Tag Archives: soaps

Aug
09

Soap Making: Where Do I Start?

This entry was posted in crafts as a hobby, herb, homemade, how to make cold process soap, Natures Garden Fragrance Oils and tagged , , , , , , , , , , on by .

M&P soap, CP soap, CPOP soap, HP soap, which method is right for you?

For the next few weeks, we at Natures Garden will be writing a series devoted to soap making.  We hope that you find this series informative and that it may help to answer any unresolved questions in your mind when it comes to making soap.

The first decision you need to make before you start making soap is what soap you want to make.

Just so that everyone is starting off on the same base, a general definition for soap is:  an emulsified product of an alkali treated fat yielding a cleansing agent.

There are 4 different types of soap making.  They are M&P (melt and pour), CP (cold process), HP (hot process), and CPOP (cold process oven process).  Each group has its own pros and cons.   Each process differs in varying ways, but there are two similarities that all of the groups share:  Each group’s process has already gone through, or must go through the chemical reaction of saponification.  And, each process results in finished soap.

MP soap

One of the greatest advantages of melt and pour soaps is that the actual soap making chemical process (lye process) has already be completed; technically making this a ready-made product.  When working with M&P, you are dealing with soap that essentially only needs melted, fragranced, colored, and molded.

For precautionary reasons, this is a perfect soap making process for anyone with small children or pets, since the process does not require working with lye.  Melt and pour soap is also a great place to start if you have never made soap before.  The steps are very simple.  Melt the soap, add color, add fragrance, and, place in mold to harden.  That is it!  There is no cure time.  Soap bars are able to be used once they are popped out of the mold.  Coloring M&P soap is also very predictable.  Unlike the other soap making processes, the color that your liquid soap is before you pour it in the mold, will be the same color of your finished bars.  There is no color morphing since that soap has already been saponified.

Melt and Pour soap is also known as glycerin soap.  Glycerin is a natural by-product of the chemical reaction of lye and water.  Having glycerin as a component in your M&P soap is very beneficial because glycerin is not only an emollient keeping the moisture in your skin, but it is also considered a humectant- absorbing the moisture from the air so that the skin does not dry out.  Additives such as herbs and exfoliates can also be added to M&P soap, resulting in bars that can do various things for your skin.

This is a very forgiving soap for error.  If soap hardens too quickly, it can always be re-melted in the microwave or by using a double boiler.  Since M&P is very pliable you can safely handle the soap without the worry of being burned by lye; forming swirls and other shapes.  This process is very cost effective, and allows for you to have a healthier bar of soap for your skin than any store bought brand that has had the glycerin stripped from it.

The cons of M&P soaps are that you do not have direct control of all of the ingredients in your soap.  Melt and Pour soap can also easily burn during the heating process so you will want to watch it closely.  Because glycerin is the most prominent ingredient, your M&P bars are softer and tend to not last as long as the other processed bars of soaps.  This is because glycerin is quick dissolving in water.  Aesthetically speaking, due to its humectant tendencies, this soap is very prone to sweating (or beading).

CP soap

Cold process soap is generally accepted as the most commonly used process by soap crafters.  The term cold process is actually attributed to the fact that there is no outside heating source required for saponification; the lye mixture itself heats and saponifies the oils.

The CP process includes making a lye water mixture, melting your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, and molding.  For the first 24 hours, your soap molds need to be insulated with towels or blankets.  After 24 hrs, the soap can be cut and laid out to cure.

If you are not a patient person, then one downfall of CP soaping is the cure time.  This averages 4-6 weeks before the soap is safe to use.  During the cure time a lot occurs.  Any residual lye is counteracted by saponification. This cure time is needed to make soap milder on your skin.  Any excess water is evaporated out, allowing for a nice hard bar of soap.  The soap bars have to be manually rotated and flipped so that air touches all of the sides.  It is also during this time that soda ashing occurs.  This ash is not harmful, but it can be unsightly, especially if you have decorated the tops of your bars.

