Tracing liquid body wash with Waring Big Stix - What speed should I use? - Cosmetic Science Talk

Tracing liquid body wash with Waring Big Stix - What speed should I use?

The title says it all!

We have acquired a Waring "Bix Stix" immersion blender. It's quite the powerful device. Not to be confused with the throwaway kitchen immersion blender that we were using before. It did the trick for super small batches, however!

We are creating a liquid body wash. The base is coconut/olive oils + KOH.

The machine appears to have speed settings from 1 to 9.

For people who are familiar with this method and this device:

What speed should I use to trace? Go straight for the max speed?

Thanks!!

Comments

  • If I hadn't been making soap commercially for the past few years, I'd have no idea what you were talking about. This is not something that most cosmetic chemists deal with. On this forum, you're in luck  - there's a few of us that make soap.

    What you want to avoid, at all costs, is making foam. So, you want to have your mixer at the highest speed that will not beat air into your batch. That speed will probably be different for every formula, so you will have to figure it out experimentally.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Hi stephanm,

    I have been making traditional lye soap for years, and I know what you mean by "trace." I think the speed you use depends on how quickly you want the batch to come to trace. 

    Personally, I usually want to slow trace down in order to have more time to thoroughly mix everything together -- so my vote is for the lowest speed setting. Since you're using a heavy-duty immersion blender, it will probably be faster than your old stick blender anyway.

    Also, like Bob said, you probably don't want to go so fast that you whip air into it and create foam.
    I'm a licensed Landscape Architect -- not a chemist. I just really like this stuff.
  • @Bobzchemist ;
    I knew I'd find an answer here because we have already invested in several pieces of equipment that you yourself recommended to us - this Big Stix immersion blender being one of them! =P

    Our formula for the base is 80% coconut/20% olive, with the rest being the appropriate mixture of KOH + water.

    I'm not too sure how to know that we're beating air into the batch during the tracing step or not.

    I believe you know this exact piece of equipment pretty well - is there a specific dial setting that you're comfortable using?
  • No, not really - it all depends on how large your batch is and how thick it gets.

    Every single piece of new equipment needs to be at least roughly calibrated/dialed-in as a part of establishing a procedure for it, so you need to try it out making a few batches, and keep careful records. Once you've made a few batches, you should be comfortable with which settings need to be used when. This is done to one extent or another at pretty much every manufacturing facility everywhere - it's not just you that has to do this. It's not that hard, just start from zero and work your way up until the batch is moving around enough.

    Keep in mind that the folks making these mixers aren't making precision equipment either, and so they don't take particular care to make sure they're all exactly alike. As a result, a dial setting on a new one I use could produce RPM's significantly different from what I've used in the past, and both could be different from the one you have, so you have to check each mixer you buy. Large companies can afford mixers with tachometers and other instrumentation built in to their mixers that make this process easier, but most of us have to do this the old-fashioned way.

    You should be able to see foam visually if you're beating air into the batch. If your finished batch has too many bubbles/too much foam, then you have a problem with your procedure somewhere. If it doesn't, then you have nothing to worry about.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • @Bobzchemist ;

    Understood. Thank you for your help again!
  • edited May 2016
    We do a lot of these liquid soaps in 70 Kg batches using the Waring equipment you have described. Agree exactly with what Bobzchemist has suggested. We keep a lot of data on times etc on each batch sheet, which helps to get these mixers calibrated. Once sorted, it all becomes routine.

    BTW, we use ours at a fairly high speed, and never found foaming an issue if the blade is kept below the surface.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
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