Tag Archives: lye safety

Sep
12

My First Attempt at Soapmaking


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Enji Natures GardenHi, I’m Katie from Nature’s Garden. (That’s me and Enji!) We’ve got a great team here, and my role largely involves writing fragrance blogs and rendering videos. I’ve been working here for a little over two months, and I’ve watched Bailey make a LOT of soap (you can, too, if you click that link)! Until I started working here, I had very little knowledge of soapmaking (and I still have a LOT to learn), but you bet your bippy I like crafts of all kinds, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on some soap. This past weekend, a friend asked me to house-sit and I had a rare opportunity: an entire kitchen at my disposal. (I live with my folks, two teenage siblings, and a large puppy [keep reading for pic], so the kitchen can be a little crowded.) On Friday, I frantically purchased soapmaking supplies from our store, and soon after started my first foray into melt-and-pour.

Katie’s Impulsive Orange Soap

Truthfully, I don’t trust myself with anything too potentially hazardous. While I’ve read all about lye safety and its proper handling, I still don’t trust my clumsy self. Melt and pour seemed to be the way to go. We use mango butter in our cold process soap-testing recipe because of its moisturizing properties, so I decided to buy some Mango Butter Melt and Pour Soap.

Natures Garden Reed Diffuser KitOn a separate note, I am absolutely obsessed with Blood Orange Essential Oil. Pictured to the right is the reed diffuser that sits in my office, filled with blood orange essential oil (and reed diffuser baseReed diffuser kits come plain- I just painted mine to match the workplace). It smells insanely amazing and its considered aromatherapy benefits are as a stimulant and an anti-depressant (an aphrodisiac, too, but that’s not important at work). IMPORTANT NOTE ON USING CITRUS ESSENTIAL OILS IN BATH AND BODY PRODUCTS: Citrus fruits contain compounds designed to help them absorb sunlight to ripen. Citrus essential oils are likely to increase the photosensitivity- or sensitivity to sunlight- of your skin. I’m already as white as ghost, so I need to be especially careful not to use this soap on body parts that will see a lot of sun. I already get sunburnt pretty easily, and overuse of citrus essential oil on sun-exposed skin can lead to a type of super-sunburn. No thank you.

My idea quickly became centered around making an energizing soap with mango butter melt and pour and blood orange essential oil- but what else? I looked up natural soap colorantsOrange Peel Powder, rich with vitamins and a citrus aroma, seemed like an obvious addition, and for extra orange color, I included skin-nourishing Carrot Powder and cleansing Red Moroccan Clay Powder. Let me remind you again that I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing. –Since I was a kid, I’ve loved making my own recipes. Even if they were terrible. I once put cinnamon squares cereal in a bowl with ripped up bread and orange soda pop. I have no idea why. I can’t imagine anyone ate it. (I’m not sure how those fragrances would smell together, either.)– But no one’s going to eat this soap, so I figured I couldn’t go too terribly wrong, right?

To recap, here’s my recipe (and a picture of me and my dog for fun):

Mango Butter Melt and Pour Soap – 1lb
Blood Orange Essential Oil – ~32 drops
Orange Peel Powder – 2 tbsp
Carrot Powder – 1 tbsp
Red Moroccan Clay Powder – 1 tbsp

Other Supplies:

Knife
Cutting board
Scale
Stove
Small sauce pan
Glass 2-cup Measuring Container with spout
Water
Tbsp measuring spoon
Small bowl
Whisk
Stainless steel spoon
Disposable pipettes
Bite-sized daisies mold

Making it:

First, gotta cut up those lil melt and pour squares. I cut my soap along the lines laid out and then I cut those pieces into halves or even quarters for faster melting. You can use a microwave, but I wanted more time to add my herbs and oil so I used the double boiler method to melt my mango butter base (or something very similar- I just googled “double boiler method” and that’s not exactly what I did. Oops.) In the little bowl I mixed 1 tbsp of each of my powders with the whisk, being sure to break up carrot powder clumps. Once my soap base was good and melt-y, I stirred in my powders and began mixing with a whisk. Shortly thereafter I used a pipette to add my blood orange essential oil. I didn’t measure this one out exactly, but a friend suggested I use no more than a few drops of essential oil per ounce of base, so initially I went with about 1 drop/oz. It didn’t smell orange-y enough to me,Impulsive-Orange-Two so I added an extra tbsp of orange peel powder and upped my essential oil to 2 drops/oz base. Once I got my batter thoroughly mixed, I poured it into that *cute little flower mold,* very messily, I might add, and very carefully laid the filled molds on paper towels on a flat shelf in the fridge. I waited a while for them to set up, at least a half hour, and then popped them out and put them in a zip-seal bag. THEY SMELL GREAT. I cannot get over how much I love this soap. I have never smelled anything like it before- it’s orange-y and herbal-y and the soap turned out to be a tan-orange color- and I LOVE IT.

