Archive for the ‘soap ingredients’ Category

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.

Argan Soap

Friday, April 11th, 2014

argan soap Hello everyone, today I made Argan Soap!

I am here to share my recent adventure in the world of soap making.  Today I made CP soap.  For those of you that are new at this, CP means cold process.  This is soaping without adding any additional heat.

I made this soap by creating my own recipe using the soapcalc.  This wonderful soaping tool was able to help me find ingredients and exact percentages for my homemade soaping recipe.  All of this information assisted me in producing my latest project.

For this soap cleverly named “Argan Soap”, I used Mango butter, Avocado oil, Coconut oil 76, Argan oil, and Sunflower oil.  To add a vibrant and tropical look to my soap, I selected Fun Colorants:  Neon orange and Neon blue.  I thought that these colors would look nice in combination with white.  So, I decided to also use titanium dioxide to get a nice bright white soap color.  I really felt that these colors captured the tone of the scent Kulu Bay, which I was using to fragrance my soap.

Due to the fact that I am SO over winter (clearing throat); I decided to try a soap with a summery feel.  Sorry, was venting (smiley face).   Also, I was going to try something new with this soap recipe.  For my very first time, I was doing the “in the pot swirl” technique using 3 colors.  I do have to say, I was beyond excited to get this going since I created this soap from beginning to end all by myself.

That is the moment I quickly became aware that I was DOING THIS BY MYSELF….Oh boy I thought.  No supervision, no guidance, nobody standing next to me for support, only my directions.

Ok, so, after getting all of my supplies, I put on my safety gear and began the first step.  Lye and water.  I want to caution any new soapers reading this:  Please remember to wear your gloves, mask, and safety glasses when handling the Lye and lye solution.  It is also just as important to have vinegar by your side (as your best friend) throughout your whole soaping process.  Vinegar is used in case the Lye or soap batter gets on your skin.

Once I melted all of my oils and butter, I waited for my Lye solution and oils to reach their desired temperature.  I then proceeded to put it all together and stick blended quickly to emulsification.

Being it was an in the pot swirl soap, I did have to put some of my soap batter into 2 smaller bowls and mix my colors really good.  That way I was ready to accomplish the swirl.

Moving quickly, I “plopped” globs of the orange and blue soap batter into the white batter.  I did this until it was all gone.  And, let me just tell you how fast you have to move to color, mix, and plop when using more than one color…holy cow!  You need to fly!  At this point, I was wondering why I used 3 colors….what was I thinking?  Creativity, that’s what!  Now not all recipes will do this, but it seems the one I chose was just that…FAST!

I did however get everything together and really enjoyed seeing my white, neon blue, and neon orange soap come together as I “swirled” around and through my colors.  After using my spatula to make this pretty cool design, I poured it into my silicone mold.  But, I poured it slowly back and forth from end to end.  I was mesmerized at how cool the colors were as they moved about inside the mold.

After the soap  in the mold had set up enough, I used the remaining batter to get an awesome heaping loaf of soap.  When I was done, I was happy with what I created.  A little stressed but only because I wanted it to be perfect.  I strive for perfection and unfortunately for me, I will fail at this (and have) a few times before I perfect it.  I am glad that I will fail however, only because it will make me a better soaper.  This is how you will learn, right?

When I tell my friends what I do here at Natures Garden, they are like, “wow, that sounds like so much fun”, and it is, creating and making your own stuff, heck ya!  Sometimes these recipes may seem a bit intimidating, but, be aware of your ingredients, and know their personalities and how they work together.  We have “fool” proof instructions, we HAVE failed too.  This is the best ways to become experts on what works.  When it comes to the free recipes that Natures Garden provides, what we present to you, is easily understood with virtually no guess work needed.

If you would like to see the full Argan Soap Recipe, please click on this link.

In closing, I can still say, it was a lot of fun making this soap; even if I did stress myself out.

We kids, until my next adventure, have a FABULOUS day!

Cindy

In the Pot Swirl Soap

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

in the pot swirl soap Soaping with the cold process method allows you to create some really beautiful bars.  Not only are these bars creamy, bubbly, and cleansing, but they are also conditioning.  Plus, with the right recipe, bars can contain skin loving ingredients that nourish your skin too.

