Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adventures in Soaping

More About the Herbs I Use...

More Herbs I like to use in my soaps and bath and beauty products are Green Tea and Aloe Vera as well as Hibiscus and Rosemary.

Aloe Vera is a desert plant that is famous for it's healing properties.  It has been used for it's skin rejuvenating properties for over thirty-five hundread years.  It helps to soothe sunburns, other minor burns and skin irritations.

Green tea is naturally chalked full of antioxidants and has free radical fighting power.  The tea is also a great anti-inflamatory.  It's also said to rejuventates old cell tissues.  Green tea is also anti-bactierial which makes it good for fighting acne. It's not only good for the skin it's also great for the hair. It is full of panthenol and antioxidants which may help strengthen hair and make it healthier.  And some studdies have shown it to help with hair loss.

Hibiscus is another one of those teas full of anitoxidants.  So it helps fight free radicals in our body.  Also it is full of Vitamin C.  When I use this on my hair I notice an instant change.  My hair is softer and more managaable and I love the red tint that it brings out in my locks.

Rosemary is an anit-inflamatory and anti-bacterial.  It also promotes hair growth.  It is said to improve memory and mood as well.

I use all of these herbs at once in my shampoo and conditioner.  Here is a video of me making my green tea and hibiscus shampoo.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Step 4 of making a new soap recipe

I adjusted both recipes 1 and 2 to take out the stearic acid.  I am hoping that will mean no lumps in the soap.  When soaped at room temperature.  Although I'm thinking if the soaping temperature was raised to perhaps 125*  there would be no lumps.   Also I'm hoping that the adjustments will increase the lather in the vegan bar.  As for the lard bar it was prefect except for the lumps.  So I'm hoping to try these out real soon once I get some new coconut oil. It's in the mail as we ...write.  :)

Experimental Recipe 1A 

25% Coconut oil                                                    Hardness - 40
30% Palm oil                                                          Cleansing - 17
10% Castor oil                                                       Conditioning - 56
35% Corn oil                                                          Bubbly - 26
                                                                                Creamy - 32
                                                                                 Iodine - 68
                                                                                 INS - 142

Experimental Recipe 2A

20% Coconut oil                                                    Hardness - 38
8% Castor oil                                                         Cleansing - 14
28% Corn oil                                                          Conditioning - 56
44% Lard                                                               Bubbly - 21
                                                                               Creamy - 32
                                                                               Iodine - 67
                                                                               INS - 140

I also read somewhere a question that someone asked if they could use Crisco, mixed with sunflower oil and other oils to make soap.  So I decided to try and make a soap recipe using Crisco shortening as well since it is local and not very expensive it fit into the category I wanted for this experiment.  So let's call it Experimental Recipe 3.  So the thing is with using Crisco.  It has a higher Iodine value than the other less expensive solid oils that we can use in it's place like Lard, Palm and Tallow.  It has a significantly higher Iodine value than the more expensive butters that we could use in it's place.  So in order to use it and keep within the boundaries of our given numbers.  I had to use a small amount of it and I had to use Olive oil as my soft oil, which is more expensive.  Lest to say this will not be an inexpensive bar because of those factors.  The first of these two recipes is the best one.  I would soap it at a higher temperature to avoid the lumps that I believe stearic acid  was the cause of  in my two other experimental recipes. Also you can have even better numbers for hardness, bubbly, creamy and Iodine if you add 5% more to the coconut oil amount and take 5% away from the Crisco amounts.  I didn't do that here because if the cleansing number gets above 17 for me my skin gets itchy and dry.

While experimenting I've also noticed that if you want to use soft oils like Sunflower, Canola, Safflower, Corn oils and similar oils.  You need to use a high number of low iodine solid oil to counteract that number so that your bar of soap will not expire too soon. Like Coconut oil, Palm oil, Tallow and Lard. for the purposes of this experiment.   This bar of soap is not really as inexpensive as I'd hoped it would be.  I'm not sure if I'm going to try it out. The other two recipes are much less expensive with and work really well already.  I just thought I'd put them out there for anyone that may have been wanting to try Crisco for a recipe. Let me know what you think.  If you want me to try it out and see what it's like or if there are any other oils that you'd like me to try and make a recipes with or without just comment below.  I'll  answer all comments.

Experimental Recipe 3

25% Coconut oil                                                   Hardness - 34
10% Castor Oil                                                     Cleansing - 17
15% Crisco new w/palm                                        Conditioning - 63
48% Olive Oil                                                       Bubbly - 26
2% Stearic Acid                                                    Creamy - 26
                                                                               Iodine - 69
                                                                               INS - 141

Experimental Recipe 3A

25% Coconut Oil                                                  Hardness - 32
10% Castor Oil                                                     Cleansing - 17
15% Crisco new w/Palm                                       Conditioning - 64
50% Olive Oil                                                       Bubbly - 26 
                                                                              Creamy - 24
                                                                              Iodine - 70
                                                                              INS - 139

Remember to run these threw a lye calculator.  I use an 8% Supper fat.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Step Three of making a new recipe

This is the part where I try out the different recipes and see how they work.  I also want to try out some new fragrance oils at the same time since that is what these recipes are for.  I must say I'm already feeling a preference for the lard soap.  Personally I like that I can use less coconut oil and still get a good iodine number.  I also like that I can purchase the lard at my local grocery store for cheap.  I believe out of the two it is the least expensive recipe.