The biggest and most rewarding benefit of cold process soap is that you make it completely from scratch.  You control each and every aspect of the soap from beginning to end.  Because cold process soap directly relies on a chemical reaction to occur, ingredients and measurements have to be exact.  Each component of your cold process soap has a specific SAP value.  This value is the amount of lye needed to saponify each oil in your recipe.  Therefore, it is impossible to swap out anything or add anything once your lye water ratio has been figured out.  Adding a little too much lye can result in soap that is lye heavy.  This means that the ph level will be very high, and it could result in burns or irritation to your skin.  On the opposite end, adding too much oil can result in bars that are soft and greasy due to the unreacted oils.   CP recipes usually contain either palm oil or coconut oil, or both.  Their values in any recipe are generally 20-30%.  This is because these oils provide for a bar of soap that is gentle, lathers, and cleans.

With CP soaping it is very important to know how a fragrance oil will affect the mixture.  Some fragrance oils cause soap batter to accelerate trace, rice, discolor, or will seize the batch (become soap-on-a-stick).  Vice versa, there are also fragrance oils that do not adversely affect the soap batter, and allow for plenty of time to decorate.  Swirling is one decoration technique that requires soap batter that is slow to trace.  Trace can be affected by the actual soaping oils used in your recipe, the temperature of your lye solution, the temperature of your soaping oils, and by the fragrance oil you select.  This type of artistry provides an exclusive look that is almost impossible to duplicate again.  Columning and funneling can also be used with cp soap batter for a very unique look.

Since CP soap must undergo the saponification process, color morphing can become an issue.  FD&C or D&C dyes tend to morph (change color) in the presence of lye.  Oxides and ultramarines can withstand the high ph environment of the saponification process, and are much less likely to morph in CP soap.  Depending on the ingredients found in mica pigments, you will find some micas that do not morph in CP soap, and some that do.  To easily test to see if your color choice will morph in CP soap, you can always add a small amount of your color to a small amount of lye mixture and observe any changes.  This will save you the frustration of ruining an entire batch of soap that is colored a color you do not desire.

HP Soap

HP soaping is the second most popular process of crafting soap.  With this process you now have the control of what goes into the soap like CP provides with the ready-to-use-now element of M&P soaps.

Hot Process soap has steps very similar to the CP soap steps, but varies in that you are adding heat to the equation to speed up the saponification process.  The HP process includes: making your lye water mixture, adding your oils to the heat source, blending the lye water and oils together, stir, cook, stir, stir, stir, add fragrance/ additives, stir some more.  With this process, it is not until the soap batter is closer to a solid than a liquid that it is scooped and packed into a mold.  Since the saponification process has already completed from the heat, there is no need to insulate your mold.

This process is done in a crock pot or on a stove top.  Crock pots are recommended over stove tops because a crock pot allows for slow, even heating of the batter and it is less likely to scorch.  The most important key to remember when doing this method is to stir and stir often.  One of the biggest benefits of this heat addition is that it does not require a curing period.  Although, for harder, milder bars that will last longer, Natures Garden suggests that you allow these bars to cure for at least a week before using.

The finished soap bars of the hot process have a very rustic appeal.   The soap bars individually are not completely uniform in shape nor are they completely smooth.  This is due to the scoop and pack method of filling the molds.  Color morphing, like experienced in the CP method, can also be a problem.  Therefore, choosing colorants that can withstand high ph environments is a must when making HP soap. Getting uniform coloring throughout your bars of soap will be more challenging with HP than with CP.

CPOP Soap

Often dubbed as the best of both worlds, CPOP, or cold processed oven processed soap allows for cold processed soap to saponify quicker with the extra step of heat and therefore directly shortens the cure time.   This is a very good method for soap crafters who love to do CP without the long wait of cure time.

The CPOP method includes:  preheating your oven to 170 degrees F, making a lye water mixture, mixing your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, molding, baking for 1- 2 1/2 hrs, turn off the oven, and let it sit for 24 hours in oven.  Finally, remove, cut, and start the cure time of 4 weeks.  This cure time allows for milder, harder bars of soap that will last longer.

