till  fully gelled and then removing all coverings (radical change in temperature of soap environment)
  • Insulating soap and not removing coverings (which allows moisture to collect)
  • Not insulating soap (with no covering at all)
  • Water discount
  • Lye discount
  • Adding salt to your recipe
  • The type of essential oils used (essential oils vs fragrance oils)
  • The method in which you make your soap (I use the RT method for all my soaps)
  • The addition of honey or sugar
  • The type of soap mold used
  • Reaction with colorants
  • Removing soap from mold hours after gel stage
Ash layer on swirled lavender soap
Ash layer on swirled lavender soap
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