Pink Himalayan Salt Soap Test Batch with Tamanu & Neem Oils

I made a test batch of soap with Neem oil (See Blog here) and another with Pink Himalayan Salt and Neem Oil  (See Blog here) – to take advantage of all the great benefits of both. Next I wanted to try a trifecta of benefits: Pink Himalayan Salt soap with Neem oil and the addition of Tamanu oil.

IMG_1413

Sandalwood Vanilla PH Salt soap with Tamanu & Neem Oils.

Here’s some info on Neem Oil:
A very effective antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral agent. Assists in the healing of skin disorders including eczema, psoriasis, rashes, burns and acne. Considered a natural insect repellent. Has a very strong odor that is often described as a blend of nut and garlic. Rich in essential fatty acids, triglycerides, vitamin E & calcium; known to smooth wrinkles, reduce eczema and acne, stimulate collagen and relieve dry skin.

The Neem tree has been called “the village pharmacy” because its bark, leaves, sap, fruit, seeds, and twigs have so many diverse uses in the traditional medicine of India. As a member of the mahogany family, it has been used medicinally for at least 4,000 years and is held in such esteem that Indian poets called it Sarva Roga Nivarini , meaning “the One That Can Cure All Ailments.”

The uses of Neem are remarkably diverse: the seed and kernel oil for diabetes, fevers, fungal infections, bacterial infections, inflammatory diseases, fertility prevention, and as an insecticide. Neem oil is used in shampoos and conditioners to improve the health of the hair without leaving a thick residue.

To me, out of the bottle it smells hideous – like really bad garlic and something dead. I don’t smell the nuttiness that has been described. Even using just 5% (.6 oz) in this batch (which seems to be the typical usage rate), it still smells really awful and very overpowering before curing.

The Benefits of Tamanu Oil:
Tamanu oil is a greenish-black color and very thick. Recommended usage rate in soap is up to 5%. It smells like butter pecan ice cream or Kahlua, and is quite pleasant.

The oils of the seed and root have been used to treat wounds: it has been topically applied to treat various ailments such as cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and stings, abrasions, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, herpes sores, scars, and to reduce foot and body odor. The oil has also been topically applied to the neck area to treat sore throat.

I have never used it in soap, as it is very costly: $35 a pound. But for this test batch, I only used 1 ounce (just under 5%).

Specifically, I have some family members that are struggling with eczema. The Pink Himalayan Salt soap helps some, as does the Neem Oil soap – combining them helps even more. But I would like to kick the eczema out completely, hence the addition of Tamanu oil.

I went with the Sandalwood scent to help cover up the Neem oil (and per request of my tester).

Description of Bramble Berry Scents:
Sandalwood Vanilla: A blend that is sweet and creamy, yet woodsy enough for men. It’s warm and inviting. CP: discolors brown; very fast acceleration, 4.5% Vanilla.
Sandalwood Cybilla: A woodsy, soft, sweet and sensual sandalwood. CP: discolors tan, very light.

 

The Plan:
Add Salt to full batch of batter.
To test the color and scent of Neem & Tamanu oils after curing, pour off 6 oz for one unscented bar.
Split rest of  the batter in half, scenting one half with Sandalwood FO & the other with Sandalwood Vanilla (discolors brown).
Use 6-bar mold with negative impression mat on bottom and alternate pouring lines of soap, swirling with chop stick after.

Recipe 17.96 oz/509 grams Pink Himalayan Salt Master Batch oils (see blog here); plus Neem Oil & Tamanu Oil = 20 oz Total Oils (run through lye calculator).

Master Batch Oil recipe details with added oils:
4.5%       Castor Oil                                 .9 oz          26 grams
62.9%     Coconut Oil                       12.57 oz        356 grams
4.5%       Hazelnut Oil                            .9 oz          26 grams
9%          Palm Oil                                  1.8 oz          51 grams
4.5%       Shea Butter                              .9 oz          26 grams
4.5%       Sunflower Seed Oil                .9 oz          26 grams     s/b 509 grams
PLUS:
5.4%       Neem Oil                              1.08 oz          31 grams
4.8%       Tamanu Oil                            .96 oz          27 grams     Total Oils: 567 grams

10% SF  Lye                                         2.94 oz          83 grams
.6 oz disc 1:1 Aloe & Distilled water   6 oz         170 grams
1%        Kaolin Clay                                                     6 grams
1%        Camomile Extract                                         6 grams
1%        Avocado Extract                                            6 grams

20 oz oils/567 grams= 29 oz soap + 12 oz PH Salt = 41 oz soap

Batter/Colors/FO:
18 oz 1 oz Sandalwood Cybilla (very light, disc Tan)
18 oz 1 oz Sandalwood Vanilla FO (A & Discolors brown 4.5% Vanilla)

 

The Reality:
I soaped at 130 degrees for both the Lye and oils, stick blended to light trace and added the PH Salt. I stick blended several more times and had to wait a bit for the batter to thicken up.

The color of the batter before (left) and after (right) adding PH salt. A dark beige/tan from the Neem and Tamanu oils are just a little darker with the salt:

Poured one bar of unscented soap.

