The other day I wrote that I had used white kaolin for my soap and received a question about whitening soap with kaolin from Silvia at SoapJam (please visit her at http://soapjam.wordpress.com/ to learn more about the history of white kaolin and enjoy her beautiful soaps.)
First of all, I have to say that white kaolin does not have the whitening ability of titanium dioxide. However, if you use enough of it with the right oils it will enhance the white in soap and give you the soft white color which some people associate with natural ingredients in soap.
However, first things first. When I want my soap to be white, I use oils which do not discolor or give you beige or any other colors. I can say that olive pomace oil, pumpkin seed oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil (the brownish variety), avocado oil, hemp seed oil have all given me different colors from beige to green and never white.
Extra virgin olive oil does not produce white either so I usually use camellia oil, sunflower oil, or rice bran oil when I go for white in my soap. Then again, I do not let the soap gel because once it goes through gel phase you get that nearly translucent very light beige, which is also nice but only if you want it in your soap.
When you use kaolin though, and if you use more than one tablespoonful per 500 g of oil, you can get good results and most of the time even if the soap does gel, it turns out white.
Here are some photos of some of the soaps I have made with and without white kaolin.
The first one is without. The soap went through gel phase beautifully and got that almost translucent look.
I used white kaolin for the next one.
And the next.
And below is what you can get when parts of the soap contain white kaolin and others do not.
Of course if you use “white” oils and do not let your soap gel, you can get white without using kaolin, too. And while it is quite easy to do so in winter, summer temperatures do not offer any choice. Like it or not soap gels, there is no way stopping it (except of course for putting it in the refrigerator, given you have enough room in there and there is no danger of somebody mistaking your soap for food.)
So this is what I have to say about kaolin in short. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to give you the answer based on my experience so far.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the day and the reminder of this week.