Four Thieves #24 Advanced Tiger Stripe and Layers – including the story of the Four Thieves Blend

Last time I made this (see blog here), I tweaked the Four Thieves essential oil blend that I had been using for years. But it just didn’t have the wow factor as the original formula, so I have gone back to that.

Information on Essential Oils used:
Clove: Is an aroma stimulant and an aphrodisiac; it helps with fatigue & depression, the respiratory system, muscle pain, and nausea. And it has analgesic properties.
Litsea Cubeba (May Chang): Used for a Lemon, or a base note in more elusive citrus notes, this is a lovely, uplifting & rejuvenating essential oil. It can also be used to treat acne or oily skin. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties are said to make it effective against common infections like cold and cough. The oil is a tonic for the nervous system and can help with digestive problems as well.
Cinnamon: Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, insecticide, stimulant, stomachic.
Eucalyptus: It awakens the mind and opens the lungs. It helps remove exhaustion & mental sluggishness and rejuvenates the spirits of the sick. It has a pleasant aroma and is effective as a deodorant, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agent. Helps to clear sinuses.
Rosemary: Used as decongestant and for muscle pain, it is stimulating & energizing. Best known for its aid in memory and hair loss. (It is also considered a symbol of love, and the sprigs have been traditionally used in wedding ceremonies.)

The Plan:

Use 86 oz batter for 5 lb & 52 oz for 3 lb loaf molds
Same 3 layer design as before.
Use 7.4 oz EO Blend (7 oz + leftovers from last batch)
Leftover soap in individual molds.

7 oz – 114 grams Four Thieves Oil: (might accelerates trace)
Original Formula:
34% Clove leaf: 2.4 oz
30% Litsea 2.10 oz
16% Cinnamon: 1.10 oz
12% Eucalyptus: 0.85 oz
8% Rosemary: 0.55 oz

Master Batch Oils #20: 100 oz Oils (Makes 142 oz/ 8.87 lb soap)
MB Oils: 100 oz/ 2835 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 14.11 oz / 400 grams
Distilled Water: (4.56 oz disc/ 14% disc): 27 oz / 765 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 28 grams (in oils or Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 28 grams (in oils)
Aloe Extract (1%): 28 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Avocado Extract (1%): 28 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

5 lb Mold: Use 86 oz/Colors/4.7 oz EO Blend:
1st Layer:
38 oz TD white (in oil), 2.5 oz EO
2nd Layer:
18 oz No EO (2.5 oz inside & 0.5 oz for top – each of 6 colors)
3rd Layer:
30 oz TD White 2.2 oz EO

3 lb Mold: Use 52 oz/ 2.7 oz EO Blend):
1st Layer:
23 oz TD white (in oil), 1.5 oz EO
2nd Layer:
11 oz; No EO (1.3 oz inside & 0.5 oz for top – each of 6 colors)
3rd Layer:
18 oz TD White 1.2 oz EO

1st Layer for Both Batches:
61 oz TD white (in oil), 4 oz EO

2nd Layer for Both Batches: 30+ oz No EO
6 oz BB Fizzy Lemonade & BB Buttercup Yellow Mica
6 oz BB Nuclear Orange & BB Racing Stripe Orange (yellow)
6 oz BB Fuchsia Pink & BB Bubblegum Pink
6 oz TKB Soapberry Purple & BB Queens Purple
6 oz BB Caribbean Blue
6 oz CC Granny Smith Apple Green Mica

3rd Layer for Both Batches:
48 oz TD White (in oil), 3.4 oz EO
Top with lines of colors, swirl, spritz with alcohol & fine Iridescent Glitter. CPOP 5 lb mold.

The Reality:

I soaped the lye liquid and oils at 84F & 88F, stick blending until emulsified (using an immersion blender). This batch was so big, it was very difficult to tell when it was emulsified, so I over blended it a bit. (I’ve only made a huge batch like this one other time – see blog here).

I poured off 61 oz of batter for the first layer for both molds, tried to get it as white as possible, hand mixing in titanium dioxide (and really paying attention to how much used and the exact color of white, to be able to duplicate for the last layer).

I added 4 oz of essential oil blend and stirred as quickly as possible, as it accelerates trace. It turned very yellow, but I also knew on curing it would lighten a bit (and I knew no matter how much white I added, it would turn to an off-white, which I was okay with.)

I put the 5 lb mold on top of the scale, tarred, and poured in 38 oz. I the did the same with the 3 lb mold, adding 23 oz of soap. Then put both in the fridge to set while prepping for the advanced tiger pour.

I divide out 6 containers and colored the batter for the next layer. Because I had over stick blended, the batter was a perfect constancy for this. I tilted the 5 lb mold (lengthwise) and poured each color on the same edge 3 times. I did the same for the 3 lb mold and put both in the fridge to stiffen.

After prepping 48 oz for the last layer (with titanium dioxide and 3.4 oz eo blend), I carefully plopped 30 oz in the 5 lb mold and 18 oz in the 3 lb mold. The batter was at a thick trace, which made this quite difficult.

I had just enough of each colored soap to pour a small line of batter down the length of each mold, then swirled with a thin chopstick, spritzed with Isopropyl Alcohol (to prevent soda ash) and dusted with fine iridescent glitter. I put the 5 lb wooden mold into the oven for 6 hours to CPOP, and covered the 3 lb silicone mold with towels to help promote gelling.

The Cut:


I had originally planned to split up the batter for each mold – with the acceleration of the fragrances, I figured that would give me more time to work with it. And last time I made this, I poured the tiger stripe in the 3 lb mold first and worried that I was using too much, so I used too little.

But I didn’t split it up for a variety of reasons (twice the work, time, containers, etc.). I had everything prepped and lined up so that I could work fast with the first and third layers and it turned out well. I kept track of the amount of batter for the middle layer (by weight) and had enough for each mold.

Because the soap was thicker for the second layer, the colors were very well defined, but I also used more batter for only three passes of each color, instead of four.

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. (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 these actions.)

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