Some soap pictures for you!
The first is a couple of well-cured soaps from a few months ago. I like this photo because it shows the extreme ends of the range of textures achievable in handmade soaps. The purple soap dusted with gold mica shows the texture of a rebatched soap, if I don’t plane the edges after hardening. I rebatched this with the oven method because the original clary sage blend soap wasn’t cosmetically quite as I’d planned.
Rebatching involves grating the soap (a food processor comes in very handy here), then melting it very very slowly with a little added liquid – I like coconut milk. I rebatch in a large lidded Corningware dish in a very slow oven. Others use a double boiler, crockpot, or even a bag in boiling water. When the soap is well melted, it becomes translucent and developed a “mashed potato” texture. At that point I squodge it into molds, then wait until it hardens to pop it out.
The goddess shows the fine-grained, glowing texture that can be achieved with straight cold process soap. I get all my safety precautions in place, warm my oil to body temperature, mix the lye solution in, blend with a stick blender until trace (when the liquid emulsion becomes more pudding-like in texture), add colour and fragrance, then pour into molds, and put it to bed in blankets through gel phase. This soap has just a little Pomegranate fragrance oil added.
And now, my current batch, made last week. These are all either a simple three-oil or four-oil soap. I was testing how much mango butter has to contribute to texture and feel. So three of the soaps are olive/palm/coconut, and three are olive/palm/coconut/mango butter, with the mango butter at about 7% of total oils. As it turns out, the three soaps I think turned out best contain mango butter, and the bottom three don’t, and I sorta kinda blinded myself to the result – in that I harnessed my poor memory to forget which was which between making and assessing – so I think my experiment here is done.
Warm Vanilla Sugar. The vanilla fragrance oil discolours to brown, as all good vanillas do, so I helped that along with some chocolate-gold mica. I reserved the swirl soap without fragrance so it wouldn’t discolour, and used a pink “Brite” colour from Aussie Soap Supplies, which is where I get most of my gear..
Rose Geranium blend: this is coloured with pink clay, and contains essential oils of rose geranium, black pepper, petitgrain, and rosewood.
Clementine. Pink swirl in an orange base. Sweetcakes brand fragrance oil, via Heirloom Body Care.
Mango critters, coloured with orange ultramarine. That colour is much brighter in real life – the ultramarine is STRONG.
Nothing too special to see here – Mayan Gold (Brambleberry) FO with some gold mica threads through it. I munted the bars getting them out of the mold, so I’ll just have to use those myself. (Oh noes!) And the off-white bar has no colour added, and a little musk fragrance oil (Sweetcakes). It’s supposed to discolour itself over time to a mocha/mauve colour, but I went pretty light on the fragrance, so I’m not sure how it will turn out.
 If you’re planning to try soapmaking, please read up thoroughly on safety precautions, ingredients, and recipe making first. I recommend:
Categories: fun & hobbies