Experimental Recipe 1

25% Coconut oil                                                    Hardness - 42
30% Palm oil                                                          Cleansing - 17
8% Castor oil                                                         Conditioning - 54
35% Corn oil                                                          Bubbly - 24
2% Stearic Acid                                                     Creamy - 32
                                                                                 Iodine - 66
                                                                                 INS - 144

Experimental Recipe 1 -  I'm making a 1lb batch of 8% Super fatted soap. I'm using Natures Garden Fragrance Oil 'Apples and Oak'.  I am making it with a red and green swirl.  I'm going to try and make a nice red by mixing both Merlot mica and melon red lab color.  I'm using chromium green (grass green) oxide for the green.  I will leave the bulk of the soap it's natural color to see if there is any discoloration of the soap.    I am using a wooden box I purchased at the dollar store that I believe will make a nice 1 lb mold or possibly a 2 lb mold if needed in the future.   

Here is my video of the making of Experimental Recipe 1                   
So far so good the fragrance I used accelerated on me a bit.  The corn oil didn't turn the soap a yellow color which I was worried about.  It was a very easy to work with recipe.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting to try it.  I am going to try it again without the stearic acid since I had little white specks in my soap which I think may have been stearic acid that re-solidified. not sure.  I was soaping at room temperature. So I am going to adjust this recipe and take the stearic acid out.  And do another soap just to see if I get specks again.  Also the lather was ok and creamy.  I wasn't impressed with it but I'm sure that it will get better as it cures.

Experimental Recipe 2

20% Coconut oil                                                     Hardness - 39
8% Castor oil                                                          Cleansing - 14
28% Corn oil                                                           Conditioning - 55
42% Lard                                                                  Bubbly - 21
2% Stearic acid                                                       Creamy - 33
                                                                                   Iodine - 66
                                                                                   INS - 141

Experimental Recipe 2 - I'm making a 1 lb batch of 8% Super fatted soap.  I'm using Natures Garden Fragrance oil 'Hot Cocoa'. With this one I am leaving some soap natural and swirling it with a bit of soap mixed with cocoa powder.  This is to see if the cocoa powder gives it a prettier brown than what the natural soap will look like when it's done discoloring.  This fragrance does discolor.  I am also reserving some unscented soap for white. just so I can see what the natural color of this soap recipe is.  I'm told that lard soap makes a pretty white soap.  I'm using a wooden box I purchased from the dollar store of a different size than the other that I believe will make a nice size bar.  For a 1 lb recipe only.  

Here is my video of me making Experimental Recipe 2

This recipe worked really well.  It didn't accelerate on me at all. I love the white color of the natural soap.  I felt I had lots of time to play with it.  And the numbers for this recipe are more right up my alley.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting to try it.  I did get white specks in this recipe as well.  I am going to remake the recipe without the stearic acid to see if that rectifies it.  I was soaping again at room temperature.  The lather on this soap was excellent.  I liked the creaminess and it had a some big bubbles.  Pretty awesome for not having a ton of coconut oil in it.  And it will only get better as it cures.  So I guess there will be a step four...

Until next time..... Happy Soaping Everyone!  ;0)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Step two in making a new soap recipe

The least expensive oil I could use would be the canola but since it makes a super soft bar I decided against it. They also had corn oil. I hadn't researched that oil at the time but apparently it is a good choice.  Corn oil may not have all the antioxidants and stuff that some oils do but it's good for reducing the cost of making soap.  So since I want an inexpensive bar for experimenting with Fragrance Oils it's a good choice for me.  It also has a lower Iodine value than soybean oil so it works better in the recipe.   They didn't even have  rice bran oil for which I was really disappointed.

After deciding on the oils I had to run it through the lye calculator and make some adjustments to the recipe.  Here are the final recipes that I'm going to try out.  For the value Hardness I want a number between 29-54.  For Cleansing I like 14 but 17 is also acceptable but they should be between 12-22. Conditioning between 44-69 but the higher the better for me. Bubbly 14-46 again the higher the better. Creamy 16-48 the higher the better for this one as well.   Iodine 41-70 this number determines how fast your soap will expire so lower is best. And INS between 136-165  I don't think this value really determines any of the properties of the final bar of soap.  It calculates the compatibility of the oils in the soap.

