Archive for the ‘cold process soap’ Category

Color Dispersion

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

color dispersionColor Dispersion in Soap

This picture shows the same exact recipe using two different methods of color dispersion in soap. Once the soap was poured, we noticed that some of the colorant was still on the sides of the bowls instead of actually incorporated into the soap (as shown in the soap on the right).  In addition, we noticed concentrated pockets of colorant in this cut soap.   Mainly, it is the difference between hand stirring the colorants in verses stick blending the colorants in, and failure to scrape the sides of the bowls to incorporate all of the coloring.  Regardless of the method that you choose, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages. The key to knowing which method works best for you is knowing your soap recipe and the time that it allows you.

Color Dispersion in cold process soap making can be a tricky aspect. After you figure out your color scheme for your recipe and the technique as to how you are adding your color, it then comes down to the actual challenge.

Really there are three options to color dispersion in your soap. They are hand stirring the colorant into the batter with a spoon, stick blending the colorant in, or the combination of both. The correct decision relies on a few factors though. These factors are: your recipe, time, and the number of colorants you want to add.

Hand Stirring
The best advantage of hand stirring colorants into soap is that it does not speed up trace. This allows you the perfect fluid soap batter for accomplishing a multi color swirl in your soap. But, hand stirring the colorant into your soap batter is slightly more time consuming because you really have to stir for some time to get the colorant dispersed. So, this is where knowing your recipe and window of time, especially if you are using multiple colorants, comes into play.

You will also have to be ready to move. When hand stirring, you have to stir, and stir quickly to get the full color dispersion of the soap colorant. And, do not forget to have your spatula ready to clean the sides and rotate the soap from the bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the colorant is evenly dispersed.

However, not all colorants can be hand stirred. Some of the colorants do not disperse as well as others with this method. The examples of these types of colorants would be titanium dioxide and the ultramarines. Colorants like these often need to be stick blended in order to get the full color dispersion among all of the soap.

Stick Blending
Stick blending your colorants in soap batter is ideal for true color dispersion. But, with stick blending time is a major factor. Stick blending will speed up trace (or the saponification process) in your soap. If too much time elapses while stick blending your colorants into the batter; certain swirling techniques cannot be accomplished. This is because the soap batter will be too thick, especially if you are using more than two colors in your soap recipe.

Besides speeding up trace, there is another factor to consider. When using multiple soap colorants and stick blending you will have to quickly clean your stick blender in between colors. But, you do have a few options when it comes to this. Some soapers keep a small bowl of water by their coloring station to quickly clean their stick blender in between colors. And, some just stick blend their colors in the correct order, but gently tap the stick blender to remove as much colored batter as possible before moving on to the next color. For example if you are coloring your soap green and yellow; you would start by stick blending the yellow first. This is because the yellow color is the lightest, and then move to the green.

The Combo
For the situations where you want to use ultramarines which almost require a stick blend to get the best color dispersion, but you still want several other colors in your soap; you can combo the blend. You would start by stick blending the colorants that need it, and then move on to the hand stirred colorants. If the stick blended colorants become too thick, simply stir them by hand and the soap batter will thin out slightly (or enough to pour). Just remember, you must move quickly.

What this really all comes down to is testing. Through making various batches of soap, you will be able to find exactly which method of color dispersion is best for you and your soaping recipe. There really is no right or wrong answer as to which method to use. Each soap recipe will vary.

Natures Garden offers FUN Soap colorants for soap making.  We even carry multiple neon colors to really make your soap “come alive”.

Insulating Soap

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

insulating soap In an earlier blog post, we discussed how insulating soap to promote gel phase was a matter of personal choice. Whether you insulate or choose not to, your soap will still be soap.

When it comes to whether you choose to insulate or not, really there are only two factors that will change. The first is the amount of cure time. Due to the fact that the saponification process is slowed down by the prevention of gel phase, your soap may need extra cure time before use. On the other hand, promoting a full gel phase for your soap means an accelerated saponification process with a normal cure time. And, the second difference is an aesthetic one.

