Sunday, March 5, 2023

Transparent Soap - Let's Try Again

One thing I've often been told since I was a child is that I'm pretty stubborn. I certainly can be, especially when it comes to getting things to my own expectations. That can certainly be said for the transparent soap. I couldn't just make it once and let it go if it wasn't perfect.

So, I tried it again.

And, this time, it worked perfectly! The thrill of walking into my soap room to see if I could unmold the soap and finding it clear made me a little giddy. 

Here's the first one, so you can see the difference. 

As much as I enjoyed making this soap, I don't think it's one I'll make all the time. Don't get me wrong - it's a lovely soap but it isn't the cheapest to make and even though it can be used as a melt & pour soap, it seems to have a pretty low melting point that isn't conducive to a lot of creativity. I'll likely use it to make some fun little soaps for the next market and for some special occasions but it won't be a regular item in my booth.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Wine & Cider

 A couple of years ago, a local winery/cidery approached me to ask if soap could be made with wine or cider and, if so, would I be interested in working with them to create a line of soaps for them. I was all in!

I've been creating four different soaps for them since that time. This weekend and the next will be spent making another batch of each for them. The first one up is the red wine soap. This one is scented with Merlot fragrance oil. Unfortunately, this time it riced slightly, as you can see in this picture, probably due to a touch of over blending and perhaps the fragrance oil. I did get it into the mold before it became worse and I know it will end up fine; it's happened before and doesn't affect the final soap.

The three other soaps (white wine, rose, and a spiced cider) will be made over the next days.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Liquid Soap - Round How Many??

I've been making bar soap for quite a while, 10 years or so now. I've tried making liquid soap before but was never happy with the results and didn't like the process. It can take up to a week the way I used to make it.... when I made it. In addition, there was something about the scent of the raw soap that I just didn't like. 

When I found the Ultimate Guide to Liquid Soapmaking, it became a game changer! I'm not trying to advertise the book, I'm just so impressed with the book and the resulting soap. 

The photo shows three of the soaps I made within the past couple of weeks. All are made with animal fats (lard, tallow, and emu) and all are amazing.

And then, there's this one. Talk about dramatic!! This is Charcoal Tea Tree & Lavender liquid soap. It smells amazing and lathers beautifully. 

One thing I will need to remind customers is that hand crafted liquid soaps are quite concentrated. As little as 2-3 drops is enough to wash your hands. To get an idea of how liquid soaps can be used, check out this web page from Dr. Bronners liquid soap.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Transparent Soap - First Try

I've often looked at soapmakers who make transparent soap as nearly godlike. I mean, it's soap that's transparent! They speak of solvents and heat and it would leave me scratching my head, thinking there's no way I could ever do that.

Then, I came across a recipe on a Facebook group I'd joined (Ultimate Guide to Soapmaking) and a 10-minute Transparent soap recipe. I figured if it could be done in 10 minutes, it really couldn't be THAT difficult, could it? So I downloaded the recipe, realized I had all the ingredients and started reading.

It turns out, I was missing one ingredient but it had an easy substitution (sugar) and I was a little short of another ingredient.  I jumped in anyway and probably rushed things a little more than I needed to. However, look at what I made! 

It may not be perfectly transparent but it is soap and it's translucent. I can use it as a melt & pour soap with opens up all kinds of opportunities. Will I make it on a regular basis? I doubt it. But I will say that it's a nice recipe to have in my back pocket when I want to make something that incorporates melt & pour soap.

Will I try it again? You betcha! I really want to make a fully transparent soap. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Adventures in Liquid Soap - part 2

 Maybe I should call this post Part 2, 3, 4, 5.... I think you get the idea, right? Yep, I've been experimenting with liquid soap. Just today, I made this one:

It's so beautifully clear that I had to take a picture in the bit of sunshine we had today. It's made with a combination of beef tallow, olive, and canola oils and is a single lye (KOH) soap. I'm so thrilled with this one. The only thing that concerns me now is how will a fragrance oil affect it? Will it stay as clear as it is now, or will it go cloudy?

Then there's this one. It's a very nice soap but look at how cloudy it is. This one frustrates me but I have a feeling I know what it might be, leftover saponifiables. I made this one a few days ago; earlier today, I made a 25% KOH solution and added a few tablespoons of that solution. It seems to be helping with clarifying it. It's a Honey & Almond soap. The lather is beautiful but it looks rather disgusting as is. I hope I can get it cleared up because it really is a nice soap.

Right now, I have six batches of soap almost ready for bottling, or sampling. I have enough liquid soap to last me a lifetime! I need more friends willing to be testers. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Adventures in Liquid Soap

I've made liquid soap in the past and, I have to say, I was underwhelmed. It was a time-consuming process. First, you make the base paste. That can take a few hours. Then you need to hydrate (dilute) the paste in water; that can take days. 

I'm not that patient. 

Recently, I joined a couple of Facebook groups that specialize in liquid soap making and someone suggested a liquid soapmaking course book. I thought about it for about two minutes and made the decision to invest in the book and have been working my way through it over the past few days. 

Basically, there are three different methods for making liquid soap; first is the Cold Process Liquid Soap. In this method, you create your paste and let it sit, with no external heat, until the paste is formed. Then, the dilution water is added and it is allowed to hydrate over time. It can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks. It's a lot of hands off time and, if you're patient, it's a great method. I, however, am not that patient. 

The second method is the Low Temperature Liquid Soap; in this method, a crockpot at a low temperature is used. It's a good method but the dilution can still take time. And, again, I'm not that patient.

You know where this is going, right?

The third method is the High Temperature Liquid Soap; with this method, a batch of liquid soap can be finished, from start to final dilution, in about half an hour. Sign me up! 

I decided, in the interest of education, to make my way through all three processes. I made a batch of CPLS Castile Soap. It's in a bucket, resting until my order of pump bottles arrives. It was pretty easy to make but the entire process took a couple of days to complete. The second batch I made is the LTLS, Palm Olive liquid soap. I probably did something wrong in the process because, after about 3 days, it's still diluting. I've been adding extra water and waiting for it to absorb. Once fully diluted, it will be a very nice soap if the initial testing is any indication. It's just taking way too long.

Then, yesterday, I decided to try the 30-minute High Temperature recipe. Wow! I am hooked!

Following a recipe in the book, I made a Tea Tree & Lavender Charcoal liquid soap. This soap is intriguing. It's pitch black! The lather is amazing and the scent of Tea Tree and Lavender smells somewhat medicinal but also kind of comforting. I never thought I'd like a black liquid soap, to be honest, but I'm really liking it. And the best part? Within 24 hours, it's ready for the market. Yes, it will benefit from some sequestering (equivalent to the curing of bar soap); my first market isn't for another couple of weeks. 

Now I just need to figure out a name for it.