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.


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.


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


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:


The top and sides look lovely

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


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.)


Version 2


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




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


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:


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:


Embeds placed in between cutting marks on mold

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


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:



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.



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


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.


Tiger stripe before swirling

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


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



The Cut:



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:


Added the leftovers into a leaf mold:



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


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)



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:


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.


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


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.


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:


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:


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





Front and back


Impression mat design on back of bars


Even the leftovers from the individual molds turned out nice:



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


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.)


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:


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.


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)


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).



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:



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):


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.)

Sweet Meyer Lemon Black Berry Sage in drop & hanger swirls

This fragrance combo used to be a staple, but I think it’s been over a year since I’ve made it. One reason is that I dropped my 16 oz bottle of Sweet Meyer Lemon on the concrete basement floor. The basement smelled really wonderful for quite some time, but I was so disappointed with my loss, that I wanted to turn “lemons into lemonade” and use some of the other lemon fragrances I had ignored – because why reach for any other lemon, when you have Sweet Meyer Lemon? Yes, it’s that good!

I just love doing drop & hanger swirls – every soap looks so unique. If I haven’t done this technique in a while (like now) I get withdrawal symptoms! So time for some swirling!!


Description of Bramble Berry Scents:
Sweet Meyer Lemon: Think of a lush, Caribbean garden bursting with the aroma of sweet lemons, horned melons, succulent kiwis, and ripe pineapple wedges. Sweet tropical florals complete this island wonder. CP: Discolors tan, some slight acceleration.
Blackberry Sage Cybilla: The perfect blend of juicy blackberries tempered with sage. Sweet & succulent. CP: No D, A, R.
Blackberry Cybilla: Juicy, sweet blackberries off the vine. CP: No A or R, discolors gold, .5% Vanilla. (In my experience, it turns very green, but I prefer it BB Sage, as it has more berry scent).


The Plan:
Use 3 lb silicone mold with 49 oz of soap + 5 oz Embeds.
Top with lemon slice embed and 2 blackberry embeds.
1:1 Sweet Meyer Lemon & Blackberry Sage FO’s – 1.5 oz each, 3 oz total.

Master batch #7 oils: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
MB Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 5.42 oz / 154 grams
Distilled Water: (1.54 oz disc, 12.3%): 11 oz / 312 grams
Sodium Lactate: 11 grams
Kaolin Clay: 11 grams
Avocado Extract (1%): 11 grams
Chamomile Extract (1%): 11 grams

24 oz BB Fizzy Lemonade (.9 oz SML & .6 BBS FO)
5 oz BB Tangerine Wow (.3 oz SML FO)
5 oz BB Kermit Green (.3 oz BBS FO)
5 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue (.3 oz BBS FO)
5 oz BB Ultramarine Violet (.3 oz BBS FO)
5 oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum) (.3 oz SML FO)

Pour yellow batter into mold.
Drop swirl all other colors – not as deep as usual – try to drop so it only goes half way down.
Hanger swirl horizontally in figure 8, then vertically from bottom to top, starting in the center.

Put leftover batter in 2 Victorian Heart molds.


The Reality:
The SM Lemon FO tipped over and leaked all over the bag I had my supplies in. Turns out, even though it’s a new bottle, the cap was defective and did not go on straight or seal. (Used the BBS cap after finishing it and it worked fine.)

I ran out of Blackberry Sage after pouring 1 oz (even though my inventory said I had 2.5 oz), so I used .5 oz of Blackberry Cybillia,  (and with such a small amount I didn’t get the greening effect.)

Soaped at 96 degree Lye and 95 degree oils. With these low temperatures I did not experience any acceleration.

Poured my base color of yellow, then dropped in the other colors and hanger swirled – horizontally, then vertically from the center out.

Topped with rows of colors, then a bit of a zig-zag Taiwan swirl:


Top swirled


Close up

The top was so beautiful I felt like it was a bit crazy to add embeds, but here it is with fine iridescent glitter too:


Spaced the embeds between the lines on the mold where the slices will be cut.


The Cut:


In spite of the embeds on top, they still look yummy – especially the berries, which really pop.



The soap looks so fun, it was difficult to choose just a few photos.

I put the leftovers into two Victorian Heart molds, one with an added heart embed in the middle, but now I can’t remember which one in went into! Guess it will be a surprise:


I’m not sure why I’ve been on such an embed kick lately – I feel like the top of this soap was so beautiful without them. I think the toppers make the soap look a little clunky (making the round soap embeds thinner would help prevent some of this). And they are slightly more difficult to package too. But I do think they add a fun element to the soaps. (I have made so many embeds that I will use them in several more projects.)

This scent combo is wonderful, and I’m so glad I made it again.