I went back and forth on how I was going to design this soap. My original request was for lemon. The problem here is that lemon essential oil wont hold its scent in soap. I went looking for a fragrance oil and after reading reviews of its performance I decided I would likely loose my lemon scent with fragrance oil or it would be so mild the lavender would simply overpower it. I know that I could use lemongrass, but it just isn’t as perfect of a match with lavender as an actual citrus scent, after reading many reviews on fragrance performance the closest match turns out to be a bergamot black tea fragrance. Bitter orange is not far off from lemon so it should work to fill the request and will blend with lavender perfectly. After that there were questions like would the yellow and purple be too silly looking? If I left it at white and yellow and ground up lavender flowers… should I mix the scent or split it between the colors. In the end I went with both colors even if it’s silly and to split the scents between the colors. So the extra made an additional two lavender bars on the side.
Soap Contents: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Rice Bran Oil
Colorants: Queens Purple Mica, Yellow Mica, Racing Stripe Orange Mica, Gold Shimmer Mica, Activated Charcoal
Fragrance: Lavender Fragrance Oil, Bergamot Black Tea Fragrance Oil
Method: Tilted Base, Pencil line, Hangar
I am using the other half of my frozen coconut milk cubes for this recipe. so half coconut milk half distilled water. Because of the sugars it should reach a higher temperature, hence the freezing of the coconut milk. The soap wont be insulated at the end because I don’t want a mess, I find that my soap mold fits perfectly into the door part of my freezer so I will place it there until it cools off.
This soap will have two layers that are both going to discolor so I am not particularly worried about scorching. I expect it to darken considerably from the fragrance oils. I will be using pearly white mica to bring it down to a lighter brown vanilla layer and tan espresso layer with flecks of finely ground coffee. Because the fragrances will discolor differently I will have twice as much Mica in the Vanilla portion. I am also hoping to get a nice jagged look between the layers. For my extra leftover soap I made individual Vanilla and Espresso soaps without mixing them(much).
10.25 oz Coconut Oil
10.75 oz Palm Oil
10.25 oz Olive Oil
2 oz Castor Oil
1.75 oz Cocoa Butter
4.99 oz Sodium Hydroxide
5.77 oz Distilled Water
5.77 oz Coconut Milk
2-3 tablespoons Bentonite Clay
Pearly White Mica
1.2 oz Espresso Fragrance
1.2 oz Vanilla Fragrance
one pinch of Espresso, fine ground
I added the clay to the oils before the lye and I added the frozen coconut milk cubes to slushy, near frozen distilled water just before incorporating the lye into the water.
At light trace I separated the batter and added the mica then added the fragrance oil to the bottom layer, and brought it to a fairly thick trace in an attempt to make jagged edges that wont squash as soon as I layer on top of it. Once the bottom layer is poured and ready to go I added the fragrance to the second batch then layered it gently on top. In reality my technique evolved into using a spatula to create channels to pour soap into. I’ll have to regroup and try that technique again some time.
Cut Bars & Discolor Progression
I always expect the worst with new techniques and scents. I am using a bamboo scent for this one. I expect it to rice so I will take an extra step to blend the fragrance into a small portion of batter before fully incorporating it. It’s my first coconut milk soap and I expect heating. I am also a little worried to put the soap in the fridge/freezer with my food. So I’ve sort of created a quarantine area of the fridge where the soap mold will be held prisoner in it’s own little soap containment unit until it cools off. I generally am making a soap that I would apply heat to so cooling is a bit of a difference for me. Also I would recommend being careful with strong scents because your leftover takeout rice could absorb some scent and for example become ‘bambooed rice’.. or you’ll have ‘bambooed-butter’ or something awful so take this into consideration scent by scent, this one didn’t cause any trouble.
I am making this soap with palm, coconut, olive, castor and avocado oils. about 60% of the water was substituted with coconut oil and I added bentonite clay. I ended up using an in the mold swirl: which is two colors divided and then poured into the mold half the batter at a time, swirling the colors in together.
I added a portion of the batter to the fragrance oil and it didn’t know if it wanted to become solid or rice or both and I mixed like crazy, divided it into the separated portions and I had to blend it until it was at a thick trace before it smoothed out so I ran a chopstick through it since it was very gloppy when poured and I wanted to ensure it mixed enough. I hope I pounded the majority of the bubbles out after that.
This particular green mica goes through some interesting shades of vibrant green to grey color transformations.
I did have a few blemishes, the top of the soap had two small cracks, I got almost a complete gel so the two end pieces aren’t as pretty, the bubbles were about what I was expecting for how thick it was. Here we are unmolded and cut. The white still may yellow a bit from the fragrance oil. We shall see. At this point the green color change is nearly complete and the grey is almost gone.
I have my Salt Bar recipe built and I’ve taken a few days to watch all of the YouTube video’s on it I can find. I need the volume of my silicone molds calculated and I think I will have enough for my sheet of round molds and a bit of overflow to my plastic molds.
A few lessons I have learned from observing other soapers are as follows.
