Posts Tagged ‘cold process soap making’

Our First Stick Blender

Monday, May 5th, 2014

our first stick blender

 

This blog is dedicated in remembrance of our first official soap making utensil, Mr. Smooth Operator.

3 years ago, we started to dabble into the wonderful world of soap making. As we learned all about this art, researching the steps, ingredients, and supplies; we welcomed a new soaping utensil into our lives. It was lovingly named: Mr. Smooth Operator. He was our first stick blender.

Today, with tears in our eyes; we lay Mr. Smooth Operator to rest.

Mr. Smooth Operator was an extremely hard worker, who took on each soaping endeavor with vigor and vitality. He was there for us through thick and thin batch, and never blinked an eye when it came to having to put forth extra effort; asking for nothing in return.

Looking back, there were times when we took Mr. Smooth Operator for granted; especially early on when we were new to the soaping game. But, he never held that against us. He was a happy, go getting fellow, who lived a life of sacrifice. He would take on the task of hard labor and getting dirty; all in order for us to be clean with our soap.

He was the best stick blender.

Strongly rooted in a family that strives on performance, the Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender series should be proud. Not only did Mr. Smooth Operator fulfill his calling as a stick blender, but he willingly exceeded expectations every day. And boy, were there some days that he put in the overtime.

Through all of these amazing qualities, Mr. Smooth Operator quickly became a part of our soaping family. He has set the standard of quality work (and easy clean up), leaving behind an awful big pair of shoes for the next stick blender to fill.

Mr. Smooth Operator will truly be missed by everyone on the creative team at Natures Garden.

We hope that in his passing, he is out there somewhere blending huge batters of joy and happiness. Achieving immersions, young and fresh as the day he was first opened and used.

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.

Soap Making: Never Add Water to Lye

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

lye volcanoWhy You Never Add Water to Lye in Soap Making

Caustic Soda or lye is a necessary ingredient in the soap making process.  However, it is this same ingredient that prevents most people from attempting cold process soap making.  Most lye solutions consist of lye and distilled water.  When making the lye solution there are a few key tips you want to remember.  They are:

Wear your safety gear: safety goggles, mask, long sleeve shirts, pants, and gloves.

Always mix your lye solution in a well ventilated area (open windows, outside, garage, turn on the exhaust fan).

NEVER use glass or aluminum items for your soap making mixing containers or utensils.  Glass can break, and aluminum does not play nicely with lye.  It will cause a toxic, chemical reaction.

Lye is extremely caustic and can do severe damage.  When water and lye are mixed together this is known as a lye solution.  This mixing will also cause an exothermic reaction, this means that heat is given off as a byproduct of the chemical reaction occurring.  Once the lye and water are stirred to make the lye solution, lye solution will become very hot, sometimes reaching 200 degrees.

When you are ready to make the lye solution, ALWAYS pour the lye into the water.  One of the best tips that we have found to remember the order is to envision “a light snow falling into a pond.”

When incorporating the two ingredients together you want to do it in a slow manner.  You must sprinkle the lye in small doses into the water.  In between each sprinkle, you will want to stir, stir, and stir.  The lye mixture will become cloudy, and may give off fumes.  Do not inhale these fumes.  They are extremely hazardous.

NEVER POUR WATER INTO LYE!!!  And NEVER ADD TOO MUCH LYE TOO FAST!!!  Doing either one of these things will create a violent reaction known as a volcano effect.  This happens because the water starts to dissolve the lye, forming a crust.  This crust then seals in the chemical reaction occurring beneath it.  The reaction can only handle being restrained from its own crust before the build-up of pressure and heat creates a burst or eruption.  Hence the term- volcano effect.

If a volcano effect does occur, immediately spray your work area with vinegar.  Vinegar will neutralize the caustic lye.  Proceed by washing the area down with hot soapy water.  Rinse area, and wash again with hot soapy water.  Use paper towels to dry area.

So, to sum up this lesson in soap making:  NEVER POUR WATER ONTO LYE….YOU WILL CREATE A LYE VOLCANO!!!!  Create your lye solution by adding small amounts of lye to water and stir.

Where Can I Buy Soap Making Supplies

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
ckit-8

If you are looking for high quality soap making supplies, Natures Garden is your solution. We offer everything you need whether you are just starting your soap making craft or if you are a veteran soap crafter!

Where Can I Buy Soap Making Supplies

Deciding to venture into soap making can sometimes leave you with more questions than answers.  Where do I begin?  Where can I find informative classes and recipes?  Where is the best place to purchase soap making supplies?  We can understand that there are probably tons of these questions whirling around in your head.

Well, at Natures Garden Candle and Soap Supply; we have your answers.  Our staff has put in countless hours testing, researching, and writing informative soap making classes, tried and true soap recipes, and in the case of Cold Process Soaping; even tested every fragrance oil that we carry so that you have some insight as to how the fragrance oil behaves.