Visually, CPOP soap bars are very close to that of CP bars.  The only slight difference is that the tops of CPOP bars are not as smooth as CP ones.  CPOP soap can appear dry on top, but this can easily be remedied by spraying the tops of the soap with rubbing alcohol.

In summary, the first step to soap making is deciding which type of soap making process is right for you.  Natures Garden will have two different soap making kits that will further help you.  We currently carry a melt and pour soap kit, and very soon a CP soap making kit.  Each of these kits will allow you to experience soap making first hand.  How fun is that!

Jan
12

Love of Learning

This entry was posted in crafts as a hobby, natural melt and pour soap, Natures Garden News, wholesale craft supplies and tagged , , , , on by .

This Valentine’s Day show some love to your creative side.

That’s right folks, it is time to extend our boundaries and experiment with some new products.  I know all too well how exciting it is when Natures Garden carries new fragrance oils, bases, additives, colorants, etc.  Something new, anything new, I love it all!

What is it about change?  Change is good.  Change allows us to hit the refresh button and bask in the glory of new and all its possibilities.  The thought of expanding our knowledge and know how of homemade goodies seems to revitalize everything for the better.  So, as we settled into the New Year let’s welcome the newbies by giving them a try.

In case you missed it, here are some of our newest products at Natures Garden:

Lip Tints:  These are awesome.  With 6 different colors to choose from all things lip just got a whole lot sexier.

Activated Charcoal:  A great way to add a detoxifying agent to your homemade soap.  This additive has a dual purpose as a natural black colorant too.  That’s two, yes two things for the price of one.  I guess that makes it a deal and a steal.  HA!

Vegetable Glycerin:  This has been on my wish list for a long time.  Finally here, this amazing liquid has tons of uses in bath, body, and home.  Once you get your hands on this, you will definitely be coming back for more.

Fractionated Coconut Oil:  Talk about being a multi-purpose, there is almost too much to mention.  Whether you are using it as a carrier or a substitute, in toiletries or cosmetics; the capabilities are endless.  Bonus, this fractionated coconut oil stays a liquid in relatively low temperatures.

Cream of Tartar:  It’s not just for the kitchen anymore!  This is one ingredient needed if you are looking to make fabulous bubble bars.

Fun Soap Colorants:  Although these colorants are super Fun… I refer to them as blast in a bottle!  These non-bleeding vivid colors will make a bold statement in your M&P or CP soap line.   If you are looking to add a little wow factor to your soap products, this is an excellent item to start with.   PS… No color morphing!

Titanium Dioxide Oil Dispersible Powder:  This natural mineral is an excellent whitener; perfect for soaps, toiletries, and so much more.

White Beeswax Pastilles:  Straight from the honeycomb, this naturally bleached beeswax is a splendid addition for everyone’s line.

Cookie Cutters:  Whether you are looking to bake some cookies, make hanging air fresheners, or get cleverly creative, these cookie cutters are a must have.  They are just too cute to pass up!

Finally, I do have an honorable mention to the new products.

Welcome Back Mica Pigment:  Oh how I missed you while you were gone.  If there is one thing that is never going to go out of style, it is shimmer!  This product is a love it, gotta have it in both colors diamond and 24K gold!  Bling me up Scotty!

So everyone, let’s get a little messy, broaden our horizons, and test some new products.

I was given some wise advice when I was younger.  Although then, I didn’t quite understand it, now I find that it applies to almost everything I do.   I am now going to pass this wisdom onto you: “Don’t sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by.  Get out there, make mistakes, and take chances; for this is the process of learning.  With age comes wisdom, and what is the purpose of your life if you don’t live, laugh, and love.”

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

 

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

 

Sparkles!!! Nicole

 

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

 

www.naturesgardencandles.com

 

 

Nov
04

Soap Oil Properties

This entry was posted in crafts as a hobby, Fragrance Oils, how to make cold process soap, soap oil properties, wholesale fragrance oils and tagged , , , , , on by .

