Category Archives: soapmaking

Tobacco & Bay Leaf Soap

I rebatched this soap the day after I originally made it. The color was a little flat so I rebatched. I boosted the color and added the mica line.

I achieved this by doing an in the pot swirl in the crock pot and using a mixer to blend. then I just spoon in layers of color and add a mica line at each layer. The white chunks from the rebatch are a nice bonus.

I did a 100% water replacement with coconut milk and superfatted with shea butter.

I really like the stone look you can achieve with hot process soap.

Aloe & White Lilac Soap

I have always used fresh aloe vera gel in the place of water for my aloe soap but this time I am testing out an aloe x 10 extract to see how it differs. Because I think aloe is a more soothing soap I designed it to be very conditioning and I upped the super fat to 8%. I usually stay in the 5-6% range unless I am using a lot of coconut oil.

I planned on trying out powdered coconut milk but I decided not to incase it medled with the white color I wanted to achieve.

I figured the combination of Aloe and White Lilac is a good spring soap selection. It should finish curing just before Easter.

I used an emerald green mica sampler. I have experience in the past that green colorants that I have used tend to react strangely with lye. My Hydrated Green turns grey and then back to green again the next day. This one ’emerald green’ turned more blue than green when mixed into the lye and never quite came back to the green it originally was.

Clay Soap

I added 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay per pound and some hydrated chrome green colorant. I used olive, coconut, palm, avocado, shea and castor oil as well as adding a teaspoon of salt for hardness and sugar to increase lather.

I added the colorant just after I added the lye water, before I started stick blending. Not that it really matters with hot process soap, you always sort of get a splotchy sort of finish due to the texture of the cooked soap, I rather like how it looks.

I find if I don’t water discount my hot process soaps they distort out of shape as they cure. I also find it takes even longer for my hot process soaps to cure. Most people are under the assumption that hot process soap is faster but if you want to cure it fully all of my hot process soaps actually take longer when I track their cure by weight.

Spearmint Eucalyptus Salt Bars

I like to add a little extra to my salt bars to improve the conditioning properties of the soap but you could use 100% coconut oil as long as you keep the sf% around 10%-20%. This recipe is a 12% super fat and I am using 75% of the oil weight in sea salt. This makes soap that hardens quickly and cannot be cut easily, and can be unmolded in a few hours, because of this I am not using a water discount.

I never like the look of my round bars, but I haven’t really made any effort to find a replacement mold so I guess I cannot complain.

Ingredients

  • 127.57 grams olive oil
  • 42.57 grams cocoa butter
  • 680.39 grams coconut oil
  • 323.18 grams distilled water
  • 130 grams sodium hydroxide
  • 637 grams Breton sea salt
  • 34.1 grams fragrance oil

Combine and melt oils in a heat safe bowl. In another container measure the water and place it in the freezer until it is starting to freeze. Measure the salt in a seaparate bowl and prepare any colorants you have into separate cups and have your fragrance, mold and stickblender ready.

Put on, long sleeves, pants and shoes, safety glasses and a 3M mask before handling lye. Measure your lye in a well ventilated area, preferably out doors and in a secure area. Add your lye to the cold near freezing water and mix gently until dissolved. Wait until it cools down to about 110 degrees before adding the lye water to the oils. Add your fragrance oil and mix by hand for a moment before stick blending to thin trace.

Add salt and mix by hand. Add colorant into the bowl on opposite sides and mix well into a small area. Drag a spatula through the entire bowl in a figure 8 to mix the colorants and then poor soap batter into individual molds. This batter is very crumbly so it is not advised to use delicate molds. I gave it a try but they all crumbled. Spray with alcohol and cover. Unmold when cooled and solid. Cure for 4-6 weeks.

Dragon’s Blood Soap

This is a basic vegetable based soap, made of olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, cocoa butter and castor oil. I added 1 teaspoon of sea salt and sugar to the oil and I replaced half of the distilled water with coconut milk.

For the colorant I separated  the batter into three parts and blended in brick red oxide and activated charcoal, I used activated charcoal and some titanium dioxide for the grey.

I was looking for a thicker trace to do a drop swirl that wont instantly blend, plus alternating hangar swirls.

The scent is Dragon’s Blood, the resin from the dracena tropical plant.

Pine Tar Soap Recipe

Pine tar is made from placing pine in a kiln and heating it until it becomes charcoal and pine tar, which drips down from the wood and is caught in a container.

