Bliss made beautifully simple

Champagne Pear is cut

Not quite as swirly as I’d like for my bars to be.  I like lots of swoops, sweeping flowing lines, but the speed at which this FO accelerates is prohibitive to sweeping or swooping. *sigh* Still, it doesn’t change the scent at all, still that decadently juicy, sumptuous ripe pear fragrance!  Love the way this one just fills the room with sweet fruitiness!  These are listed on my main web site, neecysnecessities.com and on the Etsy site -
etsy.com/shop/NeecysNecessities  These 9 bars are currently in Pre-Order status, to be shipped out after October 15.  Great time to start your Christmas shopping started!
Here we go -

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3rd time’s the charm

Or so the saying goes.  I’ve made Champagne Pear soap three times now with varying degrees of success as it tends to accelerate trace and can easily become soap-on-a-stick or as we like to call it SOS.  I believe the worst run of this one I had was the one in which I tried using pureed pears.  That was awful.  Just awful.  Disaster doesn’t begin to cover it.  It accelerated to an impossible to work with texture and density that concrete would envy.  The scent all but disappeared because of the heat generated by the inclusion of the pears and the sugars they naturally had.  I still shake my head in shame over that one, but well, it was a lesson learned.  It was a lesson well-learned, too!  No food in the soap.  Maybe someday I’ll try pureed aloe or cucumbers, but no more pears.

This batch was made using the same fragrance oil from Fragrance Laboratory, Orchard Pear, which you really need to smell to believe.  You can practically feel the juice dribbling down your chin and the scent is just – oh my – breathtaking!  So realistic!  LOVE IT TOO MUCH!  If you’ve ever opened up a jar of fresh canned or jarred pears in their own syrup, then you know what it smells like.

I used the regular amount of water, no discount, though the lye was discounted a bit.  About 6%.  The usual additives were also included- coconut milk, Tussah silk, colloidal oatmeal.  I used the following products and have included links to their sites:

Celery and Enchanted Forest mica colours from Mad Oils.

From TKB Trading I used Passion Orange and Pearl Basics micas,

plus a glitter from them called Champagne glitter.  I also used a bit of the Mermaid Collection glitter mixed with the Champagne glitter in a bit of the oil from the soap batch to do a top swirl.

The champagne glitter alone just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to, so I mixed in some of the Gold from the Mermaid collection from TKB as well and that worked very well alongside the champagne colour.

The oils were a nice mix of mostly soft ones, though they firm up to make a nice hard bar over a standard cure time of about 4 weeks.  I used the following:

1)  Olive Oil, light golden

2) Sweet Almond Oil

3) Coconut Oil, 76 °

4) Avocado Oil

5) Pumpkin Seed Oil

I’ve used this blend before with excellent results.  It yields a nice, firm bar that holds onto the fragrance very well, is easy to blend and work with without the soap firming up too quickly unless it’s due to the FO causing it to accelerate.  And it moisturizes to beat the band!  I love a moisturizing bar of soap.  One that doesn’t make me feel like I can’t get to a bottle of lotion fast enough.  Soap shouldn’t make you feel dried out, stripped and tight.  It should just leave you feeling clean.  Maybe even a bit softer than before.  That’s always nice, too, but to cleanse with some nice, creamy densely packed bubbles that work into a generous rich lather, now that’s the one thing I always shoot for in our bars.  I go for the higher number in the moisturizing.  Bubbles are nice, sure, but they aren’t the lead singer in my band.  It’s all in how the soap makes my skin feel afterwards that matters most.  That number that says it’s a moisturizing bar  is what I aim for every time unless it’s a specialty bar for oily faces.  That’s a different issue altogether.

So how did this batch turn out?  Here’s a hint:

Champagne Pear September 2014 Ready Oct. 13 2014

Champagne Pear September 2014
Ready Oct. 13 2014

So why post on a soap batch I’ve done before?  The swirl inside is a bit new to me and since this batch accelerated so much, I’ not sure it’ll turn out at all, though I did try to whip it into submission numerous times, but not with the stick blender.  That would have made matters worse.  Still the top is also different and I  hope you can see that golden swirl on these images.  I’ll include a few more below in hopes that you can see the colours better.  Meantime, we’ll wait for this one to come out of the mold and be cut in a day or two.  When it is, I’ll update.  IMG_1958 (768x1024)

Make It Fizz

Make It Fizz,  by Holly Port, is a gold mine!  Plain and simple.  If you’re stuck in a rut making soaps, liquid, clear, or solid, goat milk or coconut milk based, yet still hungerMake It Fizz to try something else far and away different from what you’ve made so far, grab your own copy of this book and read it cover to cover.  You’ll be thoroughly tutored and informed on how to make bath bombs, bath fizzes, bubble bars and more for your customers with confidence.