The finished look of your soap will differ slightly based upon whether you choose to prevent gel phase or encourage it. By preventing gel phase (sticking your molded soap in the fridge or freezer), your finished soap will have a matte look to it. By promoting gel phase, your finished soap will have a slight translucent, shiny look to it. Again, however, please remember regardless of which method you choose either method results with finished soap.

When making soap, it is important to remember that the gel phase occurs during the saponification process. While your soap is in the mold, the various soaping ingredients react with the lye mixture, and heat is used to help the acceleration of the whole saponification process. When choosing to promote gel phase during saponification, it can be accomplished through means of insulation.

Insulating your soap means wrapping the soap with various layers in an attempt to keep the heat within the soap. Because the saponification process is endothermic (meaning the process pulls heat from its surroundings), keeping the soap insulated is the best means to successfully promoting gel phase throughout your whole soap. It will also help to prevent a partial gel. If you remember, a partial gel is where the center of your soap achieves gel phase, but the outside areas do not. This typically occurs because the outside of the soap looses heat in a quicker fashion therefore inhibiting the ideal environment for a full gel phase to occur.

Through the means of insulation, you can provide your soap with its ideal environment (heat wise).  And, when it comes to insulation for your soap, there are many different items you can use.  These items would include: newspaper, cardboard, blankets, towels, etc.  Practically, you can use any layer type material that will keep the heat in the soap (but never aluminum foil).

Many soapers will use various items in combination such as: wrapping the soap with saran wrap (especially if the soap has a decorated top), then covering it with newspaper, surrounded by towels, and finally placed under a box. There really is no limit for insulation. And, many believe that over insulating can never be done. Remember the key to insulating, if you are choosing to promote the gel phase; is to keep as much heat in the soap as possible.

However, please note: If you are soaping a recipe that does contain sugar or dairy products, you may want to go a little on the lighter side of insulating due to the fact that these items in your recipe will increase heat during the saponification process. Extreme insulating in these examples may cause the ingredients to “burn”, possibly resulting in discoloration and an off smell in your finished soaps.  It can also cause your soap batter to begin to bubble out of your mold.  You do however have the choice of preventing the gel phase for these types of recipes, and sticking your molded soap in the fridge or freezer.

Too Much Castor

Monday, April 28th, 2014

too much castor

The following blog was written by a new employee of Natures Garden who is doing her best to learn the science and art of soap making.  Please take that into consideration before commenting on her experiences, successes, and yes…failures.

Hello everyone!

The other day I wrote a blog about how I figured out my own recipe and all the details of my soap. I was so very excited about this project. I did really well throughout the whole process and was happy with the outcome of my soap. My soap bars were gorgeous and I was  officially a successful soap maker!

Well, the following day, I was assigned a new project: to write another recipe from start to finish. This would include everything from ingredients, to scent, to color, whether or not to add sodium lactate or color stabilizer, the swirl technique (aka design), and the mold. We are talking about EVERYTHING! I said, OK, I can do that!

The only difference between this assignment and my last project was this time there was not going to be a double check. Yes, the last few times I embarked on this journey, my work was double checked. I am in training, and there are a lot of things you need to know about the soap making process and everything that comes along with it. With all of that being said, I felt confident I could do this…really! So off I went.

I figured out my recipe, gathered all of my ingredients, put on my safety gear, and prepped.

Once I melted all of my oils, put together my lye solution, emulsified and scented, I was ready to design. I placed my colors in their bowls, and I was ready for the in the pot swirl. If you have not noticed, I am fond of this technique! Everything was going smoothly!

I took the colored batter that I was using and plopped it into my main soap batter and began the swirling technique. And, let me just tell you, my soap looked beautiful. I couldn’t even get over how nicely it poured into the silicone loaf mold. I was excited!

Now this was on Friday so I had to play the waiting game all weekend. By Sunday night, I couldn’t wait to see my masterpiece. When Monday morning finally arrived, I was ready to unveil my homemade soap. I picked it up and started to the chopping block. Hmmm, this soap seemed a bit squishy. I thought this can’t be good.

Starting to work the soap out of the mold, I realized that now it seemed sticky. This was not at all what I was hoping for. Finally, I got the soap out of the mold, and proceeded to cut it. That was when the soap stuck to my knife…just great! Despite the fact that the colors were awesome and it smelled great, I had messed up somewhere.  My soap bars were tacky and very soft.

