Friday, December 17, 2010

Naming a new line

We have a newer addition to our family of soaps and no name for it!  What to do?  It's turning out to be a great line and it needs a name to convey all that it is, can be, will be.  Why is this so hard???  Because it doesn't fit into any specific idea or category.  It's beautiful soap really.  It is dynamic and ever changing with each batch even though the base ingredients remain the same.  Below are the first four soaps I developed for the line.  They are lovely, fun, great on the skin (of course) and lightly scented.

This is the batch that started it all.
Scented hot cocoa and vanilla bean.

The next batch has different scented spheres and new colors!
Scented peppermint/eucalyptus, yum!

The third batch is an homage to Christmas colors and scents.
The green is pine and the red is like a hot cider  

This batch is the newest and may be the best yet!
Made with goatsmilk it will be super duper loving on the skin.
This soap is vanilla bean scented and the spheres are hot cocoa scented.
Once done curing it will be FANTASTIC!

So the great thing about the line is that it is two types of soap in one bar and the spheres are multi-scented and differ with each batch.  I think I will eventually change the spheres to be other shapes too!

Stay tuned for the name of this awesome line!

~your soapsmith

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The death of a soap......

Soap making is a mixture of art and chemistry.  Art because the various combination of oils will produce different results, different textures, hardness's, abilities to cleanse etc.  Then there's that actual artistic part in how it can be decorated with herbs, different colors, and wrap it and label it in an endless number of ways to personalize it.

It's chemistry because before any of the artistic parts can take place calculations must take place to make sure saponification will happen between the oils and the sodium hydroxide.  I happen to love the whole process, I love working with different oil combination's and liquids to achieve different types of soap.  As an artistic person I love the endless possibilities there are to personalizing and making a batch mine and mine only.  Creating recipes is great, I study the oils and their properties and check my calculations over and over to ensure a successful batch.......but sometimes the death of a soap batch will occur.  What can you do?  Learn from it and move on.

We have teamed up with Brooklyn Brewery to make some promotional items for them, namely soap made from their own beer.  I have made beer soap before, the process was not hard but with every beer comes different ingredients and sugar levels which will affect saponification and this is where I was stepping into unfamiliar territory. I decided to start with the chocolate stout.  A beautiful dark beer that has a heavenly scent and great bubbles.

The night before I opened the beer and poured it into my ice cube trays to freeze it.  (Trust me if this step is missed, your lab will stink to high heaven).  The next day I prepared my molds and oils and lye mixture as always, using the beer as the liquid portion as I have done with other types of beer.  Everything seemed pretty normal until I combined the lye mixture with the oils BAM!!! It instantly thickened on me I could not even pour it into my mold!!!!  Hence the death of a soap.  I will not be stopped that easily though.  I cleaned everything up and did manage to get some of the renegade mixture into the mold so I could observe it and I moved on.  I needed a different plan of attack for this clearly.  What to do???  AHA!  Treat it like an additive, without going into too much detail, put it in AFTER the lye mixed with the oils and right before it was to be poured into the mold, giving it less time to react. I still had to work very fast but it worked and this morning I awoke to a beautiful chocolate stout beer soap! 

death of my soap :( it was all crumbly

The second batch, beautiful and creamy with a slightly nutty scent!

Notice how light the soap is in color, it seems that no matter how dark the beer is, the soap is always very light after it goes through its saponification process.

Stay bubbly my friends
~Your Soapsmith

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some new soaps

Today I was filled with inspiration and formulated two new soap recipes which are saponifying nicely as I write this.

The first is a goats milk soap, my first goats milk soap ever, I am very excited to see how it will turn out.  I used a couple newer scents that are just divine, the main portion will be vanilla bean and the smaller spheres will be hot cocoa, kind of like a thick creamy vanilla chocolate shake.....yummy!  I will post pictures when I un-mold it tomorrow.

Second I did a makeover on an old favorite of ours.  The avocado bar.  It's a beloved bar amongst our collections and I enjoy re-working it from time to time to keep it the best bar it can be.  This time I reworked the scent and also made changes to some oils to increase the lather.  This soap is already super moisturizing so I did not need to make any changes with that.  The old recipe was avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado butter.  Also the green clay and crisp melon fragrance.  Now I didn't really like the final color of this bar, instead of being a pretty greenish color is turned a brownish (not my cup of tea really).

This time I used the ever lovely avocado oil, and also coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil and castor oil (for more lather).  I added vitamin E oil as well as the green french clay.  The batch is currently saponifying but so far the green color is spot on and the scent of lemongrass (just divine!)  I can't wait to unmold this and take photos to share.

Till then~

tata from your soapsmith.......

Vanilla and chocolate goats milk soap
The close up shot

Avocado soap saponifying in the mold

Avocado soap out of the mold and sliced, look at that beautiful green color!