Holly will guide your through what various types of oils are available to use and what they’ll bring to your recipe.  If you want one that soothes, or one that doesn’t leave behind too much oil in your tub, or one that sinks in quickly, she’ lists a very comprehensive list of oils on pg 5.   Pages 2-3 also give you a wealth of suggestions for ingredients to add to your recipe to give it  greater bubbles, purification of toxins from your skin, additives for psoriasis.

She’s also generously offered several recipes for you to try based on her many years of experimentation, trial and error so you can gain the confidence to branch out, spread those bath bomb wings and let the fizzies fly on your own recipes.  

I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to spread their product line out further into the bath & body lines beyond bars and liquid soaps.  

If you’re a tag gawker, you already know what the alternative to water is, but if you pay them no mind at all, then this will all be new to you.

I’ve covered alternatives to water before, but it’s been a while, and thought that perhaps you’d like to see a soap that actually has something other than plain ol’ water in it to see what it does.

Highgarden, the name of the soap, though not the name of the fragrance oil, was made using coconut water.  Why?  Why use coconut water in a soap?  One simple word – sugar.  No matter whether you find one that says it’s unsweetened or not, it’s going to have some natural sugars in it and those will be just enough to enhance the bubbles in your soap, making them more abundant just like everyone loves them to be.

Of course, coconut water has much more than natural sugars going for it.  It also contains natural antioxidants, vitamins and other vital nutrients to hydrate your body, feed your hair, skin, nails, vital organs, and skin all the nutrients it needs to fight off the assault waged on your body through the air we breathe, the process foods we eat, and those sodas we gulp down every day.  Let’s face it, living is hard on you and we rarely have the time to eat a well-balanced diet, do we?  Is there really time to wash, chop, mince, stir, cook, boil, sear, grill, then still have the energy to eat after a long grueling work day?  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty fried by the end of the day and really don’t feel at all like cooking or even eating in some cases.  It’s so much easier to pick up something on the way home, or stop bu the store and grab something we can throw into a pot and warm up slowly or just nuke in the microwave.  But honestly, is the price we pay worth the ease? It’s a cumulative thing, and eventually it will take its toll on your body, giving you lots of big head-smacking reality checks like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and a host of others that develop over time.

HIghgarden Coconut Water Soap

HIghgarden Coconut Water Soap

The sugar can also caramelize thanks to the heat of the lye water, so I found out quickly enough that it’s far better to add just enough water with the lye to dissolve it, then add the balance of the water in the coconut water, but do it later, perhaps as late as after the initial stick blending is over  I get it just to the emulsification stage, then add the coconut water in and stick blend it in to the light trace stage.  The later addition prevents the discoloring of the soap batter due to the caramelization so less titanium dioxide is needed to overcome the discoloring.

Some aren’t big fans of the use of Titanium dioxide, and it can cause other problems, like glycerin rivers, or as we affectionately call them – glivers.  In some soaps though, they’ll bring out a textural effect that works great with the design of the soap’s final look.  It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose in whether TD use is good or not.

Another small warning should be offered here if you’re planning to try making a soap with coconut water.  The sugars are great for bubbles but they’ll also add something else to the soap – heat!  It will heat up your soap, causing small cracks as you can see from the picture  above.  If you can, try putting the soap, mold and all, in the refrigerator to prevent the cracks from becoming too  extreme.  It will allow the soap to cool quicker and give them a chance to close up on their own as much as possible.  The ones that appeared in this batch are barely there at all now, though this one was the worst of the bunch.  It had quite a few all over the middle section of the soap when it was 30 or 50 minutes into the mold, but as it chilled down in the fridge, they closed up and once the mod came out of the fridge about 3-4 hrs later, they were all but gone.  From the side you’ll see where they had been, but they’re certainly not detrimental to the soap at all.

The wispy lines were done with a mic in oil swirl done over the various layers poured into the mold of the base white soap.  There’s a bit of two greens, and two reds, but they don’t show up as much more than just a green and a red since the soap pressed much of it out to the sides.  This technique is a bit of a chance from the ones I usually do, but it’s always fun to try new things, change things up a bit.  Wouldn’t you agree?

 

If I haven’t succeeded in convincing you to give coconut water a try in your soap-making adventures yet, then I’ve failed utterly.  If you don’t make soap, then you really need to get some coconut water soaps and give them a try!  They’re amazingly creamy, bubbly, give you the perfect balance of cleansing and skin-softening to make your skin feel the best it’s ever felt.