So, I checked my weights and percentages. Everything was good. Then, I had my recipe double checked by someone else. They pointed out their opinion of what the problem could be.  I had too much castor oil in my recipe. Oopsy! I had totally overlooked the frequently-held opinion that when making soap that contains  Castor Oil , you may want to stay at 8% or less castor oil in your formulation.   My addition was 20%.

In the end, I felt defeated, and was totally bummed! I did however, make a note to self: while Castor oil is good for the “bubbly” in your soap, my experience showed me that using too much castor oil may produce soap that is tacky and hard to remove from the mold.  In the future, if I want to produce a harder bar of soap, I may want to increase my percentages of oils that are known to produce harder bars of soap such as coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil.

I predicted I was going to fail…and when I do, I do it right…lol.

So my epic failure is a lesson learned. And, even though I am hard on my little feelings, don’t be too hard on yourself for your mistakes. My advice to any new soapers: Turn setbacks into future achievements, and lessons to be taught to others so they don’t make the same boo boos.

Until next time, have a fabulous day!

Cindy

 

 

Gel Phase

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

inhibited gel phase soap In an earlier blog post, we briefly discussed insulation of cold process soap. Through insulating your soap, you are encouraging the best environment for the gel phase to occur during saponification. Keeping the soap evenly heated using insulation will prevent a partial gel from occurring. But, still there are no guarantees. Even with the best insulation, you may still end up with bars of soap that have partial gel evident.

So, what if you prevented the gel phase in your soap?

Although this is possible, it is still not guaranteed. It can be very tough to prevent the gel phase. But, there are some factors that need to be noted to help you in your quest to stop the gel phase. These factors are: the size of your mold, and the various ingredients in your recipe. The saponification process involves heat; it is the nature of the soaping beast. Choosing to eliminate the gel phase will change some elements to your soap and soaping process.

But, before we get to that information, let’s look at some specific reasons to prohibit the gel phase.

First, since you are decreasing the amount of heat that is in your soap, this will allow you to introduce certain soaping ingredients that normally would be finicky. Examples of these heat sensitive ingredients would be: dairy products, heat sensitive colorants; prone to morphing, and fragrances or essential oils with a low flashpoint.

Dairy Products
Soaping with ingredients such as creams, milks, and butters for example will provide your finished bars with rich, extra moisturizing elements. However, soaping with dairy products can be tricky. With the heat that is involved with the saponification process, there is a chance that dairy products will burn. This results in both discoloration and an off smell in your soap. By preventing the gel phase from occurring, you allow these ingredients a fighting chance in soap. And, you can even produce a creamier bar of finished soap.

Colorants
Whether you are deciding to go the natural route with herbs, or using colorants that you worry may morph; preventing gel phase allows the window of opportunity to stay open. Certain herbs discolor or darker from the saponification process. The same is true for some colorants that completely alter like deep purple to brown.

Now, for the colorants in the finished soap when the gel phase is eliminated: the bar colors are bolder and more vivid. Even if you choose not to color your soap batter, the elimination of the gel phase stops the darkening of the fats and oils in your recipe, allowing for a “whiter” finished bar.

Scenting Options
If you do not want to rebatch your soap recipe, preventing the gel phase in your cold process soap may allow you to scent your soap with low flashpoint oils without worrying that the saponification process will eliminate the scent. It is also possible for fragrance or essential oil scents to come through stronger in the soap because of the reduction of heat.

As for what preventing the gel phase means for your soaps, there are key points you should know. First, you must keep your molded soap chilled for the full 24 hours. Depending on your recipe, you may have to keep the soap chilled for an additional 24 hours as well.

Now, when you are ready to unmold your soap, it is crucial to let your molded soap reach room temperature before trying to slice it. Not allowing your soap to be at room temperature before cutting may result with your bars being brittle, and breaking apart as you slice them.

As for the saponification process, since you inhibit the gel phase, it will take your soaps longer to complete the saponification process. What this means is that the soap will need additional cure time before it will be ready to use.

So, whether you choose to insulate or prevent the gel phase, it is really up to personal discretion. Regardless of the method, the result is the same; a finished bar of soap. The only variables that change are the molding environment and the cure time.