There are various ways to achieve beautiful designs in your cold process bars.  Some of the more popular designs include:  the peacock swirl, the mantra swirl, and the mica swirl. You can even try your hand at marbling your soap if you like.

When it comes to swirling, this is where you really get to let your creativity soar.  Through colors and varying design techniques, you can take your wonderful soap recipe and make the visual aspect just as appealing as the skin nourishing one!

The ideal scent when making cold process soap is one that is a Perfect Pour.  What this means is that the fragrance oil does not accelerate trace, rice, or discolor.  However, many times with floral scents, acceleration is a part of the package.  Although swirling is not impossible to achieve with an accelerator, it can be difficult if you do not move fast enough.  There is however, a swirling method that can be done when a fragrance oil accelerates trace.  This is known as the in the pot swirl.

Here is how to make an in the pot swirl soap.  The recipe, steps, and photos are included to help.  With the exemption of the lye and water, all of the ingredients for this soaping venture can be purchased at Natures Garden.  Although for this recipe, the Peace Sign Mold was used, any mold that is cold process soap safe will work.  To see the full list of soap molds available, please click on this link.

If you have never made cold process soap before, please click here for a  Basic CP Soap Making Class. Also, before attempting to make any cold process soap, please become familiar with Soap Making Safety Class first.

The Recipe:
108 grams of water
40 grams of lye
20 grams of Apricot Kernel Oil
11 grams of Castor Oil
85 grams of Coconut Oil 76
40 grams of Mango Butter
43 grams of Palm Oil
37 grams of Shea Butter
48 grams of Sunflower Oil
17 grams of Sodium Lactate
18 grams of Peace Fragrance Oil
18 grams of Vanilla White Color Stabilizer
FUN Soap Colorants: Neon Red, Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, Neon Blue, Ultramarine Violet

The Process:
Step 1: 
Put on your  safety gloves,  apron, safety mask, and safety glasses.

safety gear for soap making

Step 2:  Weigh out your lye and water.  In a well ventilated area, slowly pour the lye into the water.  Use a spatula to stir slowly.  Keep stirring until no lye granules are left in the water.  Do not breathe in any of the lye water fumes.  Allow this to cool to around 90-100 degrees F.

stirring the lye water

Step 3:  According to the recipe, in a pot weigh out the coconut oil 76, mango butter, palm oil, and shea butter.  Melt all of these ingredients down on low heat until each one is in a liquid state.  Stir.  Then add the apricot kernel oil, castor oil, and sunflower oil.  Stir again.  Remove from heat.  Transfer all of this into your mixing bowl.

melting your oils and butters

Step 4:  Now, get your 5 mixing bowls.  Assign each bowl a color.  Then, weigh out 2 grams of each neon colorant in its specific bowl.  The ultramarine violet bowl needs 4 grams weighed out.  A great tip:  Reuse the containers from the 1lb Whipped Soap Base.  They make perfect mixing bowls for colorant in cold process soaping!

weighing out the colorant for soap

Step 5:  Check the temperature of the lye water.  When it is cooled to around 90-100 degrees F, add your 17 grams of Sodium Lactate.  Stir carefully.  Now, once the temperatures of the lye water and the soaping oils and butters are within 5-10 degrees of one another, it is time to move on to the next step.

adding sodium lactate

Step 6:  Slowly pour the lye water/sodium lactate into your oils and butters bowl.  Use a spatula to get all of this out and into the other bowl.

mixing the oils, butters, and lye water

Step 7:  Using your stick blender, begin to mix everything together.  You will notice your batter will begin to look creamy and thicken slightly.  Now, stop blending.

stick blending cold process soap

Step 8:  Add your fragrance oil.

adding scent to in the pot swirl

Step 9:  Now add your Vanilla White Color Stabilizer.  Once added, stick blend to incorporate.  Do not forget to scrap the sides with a spatula.

preventing discoloration in soap

 

Step 10:  Now, place 90 grams of the soap batter into each bowl.  Stir well with a spoon.  This will help slow down trace.  Then, starting with the yellow soap, pour it back into the mixing bowl.  Try your best to keep it in one area.

multiple color in the pot swirl

 

Step 11:  Repeat with the orange.

second color in the pot swirl

Step 12:  Now, the red.

adding red in the pot swirl

Step 13:  Then the purple.

adding the purple batter
Step 14:  Finally, get your blue soap batter into the bowl.