Split the rest in half, adding the Sandalwood FO to one, and poured some lines into the mold. Mixed in the Sandalwood Vanilla in the other container and it started to discolor and accelerate immediately. I quickly alternated pours from each container until using them all. I attempted to swirl with a skewer, but the Sandalwood Vanilla was very thick.

Since this was a test batch, I covered the silicone mold and put it in a 150 degree oven, then turned off the heat and set the timer for 4 hours. I know that it can be tricky using silicone molds in the oven with soap – they can possible bubble over, but I wanted to try it out.

At 4 hours I took it out of the oven, it was only slightly warm. I don’t think I got any overheating, I think this is just ash (with the darker blobs being the Sandalwood Vanilla that accelerated and got stiff):

IMG_3428

I waited another 40 minutes before un-molding. The side with the mat on it looks very nice, the darker areas are the pours of Sandalwood Vanilla, which will discolor brown. I really like the “oatmeal” look of the soap. I think that is from the Tamanu, as it is very gritty:

IMG_3431

Bottom of loaf, which will be the top & cut into 6 slices

 

The Cut:
Four hours and 40 minutes was too long to wait before cutting and it should have been cut earlier – probably right after taking it out of the oven, as half way through the cut, the soap was rock hard and crumbly.

IMG_1413

I got three really nice bars and three with broken corners. You can see how the tops of these broke off:

IMG_1414

No colors were added, so the natural browning is all from the Sandalwood Vanilla. You can also see the one unscented bar made:

 

The Cure:
As these cured, they darkened up a bit more, but look lovely. However, the unevenness in cutting them by hand make them a bit too rustic for me.

I thought the Sandalwood Vanilla FO would cover up any scent from the Neem Oil, which it did. However, while using the soap in the shower, a bit of the Neem fragrance still comes through.

After curing, the unscented bar seems to have no scent of the Neem Oil, but I suspect it may come through a bit when using the soap.

 

Conclusions:
I have held off for months writing this blog, waiting for more data on results of using this soap to help combat eczema. But as the spring and summer rolled on, my main tester was not getting eczema, so there was no way to know if the addition of Tamanu Oil helped more that just the salt bars with Neem Oil. (I have another tester, who has not gotten back to me yet.)

I will update this blog when I get more definitive information.

 

 

 

Lavender Essential Oil Soap with Layers & In The Pot Swirl

I liked the look of my previous batch of soap so much (see blog here), that I wanted to try it again with different colors and a touch more colored batter. I was originally going to go with white & two purple colorants, but added a 3rd purple, as it was a mica & I wanted to use some mica oils on top.

IMG_1580

Description of BB Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil:
A bold yet fresh smelling Lavender very similar to Lavender Provence Essential oil. Made from a mixture of lavender essential oils to create a dependable scent year after year, this Lavender does not experience the same crop variations due to blending different Lavender constituents in a lab after harvesting and distilling. CP: No A, D, R. Water White. (This doesn’t have the camphor scent to me like the Lavender FO, which I don’t care for.)

 

The Plan:
100 oz of batter
Pour off 10 oz for test samples.
90 oz in 5 lb mold with 2 small layers on bottom and ITP swirl for bulk of soap.
Violet on bottom; thin Ultraviolet Blue layer; then ITP swirl with white, violet, blue & purple.
Top with each color & swirl.
Add Silver & Queens Purple Mica Oils in dots and pull through with a toothpick to create hearts.

Master Batch #7 oils: 70 oz Oils (makes 100 oz/6.25 lb soap)
MB Oils: 70 oz/ 1984 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 9.98 oz / 283 grams
Distilled Water: (4.1 oz disc; 17.7% disc): 19 oz / 538 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 19 grams (add to oils)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 19 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 19 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 19 grams (add to Lye water at <130 degrees)

Batter/Color/EO 4.5 oz:
20 oz Ultramarine Violet Pigment (15 oz for bottom layer, rest ITP)
20 oz Ultraviolet Blue Pigment (8 oz for middle layer, rest ITP)
10 oz Queens Purple Mica (for ITP)
40 oz TD White

 

The Reality:
Soaped at 114 and 110 degree Lye and oils, stick blending to emulsified. After separating out my batters and coloring, I realized that I only needed 84 oz of batter for this batch, so I used some of my batter for tiny embeds and planed on using the leftovers in Victorian Heart molds.

I added the Lavender and stick blended the Ultramarine Violet to a medium trace, then poured 15 oz into the mold. I did the same with Ultraviolet Blue, pouring about 8 oz over the first layer. I stick blended the Queens Purple to medium trace, but did not have to do any blending to the white, as the TD had accelerated trace. I added my 3 colors to the white in an ITP swirl and poured over the first two layers.

I put down a few rows of leftover color, swirled with a chopstick in a diagonal Taiwan swirl and added dots of silver & queens purple mica oils, swirling again with a toothpick. The batter was very stiff and the mica oil dots did not stay circular, but ran and blurred, so I was not able to make hearts from the dots, as planned.

