Thursday, November 14, 2019

Going cold...

When I first started making soap I used the cold process method. After mixing the oils and lye solution you pour the soap into a mold of some sort and wait for four or more weeks before you can use the soap. Saponification doesn't usually take quite that long but you want to be sure there is no live lye in your soap and you want to give the bars a chance to harden.

With hot process soap you basically cook the soap batter either by heating it in a crockpot until it volcanoes and goes through applesauce, mashed potato and Vaseline stages, or by soaping at high temperatures (in the 200F area) in a stainless steel pot/plastic container, all of the stages happen pretty quick when soaping that hot. It's pretty fun to watch this all take place within a half hour.

There are a few advantages to the hot process method. First, it's fast, once the cook is over, saponification has taken place and you can use the soap immediately. Usually you give it a few weeks to evaporate some of the moisture and give the bar a chance to harden. Another advantage is you're able to add the superfats to the soap after saponification so you can add the really good fats then, giving you the chance to control which awesome oils aren't eaten up by the lye. It's good practice to use the more pricey oils at this point. It can also help to add essential oils after the cook so they're not superheating and loosing their oomph.

There are a couple of disadvantages to the hot process method as least for me. One is, the soap batter is pretty thick and while it's possible for some soapers to get some amazing swirls, it's not as easy to get the pretty bars that you get with the cold process least for me. Another disadvantage is that there can be quite a bit of stirring of the hot batter which is like stirring a mix between brownie batter and cookie dough.

Due to the job I have, my hands and wrists already take a beating and stirring a thick batter gets extremely painful. Over the summer I've been working on cold process soaps because it's not as hot as working over very hot soap batters. Making the cold process soaps made me realize how much easier it was on my hands and wrists and I'm thinking I may have to go back to that method.

One concern I have is not having the ability to choose which oils/fats will superfat my soaps. I'm not even sure it will be noticeable. I'm going to give it a try and see if there is any difference in the properties of the soaps. Quality, moisturizing soaps is my number one goal. I'll do what works best to achieve that!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Christmas Soaps

A few months ago I started thinking about various soaps to make for my shop that represent the upcoming Holidays. There are still some bars of the Autumn Pumpkin Soap available for now but I wanted some soap for Christmas as well. Making organic/natural soaps can make that a little bit tricky.

It's been difficult to find a natural colorant that makes soap a Christmas red so I passed on that pretty quick. And many of the scents we associate with Christmas (cinnamon,  nutmeg, clove) can only be used in very minute amounts because they are "hot" oils that can be irritating to skin.

I asked for input on Facebook and received some great suggestions!

I ended up with three different soaps, Gingerbread Soap, Eggnog Soap and Christmas Tree Soap. I used the bare minimum of essential oils but like any new skin care item I really...highly...recommend you use these only on your hands and wrists at first to make sure you have no issues with the essential oils. And as always, check the ingredients lists to make sure you have no allergies to anything in the soap.

Gingerbread Soap

The Gingerbread Soap has some pretty awesome moisturizing oil: avocado, castor, coconut, shea butter, etc. It also has a bit of annatto seed oil and cacao powder for color, maca powder and apricot seeds for a bit of exfoliant, ginger essential oil and a bit of ground nutmeg sprinkled on top (didn't think ginger would show up very well). I love the little orange speckles and it smells so good! The bars are a bit shorter but they are also wider. You can see that it went through a partial gel, there's a darker oval that reaches almost to the edges of the soap.

Eggnog Soap

I love Eggnog, so rich and creamy and...noggy. Pretty amazing oils in this soap, too! I added a tiny bit of turmeric to the bottom to give it a creamy color and left the top plain for a bit of whipped cream. It also has nutmeg sprinkled on top, bentonite clay and nutmeg essential oil. It smells amazing!

Christmas Tree Soap

I love the way this soap smells! It has fir needle and cedarwood essential oils and it smells very Christmas tree-like! Spirulina powder was used to add color for this "tiger stripe" swirl. Still getting the hang of those swirls. 

All of my Christmas soaps will be listed in my shop on December 1st and there is a very limited quantity available!