all five colors in the pot swirl

Step 15:  Get your spatula, start by placing it alongside the inside bottom edge of the bowl.  Then, come straight up the center of the bowl.  When you reach the top, pick the spatula up.  Now, starring on one side, begin your swirls (using the spatula).  Repeat on the other side.  Do not over swirl.

step by step in the pot swirl
Step 16:
  Grab your mold.  Then begin to pour the soap batter into each mold opening.

molding the in the pot swirl

Step 17:  Once the mold is filled, cover it with plastic wrap.  When the soap has hardened enough to move, place the mold somewhere it will not be disturbed.

insulating your soap
Step 18: 
After your soap has set for 24 hours, place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  This step will help to release the soap from the mold.  Then, carefully remove the soaps from the mold.

unmolded soap

Step 19:  Now, allow your soap to finish curing before use.

Congratulations, you just completed an in the pot swirl technique!  Note:  You will notice as your soap cures that the neon colors will become more vivid.

After the cure, your in the pot swirl soap is now finished.  The ending bar will be nice and firm.  The lather will be creamy and filled with lots of bubbles.  These bars will cleanse, yet still provide your skin conditioning elements.  Enjoy!

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.

Patchouli

Friday, January 10th, 2014

patchouli essential oil Facts about Patchouli

In America, when most people hear the word patchouli, they immediately think of hippies, universal love for one another, and tie dyed peace signs. But patchouli is so much more than that and has quite an interesting history.

Deriving its name from the Tamil language (the official dialect of Singapore and Sri Lanka), patchouli means “green leaf”.  A robust and extremely fragrant plant; especially when rubbed, patchouli’s scent has been used for centuries in perfumes.

Belonging to the genus Pogostemon, patchouli is a green, leafy herb that is in the mint family.  Growing best in hot, tropical climates; patchouli thrives when it is not in direct sunlight and has the potential of reaching a height of 2-3 ft.  Contrary to common belief, patchouli is more than just leaves; the plant also has flowers that bloom in late fall.  These flowers produce seeds that can be harvested to produce even more patchouli plants.

There are two ways to grow patchouli.  The first is to attain cuttings from the mother plant.  These cuttings are then rooted in water and will cultivate additional patchouli plants.  The second way to grow patchouli is to plant the seeds of the flowers.  The only hesitance with this way is that patchouli seeds are very small and have to be handled with great care.  These seeds are extremely fragile and can be easily crushed, deeming them useless.

When it comes to harvesting patchouli, the leaves of the plant can be collected several times in one year.  However, the strongest scent/oil comes from the top 3-4 pairs of leaves in the patchouli plant.  In order to attain the extraction of patchouli essential oil from these leaves, the leaves must go through a steam distillation process.  This is typically achieved with dried patchouli leaves.  However, there are some claims that to achieve the highest quality of patchouli essential oil, fresh leaves should be distilled.  Ideally, close to where the leaves are harvested, ensuring true freshness.

There are other ways to obtain patchouli essential oil.  One is through a fermentation process.  This process involves bundling the dry patchouli leaves and allowing them to ferment for a long period of time.

The essential oil of patchouli is a rich, earthy aroma with a woody yet minty undertone.  One of the most notable characteristics of this essential oil is that it actually improves over time.  The two most sought out components of patchouli essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.

Although, it is true that patchouli essential oil is vital to the perfume industry, patchouli also had another massive worth in history.  Patchouli is believed to be an insect repellent.  It was common place for silk traders of the oriental to pack the valuable silk that they were trading with dried patchouli leaves.  Not only did the leaves prevent the mating of moths on the traders’ silk, but also hindered the moth from laying eggs on the precious silk as well.

This practice, which had started as a means of protection for the silk, ended with patchouli being considered an affluent scent.  Historians now hypothesize that due to the fragrant nature of patchouli; much of the traded silk acquired the aroma during the long travel.  Before long the distinguished scent of patchouli marked authenticity in traded fabric goods although the vast majority did not know what it was called.

One of the possible explanations as to why patchouli was considered an upscale scent to Europeans of that time is due to a notable historical conqueror.  The infamous Napoleon Bonaparte attained some of these patchouli scented cashmeres, through his vast travels to Egypt.  He then brought them back to France.  This mysterious scent of patchouli and its origin were kept secret, and it was not until the year 1837, that the smell and the source were identified to the remainder of the western world.