IMG_3695

You can see the very subtle differences between the Ultramarine Violet Pigment and Queens Purple mica in this closeup of the top:

IMG_3685

I put in a 150 degree oven, turned it off, and let it sit for 6 hours to promote gelling. At about 3 hours, I turned on the oven on to bring it back up to 150 degrees, then shut it off again. (Recommended oven temperature is usually 170 degrees, but at 6000 feet, where I live, I have read reports about 170 degrees being too high a temperature, causing the soap to bubble. This makes sense, as water boils at a much lower temperature here.) When I pulled it out, it was still slightly warm, so I covered in towels.

The next morning it was very firm and I un-molded it easily. This loaf was much more solid than a typical batch, probably due to soaping at a thicker trace than usual, plus the the oven processing.

The Un-molding:

IMG_3697

The top and sides look lovely

Check out the beautiful swirls on the sides in this close up:

IMG_3705

You can still see the subtle differences of the two purples on top

 

The Cut:
I was very disappointed in the cut…I had used too much color and not enough white. I don’t care for the swirls in this. (As I was pouring the batter, I thought of adding a tube heart inside – I think that would have really helped the design. I disregarded that thought as I was looking at the beautiful feathering and swirls – similar to what you see on the sides, but neither of those came through in the cut.)

IMG_1579

Version 2

IMG_1584

I did a crinkle cut on two bars and really like the look:

IMG_1586

 

 

Conclusions:
There is always a very fine line between too much color and not enough. In the previous blog (Margarita soap – see here), I felt like there was a bit too much white space. In this one there is not enough. I also swirled this twice in the pot, which led to too much swirling of colors.

The ratio of white to purple was almost twice as much as in the Margarita soap. I should have calculated the ratios ahead of time and used a lot less color. (37% of color to white was used in the Margarita soap, while 67% of colors to white in this soap. I should have tried 45-50% of purples to white in this soap.)

Also, doing a hanger swirl in the ITP swirl area would have enhanced this design (or even doing it throughout the entire soap). Alternatively, pouring the two layers at an angle, then adding the ITP would have also made this more interesting.

I think the two purples are so similar and it’s difficult to distinguish between them, that only one is needed. All in all, I love the colors, the top & sides, but find the design inside a bit boring.

Margarita in coconut milk with Layers, In The Pot swirl, Lime embeds, and PH Salt sprinkled on top

IMG_1568

Description of Natures Garden Margarita FO: A fresh lime fragrance with hints of lemon rinds and fresh greenery. This fragrance oil has high levels of essential oil of lime for a true-to-name aroma. CP: No R, A, D. Reviews: slight yellowing; very limey with a touch of salt; dead on margarita, lime-lemon scent.

I was originally going to make this with BB Coconut Cream FO, but in a test soap with a 1:1 FO ratio (3.5 ml of each in a 4 oz bar), the Coconut was no where to be seen and the Margarita was very light. I’m hoping with a straight Margarita, the scent will be strong, as it is oob.

 

The Plan:
3 oz Margarita FO
3 lb mold; 48 oz batter plus 6 oz embed tops (4 oz lime tarts and 2 oz lime wedges).
Dark green layer on bottom with silver mica line.
Thin light green layer with silver mica line.
Then white & light green In The Pot swirl.
Top with 1/3 of each color and swirl.
Add embeds: 1 round lime tart embed on top (on edge) on one side and 1 lime wedge (on edge) on other side.
Pink Himalayan Salt (coated with silver mica) sprinkled in the middle.
Put in Freezer to prevent overheating of Coconut milk.

Master batch #7 oils: 34 oz Oils (makes 48 oz soap)
MB Oils: 34 oz/ 964 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 4.85 oz / 137 grams
Frozen Coconut Milk: (2.22 oz disc; 20% disc): 9 oz / 255 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 10 grams (add to oils)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 10 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 10 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 10 grams (add to Lye water at <130 degrees)

Batter/Color/FO 3 oz:
12 oz BB Green Chrome Oxide (Dark Green)
12 oz CC Granny Smith Green mica  & BB Kermit Green (1/4 for layer)
24 oz TD White

 

The Reality:
I added the NaOH to the frozen coconut milk and it never got above 90 degrees. At 88 degrees, I strained the Lye liquid into 94 degree oils and stick blended to almost thin trace, dividing up the batter into my 3 containers.

I almost added the FO into the full batch before dividing, but having never worked with this fragrance, I thought it best to play it safe and add it as I went. (In hind sight, adding all the FO to the batter would have been okay.)

I first mixed up the dark green for the bottom layer and added 1/4 of the FO – it seemed to reverse trace and I had to stick blend for quite a while – even on high (which I never use) before it got thick enough to pour and hold another layer on top.

I spritzed this layer with silver mica using a powder spray bottle (purchased at Qosmedix here). I like this applicator in that I can easily direct the spray, getting it where I want it to go, without excess mess everywhere.

I continued on to the next 2 batters. I had the same issue with stick blending the light green and white. Poured about 1/4 to 1/3 of the light green batter, spritzed with silver mica, then poured the rest into the white for an In The Pot swirl.

