So, as I said after my first attempts, soap making is not difficult or scary as long as you respect the lye and follow strict safety measures. It is definitely a skill and a craft with many fine details an endless possibilities. The more I have read and experimented, the more I have found there's so much more to learn. I have barely scratched the surface. I'm learning about properties of the various oils and butters used for soap making, and searching for favorite recipes. Meanwhile I have discovered the magical properties of essential oils and natural additives to add color and dimension to my creations. There are so many choices and combinations, its fun to experiment. I am committed to using all natural products, so I will stay away from artificial colorings and fragrances.
Since my last soap post, I've made 5 more batches. Each was different, and a test for a new skill. All were made using the 'cold process' technique which requires a 4 - 6 week curing period. As of yesterday, I think I have officially graduated from 'beginner' to 'intermediate'.
Unscented Goat’s Milk Soap
Goat’s Milk, saponified oils: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide.
Ok, it wasn't originally intended to be unscented, but ended up that way because of poor planning. When I was preparing my materials, I had forgotten to take my essential oils to the basement (workspace). I didn't realize this until I got to the point of adding them, and things happen so quickly when the soap begins to thicken, it was too late. So, it became a beautiful bar of unscented soap :-)
Lemon Mango Butter Soap with Loofah
Goat’s Milk, saponified oils: mango butter, olive oil, palm oil coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, lemon essential oil
I tried out a different mold for some of these, and adding the loofa presented an interesting new challenge. Even though I used pure (expensive) essential oils, the scent has already started to fade. This led me to explore additives that will 'fix' the fragrance so it will last longer.
Vanilla Almond Soap
Goat’s Milk, saponified oils: olive oil, palm oil coconut oil, castor oil, beeswax, sodium hydroxide, vanilla essential oil
This was the first time using bees wax. It causes the batter to thicken quickly, so it was difficult to evenly mix in the essential oils at the end. It gelled in the center, which accounts for the dark circle and halo effect, but I think its kind of cool.
Goat’s Milk, saponified oils: olive oil, coconut oil, Cocoa butter, Shea butter, grape seed oil, sodium hydroxide, cocoa powder
Hershey's cocoa was added at the end for a chocolate effect. The result is a light brown color and a mild chocolate scent.
All four batches were put in the freezer to harden. The purpose was to prevent the lye from heating up and causing the 'gel' effect, which darkens the soap. When lye reacts with the goats milk in the gel phase, it causes the soap to become an orange color. Avoiding gel gives the soap a creamier look.
I had just enough of each batch to fill one mold half and half for a chocolate + vanilla layered effect.
This one was made yesterday (1/16/16) and I'm so excited to see how it turns out. I thought about it and planned it for days. Not only does it have natural colorants (titanium oxide and bentonite clay) to color the soap and fix the fragrance, I attempted layering a effect and insulated the soap for 24 hours to let it gel.
My impatience got the best of me so I tried cutting one small piece. Its still a little soft, so I'll let it sit another day to harden before unmolding and cutting the rest. From what I'm seeing so far, I'm very pleased, and the fragrance is better than expected! It will be ready for use in 4 - 6 weeks.
Moisturizing facial bar
Goat’s Milk, saponified oils: Canola oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Shea butter, Avocado oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, bentonite clay, titanium oxide, essential oils: lavender, rosemary and patchouli.
I'm calling it a facial bar, or could also be classified as a shaving bar, because of the luxury oils - shea and avocado, and it should have a great lather. Bentonite clay is used as a facial mask, and should also give it a 'slip' which would make it a good shaving bar.
Remember the first batch of soap with a 0% superfat? It is being used to make laundry detergent. It smells good and cleans really well, maybe better that the store bought detergent I had been using, and best of all it contains no chemicals and it is very inexpensive to make.
As usual, Fuzzy doesn't miss a chance for a photo bomb.
I'm sure you're thinking, "what is she going to do with all that soap??" Good question. So far, I'm using it, giving it away, and maybe some day when my skills are good enough, I may sell some. I don't think I will go into business as a soap maker, but it is a nice value added product from the farm and if it works out, may pay to buy more soap making ingredients.
My name is Christy Franklin.