Properties of Oils In Cold Process Soap

Many of Natures Garden’s customers make homemade cold process soap, and we are the wholesale supplier of fragrance oil for many of these soap companies.  Although we do not yet sell the soap oils mentioned in this article, we asked Kimberly Sanchez of Natures Art if she could explain the properties of soap oils to customers who desire to expand their line into cold process soap.  Some of these soap oils can be found at your local grocery store.  We hope that this information is as enlightening to you as it was to us.

This is not a complete list, Just the most commonly used oils

Apricot Kernel Oil: Apricot kernel oil is a light oil. It absorbs nicely into the skin and is a good luxury conditioning oil in soap – at about 5% -10%.

 

Almond Oil, Sweet:  A moisturizing oil that is very light and absorbs well. In soap it produces a low, stable lather, but is recommended to not use it more than about 5% – 10% in soap – as it’s not a hard oil.

 

Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is a heavy, green, rich, moisturizing oil that has a high percentage of unsaponifiables. It’s often used in soap recipes for people with sensitive skin. It’s high in vitamins A, D & E. You can use it in your recipes from 5% – 30%.

 

Babassu Oil:  Babassu oil comes from the kernels of the babassu palm. Its fatty acid makeup is very similar to palm kernel and to coconut oil. It’s high in lauric and myristic acid, which contribute to a nice, fluffy lather.

 

Canola Oil: Canola, a kind of rapeseed, is a good economical oil for soap making – you can substitute a portion of your olive for canola, or use it as part of your batch at 10-15%. It gives a nice, low, creamy lather and is moisturizing. It will slow down the rate at which your soap will get to trace, so it’s a good oil to add if you’re doing complicated swirls or colors.

 

Castor Oil:  Castor oil is a thick, clear oil that helps increase the lather in soap – a rich, creamy lather. It’s also a humectant (attracts moisture to your skin) oil. Just a little will do…5% – 8% in your recipe will work great.

 

Cocoa Butter: As it is very hard saturated fat, use with other more unsaturated oils like olive or castor. Use in conjunction with more sticky ingredients such as shea butter or lanolin. Using too much cocoa butter will result in a dry, exceptionally hard bar of soap.

 

Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil is one of the primary oils soapmakers use in their soap. Most of the coconut oil sold and used has a melt point of 76°, but there is a hydrogenated type that melts at 92°. Some soapmakers prefer this one because it’s easier to scoop – but either version works the same to give tremendous, bubbly lather to your soap. It also makes for a very hard, white bar of soap. The collective opinion is that using more than 20% coconut oil in your recipe will be drying to the skin.

 

Corn Oil: It acts like most of the other vegetable liquid oils like soybean or canola. It can be used as part of your recipe (10-15%) and will help give a moisturizing, stable lather.

 

Grape seed Oil: Grape seed oil is a lightweight, moisturizing oil that is a good additive to soap in small quantities. It doesn’t have a long shelf life, so unless you treat it with rosemary oleoresin extract, or have a very low superfat percentage, don’t use it more than about 5% in your recipe.

 

Hazelnut Oil: Hazelnut oil has a short shelf life (3-4 months). If you want to add it to soap, I wouldn’t recommend using more than about 5-10% in your recipe because of the short shelf life. A  lovely oil, but very fragile.

 

Hemp Seed Oil: Hemp seed oil is a deep, green color with a light, nutty smell. It gives a light, creamy/silky lather. Because of its fatty acid makeup, it has a very short shelf life…less than six months…so it should be refrigerated or even kept in the freezer. It can be used as a luxury healing/moisturizing oil in soap up to 10%-15%.

 

Jojoba Oil: Jojoba is actually a liquid wax. It contributes a nice stable lather, has remarkable absorption and moisturizing qualities and unlike some of the other luxury moisturizing oils, has a very long shelf life – 1-2 years. Use it at 5-10% maximum.