Making Cold Process Wine Soap

Friday, November 1st, 2013

wine-soap1

If you are looking to add an alluring ingredient to your handmade cold process soaps, wine is one way to go.

Wine in Soaps?

Yes, it is true.  Wine is used in a variety of ways- cooking, drinking, and now even for body care.  Because wine is made from grapes, wine adds an extra aspect of antioxidants and rich nutrients to your product.  And, besides the skin loving benefits, wine also offers a highly luxurious lather, rich in creamy bubbles to your finished soap bars.

Soaping with Wine

Please Note:  Soaping with wine is a more advanced process.  Therefore, if you are new to soaping, you may want to give this recipe a try once you are completely comfortable with the soaping process and have a few cold process soap batches under your belt.

After making several recipes involving unique ingredients in cold process soap, we decided that we were ready to give the addition of wine a try.  Just like with beer soap, the extra ingredient of wine is not something that can be taken lightly or on a whim.

Before cold process soaping with wine, there are proper steps that need to be taken.

The first step in preparing your wine is the simmer.  This step is completed by placing the wine into a pot.  Then, on the stovetop and stirring occasionally, simmer the wine for 30-40 minutes.  Then, the final step in prepping the wine is the freeze.  Once the wine is back to room temperature, carefully place the wine in an empty ice cube tray.  Finally, place the ice cube tray into the freezer and freeze overnight.
Once the wine is frozen, it is now ready for soaping use.

For this recipe, the wine is used as half of the water amount.

Now, when adding the lye to the frozen wine/water, the best precaution to take (besides the regular safety gear and steps) is to mix this portion of the recipe in a deep bowl or pitcher in the sink.  This way, if there is any chance of a volcano effect taking place the sink will minimize the affected area.
The rest of the soaping recipe steps take place as normal.

And, that was all we were prepared for.  However, once the batter was poured into the mold, it decided that it was going to wail a final surprise.

The two pound batch that we were testing was perfectly peaked with gorgeous crests both big and small.  The color of the batter was perfect.  Everything seemed to be great.  When suddenly out of nowhere the batter started to move as if it had taken on a life of its own.  Next, the batter started to spat and bubble.  And, what we conceived was a final battle of disobedience, the soap batter came oozing out of the middle of the mold.

All we could do was take our spatulas and work as fast as we could to try to get the batter back into the mold.  The batter seemed to be unruly.  We thought for sure this batch was done for.  It did take some time, but about 30 minutes after the pour, the batter had settled.  We finally assumed the “drunk had fallen asleep.”

What had happened:

After reviewing our recipe, our steps, and the outcome of what had happened we found the problem.   Cold Process Soaping with a wine that has a high sugar content speeds up gel.  That is what caused the bubbling and spatting in the batter.  A word to the wise is to prepare for this to occur by safe guarding the area where your molds lay.  When using wine in your soap recipes, we suggest using a wine with a low sugar content.

In the End:

Soaping with wine was quite an experience but totally worth the extra effort!   The color of the bars is a perfect wine hue.  The lather of the soap bar is luxurious and creamy.  This recipe, even with its unruliness, was a win.

Since the wine is added as half the water portion of the recipe, you can use any of your favorite cold process soap recipes.  However, if you would like a Wine Cold Process Soap Recipe, Natures Garden has one listed under their free recipes and classes section of their website.  Or, you can simply click here to see the 4 pound Wine Soap Recipe.

Adding Beeswax to a Soaping Recipe

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
beeswax

Adding beeswax to your cold process recipes provides a harder, long lasting bar of soap.

So, we had a brilliant idea, and we ran with it.  But, as we learned having a brilliant idea does not always equate to a brilliant end result.  Instead, our brilliant idea was a learning experience!

The Scenario

It all started out with the scent Nectarine and Honey, which by the way happens to be a fabulous scent.  In true Natures Garden form, we wanted to take this fragrance oil and kick it up a notch.  So, to the brainstorming mobile we went- hello think tank!  Back and forth the creative ideas started flowing- anything that was related to nectarine and/or honey was noted.  What resulted was a cold process soap recipe focused around the scent Nectarine and Honey that would incorporate bee products; Honey, Beeswax, and Bee Pollen Powder.  Once we knew how luxurious this soap was going to be, the clever name Royal Honey Bee Soap seemed to be the perfect match.