Providing soap making supplies to everyone- hobbyist and small business owners alike, if you are in the market for soap making supplies, Natures Garden is your answer.  We carry many soap making supplies like fragrance oilssoap colorants, molds, waxes/ butters/oils, additives, equipment, and even herbs and spices.

In fact, Natures Garden also carries several varieties of melt and pour soaps where the saponification process has already been done for you.  With melt and pour soap, it can be as simple as using the soap as is, or scenting and molding the soap to give it your true unique touch.

If you are still are seeking a place to start your soap making skills, a great place to start looking is at Natures Garden’s Soap Classes.  Not only are they super informative, they are FREE, and free reputable information is never a bad thing.

How To Make Soap

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Soap Making Supplies

How to Make Soap from Scratch 

The earliest recorded proof of soap making, saponification, was found around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon.  The recipe for this soap-like substance consisted of water, alkali, and cassia oil.  Years later, in ancient Rome, soap was made using tallow, tree ash, and water.  Fast forward to today, soap is made using vegetable or animal fats/oils, and an alkaline mixture of lye and water.  One thing is for certain:  soap cannot be made without lye.  Even when soap was made with tree ash, water, and tallow, the tree ash contained lye.  You see, fats and water do not mix together, therefore, lye works as an emulsifier that allows these polar opposite ingredients to combine to make soap.

Before you make soap, make sure that you become familiar with the safety precautions to follow when handling lye.  Natures Garden provides a Soap Making Safety Class that will explain the hazards of soap making, and the necessary safety gear that you should wear when making soap.

Now that you understand how important safety is when making soap, you will need to buy the equipment and soap making supplies you need to make homemade soap.

Equipment you will need for soap making- By the way, once your equipment comes into contact with lye, you can NEVER use this equipment for food contact again!  Ingestion of lye can kill you.

1.  Heavy duty plastic bowls
2.  Plastic spoons or Silicone spatulas
3.  Whisk or Stick Blender
4.  Thermometer
5.  Soap Safe Molds- such as plastic or silicone (never allow lye to come into contact with aluminum)
6.  Scales to weigh out your ingredients
7.  Plastic wrap to insulate your soap while it cures
8.  Safety goggles, safety gloves, safety mask, and wear long sleeve clothing to protect skin from being burned.
9.  Spray bottle containing vinegar.  Keep a bottle of vinegar with you when mixing your lye just in case; it will neutralize the lye and stop the burning process immediately.

Soap Making Recipe and Exact Amounts that you will need to make soap:

The recipe we use at Natures Garden to test our fragrance oils is listed below.  We use this recipe because it allows you to make colorful swirled soap once you have more experience.  We also love this recipe because it is very moisturizing to the skin, yet still provides a creamy lather.  This recipe makes 3 pounds of soap.

12.16 oz Water (345 grams)
4.4 oz Lye (125 grams)

9.6 oz Olive Oil (272 grams)
9.6oz Shea Butter (272 grams)
6.4 oz Coconut Oil 76 (181.5 grams)
6.4 oz Palm Oil (181.5 grams)
2 oz. Copperhue Suntan Lotion Fragrance Oil
FUN Soap Colorant (optional- but if you use color, we suggest using orange color)

Instructions for making soap:

  1. It’s important to prep your area with the equipment and items you will need before you start. You don`t want to have to stop half way through and run to go get something!
  2. You should be mixing your lye solution in a well-ventilated area. No kids or pets anywhere nearby! Lye is very caustic and will create fumes that should not be inhaled as they can burn the tissue of your lungs. Also if it gets splashed on you, it can cause a nasty burn on the skin.
  3. Make sure that you have your bottle of vinegar handy if you get lye solution on your skin.
  4. Weigh out your lye
  5. Weigh out your distilled water
  6. Slowly add lye to your distilled water and stir until lye is dissolved.  NEVER EVER add your water to the lye!  It will produce a hazardous volcano scenario.
  7. Set you water/lye solution somewhere safe where kids and pets cannot get to it or knock it over.  Allow this solution to cool to around 90-100F.
  8. Weigh out your oils and butters.
  9. Melt your oils and butters until they are completely melted, but be careful not to get them too hot or they may burn.
  10. Allow your oils/butters to cool to around 100F.
  11. Add your lye/water solution to your oil/butter solution and mix with a whisk or a hand blender until the batter is emulsified.
  12. Add color to your soap mixture
  13. Add fragrance oil to your soap mixture and bring to trace.  (Trace is a pudding like soap consistency).
  14. Pour soap mixture into soap molds (my favorite molds are silicone loaf molds).
  15. Cover molds with plastic wrap, and place molds somewhere that they will not be disturbed.
  16. Allow soap to remain in covered molds for 24-48 hours.
  17. Remove soap from the molds.  Slice.
  18. Allow soap to cure in a cool, ventilated area for 2-6 weeks.
  19. After soap has fully cured, you can use it.

Check out Natures Garden Soap Making Supplies

For awesome ideas in soap making please check out Natures Garden’s Free Recipes and Classes.