 

Lard: Lard makes a super-hard, very white bar of soap with a low, creamy, stable lather that is, believe it or not, nicely moisturizing. Before vegetable oils were commonly available, it was one of the main fats (along with beef tallow) that folks used to make soap. If you use animal oils in your soap, then combining lard with some of the other liquid oils like coconut and olive makes a wonderful, well balanced bar of soap – and is really economical. Make sure your lard is fresh and of high quality. Use it at any
percentage in your recipe, but I recommend not much more than 30-40% or so. Cold process laundry soap can be made with 100% lard with a 0% superfat percentage.

 

 

Olive Oil: Extra virgin and virgin olive oils come from the very first gentle pressing of the olives. The refined, or Grade A oil comes from the second pressing, and is lightly refined/filtered.  100% olive oil makes the famous “Castille soap” and “Marseille soap” must contain at least 72% olive oil. Olive oil is generally the #1 oil in most soap makers’ recipes. Olive oil soaps are very moisturizing, make hard, white bars of soap and are exceptionally mild. But the lather from Castille soap is low and a bit slimy. Most soap makers combine olive oil with other oils to improve the lather. Pomace grade olive oil is a thick, rich, green grade of olive oil that is obtained by solvent extraction of the fruit and pits of the olives – what’s left over after the first several pressings that give the
virgin and Grade A oils. It has a very high level of unsaponifiables (the portions of the oil that don’t react with the lye to form soap.) This will make your trace time quicker.

 

Macadamia Nut Oil: Macadamia nut oil is a light oil with a mild nutty odor. It is unique in its fatty acid makeup in that it contains palmitoleic acid – which makes it really easily absorbed into the skin – and is reported to be really great for older skin.

 

 

Palm Oil: Palm oil, along with olive and coconut, is one of the top oils used by soap makers today. Because of the qualities it gives soap – a hard bar with a rich creamy lather.

 

Palm Kernel Oil: Though it comes from the same plant/nut as palm oil does, palm kernel oil is almost identical in its soap making properties to coconut oil – giving a nice hard white bar of soap…with lots of luscious lather. Palm kernel oil is often available partially hydrogenated, in easy to handle/measure flakes…or just as a standard liquid oil. You can use it up to about 30% or 35% in your recipes. However, like palm oil, palm kernel oil is surrounded by the same environmental and human concerns.

 

Rice Bran Oil: Expressed from the husks of rice, most soap makers found that rice bran oil imparted nearly the same creamy, moisturizing qualities that olive oil did to their soaps. It does have a lot of the same antioxidants and vitamins that olive has, and a similar fatty acid make up. The only disadvantage of rice bran oil is its short shelf life – (6 months or so.)

 

Safflower Oil: Its fairly short shelf life. You can certainly use it in your recipes like you would soybean, canola or sunflower – at 5-15% or so. In soap, it is mild and moisturizing.

 

Shea Butter: Moisturizing and nourishing. Fairly inexpensive and easy to find. Shea butter for soap making will add a wonderful creamy lather, great conditioning properties and some hardness to your soap.

 

Soybean Oil: Soybean oil, like canola, safflower and sunflower, is often used as a portion of a soap making recipe in combination with other “core” oils like coconut, olive and palm. Use it 5-15% of your soap recipe. It is mild, moisturizing and gives a low, creamy lather.

 

Shortening: Soybean oil, in its hydrogenated form is generally called vegetable shortening & sold under generic names, or the brand Crisco. Shortening is usually a blend of soybean & cottonseed oil, and makes nice soap. Like all soap making oils, except olive, it’s not a great oil to use alone, but combining it with olive & coconut makes a good, stable, bubbly, moisturizing bar of soap. I recommend not using over 15% as it can go rancid in higher amounts.

 

Sunflower Oil: It works well with palm and olive oils to give a nice, rich, creamy lather that’s very moisturizing. Depending on the type you get, it may have a short shelf life due to its fatty acid makeup. In soap, it does well up to about 25% .