The Special Bee Ingredients

Honey was an easy choice.  We know that honey contains awesome skin loving benefits.  It is a detoxifier, loaded with antioxidants, and it’s very moisturizing.  After using body products with honey your skin feels extremely soft and supple.  Through our research we found that even Cleopatra herself bathed in honey and milk to supplement her natural loveliness and beautiful, soft skin.

Bee Pollen Powder was also chosen for the benefits it provides to the skin.  Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.  Products with bee pollen powder leave your skin feeling naturally soft and smooth.

Beeswax was selected as our warrior.  Although this ingredient is commonly used to help harden soaps, (making them last longer) we wanted it for a different reason. It also brought another element to the table- it locks in moisture for your skin.  Besides helping to keep your skin moisturized, after using products that include beeswax- a thin protective layer is left- a shield for your skin against the harsh outside elements of your environment.

We were set.  Super excited about how magnificent this recipe was going to be, we happily plugged our ingredients into Soap Calc, double checked our values, and moved on to the testing stage.

The Creation

Everything was set.  The lye solution was cooling.  The beeswax, butters, and oils were melted.  We were just waiting on the green light (temperatures).  The excitement was thick in the air.

Finally, the time had arrived.  The soaping procedure was normal.  Really, the only changes were: honey was added at light trace, and the bee pollen at trace.  This was easy!

The soap batter was beautiful- thick, creamy and smelled divine.  There was no denying it; you could just envision how great these bars were going to turn out after cure.  Seeing this gorgeous masterpiece coming together was intoxicating.  The anticipation of molding this batter was building, and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Since Nectarine and Honey fragrance oil naturally discolors to a creamy peach and the addition of bee pollen powder will add somewhat of a yellow hue, we thought this final color would be perfect.  So, really the only thing we wanted to accomplish was a heaped loaf with peaks.  Easy, right?

Yes, it was… so easy!  The batter was poured and heaped through the center of the mold.  We felt like Pablo Picasso working on a yet to be viral masterpiece.  Everything was going as planned.  Once we started peaking with a spatula, it was perfection in its finest hour.  Each peak held to the spatula and gracefully formed the most breath-taking, stunning crests.  The playful batter was alluring, begging for more peaks, and we did just that.  We peaked and played until it was perfect.  The soap batter was not only enchanting, but also captivating visually.  It was quite possible that we may have just stumbled upon a divine soap recipe- one to go down through the ages. 

After waiting the 24 hours to remove the soap from the mold, it was almost too much to handle.  We couldn’t wait to get these beauties out and cut; let alone the rest of the cure time.  But, we did- that’s soaping 101; it comes with the territory.

Finally- the Cure is Over

The first day that the soap was finished, we couldn’t wait to give it a try.  The bars were angelic.  The color was flawless, the bars were nice and hard, the scent retention was amazing!  We just had to try them out.  To the sink we went, and this is where our demise met us.

We soaped, and we were heartbroken.  Although everything seemed to be perfect throughout this whole process, our soap bars were crumbly.  Too crumbly!  We were defeated, and it was the beeswax that was the culprit.  The same ingredient that memorized us with its playful nature in the soap batter was now our arch enemy in the final product.  We felt as though we were victims to the sirens of the soaping world.  Back to the drawing board.

Analysis

After reviewing our notes and recipe, we found that the percentage of beeswax we used in the original recipe was too high (10%).  Investigating further, we found that the normal usage rate for this ingredient was a mere 1-2%.  Yikes!

honey soap

This is a finished and cured bar of Royal Honey Bee Soap by Natures Garden.

We did recalculate and remake the Royal Honey Bee Soap Recipe.  However, this time we decided to leave out the beeswax.  The bars were still gorgeous, soothing, and the scent retention was phenomenal.  After using it our skin did feel soft, supple, and nourished.  The honey added an extravagant element of luscious royalty.  The soap bars were still a win even without the beeswax.

In hind sight- we will try again to create a soap recipe that includes beeswax just not at 10%.  Sometimes, the most memorable lessons in life are the ones that you have to see for yourself- even if they result in less than desirable outcomes.