 

Finding the Perfect Soap Recipe

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Soaping with knowledge, experience, and confidence.

With such a variety of soaping bases, fats, and oils available in the market, one can easily see where the excitement can collide with frustration, especially if you are new to soaping.  We strive for a perfect recipe, but where to begin, the possibilities are endless.  From this soap making blog series, we have already gone over the different types of soaping processes, soap safety, and soaping terminology.  Now, we seek out creating the perfect soaping recipe.

Soap is made by the chemical reaction that occurs when mixing fatty acids, lye, and water.  The lye component actually works as an emulsifier, bonding the fatty oils and water together.  Without the lye, this bond would never form.  These 3 elements, fatty acids, lye, and water are all essential components to the saponification process.

Each soaping oil/butter has a fatty acid composition, and since every oil/butter is different, so is their fatty acid composition.  It is through the variance of each fatty acid composition that important soaping characteristics and qualities are found.   Let’s briefly look at some of the most common fatty acids, as well as, the qualities that are provided by them in a cured bar of soap.

Lauric Acid:  Provides hardness, cleansing, and bubbly lather.

Linoleic Acid:  Provides conditioning

Myristic Acid:  Provides hardness, cleansing, and bubbly lather.

Oleic Acid:  Provides conditioning

Palmitic Acid:  Provides hardness and a creamy lather

Ricinoleic Acid:  Provides conditioning, bubbly lather, and a creamy lather.

Stearic Acid:  Provides hardness and a creamy lather.

As you can see, each and every element that is put into your soaping recipe has distinct benefits or uses, and some ingredients can also inhibit certain soap bar qualities.  Please also notice, that none of the fatty acids allow for all five of the soaping qualities that you are looking for in a bar of soap.  This is why; in order to find a good symmetry among these qualities, a soaping recipe usually contains several different oils (fatty acids).

In order to create a quality bar of soap, it is necessary to find a balance between hardness, cleansing, conditioning, bubbly lather, and creamy lather. This usually involves using a combination of oils/butters in your soap recipe. A typical bar soap recipe calls for 38% water content, and a 5% superfat (the percentage of oils that do not saponifiy).

Here are the values for a typical bar of soap; they are presented in a range:

Hardness 29 to 54
Cleansing 12 to 22
Conditioning 44 to 69
Bubbly lather 14 to 46
Creamy lather 16 to 48

There is however, one example of a soap recipe that can be done with just one oil.  For people who are allergic to nuts, olive oil soap can be made with just that…olive oil.  No allergen worries.  Once this bar has cured though, you have a nice conditioning soap bar that will not leave your hands dry, but, that same soap bar also will not produce a nice lather, and will be very limited in cleansing ability.  This is why being aware of all of the capabilities of your oils, fats, butters, and additives will give you a distinct advantage over other soap bars in the market.

Remember, since all oils have their own fatty acid makeup, they also have specific saponification or SAP values.  This is why it is extremely important that once the ingredients of your soaping recipe are calculated, you MUST use those oils.  They cannot be exchanged out for other soaping oils without recalculating your recipe.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?  Don’t!  We know that this is a lot of information to grasp.  This is why if you are new to soaping, it is our suggestion that you try a recipe that has already been tried and tested.  Doing this will allow you to initiate yourself with the soaping instruction and procedure.  Performing the steps from beginning to end will also give you a firsthand experience of the soaping method and key properties of the saponification process like trace or gel phase.

Congratulations Newbies!  Now is the time where we are actually going to make our first batch together.

If you have not read our blog on soap making safety, please do so now

http://blog.naturesgardencandles.com/soap-making-safety/

Working with lye can be very dangerous!

We have already went slightly ahead, and provided you below a recipe for your 1st time soaping.

Here is what you will need for a 2 pound batch:

6 ounces of Coconut Oil, 76 degree

8.4 ounces of Olive Oil Pomace

8.4 ounces Palm Oil

1.2 ounces of Castor Oil

1.5 ounces of a body safe fragrance oil ie Oatmeal Milk & Honey

9.12 ounces of Distilled Water

3.393 ounces of lye (NaOH)

This recipe range for soap bar quality is:

Hardness 43
Cleansing 17
Conditioning 54
Bubbly lather 22
Creamy lather 31

As you will notice all of the qualities fall within the suggested range nicely.  This soap recipe will give you a balanced overall bar of soap.

When selecting your body safe fragrance oil, please take the time to review the CP soap results.  We have a link with all of our fragrance oils listed alphabetically with the CP results:

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/fragrtest.pdf

Good Luck and remember, once you feel confident with your testing recipe, it is time to break the mold and explore the realm of crafting your own soap recipe.  Soap that is completely made by scratch, every ingredient controlled by you!

A very informative class has been created to help you find exactly which ingredients you may want to consider using in your recipe.  Here is the link:

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/soapoils.pdf

As you looking at all of the various fats/oils/butters that are capable for soaping recipes, jot down or note any of interest.

In the next class, we will review how to use the soap calculator!