Pine tar has been used for centuries for sealing wood, protecting rope from sea water, for bug bites and skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Despite advances in modern medicine pine tar soap is still around and people with skin conditions still use it. As to if they are being old-timey or it’s still relevant in comparison I cannot say. It does however make a uniquely wonderful soap.

A caution however, when wood burns it releases creosote which is a carcinogen, most pine tar contains some creosote. But you also have to consider other interactions you may have with creosote for perspective, when you eat BBQ for instance, or use liquid smoke on your food, you are ingesting creosote. There is creosote free pine tar for those who wish to eliminate creosote though it can occasionally be hard to find closed kiln pine tar.

I has a very strong scent you will not be able to mask with a fragrance oil. It smells a bit like pine, rubber and smoke. Some fragrances that can work well with it are peppermint, patchouli, rosemary, cedar wood, tea tree and fir needle. You can also leave it unscented, eventually the pine tar scent will mellow. I choose to scent mine with Siberian Fir needle essential oil, it smells like pine trees and camp fire with a hint of kerosene.

There are several methods to adding the pine tar, it is recommended you add it to your oils before you add the lye water. Then blend it to thin trace and pour immediately. You can also add it just after emulsification at the thinnest trace but you should use a whisk once it has been added because it will thicken incredibly fast. Pour it as soon as you have it mixed well or it will solidify and you will be scooping and squishing it into your mold. If you add your pine tar at emulsification and whisk you should give yourself no more than 60 seconds from the addition of the pine tar before pouring, the faster the better.

This soap will be a bit soft in terms of unmolding. I let mine sit for a bit longer than usual before unmolding and cutting. I added extra water to this recipe to help with how fast it was going to thicken. I am planning on it taking 3-6 months for a full cure before this soap will be at it’s best.

Ingredients

317 g olive oil

272 g lard

91 g coconut oil

91 g palm oil

136 g pine tar

365 g distilled water

111 g sodium hydroxide

 

Bay Rum & Vanilla Soap

This is a hot process soap with a moderate water discount using the following recipe:

lard 40%

coconut 20%

olive 25%

rice bran 5%

shea butter 5%

castor 5%

I blended bay rum with vanilla fragrance, I didn’t try much for a design here as it’s going to darken quite a bit due to the vanilla. I did not do a fluid HP. I sort of smooshed this down into the mold and banged it on the table for a while. I superfated this with the shea butter. I really like the rustic look of hot process soap.

Here is the color transition over a month, I was expecting to get a little darker discoloration from the vanilla than this, perhaps it will get there in time.

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Day 1

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Day 15

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Day 36

How To Make Savon Noir

 

This soap is also known as Moroccan Black Soap or Beldi. It is made with 100% olive oil, black olives, distilled water and potassium hydroxide. It should not to be confused with African black soap which is very different. As this is the first time making it I am trying to be as simple and traditional as possible.

Because we are using KOH instead of NaOH this will not be a solid soap. The olive are blended up and added to the lye water, it is also common for the olives to be blended with the oil instead. This is made in a crock pot and is cooked for 3+ hours, in that time the olive breaks down and gives this soap paste a unique texture. It is used by rubbing a small amount onto the skin and working it to a lather, then letting the lather sit for several minutes on the skin before a good scrub and rinse. This soap gel should be sequestered for two weeks to a month before use.

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Instruction:

Calculate this recipe using Soapcalc.net as a 100 % olive oil soap, set the superfat somewhere in the 5-10% range based on your preferences. You will be using KOH as your lye source for this recipe. Please check the type of KOH you are using with the soap calc settings. The water content should be calculated in the range of 60-70% of the oil weight depending on how thick you want it to end up.

Add the oil to the crock pot and turn the heat to high. Weight water into a separate heat safe container and add 100 g of olives for every 300 g olive oil, stick blend until everything is in tiny bits.

Add the KOH to the water and mix until dissolved thoroughly.

Add the lye solution to the oil and stick blend until light trace is reached.

Continue to cook for 3-4 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes or as needed.  It can expand rapidly so watch it, until enough water has cooked out and it settles down. It will go through a mashed potato and chunky phases, It might get somewhat solid, you just break it up and mix it. Cook in the 170 to 200 degrees F range and continue to cook until the soap gels and turns dark, it has taken me up to 7 hours of cooking to get gel phase in this soap. Keep cooking it until it gels, the higher the water content the longer it may take. Typically Essential Oil that blends with the natural scent of the soap is chosen.