I didn’t feel like I really had much of a color contrast with the ITP, pouring a lot of white batter on top. I had very little of the green batters left to make rows of color on top, then swirled.

Top before adding embeds:

IMG_3600

I really liked this look, but since I had planned the embeds and the soap would be a little small without them, I added them and the salt in between the lines where each slice will be cut:

IMG_3607

Embeds placed in between cutting marks on mold

Even though the Pink Himalayan salt was dusted with silver mica, the pink still shows through:

IMG_3611

After 2 hours of gelling, I realized that I had been working with milk and forgot to Not Gel. I quickly put the loaf in the freezer, but after 20 minutes, took it out, as I didn’t want to get a gel ring in the middle. I wrapped it up again in towels, but did not put any heat on, (hoping it wouldn’t over heat and crack), and checked on it every hour – it stayed warm for quite a while but no cracking.

 

The Cut:

IMG_1549

IMG_1569

The silver mica did not show up in the layers. I had trouble getting a heavy line down, using a powder spray bottle to “spritz” on the mica, (from Qosmedix).  I should have switch to a tea strainer. I think the silver line would have tied in the silver mica PH salt on top.

IMG_1554

 

Conclusions:
As much as I liked the swirl on top of this soap, I think the embeds really added something to the look of it. (Next time it might be nice to place the lime wedge on it’s side.) I like the  composition, with the layers on the bottom and the subtle green in the white. I would like to do this design again, with slightly more green in the white.

I also like the sprinkle of salt on each bar, but would have preferred a course white salt dusted in silver mica, as the pink of the Himalayan salt seems to shine through and doesn’t connect with anything else in the soap.

The scent is nice, but after curing it’s extremely light. I would use 4-4.5 oz for a 3 lb batch next time or boost it with BB Lime FO (3:1). Surprisingly, I think I like the WSP Island Margarita Lime FO better (and I usually don’t care for any of their scents), but I did boost it with BB Lime FO too, which might have made all the difference. (You can see the previous Margarita Lime Blog here),

 

Monkey Business (Banana) with Tiger stripe & Hanger Swirls

IMG_1531

Description of Bulk Apothecary, Nature’s Garden, & Bramble Berry Fragrances:
BA Banana FO: 1.5 oz. CP: slight pale pink discoloring; works well.
NG Banana (True) FO: 1.5 oz. CP: excellent scent, perfect pour, no ricing, no acceleration, discolors to light tan, very strong; 1% Vanilla. Reviews: smells like taffy; smells like bubble gum; scent very faint after curing; smells like banana bread; true banana scent.
BB Kumquat & Pink Grapefruit FO’s: I used a tiny bit of each (.25 oz) to try to mimic NG Monkey Farts  Banana fragrance (as there is a hit of each in it). They are both very light FO’s, so I didn’t expect to have any of the fragrance come through, but used more as a mellowing affect to the other FO’s. Kumquat has a slight yellow discolor, Grapefruit is water white.

 

The Plan:
3 lb mold; 52 oz batter
Use 1.5 oz each of BA and NG FO’s; with .25 oz each of Grapefruit & Kumquat.
Alternate a Tiger Stripe down middle: green, white, yellow, orange.
Then hanger swirl vertically in straight up & down zig-zag pattern, followed by horizontal figure 8’s.
Top with rows of batter and silver, yellow, blaze orange, & green mica oils.

Master batch #7 oils: 44 oz Oils (makes 62 oz soap)
MB Oils: 44 oz/ 1247 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 6.27 oz / 178 grams
Distilled Water: (2.52 oz disc; 17.35% disc): 12 oz / 340 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 12 grams (add to oils)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 12 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Oat Extract (1%): 12 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 12 grams (add to Lye water at <130 degrees)

Pour off 10 oz of batter for test samples.

Batter/Color/FO 3.5 oz:
13 oz CC Yellow Locking mica ~1 oz Banana blend
13 oz BB Nuclear Orange pigment ~ .25 Kumquat, .25 Grapefruit, & splash of banana
13 oz CC Granny Smith Apple Green mica ~ 1 oz Banana blend .25 oz NG Vanilla Stabilizer
13 oz TD White ~1 oz Banana blend .25 oz NG Vanilla Stabilizer

 

The Reality:
I used a little more FO in this batch than I normally would because all of them were 2-3 years old. I know from experience that at that age they tend to loose some of their strength and the Kumquat & Grapefruit are always very light.

I soaped at 90 degree Lye & 103 degree oils. Stick blended to light trace, separated out the batter for my soap and 10 oz for embeds.

Mixed in the colors and FO’s, plus Vanilla Stabilizer in the white & green. The batter thicken quickly, especially the green. Poured a Tiger Stripe down the middle, alternating colors. Did my hanger swirls as planned, added stripes of batter on top, as well as the mica oils. Did not spray the top with Alcohol, so that the mica oils would not get distorted. Wrapped in plastic wrap, towels, and put in room with small heater to gel.