- Most soapers are using a near equal amount of salt to the amount of oil used. Salt kills most bubbles and coconut oil is an exception so you need to use a high amount of it in your recipe. 60-80% seems most common.
- That much coconut oil will be very drying so the superfat must be somewhere between 10-20%
- Add your fragrance to your salt and add your salt at thin trace, it will thicken quickly so work fast.
- Use silicone molds if you have them, the soap will be hard and brittle from all the salt so cut your soap as soon as 2 hours after pouring. almost everyone I observed waiting 24 hours to mold had broken loaf soaps.
So.. with these guidelines in mind I begin.
I am using 80% Coconut oil, then Palm, Avocado and Castor Oil’s for the rest. For the salt I am using Breton Sea Salt at 75% to the weight of the oils. I will be superfatting at 15%.
I will be splitting the batch in two and making 2 separate scents. Peppermint(2X) Essential Oil, and Apple Sage fragrance oil a sample I got from Brambleberry.
I will in the pot swirl each with one of my new micas. I selected Caribbean Blue for the Peppermint, and Kelly Green for the Apple Sage.
I added the fragrance to the salt before hand. The peppermint was pretty intense in my tiny kitchen for a while.
I let everything cool to about 100 degrees and then tried to work reasonably fast.
Here was the result. (Half of my kitchen light is burnt out so it’s a little dim)
After a few hours it was still pretty soft so I let it go longer. I tried to unmold the next morning, they were crumbly but firm, so I added them to the freezer before unmolding the rest.
Not perfect but it was about what I expected for my first try.
For fun I used my new Dash Cam to record the making of this soap so I may post that as soon as I figure out what software to use and get it edited.
After a walk with Drew yesterday I made a valencia orange loaf of soap with a spoon swirl design. This soap is primarily palm, coconut and olive oil with the addition of castor oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter and nettle extract, it has a superfat of 7%. I added bentonite clay to help hold the scent since I am using a citrus essential oil, it is said that citrus oils fade in cold process but this one has good reviews from soapers. I was also careful of the flash point.
I cut them this morning. The round soaps have pieces of loofah in them. Their scent is quite strong.
I am now at 20 bars made this last week, I think I am good until those are cured at least.
I made a divider for my soap mold and split the batch into two different soaps. On one side I was expecting trouble with the Pikake or Hawaiian Jasmine scent I picked and while it didn’t thicken as fast as I expected it did rice and have to be blended out. I picked a pearly white mica and tossed in some of my rose gold mica which discolors in cold process but I wanted to see what I would end up with, I was hoping for a very soft pink or at least some gold sparkle but it seems to have completely disappeared.
On the other side of the divider I used a ginger and patchouli scent. The bottom layer is grey with activated charcoal and I added black tea. Then I blended cocoa powder for brown, Moroccan red clay blended with brick red oxide for red and drop swirled those into a plain batter and layered it over the grey layer. The top is a solid pearly white.
I decided to make a manly scented soap, it matches the shaving cream I make. The bay rum oil is known to advance trace and I am also using clay so I worked pretty fast, just in case… and as you can see that resulted in the colorant not being mixed until completely even. I normally add rice bran oil, shea or mango butter in my recipes but I ended up going with something very basic and used up the remainder of my Tamanu oil and Ginkgo Extract.
Bay Rum/Cedarwood/Bergamot Scented Soap
10.21 oz Olive Oil Pomace
10.21 oz Coconut Oil
10.21 oz Palm Oil
.91 oz Castor Oil
.46 oz Tamanu oil
1 Tbs Bentonite Clay
.5 oz Ginkgo Extract
10.56 oz Distilled Water
4.56 oz Sodium Hydroxide
Hydrated Green Chrome Oxide
Fragrance oils:(mildly scented)
.4 oz Bay Rum Fragrance Oil
.4 oz Bergamot Essential Oil
.5 oz Cedarwood Essential Oil
Every soap is still a new experiment for me, this is my 5th batch of Cold Process and per the rules I made for myself I had triple checked my recipe and prepared everything, created a perfectly fitting divider for my soap and as I was concentrating on not messing up the divider (because I have never used one before) it occurred to me that I forgot to line my mold. So I essentially had to run a knife between the soap and the mold to dislodge it.I will not make that mistake next time!
I adapted this recipe from my usual by adding oat extract and shea butter and selected a cranberry scent.
Third batch of soap down, I’m at 28 bars curing and three recipes in the works, enough supplies for one more loaf right now. I’ll have to make choices but I am leaning towards Lemongrass, Turmeric & Calendula next.
Leave it to me to use a difficult sample scent for my first batch of cold process soap. Here is my rose scented soap. It was going to have some red swirls but there was no time. I also was learning how big of a recipe I needed for the mold I have. Recipe was a little small, not so pretty but it smells nice.
For my second batch things went a little more like I had planned. I ended up with the correct amount, the color, look and scent that I wanted and only a bit of soda ash to clean up. I was able to do the design I wanted.