Experimental Recipe 1

25% Coconut oil                                                    Hardness - 42
30% Palm oil                                                          Cleansing - 17
8% Castor oil                                                         Conditioning - 54
35% Corn oil                                                          Bubbly - 24
2% Stearic Acid                                                     Creamy - 32
                                                                                 Iodine - 66
                                                                                 INS - 144

Experimental Recipe 2

20% Coconut oil                                                     Hardness - 39
8% Castor oil                                                          Cleansing - 14
28% Corn oil                                                           Conditioning - 55
42% Lard                                                                  Bubbly - 21
2% Stearic acid                                                       Creamy - 33
                                                                                   Iodine - 66
                                                                                   INS - 141

If you don't want to add the stearic acid then I suggest just adding the 2% value to either the palm oil or the lard amounts.

So there we go the final recipes.  I'll have to try them out and let you know how well they work.  But from just looking at the numbers they should be a good bars of soap for sure. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Step One In Making a New Recipe

Well I'm working on a recipe these days to bring the cost of my experimentation down.  I'm trying to make a recipe that is similar to my favorites but doesn't cost to bloody much.  I have lots of fragrances I want to test out but don't know what they are going to do.  My experimenting is going to put me in the poor house.  lol..   So what I look for in a bar of soap is a cleansing number that is on the lower end of the scale.  12-16.  I like lots of bubbles though so you will always see Castor oil in my recipes.  The bubbles and creaminess have to be in the 20 range 30 is best.  And the hardness I like to be around 40 if I can make it that high and still have what is the most important factor to me the conditioning number.  It has to have high 50's to 60 or over is good.  This is what I've come up with so far. These recipes haven't been tested yet they are just being formulated.  This is only Step one...finding out what's important to you and then finding the right oils to do the job.

Experimental Recipe 1

20% Coconut oil -I don't have a cheaper substitute for this oil because it's already economical on it's own. It's for cleansing and bubbles 20% keeps this cleansing number at a 14

20% Palm oil -I use slightly more in this recipe than I usually use because it makes the bar harder. It makes it a vegan recipe. Offers Hardness, creamy lather, and some bubbles.  Can dry out skin hence the 18%

8% Castor oil -I don't know of any cheaper oil that will give the emollient qualities that this one does..plus bubbles woot woot.  it makes lots of bubbles and makes them creamy.  Makes a softer bar.

50% Soybean oil -This is my olive oil substitute. It's less expensive I think and still has the moisturizing qualities. Rice bran oil would also be good if they have any at a good price. These oils are mostly for the moisturizing or conditioning number the higher this amount of oil the more conditioning the bar will be.  Too much makes a too soft bar.  You can use canola or sunflower as well but that puts the hardness qualities of the bar to the absolute lowest number within the range. It's a little dangerous going that low your soap may not come out of the mold for days.

2% Stearic Acid Since I actually have some I may add some stearic acid to this recipe to make it a bit harder.  If you don't want to add this then add an additional 2% to the Palm oil to make your 100%. You could also use Sodium lactate at 2% but you don't have to calculate it into the lye calc.

Experimental Recipe 2

20% Coconut oil -Again it's economical on it's own

8% Castor oil -Bubbles, bubbles bubbles must have bubbles

30% Sunflower oil, soy oil, canola oil or rice bran oil. I haven't made up my mind yet but soy and rice are in the lead until I find out how much they cost.

42% Lard (so unfortunately this recipe isn't vegan) Palm oil substitute.  This oil has hardening, creaminess and moisturizing qualities that it adds to the recipe  I'm curious to see how it works out.

May add 2% stearic acid to this bar too but I haven't made up my mind yet.

This is what a few days of reading and running numbers through SoapCalc have gotten me.  I'm getting close to what I really want.  I am going to try both experimental recipes because I want to see how the Coconut/Palm combination compares to the Coconut/Lard combination.  I want to see if one is going to be dryer than the other since I followed my own rules closely with the first recipe and not with the second.  As you can see there is a significantly more lard than palm oil  which should be fine if it isn't a drying oil.  I may even increase that so we'll see.  I haven't tried either of these recipes yet.  This is just step one.

Step two ...coming soon! Modifying the Recipe 

Going to the grocery store and seeing how much all these ingredients cost in comparison to my regular oils to make sure I'm actually going to be saving money.  And making the final changes to the recipes to reflect that new knowledge.

