Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pomegrante Soap

I have had this fragrance oil for months and until last night soaped it for the first time. Apparently this fragrance oil is known to discolor in cold process soaps. So I guess the waiting game starts now as to what color it will discolor to.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Southern Pleasures Is a Featured Seller

I was extremely pleased at the nice gesture from Jason at JJMFinance to feature me as a soap seller on his blog. His blog caters to featuring some of the most talented and brightest sellers on ETSY. I am highly honored that my work and ideas on creativity were displayed on his blog. Thanks again Jason and I appreciate the blog love from you!

A new soap was born

Here is the result from the batch that was created in the soapmaking tutorial. It took about two hours to create this batch from start to finish including cleanup.

Soapmaking 101- Results in Pictures

Soapmaking 101- Results in Pictures

Soapmaking 101 Cold Process Tutorial Part 2

I like to use lots of additives to my soap for visual appeal. Exfoliation etc. Many popular ones are cornmeal, poppy seeds, oatmeal, calendula flowers, strawberry seed etc.

I also like to add a tablespoon of goat’s milk powder or buttermilk powder for a milk based soap to the base oils. Stick blend it in well if you decide to go this route.

Honey is also a good additive as well.

You don’t need to add any additives for your first batch. Learn the basics first then you can experiment.

Oils and Butters

Soap can be made with a variety of oils and butters. Many of which you can find in your grocery store. I like to make soaps with Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter, wheat germ oil, avocado oil, lard etc. Each oil has its own properties and characteristics.

For example Shea butter is very moisturizing, Olive oil is moisturizing as well and really is a neutral oil as it helps bring out the characteristics of your other oils. Coconut oil can produce a lot of bubbles in soap. It can also make your skin dry and itchy if you use more than 35% of it in any recipe. Each given oil is assigned to a SAP value or number. All that means is that there is a certain amount of lye that is needed to turn that oil into soap. You can do calculations to determine the sap value of all your oils in your recipe and that gives you the amount of lye and water you will need to use in your recipe to turn the mixture into soap. Sounds fun ehh. There are a few formulas to figure all that out by hand but I will just give you a simple recipe that I formulated to get your started with something simple.

Lye aka as Sodium Hydroxide

Lye is getting terribly hard to find these days due to many people starting illegal meth labs. Red Devil lye used to be found in the grocery stores but it was pulled a year ago. Lye can be purchased over the internet but you will almost always have to sign a hazmat waiver before it can be shipped out to you. My best advice to you is to simply go to your local Lowes and purchase it there. It is found in the section where you have the drain cleaners and it’s made by roebic. It’s called crystal drain cleaner. Okay don’t freak out yet. It 100% sodium hydroxide with no other additives. Again you need 100% sodium hydroxide to make soap. It’s serves dual purposes cleaning your drain and making you a batch of soap. Just don’t buy draino. Yes that’s sodium hydroxide as well but it’s not 100% sodium hydroxide. It has metal shavings in it etc. This can totally screw up your batch. Plus the thought of bathing with a soap with metal shavings is terribly scary. Crystal Drain Opener will cost about 8 bucks for a container.

Working safely with lye

Always wear your protective eyewear (goggles) when working with this caustic substance as well as gloves. When preparing your lye and water mixture be sure you pour your lye slowly into your water and NOT the other way around unless you really want to see and experience a volcanic eruption. I normally wear a nose mask to avoid breathing in the fumes that the lye water and can give off. Make sure any small children and pets are not around when you are mixing these substances up. Better yet do it outside if you can as it only takes a few minutes. The mixture itself will still resemble plain water but it will get very hot quickly. Most often the temp soars between 100-150 Celsius. If you do have family members around please label your container with the words lye water DO NOT DRINK. LYE water so closely resembles plain water and if your not careful someone can or may drink it and this will cause you a trip to the ER. DEF not Good. Use your head and commons sense with working with LYE. If you spill the water somehow clean it up with your vinegar immediately as it neutralizes the effects of the lye.

