Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Epic Fail...Essential Oil Experiments

I consider myself a fairly new soapmaker. I have been working on developing and perfecting my soap bar for two years. This is in contrast to many other soapmakers out there who have been doing this for decades. There are always new things to learn, and experimentation is the best way to do so from my personal experience. I have dabbled with essential oils in soap, but honestly, they scare me quite a bit. I know from other soapers that citrus essential oils often do not "stick" in the final product, as the chemical reaction from the oils and lye reacting is often too harsh of an environment. I ordered some vanilla oleoresin (not an essential oil, as vanilla essential oils do not exist from what I understand), and decided to blend it with a folded, or concentrated orange. I have no idea what I did wrong, but I have only had one other soap that failed as miserably as this one.

I know that it may be difficult to see, but the white portion of the soap had tunnels in it, and the white portion of the soap was oozing oils. The scent was okay, not fabulous. At first I could not smell the vanilla at all, but when I finally decided to toss it today, I could smell a hint of vanilla in the soap. I'm not sure that I will soap with the vanilla again anytime soon. That's something that I may tackle after some time away from the project. 

Nonetheless, I decided to work with essential oils again today- lime and peppermint. I have used peppermint often in the past- it sticks great in soap, but I have never used lime before. The lime is top quality, and is sourced from the East Indies. I anchored it with orange essential oil and rhassoul clay, so here's to hoping!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Projects

Laziness has gotten the better of me lately, and I haven't made soap in about two weeks, but I received some vanilla oleoresin 20X (that means it was folded 20 times to increase its strength), that I ordered a while back, and I was dying to try it. Vanilla oleoresin has been shown in scientific studies to have a calming effect on people. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.
This is what it looked like out of the bottle. It is so thick that I had to warm it in a water bath before pouring.

Let me just say that I was hesitant to use this in soap. After researching how others used it in cold-process soap, I decided to shake it vigorously before using and to add at medium trace. I blended it with orange essential oil and added dried orange peel. Orange peel contains vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B1, beta-carotene, and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Due to its high flavonoid content, orange peel acts as an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agent in skincare products. I also added Rhassoul clay for it's ability to absorb oils.

Since the vanilla oleoresin is dark brown, the soap turned dark brown as well. I left some of the soap batter unscented and uncolored. Here is the finished product in the mold, topped with sugar beads and, of course, iridescent glitter! The vanilla scent is not strong, but we will see how well it sticks when it's cut.

Today I also soaped White Tea and Ginger, one of my all-time favorites! Included in the recipe are buttermilk and goat milk, aloe vera juice, shea butter, and apricot kernel oil, among other great skin-loving ingredients. This soap is colored with aqua green, cocoa brown, and eggplant purple. The purple will change color over the next few days, but I'm hoping that it sticks.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New and Bright for Sprrring! Yea!

As some of you may know, I nearly ran out of everything over the Christmas season. When I say everything, I mean everything! Nearly everyday was impatiently stalking the front door, awaiting my supplies to be delivered. I even found myself at one point scraping the bottom and sides of the barrel for the last of the palm oil and had just enough to squeak out some Love Spell soaps in time for Valentine's Day. Whew!
So, as January is winding down, all of the fabulous soaps are nearly cured, and I wanted to share pictures of what is to come! All of these photos were taken on an upside-down wine crate by the windowsill in my soap room. I was really pleased with the results1

It's funny to see how different this soap looks with a white backdrop  from the previous photo.