Until then Happy Soaping Everyone!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Making Oatmeal, Milk & Honey (or buttermilk in my case)

I think that every soaper out there has a version on this recipe.  No soapers repertoire is finished without it.  lol And I'm a little hesitant to share but I'm going to anyway because it's a good thing to do.  I love this soap.  I make this one in a hot process style. That's important to know before making because some of the ingredients will not transfer over to a cold process recipe.  For instance I use 1 Tbsp of local honey per pound of oils.  In hot process I can do that but not in cold process because it heats up the recipe and not only will my milk and honey burn I will end up with brown spots in the soap.  So for cold process I only use 1 tsp per pound of oils.  I added buttermilk powder mixed with a small amount (1oz/pound of oils) of distilled water (amount is subtracted from the water used to mix lye.) Now in hot process I can add this to the soap after the cook and don't have to worry about burning it.  In cold process you can add this at trace but in order to avoid burning or overheating I would put my soap in the freezer or fridge.  (Remember Honey makes soap get really hot)  I also get steel cut oats and grind it in my coffee grinder and add the ground oats to the hot process soap after the cook.  Note: Adding sodium lactate to your recipe makes this a more fluid mixture once it's done cooking so it makes it easier to incorporate a large amount of oats like I do here.  In cold process it can be added at trace.   Now you don't have to use buttermilk you can use whatever milk suits your fancy.  I prefer buttermilk because I like the way it feels on the skin and smells in the soap.  You can even use cream if you want.   If you want to do this recipe cold process be aware that it may volcano because of the heat generated by the honey.  I suggest making it hot process it's easier and you can add more of the good stuff. If you have any questions please ask.  If I know the answer I will let you know and if not perhaps I can find one for you.  Or find someone that knows the answer.  :)

Here are my videos of me making and cutting this soap.  Recipe is at the bottom.

Angela's Oatmeal, Buttermilk & Honey Hot Process Soap

3% Beeswax (preferably organic as it has a natural honey scent)
8% Castor Oil
20% Coconut Oil
10% Mango Butter
32% Olive Oil
10% Palm Oil
10% Shea Butter
7% Cocoa Butter

Superfat 8%

1 tsp Vitamin E/pound of oils
1/8 cup Ground oats/ pound of oils
1/8cup buttermilk powder/pound of oils mixed with distilled water to make fluid
2% sodium lactate (I use 2% of the oil measurement just to be safe)
1Tbsp Honey/pound of oils

Well here it is.  It's one of my favorite recipes.  Happy Soaping Everyone!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adventures in Soapmaking

Using Herbs

I absolutely love herbs.  I use to wild craft and find my own healing herbs in the woods.  Can you just see me with my guidebook tramping through the woods, with one of my best friends my mother-in-law Mary-lee, looking at all the different plants identifying them.  Researching what we found to make sure that our guidebook was accurate as well as discovering what healing jewels we had in the back yard or right around the corner.  It was awesome!  There is a plethora of healing herbs all around us at any given time.  I'm not the end all be all when it comes to herbs but it is one of my passions.  If I have an ailment I would prefer to use flowers and berries to help ease my symptoms rather than pop pills.  That being said using herbs too often can be troublesome.  Like ingesting St John's wort to much can make you light sensitive.  That type of thing.  So always do your research before you ingest herbs or put them on your skin.  Weather it's something your making for yourself or even something that you buy. 

So I of course have to find a way to use herbs and other natural ingredients in my soaps for healing.  Although I can't make any claims on my soap as you all know.  I can however tell you about the herbs that I use in my soaps and what I have discovered from my research.  If you've been watching my videos for some time you probably know what two herbs I'm going to discuss first.  Calendula and Chamomile are my all time favorite herbs.  

Calendula is a beautiful wild marigold flower.  I am someday going to have fields of this flower that I shall dance in.  :) ) It promotes skin regeneration.  It has astringent properties which most herbs do. It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  All these make it an effective remedy for healing a variety of wounds, burns and abrasions.  It is the most recommended herb for skin ailments such as eczema.  Calendula is also so gentle that it's used in diaper creams and for people with sensitive skin.  It can be taken internally as well for ulcers and ear infections. Always consult a professional before taking an herb internally. If your pregnant avoid. Picture taken from this site http://soulfude.com/tag/calendula/    

Chamomile is a tiny daisy like flower  that comes in a variety of species.  There is Roman, German and a wild variety that is also called pineapple weed that's flowerless.  I like the German variety for topical applications.  Mostly because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. So it's good for reducing redness. It has been used for generations for a variety of ailments.  Most common of which are skin conditions like diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, abscesses and internally for insomnia, anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, and menstrual problems.  I drink Chamomile tea everyday.  (And my chamomile field will be right beside the Calendula one so I can joyful dance from one to the other lol.  )
Image take from this website http://www.cnseed.org/german-chamomile-matricaria-recutita.html

Using Herbal Oil Infusions

My most recent video is of me making a Calendula and Chamomile Soap.  I infused the Calendula and Chamomile separately in Olive oil for three weeks.  Although I prefer to do a double infusion I only did one this time.  I filled up two jars one with Calendula and one with Chamomile left about an inch of space in the jar.  I then filled the jars with olive oil.  I used the same type of Olive Oil I use for soaping to make it easier to predict what the final soap will do when I make it.  If I had used Extra Virgin it would have affected my soap recipe differently and I didn't want that.  This is a cold infusion so I put them in a dark location (because sun and heat does damage the delicate herbs as well as make the oils go rancid faster)  I shook it everyday for three weeks.  Two weeks is sufficient I just didn't have time to strain it till it had been in there for three weeks.  Then I made my Triple Butter Soap Recipe except I replaced the regular olive oil with half Calendula infused Olive oil and half Chamomile infused olive oil. I also added my Oat milk concoction to my lye water.  Oatmeal is good for reducing itching.  (Also a warm bath in the Oat milk is excellent for really crazy itching just an FYI)