IMG_3562

Tiger stripe before swirling

After hanger swirling, laying down alternate colors of batter and mica oils, then swirling:

IMG_3591

Close up – the mica oils are much brighter than the soap batter, making the orange look red:

IMG_3593

 

The Cut:

IMG_1528

IMG_1533

There were a few bars that had some brownish discolor from the Banana FO. You can see the slightly darker areas towards the bottom left soap and the bottom right soap here:

IMG_1539

Added the leftovers into a leaf mold:

 

 

Conclusions:
I love the combination of a tiger stripe pour with a hanger swirl – I think it created some very intricate swirls. I would like to play with this design again with some different hues.

I’m not too excited by the color pallet though. The Nuclear Orange feels too bright to me, while the yellow looks very dirty, when I was going for a bright yellow (I should have used my go-to BB Fizzy Lemonade Yellow mica). Even though there were equal amounts of each color, there is very little green and even less white.

The mica oils on top did not have a very good showing either – I think I may have overdone it with the oils.

The Banana scent blend is very one note, and not too exciting. I was trying to go for something more complex (more Kumquat & Grapefruit?), like the description of Monkey Farts FO. (Although I’ve never owned it, I used it years ago in a class. I find the name so distasteful, that it is difficult to purchase.)

Peppermint Eucalyptus Invigorating Shampoo Bars with Silk – in new 18 bar mold with impression mat and embeds

IMG_1473

I’m so excited to try out my new 18-bar mold from Bramble Berry that I got for my birthday – Yay!! (You can get one here)

IMG_3489

 

The Plan:
Use 18-bar mold & 102 oz shampoo batter with tiny embeds on top and swirl impression mat on bottom.
Peacock swirl top.
Add Tiny Bird & Heart embeds on top, in Ultramarine Violet, Coral Reef Blue, & Plum.
Use 25 oz Shampoo MB Oils #1 (NaOH 100 grams) and 55 oz Shampoo MB Oils #2 (NaOH 220 grams), ran through the Lye Calculator. (Finishing the last of SMB #1 and starting SMB #2).
Soap at low temperatures.

Recipe: 80 oz oils; makes 118 oz soap/ 7.35 lbs:
SMB Oils #1 & #2: 80 oz/ 2268 grams
NaOH Lye 6% SF: 11.25 oz/ 320 grams
Distilled Water: 26.4 oz/ 748 grams (used 22 oz/624 grams, 17% /4.4 oz discount)
Nettle Extract (3%): 68 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Tuscan Silk Fibers: (enough fibers to loosely fill 1 teaspoon or no more than 1/2 tsp/lb. Cut into small pieces with scissors and add to lye water right away.)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 68 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 23 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)

Pour off 16 oz for samples.

Essential Oil Blend – 4 oz total:
2 oz Peppermint 1st Distill & 2 oz Eucalyptus

Batter/Color/EO Blend 4 oz:
20 oz BB Ultramarine Violet
20 oz TKB Coral Reef Blue
20 oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum)
42 oz TD White

18 bar mold with new impression mat on bottom:

 

 

The Reality:
It was one of those soaping days, where things did not go the way I wanted them to. It could have been a disaster, but fortunately wasn’t and I got some extremely beautiful results, just not what I was planning (but maybe better!)

The prep seemed to take forever (everything did). Cutting my silk fibers into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces felt like it took 30 minutes – actually it took about 15-20 minutes, but was so tedious I was wondering why I use silk.

I adjusted my Peacock swirl tools: (found here at Bramble Berry). I have always used them for the 9-bar mold and they had to be converted to the original setup for the 18-bar mold. The nails kept poking & scratching me and it was difficult taking them apart, as well as putting them back together. They had been in the modified mode for years and were a little stuck.

When everything was finally arranged correctly, I added my NaOH to my water and stirred until clear, then immediately added the Tussah Silk Fibers and stirred, stirred, stirred, until they dissolved. I then put into an ice bath and again it seemed to take an eternity to get the Lye mixture chilled down enough to mix in the additives (Sodium Lactate & DL-Panthenol at 130 degrees) and then cool enough to soap. (It was just one of those days where everything felt like it was moving in slow motion, although because of such a big batch of Lye, in reality, it did take longer than usual.)

I soaped my Lye & oils at 95 and 92 degrees and hand stirred my batter. While I was stirring and stirring and stirring, I thought I might as well add my EO blend. As I finished adding it, I realized I had wanted to pour off 16 oz to try some new fragrances. But that wasn’t going to happen any more, which was really disappointing.

I separated out my batter and added 2+ more oz to each color and the rest of the extra batter to the white. And stirred, and stirred, and stirred. I was so very temped to use the stick blender, but held off and I’m glad I did. The soap never accelerated and when it finally got to a very light trace it stayed that way through all of my soaping.

I poured a few colored circles onto the impression mat on the bottom of the mold, but that wasn’t too exciting for me. So I switched to doing a cosmic swirl and did that through half the pour, which will give some fun patterns while using the bars:

IMG_3498

Cosmic swirl in first half of soap

I then shifted to putting down alternating lines of color on the narrow side of the mold for the Peacock swirl. (The swirl tools don’t reach all the way through the batter, so doing some kind of swirl on the first half – in this case, the cosmic swirl – will give a design throughout the soap. You can clearly see this when planing soap, as was done in the Rimmed Soap blog here. I think the variations are pretty cool).