YOU can get a burn from lye crystals or lye water if you’re not wearing your protective gear.


Use distilled water only. You can find it cheaply in your grocery store


It’s really your choice to use colorants to add to you soap. You really don’t have to. The choice is yours. Most often I use micas, oxides, ultramarines, or liquid colors to color my soap a given shade or swirl with colors. Just don’t use food colors. The colors won’t last.
You don’t need any colorants for you first batch. Learn the basics first then you can experiment with coloring. Your soap will have it’s own creamy whitish or creamy beige color depending on the oils you are using. Just make sure you are using FD&C colorants. These are approved by the food drug and cosmetic organization and are approved for use in body product formulations.


I like fragranced soaps. Just be sure the vendor you purchase them from authorizes their use for soap making and they are tested in cold process soap making. Don’t use the scents you can get from bath and body works. They are not suitable for soap making. Again you don’t need to scent your first batch. Learn the basics first then you can experiment with fragrance.

Soap molds

Again the list of soap molds is endless. I like wooden molds and plastic molds. If you are using wooden molds you will have to lign the mold with your freezer paper otherwise you will not get your soap out of the mold.

Now on to our recipe:

You can find almost all these oils in your grocery store. Super Wal-Mart carries Coconut oil. It’s called Lou Anna Coconut oil. It has a green lid. It costs about 2.79 for a container. Some heath food stores also carry coconut oil in organic form. It may cost a little more at these types of stores though.

Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Cocoa Butter

Olive Oil is readily available along with Sunflower Oil. You can purchase 100% cocoa butter sticks at ethnic beauty supply stores.

Castor Oil can be found in drugstores. Just make sure it says 100% Castor Oil.

You may also order many of the items you can’t find online with many vendors. I can supply you with some vendors that offer oils at reasonable prices. From Nature With Love is a vendor with whom I believe is offering LHCF a percentage off their order for things purchased off their site.

So here is our recipe

Coconut Oil 20%
Olive Oil 50%
Castor Oil 15%
Cocoa Butter 10%
Sunflower Oil 5%

Your percentages need to total 100% I usually like to soap with 50% soft oils and 50% hard oils. Sometimes I switch it up a bit too. with 70/30 . It all depends on the characteristics I am going for when devising a batch. Basically soft oils are the ones that are liquid at room temp. I consider olive oil a soft oil, castor is a soft oil too. Cocoa butter in it's natural form is a hard so it's a hard oil.

Our recipe is based off a total of 30 oz of base oils here. You can formulate your base oz of oils with anything you like 25 oz, 35 oz and what not. Just make sure you run the percentages through a lye calculator to give you the amount of lye and water to use. I am giving you the numbers based off of 30 oz here. If you want to give it a go of devising your own recipe check out It's a lye calculator/recipe deviser in one. I use it alot along with soapmaker. Soapmaker is free for 30 days. After that you have to pay to use it. Soapcalc is free all the time. Play to you hearts content on there.
It breaks down to this.

Coconut Oil 6 ounces
Olive Oil 15 ounces
Castor Oil 4.50 ounces
Cocoa Butter 3 ounces
Sunflower Oil 1.5 ounces.

You will need to use

Lye 4.03 ounces.
Water 10.11 ounces.

Remember all the ingredients including the water and lye need to weighed on a digital scale. Do not use measuring cups to measure anything out as it will be way off in accuracy.

I like to measure my oils are on the scale in a pyrex cup and then I pour it into the base pot of oils like a glass bowl. Each time you measure a new oil make sure you hit the tare feature on your scale so that it goes to Zero. You want to make sure you measuring the oils only in cup not including the weight of the pyrex cup.

I find it’s best to measure out your water and your lye first before you begin melting your oils. It takes the lye a lot longer to cool down than it does the oils if they get too hot.

Make sure you pour the water in your pitcher with a lid and slowly pour the measured lye into the pitcher. Make sure your are wearing your goggle and nose mask.. Stir it up good so it gets mixed together well. Put the cover on it and set it aside. If you have children or pets put it up high where they can’t get to it.