So in the end you have a bar of soap that is chalk full of anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-septic ingredients.  As well as some that may help calm itching.  I use this bar when I have a really bad outbreak of eczema. But I'm not making any claims here.  lol   And yes I do bath in Oat milk when I get really itchy although my outbreaks are few and far between since I discovered making my own soap.  :)

Making Calendula and Chamomile Soap

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Adventures in Soapmaking

Hot Process vs Cold Process

I started making soap with hot process.  I felt more comfortable with the fact that I cooked out all the lye and the soap could be used immediately.  I still make hot process soaps along with my cold process.  Which is better?  I don't think one is better than the other honestly.  For a new soaper I would recommend hot process simply because I think it's easier.  I found with cold process I have to move faster and I need to have more patients with being able to use and cut the soap.  There are problems that can arise with added ingredients in cold process, ricing, accelerating, volcano that you don't have to worry about with hot process.  Because most additives are added after the saponification process is complete. Like when you use fragrances,essential oils, aloe vera gel, milk, oatmeal and honey.  (That being said you still need to check on your soap so that it doesn't overflow. )  I like the rustic look of hot process sometimes also I love the lather.  for some reason the bubbles seem bigger even when it's the exact same recipe.  I found another youtuber that also makes hot process and she does a wonderful job with creating beautiful looking hot process soaps.  (Kim from Essential Soap http://www.youtube.com/user/EssentialSoap)  If you want to make prettier soap rather than the rustic variety, Cold process is the way to go.  I  personally like both. As for cold process I like the refined look of the soap.  I like being able to use so much of my creativity that comes with making a cold process soap recipe. I don't like having to be patient.  I'm still learning with both and I think I will be for years to come. 

The way I do hot process

When I make a hot process soap I use my crock pot now.  I used to do the oven process but found it was just easier to use the crock pot.  I melt the butters on high.  Then turn off the crock pot.  I mix my lye/water and wait for the temperatures of both lye/water and oils to be within 5 degrees of each other. If I don't then I will have my oils and lye/water separate on me.  No big deal I just stick blend into submission.  I turn the crock pot on low.  I stick blend till a thick trace (just in case).  Then I set it aside and let it cook for 3-4 hours.   I do check on it a few times to make sure it is going threw the saponification process.  First it gels and will look like vaseline.  Then it will change again to look like mashed potatoes.   I used to, at this point, do the zap test or use my phenolphthalein to see if there was still lye in the soap.  To use phenolphthalein take a small  sample of soap out of the pot into a bowl to test it, if it turns pink when a few drops are added let it cook, if not then the soaps done. Then Throw out the sample!   To do the zap test take out a small amount of soap and touch it to the tip of your tougne and if it zaps you let it cook, if not then the soaps done.  If it's not done after 5/6 hours throw it out because there was probably some mistake made during formulating or measuring your ingredients.  When it's done add your additives be they fragrances, essential oils, color, honey etc.  then plop it in the mold.  When the soap is cooled completely you can take it out and cut it.  It may still be soft.  Note:  A hot process bar will never be as hard or last as long as a cold process bar  You can use this soap right away although I find it does last longer if you wait a couple of weeks for it to harden up a bit.  

Here is a video of me recently making a hot process soap.

Making Mon Amour Soap

The Making of a Soap Recipe

Triple Butter Recipe

This is my favorite current recipe.  I love the creaminess of it.  Although it is my most expensive recipe to make to date.  I choose coconut oil because I like the bubbles and the cleansing that it adds to the bar.  I only use it up to 20% because too much seems to dry out my skin.  Also it has a long shelf life.  I use Castor Oil again because it lends a lot of lather to the recipe.  Also it adds moisturizing and conditioning properties to the soap.  But too much can make the soap bar too soft.  I add no more than 10% for this recipe it's 8%. Palm Oil is my next ingredient and once I am all out I'll make a new recipe without it.  The raping of the land is why I want to stop using this ingredient.  I originally added it without knowing.  I use it for the creaminess it adds to the lather and hardness to the bar.  Although it is less drying than coconut oil it still has some drying qualities so I only add smaller amounts 10-,15% for this recipe it's 10%.  The butters I use in this recipe are Cocoa butter, for creaminess and hardening, Shea butter, for conditioning, healing and some hardness,  and Mango butter, as well for the conditioning and hardness.  All three add some emoillent properties to the bar and add a creaminess to the lather.  I use them at equal amounts 10% each.  Next ingredient is of course Olive oil.  I like using this oil because of it emollient properties and also because it's moisturizing.  Some people may not like using it too much in a recipe because it can sometimes lend a greenish color to the soap depending on the kind you get.  I use it at 32% in this recipe because I use it to whatever amount is left over from 100% after I've added all my other ingreidents.   I have eczema and my research tells me that these oils and butters are some of the best for that condition.   I also add Vitamin E at 1tsp per pound of oils because of it's healing properties.  Although it adds a high cost to the soap which I'm not sure is worth it at the amounts I can afford to add it. I should probably just save the Vitamin E for my lotions and conditioners instead.