When it came time to use my tools for the peacock swirl, I realized I had them set up for combing down lengthwise, which is how I should have done my pours (I was so accustom to using the smaller side with my 9-bar mold I forgot to switch to the larger side.)

I could take apart my tools and re-adjust them, but I knew that would take way too much time. So I switched gears again and did a bit of a modified Taiwan swirl on top. I thought this turned out so beautifully that I wasn’t going to add my tiny embeds on top.

IMG_3513

No peacock swirl this time, but a detailed swirl with a chop stick

IMG_3514

Dividers added – showing a very fine swirl on each bar

I proceed to make 4 more bars in a single bar rectangular mold, doing the cosmic swirl throughout and swirling with a toothpick on top. I added the tiny embeds, as the swirl wasn’t as nice as my others.

IMG_3529

4 extra bars in single bar rectangular mold

I liked how much these turned out that I went back to my 18 bar mold and added the embeds:

IMG_3523

Tiny embeds added

Close up of swirls and embeds:

I put the 18 bar mold in a 150 degree oven, turned the heat off and left it for 6 hours. (Typically 170 degree oven is used, but due to the altitude I live at (6,000 feet), where water boils at a lower temperature, 150 degrees works better here.)

I like to use this CPOP method on occasion if I am using a wooden mold (silicone molds can cause sweating and bubbling in the oven). This forces gel, which can help brighten the colors and it also speeds up saponification to where the soap is firmer for un-molding.

The individual rectangular mold was wrapped in towels, put in a room with a little heater in it.

 

 

The Un-molding:

IMG_1488

I love all the beautiful swirls created on the sides of the bars too:

IMG_1472

 

 

IMG_1496

Front and back

IMG_1499

Impression mat design on back of bars

 

Even the leftovers from the individual molds turned out nice:

IMG_1508

 

Conclusions:
It felt like I was wading through molasses trying to make these. But I am extremely grateful that they turned out so beautiful. This was my best batch of shampoo bars I have ever made: no acceleration, no muddiness from pouring at just emulsified, or too thick because of acceleration. I guess patients (and luck) really do make a difference!

Although I wasn’t able to create the original swirl I wanted (due to falling into the old routine of pouring my lines width-wise), hopefully next time I use this mold I will be able to form new habits and produce the Peacock swirl.

Shampoo Master Batching Oils – #2

IMG_3323

My first Shampoo Master Batch Oils lasted almost a year (see Shampoo MB Oils #1 here).

I had modified the recipe a bit when making a special order and liked the results. (See POG & POGY Shampoo bar blog here).

By increasing the Caster & Coconut oils to 25%, the lather was incredible. I decided to go all in and make a full batch of this. (The downside is loosing some of the merits of other oils that are no longer included).

 

Information on Oils used:

  • Apricot Kernel Oil: High linoleic & oleic acids; readily absorbed into the skin; conditioning; good for sensitive, dry & mature skin; helps relieve eczema itch.
  • Castor Oil: A humectant – draws moisture to skin/hair; creates lots of lather; (accelerates trace when over 5%).
  • Cocoa Butter: Contains natural antioxidants; retains & restores moisture; rich in Vitamin E; helps to soothe, hydrate, & balance skin; provides collagen, which assists with wrinkles & other signs of aging.
  • Coconut Oil: Moisturizing & easily absorbed in the skin; has high cleansing power; contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides; almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. (The lauric acid can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.)
  • Olive Oil: High levels of Oleic acid; mild, creamy lather with rich feel. Prevents the loss of skin’s natural moisture; helps keep skin soft, supple, and younger looking. Good for sensitive skin.
  • Palm Kernel Flakes: Makes for an exceptionally hard bar; adds sheen to soap; (I found it accelerates trace at higher percentages and only use up to 8%.)
  • Palm Oil: Makes a hard bar of soap that produces a rich, creamy lather. As a natural skin care product, tocotrienols (vitamin E found in palm oil) help neutralize free radicals in the skin generated by ultraviolet rays, thus protect against UV related damage and skin aging. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that will prevent collagen damage, fine lines and wrinkles, and cellular damage.
  • Sunflower Seed Oil: High in Linoleic & Oleic essential fatty acids; high Vitamin E; high unsaturated fatty acids – leaves oily feel on skin; good alternative to Olive Oil; conditioning lather. (Linoleic acid helps repair skin’s barrier mechanisms and helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL).  Oleic acid softens & moisturizes skin; and phytosterols reduce inflammation and itching as well as TEWL. All of this immproves skin health.)