Insulate Soap

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

insulate soap As soap crafters, there are hundreds of variances allotted to us that allow our soaps to be special. Maybe it is the combination of oils in your recipe, the process to which you soap, your unique scents, your particular decorating method, or really any number of things that makes your soap exclusive. Well, in this blog post, we are going to throw a new option into the mix.

To insulate or not to insulate that is the question.

As with many aspects of soap making; when it comes to insulation, it is really a personal preference.

Being new to soap making, a lot of research is involved. You read, read, and read some more in order to learn everything you can about soap making. Well, as many of us found, insulating is always advised.

The insulating step involves taking your freshly poured, molded soap, and surrounding it with layers. These layers help to keep the soap at an even heat while the batter goes through the saponification process. During the saponification process, as the lye reacts with the various soap making ingredients, soap (and glycerin) is produced. The process itself is an endothermic reaction, meaning that it absorbs heat from the surroundings.

This “heat stage” of soap making is commonly called the gel phase. During the gel phase, saponification works at an accelerated rate, hardening the fats of your recipe. This phase will also be the time where any discoloration of ingredients or colorants will occur from the heat.

Keeping the soap uniformly heated will prevent a partial gel from occurring. Not keeping the soap uniformly heated allows for the soap that is in the center of the mold to stay hot, while the soap on the outside loses heat rapidly. And, since the saponification process is endothermic, it needs to be able to draw heat from its surroundings. What this results in is an off colored look in the center of your soap, usually in an oval like shape. This shows that the center of the soap gelled, and the outside of the soap never reached gel phase.

Speaking in terms of soap, gel phase or not reaching gel phase does not harm the soap itself. The soap will still function after cure; it is only an aesthetic issue. So, it is for this reason that it is often believed that insulation is vital to an amazing looking bar of cold process soap. But, there is an alternative.

Lets look at the flip side.  If you do not want to insulate the heat in the soap, what would happen if you chilled the soap instead?

Chilling your molded soap would prevent the gel phase from occurring. This would be a handy trick of the trade for a few reasons. It should however, be noted though that in order for the gel phase prevention to occur, you need to be able to control the area. Operating out of a loaf mold for example, still allows enough soap in the middle for a partial gel to occur. You want to keep the size of the soap easily manageable for temperature reasons. Remember, because saponification deals with heat, while the lye and fats are reacting, heat will be present. To completely increase your chances of preventing the gel phase, you must minimize the area that needs chilled, aka use smaller molds.

Not insulating your soap, and instead placing your freshly molded soap into the fridge or freezer for 24 hours will help to prevent the gel phase from occurring. But, please note the size of your soap will directly determine whether the gel phase will occur or not.   This also rings true for the soaping ingredients that are in your recipe. Chilling your soap is not a guarantee, partial gelling can still transpire.

In closing, there is another option if you choose not to insulate your soap. There are benefits and drawbacks to chilling your soap. Stay tuned for a future blog posts discussing preventing gel phase and what the outcome will be.

 

Rebatching Soap

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

rebatching soap Whether you view rebatching as an art, a doorway for the addition of gentle ingredients, or a second chance for your soap, this method of soap making offers opportunity.

The term rebatching for soap simply means remaking soap.  This method would be very similar to melt and pour soap in that you are melting down soap that has already gone through the saponification process.  Rebatching is more intricate than melt and pour soap though.  Rebatching involves cold processed or hot processed soap bars that are melted down for specific reasons.

A common technique used in soap making, rebatching allows many soap making handcrafters the chance to rework their soap recipes, introduce delicate scents and herbs, as well as add ingredients or colors they may have missed the opportunity to add the first time.

Since rebatched soap has already gone through the saponification process, the rebatching steps do not involve lye.  This is why rebatching allows the opportunity to add those delicate soaping ingredients; without fear.  With the rebatching method, these ingredients; which normally would not survive the saponification process, now have the chance to add wonderful benefits to your finished bars of soap.