Here is my most recent video of me using this recipe.  Unless I've mentioned otherwise this is the recipe I use most often.

Making Cherry Bomb Soap

Angela's Triple Butter Soap Recipe
Coconut oil 20%
Castor Oil 8%
Olive Oil 32%
Palm Oil 10%
Cocoa Butter 10%
Shea Butter 10%
Mango Butter 10%

Superfat 8%

Vitamin E 1tsp/lb of oils
Sodium lactate 2%
oxides for color
fragrance 1oz/lb of oils

This recipe may thicken up quick because of all the solid oils.

My Journey With Soap Colorants

My Journey with Soap Colorants

When I first started soaping I wanted to go as natural as possible.  I started out with just plain soap.  I made it using my oatmeal starch and using really ground up oatmeal.  I made my first infused oil soap. Which to this day these are still my favorite soaps.  The work really well.  I don't have to worry about them making my body break out in a rash.  I absolutely love the feel of the bar and the way they smell on there own without any fragrance or essential oil to bring more scent into the mix.  Honestly I was a bit scared of both Essential Oils and Fragrance oils.  As well as all the different kinds of colorants out there.  How can I tell which is best for me.  I was a little bored of just a plain bar so I went looking for the best most natural soap colorants. 

Enter Herbs

I first discovered herbs and though they grow in the ground what could be more natural and safe than that.  I found a website that was very informative as to what plant material would make what color in your soap.  This was my first mistake.  There are a few websites out there that don't have the correct information and they set up the soaper for failure.  This was one of them.  It told me that hibiscus would make a nice pink color in your soap and that beet root powder would make a nice beautiful red color.  Both herbs are pretty much harmless so I thought I'd try it out.  I didn't end up with pink or red soap.  One was brown, one was a squash color.  I did eventually finds some accurate information on using herbs to color soap.   I now know that Annato seed infused in oil makes a lovely yellow or orange color.  And that Alkanet root will make a robin's egg blue or a purple in your soap depending on the pH of it.   Chlorophyll depending on the kind you get will make a lovely green color.  (I've never tried this one).  I tried some of them out but ultimately decided it wasn't for me.  The mixed results and the added information that sometimes what an herb has in it might be dangerous, I'm talking mostly about Madder root here.  But also cinnamon is an irritant to the skin of sensitive people and may lend a scent in the final soap bar that you don't want. This plus my experience with Hibiscus and beet root kind of turned me off the herb train.  I may go back someday or try it out a bit at a time.  But for now I'm moving on to try other colorants that may be easier to use.   If you want a full list of herbs used for coloring soap and what qualities they lend to the bar.  Get a copy of the Soap Makers Companion.  Actually get a copy if you make soap and don't have one. It is the best book out there for new soapers.

Enter food coloring (Yup)  lol

Yes I tried food coloring.  I though well if I could eat it then surly it would be fine in my soap.  And actually it didn't work so bad.  There was a couple of colors that morphed into the wrong color like blue turned purple and my lime green turned yellow then back to a softer green color.  Apparently they fade over time but I've yet to see that happen before I'm finished using up the soap.  I like using food coloring.  The only reason I moved on to try a new colorant because someone said that it may stain peoples bodies and washcloths.  Although, I think you would have to use way more than I did in order for that to happen.  I will still use food coloring in my soap. But without a full color chart to tell me what color it may be in soap testing is in order for all my dyes.  

Enter Iron Oxides, Ultramarine and Mica

When I got up the courage to use these.  I was at first put off by the fact that although they look natural most of these are synthetically made.  The natural for of these would have actually contained harmful lead and other minerals that would have hurt people.  So they found a way to make them synthetically.  I braved using them and found I really like them.  They are easy to use and lend some really spectacular hues to the soap.  I so far haven't had any incidents in my skin breaking out because of the use of them.  And the companies selling them (I'm talking about Voyageur Soap and Candle Company here) generally have a little picture showing what color your final soap bar will be, in cold process and melt and pour. That was the selling factor for me.  No guessing games.  Plus the mica's added a bit of sparkle to the soap when used and what girl can resist something shinny....well not me anyway.