IMG_8201

Some of the must haves in shampoo bars:

  • Caster oil creates great lather. It is a humectant, which draws moisture to skin/hair.
  • Coconut oil and Palm oil provide cleansing and a fluffy lather, plus adds to the hardness of the bar.
  • Nettle Extract improves the appearance of hair; is said to help prevent oily hair & dandruff, and helps prevent frizziness; leaving hair feeling nice & refreshed.
  • DL Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) is super moisturizing to hair; creates extra sheen and shine, and is also known to help improve hair structure. It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of the hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle and bring moisture to the cortex. This improves the manageability and pliability of hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it can give hair more body.
  • Sodium Lactate: Makes a harder, longer lasting bar. It is derived from the natural fermentation of sugars found in corn and beets, and is the sodium salt of lactic acid. It is found in our skin’s natural moisturizing factor, and it’s a very effective humectant. It has been found to improve the barrier properties of skin (in studies, there is a decrease in the trans epidermal water loss, which is a good thing). It is believed to stimulate ceramide synthesis in the skin, and it increases the plasticity of skin. It also acts as a mild AHA, which can help reduce “the look of fine lines and wrinkles” – 1.5 times more effective than glycerin.

 

Shampoo Master Batching:

img_3072

My brain thinks in ounces, but I measure in grams for more precise calculations. I always have percentages, for customizing the recipe to any size.

Recipe: 400 oz oils; 25 lbs. Makes 588 oz soap/ 36.75 lbs
5%        Apricot Kernel Oil   20 oz      567 grams
25%      Castor Oil                100 oz   2835 grams
5%        Cocoa Butter             20 oz      567 grams
25%      Coconut Oil             100 oz    2835 grams
5%        Olive Oil                     20 oz      567 grams
5%        Palm Kernel Flakes  20 oz      567 grams
20%      Palm Oil                      80 oz    2268 grams
10%      Sunflower Seed Oil   40 oz    1134 grams    Total Oils: 11,340 gram

Put in 4 – 1 gallon jugs & freeze until needed.

IMG_3323

400 oz of oils in 1-gallon jugs

 

Broken down into a smaller batch, looks like this:

Recipe: 100 oz oils; makes 144 soap/ 9 lbs
5%        Apricot Kernel Oil     5 oz          142 grams
25%      Castor Oil                  25 oz          709 grams
5%        Cocoa Butter               5 oz          142 grams
25%      Coconut Oil               25 oz          709 grams
5%        Olive Oil                       5 oz          142 grams
5%        Palm Kernel Flakes    5 oz          142 grams
20%      Palm Oil                     20 oz          567 grams
10%      Sunflower Seed Oil  10 oz          283 grams    Total Oils: 2836 grams
Add at time of soaping:
6%SF    NaOH/Lye             14.07 oz          399 grams
0 disc   Distilled Water          33 oz          935 grams
Additives (At time of soaping):
Nettle Extract (3%)                  3 oz            85 grams (add to Oils or at trace)
DL-Panthenol (3%)                  3 oz            85 grams (add to Lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%)               1 oz            28 grams (into Lye water at <130 degrees)

 

I then put my recipe in a Lye/soap calculator (I use Bramble Berry’s here) and I hit the Resize Batch button to adjust the oil weight, creating a variety of different sized recipes for future batches:

 

Recipe: 65 oz MB oils, 95 oz soap/ 5.9 lbs:
MB Oils: 65 oz/ 1843 grams
NaOH Lye 6% SF: 9.14 oz/ 259 grams
Distilled Water: 21.45 oz/ 608 grams
Nettle Extract (3%): 55 grams (add to oils or at trace)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 55 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 18 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)

 

Recipe: 50 oz MB oils, 73 oz soap/4.5 lbs
MB Oils: 50 oz/ 1417 grams
NaOH/Lye 6% SF: 7.03 oz/ 199 grams
Distilled Water: 16 oz / 554 grams
Nettle Extract (3%): 42 grams (add to oils or at trace)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 42 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 14 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)

 

Recipe: 30 oz MB oils, 44 oz soap/2.75 lbs
MB Oils: 30 oz/ 851 grams
NaOH/Lye 6% SF: 4.22 oz/ 120 grams
Distilled Water: 9.9 oz / 281 grams
Nettle Extract (3%): 25 grams (add to oils or at trace)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 25 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 8 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)

 

Conclusions:
I’ve already made a batch shampoo bars and find the lather incredible (especially having hard water, which discourages the creation of any suds.)

See the next blog for a new shampoo bar – the best ones I’ve ever made!

 

 

Four Thieves in Tiger Stripe and Layers

I wanted to recreate the Four Thieves soap made just a few months earlier, but with a Tiger Stripe pour in the center, instead of a tiger stripe wall pour (See previous Four Thieves blog here).

IMG_1460

 

The Plan:
100 oz of batter. (Pour off 10 oz for embeds/samples.)
5 lb mold in 3 layers: 1st layer white with Four Thieves EO Blend; 2nd layer tiger pour in center of mold (no fragrance, 6 colors); 3rd layer white with EO Blend.