But melt and pour comes in two pound slabs.. so what did I do with the other pound?

Bacon-SoapBACON SOAP

This one was more simple and scientific. One pound = 16 oz.  and (16 x 0.05 = 0.8). I measured out 0.8 oz Bacon Fragrance Oil and.. I’m not sure sure how much Red Moroccan Clay Powder I used.. maybe 3 or 4 tbsp? But I used the same melt and pour method described above and ended up with a pound of bacon soap! Woohoo! Be sure to keep this soap away from your puppy- he might mistake them for treats- they are bite-sized and they smell like bacon. Though honestly, my goofy dog will try to eat anything.

I can’t wait to create another soap recipe with herbs and essential oils!

Jul
02

Coconut Oil 76 in CP Soap


This entry was posted in bath and body, bath products, cold process soap, Natures Garden, Natures Garden Fragrance Oils, Soap making supplies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Coconut-Oil-76-in-CP-SoapCoconut Oil 76 in CP Soap

You’ll go coco-nuts for coconut oil 76 in CP soap. What does the ’76’ mean? It simply denotes that this type of coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Coconut oil has many beneficial properties for use in all sorts of products–it’s even edible!!–but for our purposes, we’re going to discuss coconut oil 76 in CP soap. (Please do NOT attempt to eat the soap.)

Coco Clean

Our cold process soap testing recipe features coconut oil as the second most abundant ingredient (by weight) after water. Rightfully so, for you see, coconut oil is comprised primarily of lauric and myristic fatty acids which are characterized in soap-making by providing cleansing properties, a bubbly lather, and hardness. Coco-o is a surfactant, meaning it reduces the surface tension of a liquid when it is dissolved, allowing the dirt and impurities to be rinsed off of the skin.

Coco Cream

In addition, the high content of saturated fat serves to give coconut oil a higher SAP value (the number of milligrams of lye that is needed to completely saponify, or turn into soap, one gram of a specific oil, butter, or fat. — Lye, while generally thought of as a bad guy, is a necessary evil for the saponification process. Always remember to follow safety procedures when handling lye. [Add lye to water, the mixture will get hotter; add water to lye, you’ll probably die]). Remember that rhyme to ensure safety.  While you will likely NOT actually DIE, you can certainly get hurt from the lye volcano you will create if you add water to lye.  SO… Don’t ever do that!  Always add your lye to your water.  The high SAP value of coco-o helps to superfat the soap (the amount of lye used is less than the given SAP value), giving it a nice, creamy texture and more lather ability. You can thank coconut oil for making your homemade CP soap clean and bubbly.

Coco – What the heck does that mean?

Furthermore, coconut oil serves as an emulsion stabilizer. What the heck does that mean? You may already know, but I just learned about this today, so I’m going to recap for myself and the benefit of anyone out there who’s not entirely sure. An emulsion is a mixture of two things that don’t really want to go together– for instance, oil and water. Water is the number one ingredient (by weight) in our CP soaps, and just about everything else is some type of oil (apricot kernel oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, fragrance oil, and- of course- coconut oil 76). An emulsion stabilizer helps to keep this mixture from separating. This means, not only will it help hold your soap together, it will also help hold the fragrance. (Don’t worry, the coconut oil itself has been refined so it is odorless. Unless you ARE looking for a coconut fragrance in your soap. If so, we’ve got ten coconutrelated scents you may enjoy using!)

Coco No-no

Oh, wow, you’re thinking. Coconut oil 76 in CP soap is so great, I want to use as much of it as possible! And of course you do, but how much is too much?  A typical soap recipe calls for 20-30% coconut oil. It’s important not to use more than 30% coconut oil. Why? Is it possible to be TOO clean? The excess coconut oil 76 in CP soap will interact with the natural oils on your skin and dry it right out. But if you use the appropriate amount of coconut oil, it works in the soap to help clean skin and even reduce inflammation.

Cococonclusion

Coconut oil 76 in CP soap is awesome as long as you’re careful not to use too much in your recipe. So go ahead– what are you waiting for? Follow the links above to purchase coconut oil 76 and other ingredients for our CP soap testing recipe or one of our other fun CP soap recipes. Browse our wide array of fragrance oils to find a scent that you love. Thanks for reading and happy soaping!