Enter Lab Colorants

I honestly have not had too much experience with these yet.  Unless you count my jaunt through food coloring land.  They are pretty much the same thing.  I have three colors of these and I will use them.  I like how some companies do put up a handy picture when buying to show what color they will be in the final soap bars cold process and melt and pour. (again Voyageur Soap and Candle Co). Some of them morph as you can see in the pictures when used in cold process.  Brambleberry has a handy chart that you can use as well for mixing the best colors for you and one day I'm going to buy it.


Well I think that the iron oxides, ultramarine's and mica's are my favorites so far.  They are easy to use.  I haven't had any morphing, so far, or fading.  I love the fact that I don't have to add a preservative to them so they last a really long time on there own.  I will still use my Lab colorants that I have but as for buying more I think I'll stick with the oxides.  The only time I will think about trying out Lab Colorant's again is if they come out with a really beautiful ruby red color.  So far that color has eluded me.  I have heard whisperings though that some colors can be achieved by mixing both Lab colorants with the Oxides.  Like a nice red.  I have yet to experience that and when I do I will post my results so the world can benefit from my happiness.  

So this is my experience and journey in finding the colorants for me. I didn't really mention clays here because they are clay colored with either Lab Colorants or Oxides to give them the hues you see.  So they fit in both categories from what I've read anyway. Plus I haven't used them as a colorant yet.  I hope you enjoyed my journey.  I don't know if the information will help anyone.  Dont' take my word for it.  There are some soapers that are perfectly happy with using the herbal colorants or swear by Lab Colorants.  Test it out find out what's best for you.  This is just my experience.  

Happy Soaping! ♥

Adventures in Soapmaking

Well you really can never tell what's going to happen sometimes with a soap recipe.  I made this creme brulee soap the other day using my triple butter soap recipe.  It looked amazing in the mold.  I absolutely loved it.  I knew from the natures garden website that the fragrance was going to turn the soap, but it said it would turn to a milky brown color and that is what I was expecting.  Well mine turned greenish.  I don't know if it was the added titanium dioxide or if it was because the soap overheated a bit.(It cracked down the middle when it was insulated) The small flower shapes using the exact same recipe look brownish so I'm leaning more towards the overheating.  So ....what am I to do.  I'm not selling this soap.  It looks horrible.  I'm going to try it one more time not using the titanium doixide and going with a more natural soap look and I'm not going to insulate it and see what happens.  If it turns green on me again that's it for creme brulee.  Perhaps it would make a better bubble bath.  :) oh and maybe a good massage candle...yeah a message candle for sure.

Making Creme Brulee Soap

The second soap I made the same day turned out wonderful. It was Love Spell fragrance from Natures Garden.  It hasn't discolored at all.  I did cut it a little small for my liking but I can work with that.  I used the gold oil technique that I learned from Soaping 101 (http://www.youtube.com/user/soaping101) and I love the look.  I'm going to try it with my other mica's and see how that works.  I bet my Merlot mica would look cool and now I'm dying to get some silver mica.  I could so see that going with some kind of unicorn related soap.  Since everyone knows that unicorns blood is silver lol.  I really like this scent and I actually have an essential oil blend that I made that smells similar.  It's a Bergamont, Rosewood, and Tangerine blend of equal parts.  Still aging on the shelf awaiting for the day that I soap it.  Perhaps tomorrow. :)

Making Love Spell Soap

So I guess I'll put the cutting and unmolding video on here too just to keep them all  in the same post.  I was using the new cutter my hubby made for me. (Picture on right)  It's just a prototype a new and improved one is on it's way.  And I have inside information from my little spies that it's gonna be pink. :)  I hope it's pink one of my favorite colors.  I like this one it only has a few things that I wanted changed.  It works really well.  It's is really suited to a left handed person the way he had it made.  No I'm not left handed lol I may turn it around and see how it works from the other side next time.  It uses a steel hanging wire for the wire instead of a guitar string like the ones I've seen on Youtube so far.  And the top piece is all one piece of wood which I like.

Cutting and Unmolding of Creme Brulee and Love Spell

The Making of a Soap Recipe

A Note to New Soapers

When I first started making soap I found it really difficult to find a recipe.  I started where I imagine a lot of people have with the standard 30% Coconut oil, 30% Palm oil, 40% Olive oil recipe.  It's a good recipe but it has it's cons as well.  I like the fact that it has a lot of bubbles.  I didn't like the fact that it made my skin feel tight after using it.  I definitely needed to use lotion afterwards.  I think that everyone really needs to start somewhere. When I first started out I didn't know what all those numbers meant on the lye calculator sheet.  It took experience formulating different recipes to actually understand what those numbers meant and felt like on the skin and how the bar looked when I changed one oil for another. I've now been making soap for three years.  It has taken that long formulating different recipes to understand what the cleaning number actually brings to a bar of soap, and I'm still learning.  How the high conditioning number is will also mean that it may not come out of the mold for days lol.  Also what oils can be substituted for another.  For instance, you can substitute palm oil for cocoa butter.  Cocoa butter will actually make the bit bar harder than palm, I mean for the creamy lather they work the same or similar. But Cocoa butter is a bit more conditioning than Palm. I can tell someone all these things but only the actually making of different recipes will the understanding come.  It takes experience.  Don't loose heart if your a new soaper and  don't know where to start.  Just keep on making different recipes study your oils.  And test, test, test, your soaps out.  Find out what you like best.  What is more important to you?  Do you need the conditioning for sensitive or dry skin?  Or do you need a high cleansing soap for real big messes?  Do you like a nice creamy lather or are big bubbles more important to you?  Are you committed to having the most natural bar of soap possible?   These are some of the questions that I had to ask myself and test out before finally I realized what was the most important qualities of a soap that I wanted.  What may be my favorite soap may not be yours.  If you don't like a recipe find out why and make soapcalc your new best friend.  :)