Soap Making with Milk

Monday, October 14th, 2013
cleopatra1

This cold process soap was made with heavy whipping cream. These bars have a very luxurious, creamy, lather and is super nourishing for your skin.

Soap Making with Milk

In today’s market, some of the most popular cold process soap recipes are the ones that involve dairy products such as milks, creams, and yogurts.  The reasoning behind this popularity is the fact that cold process soap recipes that use dairy products actually result in finished bars that are very creamy, luscious, soothing, and moisturizing.  In fact, milk itself is a gentle exfoliant- a perfect remedy for any sensitive skin types.  This is because milk contains lactic acid, which slightly reduces the alkalinity of soap.

When it comes down to making the cold process soap recipe, dairy products can be added (if applicable) in 3 forms:
1. Fresh (can be added as water for the lye solution, part of the water for lye solution, added to your room temperature oils before the lye solution, or  added at light trace.)
2. Powdered (combined with a small amount of oil or water to make a liquid- then added at light trace and hand whisked in until incorporated.)
3. Canned (used as half the water amount of the water ratio.  This is usually added to oils before the lye solution to make the soap batter.)

With the exception of the powdered, both the fresh and canned are commonly used in a frozen or slushy (almost frozen) state.  This is done for two reasons.  The first is to help control the lye solution temperature and the second is to help prevent the dairy product from burning.  Burnt dairy products have a very distinct smell and will turn your soap batter a bright orangish color.  This is due to the heated lye solution caramelizing the sugars in the milk.  A great step to help minimize this reaction is to give the container you are mixing your lye solution in an ice bath.  The other option that you have is to add the frozen/slushy dairy product at trace, allowing the batter to thaw the frozen like diary product.  Then, blend well with a stick blender to incorporate.

Temperature is everything.

One of the most important things to realize when working with dairy products is their sensitivity to heat.  This comes into play if you are mixing all or some of the dairy product to make the lye solution (which heats as the reaction is taking place.)  Dairy products will burn and/or curdle if not combined correctly.  The best way to combat this is to closely monitor the temperature of the lye solution using a thermometer.  You never want the temperature to go above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  The other tip to help control the heat of the lye solution is to take your time when adding the lye.  Sprinkle in small amounts and stir.  The key is to wait a few minutes in between the next small addition of lye again.  Do not be afraid to truly take your time with this step.  A good time gauge to set for yourself is 10-15 minutes to add all of the lye to the lye solution.  This will help control the overall temperature of the lye solution.

There is no set rule as to how much of the dairy product to use as the water portion of the lye solution.  Some soapers prefer to use the dairy as the full water portion.  Others play it safe by using a 50% ratio (half milk and half water.)  This works by making a super concentrated lye solution (the full amount of lye the recipe calls for; then split the water amount in half.  Mix the lye into the water.  Let cool.  Add the rest of the unused water portion as the milk- which is added to the room temperature oils before the lye solution is added to make the batter.  The last option is the dairy product at 25% of the water ratio.  This is done the same way as the 50% ratio, only it is 25% of the total water amount.

The rest of the soaping recipe is done normally.

Other things to consider:

Superfatting may be affected.  Do not forget to figure in the fat percentage of the dairy product.  For the most part, general milk products (where the fat percentage is 4-6%), really won’t affect your end bar.  However, using a product like heavy whipping cream (which has a fat of 36%) will directly affect your end bar.  In this instance, you may what to use the dairy portion of 25% of your water ratio.  That is unless you play with your superfatting percentage number.

Rancidity of your soap is always a possibility when using larger portions of dairy products in your recipe; especially those that have high fat content.

Our Findings:

Recently, we tried our hand at making cold process soap with the addition of heavy whipping cream.  For our recipe, we selected the cream to be 25% of our water ratio since we did not want to majorly superfat our soap.  The frozen heavy whipping cream was added to our soaping oils/butter before the lye solution.  We found that this method worked perfectly.  We had no issues with the remaining soap procedures.

In the end, the bars that resulted were exactly as we imagined- pure creamy bliss!  And, with all of the wonderful nourishing benefits that dairy products have; our skin loved it too.

Too see the full recipe for Natures Garden’s Cleopatra Heavy Cream Cold Process Soap Recipe, click on the link.  Or, you can also find the recipe on Natures Garden’s website under the Free Recipes and Classes area.