Although time consuming, the rebatch process is fairly easy to do.  To put it briefly, the rebatching process is finely grating the soap, then heating (sometimes with the addition of a liquid like water to help prevent burning).  There are a few different ways to introduce heat to the shredded soap.  These ways would include:  double boiler, microwave, and crock pot.  But, please advise: you must monitor the soap while it is heating because you never want to scorch the soap.  This may be slightly more difficult using the microwave approach.

Now, as the soap is heated and starts to liquefy; it will have a very thick gel like density.  Once the soap hits this consistency, any additives or scents are added and stirred in.  Once the soap is stirred well, it is then scooped into a mold, left to harden, and finally cut into slices.

So, now that you have an understanding as to what the method of rebatching is, we will shortly post a blog as to the various reasons to rebatch.  This post will also cover the benefits as well as the drawbacks of rebatching your soap.

Why Rebatch

Friday, April 18th, 2014

rebatch soapRebatching your soap can literally be a “saving redo” for your soap recipe.

Sometimes your homemade soap bars are cracked, brittle, or just not performing like what you were hoping for. 

These are all perfect examples as to why you would rebatch your recipe.  But, it just doesn’t stop there. 

Soapers rebatch a soap recipe for a variety of reasons.  Below is a list of the benefits and key points you should know about rebatching a soap recipe.  Rebatching soap is essentially making the soap twice.  The first time you are completing the saponification process.  (Or, you may be using soap that has already been through the saponification process.)  Then, the second time you grate down the soap and melt it (for the reason you are rebatching). 

Benefits of a Rebatch
Rebatching a soap recipe for the addition of heat sensitive ingredients: 

Sometimes with homemade soap crafting, there are certain fragrances or essential oils that you really want to scent your soap bars; but worry that the scents cannot handle the high heat due to the saponification process.  Many times with low flash point fragrances or essential oils, there is scent burn off.  What results in your finished bars is soap that has little or no scent.  Rebatching soap will not only safely allow you to add these heat sensitive scents, but allow them to stay true to their scent (less burn off). 

Also, some fragrance oils may cause cold process soap to seize (turning your soap into a solid mass with no fluidity).  If you have your heart set on using one of these fragrances in your soap recipe, it can be done through the process of rebatching; without seizing your batch.  Usually fragrance oils that seize  your soap contain DPG.  None of the fragrance oils we carry at Natures Garden contain DPG. 

When it comes to coloring for cold process soap, it is very important to select ones that do not morph.  Through the process of rebatching, you do not need to worry about pH sensitive colorants.  And, sometimes this is just the answer to achieve that certain color.  With rebatch soap, the soap base that you are using has already completed the saponification process; therefore, the colorants that normally would discolor will not.   This is true for herbs that are used as natural soap colorants as well.  Although it should be stated that some herbs naturally discolor due to oxidation. 

Herbs not only offer color, but also wonderful and various benefits to your finished bars of soap.  The only problem is they can directly affect your soaping procedure.  Many herbs can speed up trace.  Even more so, some herbs cannot survive the saponification process and will discolor as a result.  With rebatching, this is not as big of an issue.  Herbs like lavender flowers, for example, can be added without worrying that those beautiful flowers will turn brown. 

Rebatch Opportunity
Rebatching allows for perfection:

Rebatching is also a wonderful method to use to correct a soap recipe.  Things can get a little chaotic when soaping, and it could be possible that you overlooked adding one of your soaping ingredients and did not realize it until after the soap was molded.  This resulted in your finished bars being too lye heavy.  A rebatch allows you the perfect opportunity to add that missing ingredient and balance out your soap.  This opportunity also allows for superfatting a recipe after saponification; or correcting soap bars that are too soft (made with too many fats or soft oils).

It is possible too that while making soap, your batter becomes too thick too quick for the addition of color or scent.  With rebatch, the soap can be scented and colored like you never missed a beat. 

Rebatch can also help correct a false trace recipe.
 
Rebatch, a Second Chance for Soaps
Sometimes, as a soaper, you will have pounds of soap scraps that you have on hand.  Rebatching the soap lets you make loaves (and bars) of them once more.  And will clear out all of that soaping space. 

Points to Know about Rebatch
Some soapers love to rebatch soap, others rebatch only when necessary, and some soapers just do not like to rebatch.  What ever your stance is on rebatch, it is a method that allows for many otherwise missed opportunities.   Here are some key points to know about rebatch. 