 

Tallow, Beef: Like lard, beef tallow gives you a super-hard, white bar of soap with low, creamy, stable lather that is very moisturizing. Before vegetable oils were commonly available, it was one of the main fats that folks used to make soap – and remains one of the most common oils in soap. (Check your label for sodium tallowate. That’s beef tallow.) If you are o.k. using animal oils in your soap, then combining beef tallow with some of the other liquid oils like coconut & olive makes a wonderful, well balanced bar of soap. While you can use it at any percentage in your recipe, I wouldn’t recommend much more than 40% before it starts creating a brittle bar of soap.

 

Written by:
Kimberly Sanchez of Natures Art.

www.naturesgardencandles.com

 

Oct
29

Soap Maker Success News

This entry was posted in soap maker success news, soap making interview, wholesale craft supplies, wholesale fragrance oils and tagged , , , , on by .

Meet Jolene From Southern Roots Natural Healing Store & Aromatherapy Shoppe

Hi! I am Jolene Hull, Owner/Operator of Southern Roots Natural Healing Store & Aromatherapy Shoppe

I chose this name based on the concept that natural products should really be naturally (many mass marketed products claim to be
“natural”, but are not) made – my goal was to go back to my “roots” with my store and it’s products. All Natural and All Handmade
with the highest quality ingredients.

How did you get into this business?

One of those light bulb moments in 2009 – I have always loved the idea of owning my own business. I started making soaps for gifts around the holidays for my dance team and I soon realized I wanted to make it more than a hobby. Another inspiration for starting my business is that my dad has been struggling with “sqaumos cell carcinoma” – a type of skin cancer; one that if left untreated, can be fatal. Helping people and their skin condition and health is one of main focuses at Southern Roots. It would be great to get to the point where I could be an effective alternative to expensive prescriptions and traditional medicine.

What is your favorite part of this business?

Creating new and exciting items and experimenting with new ingredients.

What’s the most difficult part?

Labels! Trying to get that “look” to reflect the product you have made – it can be challenging at times.

What’s your aspect of Natures Garden?

They have a great range of products at great prices.  My favorite thing is that they are family owned.

What are your goals for the coming year for your business?

New and improved product lines for hair care and more variation of spa inspired items. We’re also going to start offering classes in our shop as well.

Website: www.southernrootshealing.com 

Facebook: Southern Roots Natural Healing Store

Aug
18

The Importance of Social Media for Your Candle or Soap Business

This entry was posted in Natures Garden News, Natures Garden Sales, wholesale fragrance oils and tagged , , , , , , , , , , on by .

We asked you…

How important is social media for promoting your products?

“Extemely!!! But word of mouth from loyal customers cant be beat!!!!”
- Patti Ann

 

“It will be the biggest promoting concept there could be. I am not up and running yet but I am making contacts already.”
- Sheryl

 

“EXTREMELY! The best word of mouth possible because it spreads across the nation, world and not just locally.”
- Ashlee

 

“Extremely. Word of mouth and posted recommendations help a lot as well since they help populate your company in different ways and broadly.”
- Laura

 

“I agree that it is a part of our culture now and we truly do need it.”
- Erin

 

“It’s everything for me right now other than word of mouth which is always best.”
- Lynn

 

“In 2011…VEEERRRYYYY! It opens up your market in such a vast way, it’s almost unfathomable. When you promote your business via social networking you go from hometown to international.”
- Dava

 

Super duper important!!!! would have never made sales in Sweden, Canada and Australia without it, I am pretty sure!”
- Lather Soap Co

 

“In a time of instant gratification, connecting to clients and customers on Facebook/Twitter/Websites is vital. Nearly the first question I get with customers, if not about my products is “Do you have a website?” and then it becomes “Can I find you on Facebook?” soon after. They want to get sales/deals quick, which is why I don’t bother with an email list, they just check Facebook for sales. It also allows the customer to feel more connected to me with fast replies.”
- Briana