Happy Soaping!

The Making of a Soap Recipe

This next recipe I want to talk about is my Avocado Oil Soap recipe. I also use Green Tea Extract and Aloe Vera Gel for a nice rich bar.   I love Avocado oil it has so many wonderful qualities.  It's softening and conditioning for the skin.  It has Vitamins A, D and E.  It is good for sunburned and wind chapped skin.  It's also a really good oil for massage as it has good slip to it.  If you want to learn more check out this blog post by SwiftCraftyMonkey. (I love her blog  :)) http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/2009/11/avocado-oil.html  So because of all those wonderful qualities I thought that it would make a really nice bar of soap.

 At first I tried using Unrefined Avocado oil.  It made the bar a beautiful color but it faded out over time.  It also for some reason was a very very dry bar of soap.  I used 30% coconut oil so it was dry anyway but this one was extra dry.  I decided that it was because of the naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids in the unrefined brand.  That's just my assumption not scientific fact.  So what I did then was decrease the amount of Coconut oil and use a refined Avocado oil and BINGO I love it.  It is a very nice bar that doesn't dry out my skin.

Other reasons I love this recipe include that it's a slow moving recipe.  If I want to make a few or heck even five or six color bar.  I'm sure I could do it easily with this recipe.  So it's a keeper.

Check out this video of me using the Avocado Oil Soap recipe.

Making Green Tea and Aloe Vera Soap

Just as an aside I wouldn't use Aloe Vera Gel in a Soap ever again.  It tried to volcano on me.  I will use Aloe Vera extract instead.  That will be reflected in the recipe I post here.

Angela's Aloe Vera and Green Tea Soap Recipe

Refined Avocado Oil 20%
Castor Oil 8%
Coconut Oil 20%
Olive Oil 37%
Palm Oil 15%

Superfat 8%

1 tsp/lb of oils Vitamin E
1tbsp/lb of oils Liquid Aloe Vera Extract
1 Tsp Green Tea Extract
Note: Aloe Vera gel will volcano.  I haven't tried to use the aloe juice yet
fragrance 1oz/lb
Color: I used 1 tsp each chromium green oxide and titanium oxide mixed in with a bit of olive oil separately
2% Sodium Lactate can be added to make a harder bar

The Making of a Soap Recipe

I'm working on making some really good recipes for soaping so that I can start selling my soap at the market.  I want to sell but I really want to have a good product that is easy to make that has the qualities in soap that I like.  I have been adjusting my recipes so that my soap is hard and conditioning at the same time.  Most conditioning soaps are very soft.  So far my answer to my delima is to add sodium lactate to my soap.  Here are four videos the first is the making of my bastille soap recipe without sodium lactate and the second is the cutting and unmolding of that recipe.  In it you can see how soft this recipe is. Then the third video is the making of my bastile recipe after I added sodium lactate. The fourth is the cutting and unmolding of the sodium lactate soap.  

Making Strawberry Swirl Soap

Cutting and Unmolding Strawberry Swirl Soap

Making Strawberry Hearts Soap

Cutting and Unmolding Strawberry Hearts Soap

As you can see the sodium lactate did an excellent job at hardening the soap.  I could take it out of the flower mold much more easily.  Also this will make the bar last longer when someone goes to use it in there shower.  

I've also tried putting the mold in the freezer as suggested but some of my soapy friends.  It worked well, however, I found the soap will sweat for a little bit as it unfreezes once it's out of the mold.  Also this doesn't lend any enduring qualities to the finished soap.  

I think I may adjust this recipe further by adding some more hard oils to it.  I'm debating on this since doing so will reduce the conditioning number on the recipe.  This is my favorite kids soap recipe if once I get my new molds it doesn't harden up as much as I need it to I may just adjust it.  Till then I like it the way it is.  

Angela's Bastile Soap Recipe 

Coconut oil 5%
Castor Oil 10%
Olive Oil 60%
Palm Oil 15%
Shea Butter 10%

Super fatted 8%

Sodium Lactate 2%
Fragrance 1oz/lb
1 tsp/lb Vitamine E
Mica or Oxides for color

Always put any recipe through a lye calculator!