When making soap that is a rebatch, it will never completely liquefy.  Even after spending hours in the crock pot, or on the stove top (with the double boiler method), the best you will ever achieve is more of a thick gel like state.  Sometimes the soap may even be globby like.  This does not affect the soap being soap, but it will affect the finished look of your bars. 

When it comes to molding your rebatch soap, it is highly likely to get trapped air bubbles.  This is just the nature of the thick gel like globby beast.  It is extremely important to tap your mold as your fill it to prevent these pesky little buggers from being a problem in your finished soap bars.  You may also notice that it may be slightly more difficult to mold your soap while in this state.  This will be especially true if you are used to pouring it (like cold process soap batter).  With rebatch soap, you will need a ladle and scoop the rebatch soap into your mold. 

For the finished bars of rebatch soap, they will look very similar to hot process soap bars.  They have a very rustic look to them, and will not have the traditional smooth and creamy look that cold process has. 

On a final note, rebatching soap is truly a labor of love.  There will be lots of TLC (because of the time put in) and additional work to do this method.  But, if you are willing to put in the extra effort in (grating the soap), you will be able to rebatch your soap and have the end results that you are looking to achieve. 

How to Rebatch

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

rebatched soap How to Rebatch

Sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow, but when it comes to soaping, mistakes will be made, tears will fall, and you learn from your errors!

This week, we had a slight oversight.

All of our soaping ingredients were weighed out and ready for the combination and melt down.  We had the lye and water ready to make the lye mixture.  Everything else was prepped and ready to go.

We put on our safety gear and started the soap making procedure.  Everything seemed to be going flawlessly.  Our scent was perfect, the color combination was the spot on, and the soap batter poured beautifully into the mold.  It was soaping bliss.

Then, we started cleaning up.  That was when we found the sunflower oil.  It was still in its dish, waiting to be added to the soap recipe.  And, it was about 5% of our total soaping oils no less.

Devastated, it was now time to play the waiting game.  We had to wait for our beautiful soap to mold for at least 24 hours before it would be sturdy enough to remove it.

What resulted, after unmolding, was a gorgeous shade of green soap that broke into pieces when sliced.  Our soap was too lye heavy.  And, we knew this was because of the forgotten and overlooked sunflower oil.

One way to correct this soaping error was through rebatching.  Rebatching is almost like a do over for soap.  Although there are various reasons as to why you would rebatch, one of them is the fact that you can add an oil to your soap.  Our soaping oversight would be a perfect example to rebatch.

So, in order to save the 4 pound soap batch we had, we decided that we would take this opportunity to learn about rebatching and write a blog post on how to rebatch.  Although it was the very first time we ever attempted a rebatch, here is the process we did to show how to rebatch soap (pictures included).

Step 1:  Grate the soap.  This was no small feat for us.  In total, 4 pounds of soap took us about 45 minutes to do.

grating soap for rebatch

Step 2:  Melt the soap back down.  For this we selected to use our crock pot.  Since we had missed the first opportunity to add the sunflower oil, we did this now to the grated soap.

superfatting the rebatch

Step 3:  Stir.  Actually, this step is more like trying to rotate the soap.  Since you never want to scorch your soap when using a crock pot, this stir was more like a rotation of the soap within the crock pot.

melting the grated soap

Step 4:  Wait about 25-30 minutes, then check the soap again and stir/rotate.  The longer the soap melts, you will notice more of it becoming very gel like.

soap is still melting down

Step 5:  At this point, we noticed that the soap looked a little dry.  If this occurs, add a little water.

adding water to rebatch
Step 6:  Stir to disperse the water among all of the soap.

stirring the water through all of the soap
Step 7:  Wait for another 20 minutes or so, then give the soap a good stir.

a final good stir before rescenting
Step 8:  Add fragrance and stir.  Although we did scent the original batch, we wanted to rescent the rebatch for any scent that may have been lost through the saponification process and the reheating process.

rescenting and stirring one final time
Step 9:  Get your mold, and start to fill it with the soap.  Remember to tap your mold as you fill to reduce any bubbles that may be trapped in your soap.

molding your rebatch soap
Step 10:  Continue filling your mold and tapping it until all of the soap is out of the crock pot and into your mold.

molded rebatch soap
Step 11:  Insulate and wait.  The soap will need about 12 hours or so in the mold.  Once the time elapses, remove the soap from the molds and slice.

