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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Buttermilk and Carrot Bastille Soap

The Bastille soap was made yesterday and I think I can safely say this will be, as my daughter says, a gooder. It's made with Pomace olive oil with the addition of a little coconut oil and augmented with the addition of pureed carrots and buttermilk instead of water. I scented the batch with two teaspoons of lavender. It smells amazing and has a very pale orange colour, thanks to the pureed carrots.

By last night, it was already hard enough to cut and I probably should have. I cut it this morning and it was chipping a little. It was that hard, within 24 hours. I tested a few of the crumbs and it lathers beautifully already. I can only imagine what it will be like in 4-6 weeks.

One of these days, I'd like to get a proper soap cutter. My little cheese cutter is just a bit too small for the job. Ah well. I'm still very happy with this recipe.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Soleseife (Brine Soap)

This morning, I unmolded the soleseife (brine soap) I made on Thursday. It was still a bit on the soft side but I don't like leaving my soaps in silicone molds for too long. I don't know if it's true or not but it seems to me that it just doesn't "breathe" and harden up as quickly as it should. Then, I found this picture...

This is the very first batch of soleiseife I made and, as you can see, it was a bit soft coming out of the mold (a Pringles can), too. Maybe I should have left the soap for a while longer but it's out of the molds now.

I love the colours in the soap above. The colours faded very quickly, though. When wet, there's still some colour but it isn't as bright as in the picture. I have a feeling this batch will do the same and I'm okay with that.

Even though I added two teaspoons of scent, there's very little scent to these bars. That surprised me a little but there's just enough scent remaining to cover the "soap" scent. Another thing that surprises me is that, even though I used lavender and patchouli, the soap smells a bit like peppermint. I'm not sure why.

And while we're on the topic of scent, I came across the three remaining bars of the Two Vices soap (made with hemp oil and beer) and have decided that they need a good airing out. The scent of the hemp oil is very strong. They've been stored in a cardboard box for the past month since I had to clear out the spare bedroom for a guest. I really don't like the scent much but it's such a nice soap that I'll put up with it. For now, the three bars are back on the curing bench, airing out and aging.

If the smell doesn't lighten up, I'll have to find someone who doesn't mind the scent.

Today, I'm planning on making a Buttermilk Bastille Baby soap, made with, you guessed it, buttermilk and the addition of pureed carrots. For those who may not know, bastille is the name given to an olive oil based soap that has the addition of coconut oil to help with lathering. A true 100% olive oil soap is known as Castile soap; adding the coconut oil bastardizes it. Therefore, it is known as Bastille soap.

Now, though, it's time for another cup of coffee and a bit of vitamin D, in the form of sunshine.