Master Batch #7 oils: 70 oz Oils (Makes 100 oz/6.25 lb soap)
MB Oils: 70 oz/ 1984 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 9.98 oz / 283 grams
Distilled Water: (3.1 oz disc; 13.5% disc): 20 oz / 567 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 19 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 19 grams (add to oils)
Calendula Extract (1%): 19 grams (add to oils)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 19 grams (add to oils)

Four Thieves Essential Oil Blend – 5 oz/142 grams: (accelerates trace)
34% Clove leaf:              1.7 oz        48 grams
30% Litsea (or lemon): 1.5 oz        43 grams
16% Cinnamon:               .8 oz        23 grams
12% Eucalyptus:              .6 oz        17 grams
8% Rosemary:                  .4 oz        11 grams

Wonder what the story is behind the Four Thieves Blend? Read it at the bottom of the Blog.

Batter/Colors/ 4oz EO: (use 84 oz batter & rest of colors for samples)
1st Layer:
38 oz TD white 2.2 oz EO
2nd layer 24 oz total; (only used 3 oz of each) No EO
4 oz BB Ultramarine Violet Purple
4 oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum)
4 oz TKB #40 True Red
4 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue
4 oz BB Kermit Green
4 oz BB Tangerine Wow
3rd layer
28 oz TD White 1.8 oz EO

Top with swirl of colors & Fine Iridescent Glitter.

 

The Reality:
Soaped the Lye & oils at 100 and 104 degrees. Stick blended to emulsified, poured off batter for 1st & 3rd layers, and 10 oz for embeds/samples. Stick blended the rest to a very light trace.

Mixed up the batter for the first layer and poured it into the mold. Then mixed up the colors for the second (unscented layer) and poured on top, as the first layer set up immediately with the EO acceleration. I poured each color in the center, instead of doing the wall pour I did last time. (When I did a wall pour in the Raspberry Peach Tiger Stripe – see Blog here –  it got too muddy on the sides.) With a center pour I only got two passes of each color  – which spread out to resemble 4 groups of stripes (instead of 5 on the previous wall pour).

It took a while for this second layer to set up. When ready, I mixed up the third and poured on top. Then alternated the leftover colors on top, swirling and adding some fine iridescent glitter. I used a new powder spray bottle to “spritz” on the glitter. (Purchased at Qosmedix here). I like this applicator in that I can easily direct the spray, getting it where I want it to go, without excess mess everywhere. (I had trouble with it the first time I used it (see Red Berry Rhubarb blog here), but filling up the bottle with more glitter solved that problem.)

First photo is the middle layer Tiger Stripe pour; middle photo – top after swirling; and photo on right – after adding glitter:

Close up of parts of top:

With Glitter added:

I placed in a 150 degree oven, turned it off and removed after for 4 hours. It was still warm, so I wrapped in towels. (Typically 170 degree oven is used, but due to the altitude I live at (6,000 feet), where water boils at a lower temperature, 150 degrees works better here.)

I like to use this CPOP method on occasion if I am using a wooden mold (silicone molds can cause sweating and bubbling in the oven). This forces gel, which can help brighten the colors and it also speeds up saponification to where the soap is firmer for un-molding and cutting.

 

 

The Cut:

IMG_1460

IMG_1461

Leftovers in 2 Victorian Hearts with Confetti (notice how much brighter the Kermit Green color is on the far left, verses how it looks in the loaf soap):

 

Conclusions:
I’m not at all happy with how this batch turned out. The green is almost non-existent and there is not much for stripes or definition of colors. I definitely prefer the brighter colors and look of the tiger stripe wall pour design better in the previous Four Thieves soap (see here).

You may have noticed that I mixed up 5 oz of the EO Blend, but only used 4 oz. I had mistakenly thought I needed 90 oz of soap for the 5 lb mold, but only needed 84 oz and I felt that 5 oz of EO was too much, as several of these essential oils are very strong. I used some of the leftover EO blend in the Victorian Hearts and saved the extra for another time.

(Also, the original blend calls for Lemon, not Litsea, but Lemon EO will not stick in soap unless used at a 5 or 10 fold concentration. I have purchased 5X Lemon EO in the past at $30/lb, but several years ago the price went up to $130/lb, which is too prohibitive to use in soaping.)

 

The Story Behind The Four Thieves Blend:
The Bubonic Plague wreaked havoc in Europe off and on for about 600 years before peaking in the 1300s. Century after century, as late as the 1700s, outbreaks claimed up to half the population.

During the plague a group of four brothers began robbing the dead. At first, they were largely ignored, as everyone knew they would eventually pay the price by catching the contagion themselves but, to everyone’s surprise, they managed to avoid the plague and continued robbing graves, amassing a great deal of wealth. They became legendary and everyone wanted to know how they evaded the sickness.

When they were finally captured, they were asked for their secret during questioning. After much debating, they agreed to share their methods in return for their pardon.

These men were the offspring of a perfumer and herbalist. They learned about essential oils from their parents during their childhood. They knew these oils would protect them so they rubbed them on their bodies and used them to clean anything they brought back. The powerful blend is now called Four Thieves Blend. (They did use these oils & herbs in vinegar, and the vinegar probably played a big part in their wellness too).

An interesting note: There is a period of time when physicians wore dark robes, wide-brimmed hats, & masks with long beaks. These beaks held dried herbs, spices and essential oils which the physician breathed. The robe was doused with a similar fragrant concoction. (Scientific evidence today is building support for this behavior.)