Our rebatched soap bars are awesome now.  They have a creamy full lather, and even better they don’t crumble and are actual bars!  Although the finished rebatch bars do have a rustic appeal, it kind of suits them.  Overall, this was a great learning experience, and we were able to save the 4 pound batch of soap.  Learning how to rebatch really was not difficult, and was well worth the effort in the end.

 

Brittle Soap

Monday, April 14th, 2014

soap that has too much sodium lactate
Warning, the following pictures may disturb some soapers!

Here was the scenario:  Using a Hot Process Recipe, we made a soap batch that we thought would work.  However, we got a little too sodium lactate happy.  As a result, our soap bars were not functional.  And, to be completely honest, some of our soap could not even be classified as a bar.

Can you feel the soaping life lesson coming on?

Our hot process soap was molded and ready to be removed and sliced.  The end was trimmed off, and we went in for our first cut… that was when the slice fell, and broke into two pieces.

brittle slice of soap

Again we tried, but to no avail…

crumbly soap

That was when we thought to slice the bars thicker.  Still the same result, a broken bar of soap.

high amount of sodium lactate

Heart broken, we came to the conclusion that there was too much sodium lactate in our recipe.

Yes, sad but true; we have brittle soap.  And, a 4 pound batch at that!  Even though the soap was brittle, we still wanted to find out how it performed.  So, we washed our hands with the bar pieces.  This action made the finished bars completely crumble as we rubbed them together under the running water.

testing the processed soap

The original recipe was a failure, but not a complete one.  We were able to see first hand what happens to soap when too much sodium lactate is added.

soap that needs a rebatch

In one of the earlier Natures Gardens blog posts, we wrote that using too much sodium lactate in your soap recipe will produce finished bars that crumble or are brittle.  This soap is the perfect example of exactly how this worked.

The recipe that we used contained 1 ounce of sodium lactate per pound of soaping oils in our recipe.  We thought that this would help harden the bar, especially since the soap was made from very soft oils.

Well, we were wrong.  This is why testing is highly suggested when dealing with soaping additives like sodium lactate.

Rain Scent

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

rain scentRain Barrel Fragrance Oil- Fragrance Oil Spotlight

The thought of falling rain water is soothing all by itself.  But, imagine a rain scent that you can smell even if it was not raining outside.  This fragrance is just that; a rain scent that will immediately take you to that special place, that place of your own personal “Zen”.  Rain Barrel fragrance is a combination of watery tones, with citrus, warm cedar, and other peaceful aromas perfectly coming together to.  This clean, crisp fragrance works in an array of homemade products and will be one of your favorites from Natures Garden line.

What does Rain Barrel Fragrance Oil smell like?

This intriguing summer fragrance oil by Natures Garden opens with fresh watery tones, crisp ozone and highlights of lemon. Leafy greens balance with lavender and warm cedar wood for the fragrance heart. Sensuous amber undertones and clear musky elements complete the fresh sensation. An NG Original Fragrance!

How do our customers use Rain Barrel Fragrance Oil?

For candles, tarts, and air fresheners, this rain scent performed perfectly in Wow, Joy, Ecosoya, and Gel waxes.  Rain Barrel fragrance oil also has a very nice, strong hot throw from soy waxes.  And, when it comes to room fresheners; this fragrance performs fabulous in aroma beads, room sprays, smelly jellies, and oil burners.

On the bath and body end, this fragrance passes with flying colors.  The usage rate for this rain scent is 5%, and is used to make:  bath fizzes, shower gels, melt and pour soaps, foaming body butters, lotions, bubble baths, lotions bars, and sugar scrubs.  Finally, for those of you that are cold process soapers; this fragrance received awesome reviews.   Here are the official results: Perfect Pour. No ricing, no acceleration. No discoloration. Nice clean scent!

If you are interested in using this rain scent in a recipe, please click on this link to view the Beginners Cold Process Soap Recipe.