Sunday, December 3, 2017

Salt Bars for Christmas

One of the reasons I started this particular blog was so that I could keep track of the batches of soap I've made. Lately, there haven't been very many batches, unfortunately. However, last week, I did make a batch of our favourite soap. When I say "our" favourite, I'm referring to Kristen and myself. There's good reason it's a fave.

With equal parts rosemary, peppermint, and lavender, it smells amazing. Once the soap has cured completely, at minimum 8 weeks and preferably as long as a year or more, the lather is creamy and decadent. It is the only soap I use on my face.

Last weekend, November 23, I made a large batch. I based the recipe on 1000 grams of oil and used 500 grams of sea salt. The resulting batch was 32 bars. Some of them are small bars (1-2 ounces), most are regular sized bars (up to 4 ounces).

For this batch, I used goat's milk as the liquid rather than water.

There is a thread going on in the Soapmaking Forum at the moment about how long to age salt soap. The consensus is a minimum of one year and up to three years or longer! I think I'll need to make more so we can have some put away for the long term.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Soaping Again

It feels like it's been forever since I last made soap. In reality, it's only been a couple of months since making a batch for a challenge on the Soapmaking Forum but, still, it feels like a long time.

This week, I received a phone call from a friend, giving me a heads up that she will soon be out of one of her favourite soaps (and mine), Salt Soap. After explaining that I'm all out and that it would take about six weeks before I would be able to sell it to her, she was very understanding and did let me know that she was down to one bar. That should suffice until the new batch is ready.

And so, today is soaping day. The Salt Soap is already in the molds; some time tomorrow, it should be ready to unmold and then the cure begins. This soap really does benefit from a longer than normal cure. Most soaps are ready to use (not necessarily at their prime) by about 4-6 weeks. I know of people who have left their salt bars for six months to two years before using them and they rave about the soap.

As I'm on my last bar, as well, I'm glad my friend called. I use it daily as a face soap and love it!

The other soap I've had a request for is my Tooth Soap, a peanut oil based soap that contains xylitol, activated charcoal, calcium carbonate, as well as peppermint and anise oils. Surprisingly, the request came from my neighbour's son, a young man in his early 30's. He told me he loves it and some of his friends would like to try it as well.

The Tooth Soap bars are small bars, about 1 oz. each (I suppose I could have made a bigger batch... next time). One bar lasts me about four months, with daily use; I only use it at night, though. In the morning, I use regular toothpaste but I find minty toothpastes too strong to use at night. They burn my mouth and the flavour tends to be a stimulant; I don't find that with tooth soap. And, trust me, it's nothing like having your mouth washed out with soap for swearing. Honest!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Week 2

It's pretty close to being Week 3 at this point but I did take pictures at the two week mark. It wasn't easy taking pictures of my own lathered up left hand with a wet right hand so, for Week 2, I commissioned John to take the pictures.

First up, the soap made with water. The lather has increased quite dramatically. It lathered easily and the bubbles are both creamy and bubbly.

Then, the soap made with apple cider vinegar. Again, it lathered easily and quickly. It doesn't look like as much lather but it felt amazing... silky, creamy, luxurious. I much preferred the lather of the acv soap to the water soap. Both bars are nice and hard but the soap with acv feels harder to me. I can't back that up with any definitive tests, just what I could feel. Both bars have a lovely waxy feel to them and, at this point, both are lovely soaps.

I'm kind of biased towards the cider vinegar soap at this point. I'll try both again this weekend and have John take more pictures. I think, at this point, I can safely say that the cider vinegar experiment has shown that it makes a really nice soap. I know, from online reading, that using vinegar will up the superfat and that probably contributes to the creamy feeling but if I want to make a "special" soap, I'll definitely consider making it with apple cider vinegar.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Week One in the Soap Experiment

One week in and today is the first day of testing the two soaps. First, a comparison photo...

The soap at the bottom is the water based soap; the top is the apple cider vinegar soap. There's not a lot of difference in the colour any more. The cider soap is slightly darker but the difference is negligible, really.

Here they are side by side. Again, you can see that the cider soap, on the right, is slightly darker but just slightly.

And how do they lather?

Keep in mind, this is the first week. This is the water based soap. It lathered easily and the lather was lovely.

And the cider soap. The lather's not quite as fine but still, it lathered easily and the lather felt good.

Stay tuned for week #2.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Soaping Experiment - the Unmolding

It's still early here (6:50 a.m.) but I decided to check on my soapy experiment before getting ready for work. Both were hard enough to unmold and came out of the molds easily.

Both are smooth, hard, and look lovely. As you can see from the next picture, the soap with the apple cider vinegar is still slightly darker but has lightened up considerably.

Water based soap on the left, ACV based soap on the right
There is no scent of the cider vinegar in the cider soap. That surprised me a little bit, to be honest. Now, we wait. I'll try both in about a week and then each week after that... if I remember.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Soap Made

My two small batches have been made and in the molds. The recipe I used is as follows:

44% Olive oil
32% Palm oil
24% Coconut oil

I used 8 ounces of oil for each batch and my water to lye ratio was 1.4:1. Superfat was 5%. The only difference between the recipes was the liquid used to dissolve the lye. One was water, one was apple cider vinegar.

Here, you can see the difference between the ACV (at the left) with the lye dissolved in it and the lye dissolved in water. I did learn one little thing about using plastic to stir the lye into the liquid. It gets hot enough to do this...

That surprised me a little, to be honest.

The soap is now in the molds and it should be pretty easy to keep them straight. Apart from using different molds, the colour is a dead giveaway.

Made with water
Made with apple cider vinegar
I wanted to make sure there was no way these two soaps could be mistaken for each other so I used two completely different molds. Unfortunately, the green one's cavities are a little bigger than the red one. I don't think it will affect my experiment any but, in retrospect, I could have filled three cavities with one and three cavities with the other. Oh well, live and learn, right?

The next step is to see how long it takes before they're ready to unmold. Stand by.


It's been a while since I made soap. Yes, I've done one or two of the challenges on the Soapmaking Forum that I haven't blogged about but, really, there hasn't been a lot of soapmaking going on around here. Now, though, Christmas is coming and if I don't get myself in gear, I won't have much available.

Today, though, I want to run an experiment. I'm home with a rather upset tummy but I don't feel like sitting still so it's a good time for this. What's the experiment?

Well, I've been doing a lot of reading and have come across a blogger who uses only apple cider vinegar in her soap, rather than water. I've decided to make a very basic soap using olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil. I'll make two small batches, one made with water, the other made with acv; I won't add any scent or colour and will put them in different molds in order to differentiate them.

I'll keep you posted.