It’s always best to soap cool so you don’t speed trace up too quickly. High heat always speeds up the reaction. You can take the temp of the oils and the lye but I find that just touching the pitcher of lye to make sure it’s warm and NOT hot is good. The same goes for the oils. You can do your own research on taking temps as I don’t take them anymore myself. I usually put my bowl of oils in the microwave to get them melted down well and heated so they are warm and not hot.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Soaper Star Team

I am always extremely appreciative of the folks who decide to use my items to create their treasuries on ETSY. Nothing beats looking at soap porn whether it is on ETSY or Soapdishforum. I need to spend less time on ETSY browsing and more time making soap.Thanks PattiFlynn for including me in your list of favorites. This woman makes some georgeous soaps and has the most efficient and beautiful workspace that she creates in. I wish I had my own designated soaping room. Sigh........

Grapefruit & Spearmint

This is the second blend soap I have made using essential oils. It smells very refreshing and I am anxiously awaiting for cure to test it out in the shower. These days I am very excited because I am not only doing research with essential oils but getting a chance to devise some simple blends to get my feet wet with the art of blending. I am more of a fragrance oil soaper but have been wanting to branch out and start working with essential oils. I think my next blend may be a lavender with tangerine. I am a sucker for Citrus Scents but unless you anchor a scent many will not hold down in cold process soaps.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Castile Soap

I have had many firsts this month with soapmaking. I guess I am coming out of my slump with soapmaking. For weeks I have felt terribly uninspired plus for I have had many soap batches that have gone literally wild. Many of those creations went straight in my trash can. I even had a batch quickly rice on me in my soap pot and I purposely kept my temps low. While browsing soaps on etsy I came across a listing for castile soap. I have always been interested in castile because of their high conditioning qualities in the soap. Plus the bars are killer white and hard as a brick after a substantial cure time. The only drawback to castile is the forever long tracing and curing period. Most say to let them cure for a 6 months to a year. If anything the soap continues to get better with age. I think I will let these sit to December 31, 2008 and bring in the new year and use them for the first time. Only if the anticipation doesn't kill me first.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stress Relief

This was the first time I used Stress Relief fragrance for a batch of soap. I am really getting into using shea butter in my batches because I love how my skin feels after using a bar with a high concentration of shea. Still not sure I will add this to my current line. It's still growing on me. It's a little strong so I am hoping after a good cure it will mellow out a little. Plus it set up on me super fast. I had to beat it with the stick blender because it started to rice right in my soap pot and killed any chance for a decent swirl. I soaped it cool so not sure what happened.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Not really feeling Hot Process

*I recently used this two week old soap in the shower. My skin feels so good and it's a new recipe I formulated. I am quite impressed it feels this good the first time around. No dryness or itchness at all. I used a two butters in this soap along with my usual amount of olive oil. I think I may send some bars to my testers to see what they think and will toss one bar in the mail for mom. The rest I am hoarding myself.

I can only wonder if I used a little sodium lactate in these bars would it would have made for a more liquid pour. I used Tonys half moon rounds to get this specific bar shape. While I do like them I am not sure I would use them for hot process soap again. There is way too much watching and stirring for me. However it is nice to get to witness each stage of the soapmaking process through the end of saponification. I may do one of my plain cold process bars in them.

Although it's my first time doing an essential oil blend of lime and peppermint. Yes I know the blend is easy but one needs to start somewhere. Besides I am considering branching out to include essential oils soaps in my current line but I am still in the research and testing stage with those. My comfort level with essential oils leaves something to be desired.I just haven't felt comfortable working with them as I have fragrance oils. That is just the thing with soaping there is so much to expand on in terms of knowledge. I am dedicated to lifelong learning with this process. Happy soaping all!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Green Tea

This is my most favorite soap to do a restock. If anything I love the sutble grey swirls against a plain cream base. I still have year old bars in this scent where the scent is still holding on strong.I can still detect the honey and citrus notes. Although it's slightly on the herbal side for me.