Real, natural, handcrafted soap is the best way to wash, bathe, shampoo, or shower.  There are NO harsh chemicals, NO artificial additives to enhance the bubbles or create more abundant lather, our colours are naturally derived in the natural lines or created with micas, of which many are made with actual natural elements, our fragrances are either from fragrances oils, which are synthetic, or essential oils which are created with natural plants, flowers and other botanicals.  We use natural clays, grains like colloidal oatmeal, natural exfoliants like lemon peel, camu camu fruit powder or jojoba beads.  When you use a REAL bar of soap, you’re not putting a lab experiment, packed with carcinogens, chemicals, surfactants, or detergents on your skin.  You’re replacing the natural oils your skin needs to be healthy and defend itself against the toxins found in our everyday world.

In the mold Highgarden

In the mold Highgarden

My imagination has taken a turn for the fruity.  Fruit Splash is a deliciously juicy fragrance from FragranceLaboratory.com, one of  only a couple FO suppliers I typically use and it’ has a fruity, juicy fragrance of several different fruits & berries.  Many soapers have used this one to make the first of their spring & summer lines, but you know me, I’m weird.  I like to use beachy and fruity scents all year round, so here I am doing fruity scents as fall starts to  show its head just above the horizon.  While it is still well off in the distance, I’m still reluctant to make anything that smacks of full-blown fall unless the scent really bowls me over, which is far too rare.  I fight the cooler temps,  the images of dying leaves on deciduous trees and the need to tuck away the tanks tops, flip-flops, and tanning oils of happier summer days with everything I’ve got, but despite my best efforts, it still comes around, followed quickly by its nasty-tempered neighbor, Old Man Winter.  Oh well.  It’s just inevitable. Until I win the lottery and buy that ocean-front property in Bimini, I guess I’m stuck here year round. But I can soap with the summer scents and keep that Bermuda high going indoors year round!

So Fruit Splash is a hearty fruity fragrance that really sticks, is strong and holds up very well in any application you use it in, even the high-alkaline atmosphere of CP soap making.  I thought of Fruit Loops, without the sugary overlaying layer when I first smelled it, then thought immediately of how I wanted this soap to appear as a finished soap bar.  The plan requires a lot of patience.  That I have, in spades, so I picked out the colours typical of the fruits in the fragrance, purple, red, orange, green, raspberry-pink and yellow.  I’d considered pouring it into chunks of the colours, no swirling, but couldn’t stand the thought of pouring a soap, slab or loaf, and not swirling.  What soaper in their right mind can fight that urge to swirl?  Not this one! So swirl, I did.  The tiny bubbles don’t matter and you’ll understand why later on when Phase 2 appears.

slab poured of Fruit Splash August 6th

slab poured of Fruit Splash August 6th

(So since we now know I’m weak and can’t resist certain urges.  Let’s tottle on.)

This will set up for a couple of days in the mold, then will be removed and then Phase 2 can commence.  I will not be going into any details of what Phase 2 is right now.  Just suffice it to say that this slab of soap will not resemble its former state in any way.  There is a Phase 3 as well –  ’nuff said.

This batch is a triple oil blend, with silk, colloidal oatmeal, coconut milk, coconut water, and I tried a different approach to the additives when blending this batch.  I mixed the oats, coconut milk, coconut water, FO together then added them after mixing the oils and the lye.  This prevented the soap from discolouring with the addition of the coconut water to a livid orange as it tends to do in my prior batches.

In previous batches using coconut water,  I added the coconut water to the water used to dissolve the lye and when the lye was added the heat it generated cause a caramelization of the sugars, causing it to discolour to a particularly ugly shade of orange.  So, I decided to change the order around a bit to see if it wouldn’t happen if added later on.  This turned out to be the better way to use coconut water.  If there was any discolouration, I didn’t see it.  So if you want to try using other waters, try coconut water!  The additional sugars will cause some discolouration if you added it to the lye water, but if you add it later, it works great and the sugars will enhance the bubbles in the finished soap!  Still I needed to add a bit of Titanium Dioxide to lighten up the soap enough to show the colours at their true best.

So there’s the latest and the next Phase will be appearing in a few more days.  See you then!

And here’s Phase 2, the soap has been shaped into balls and curls, done with a vegetable peeler, and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        placed into the mold.  Can you guess what’s coming up next?  No, don’t scroll down yet.  Wait for it………

and here’s the next step (Phase 3)……

with clear soap poured over the embeds....

with clear soap poured over the embeds….

A clear soap using Everclear and sugar water, slightly tinted with peach food colour was poured over the embeds, misted with alcohol, and left to set up over night.  There was quite of bit of this, so I also poured some small molds of individual embeds for use in future batches of other soaps.  The clear isn’t scented, which was an accident to be honest, I’d meant to add a bit of the Fruit Splash to that too, but I got carried away in all the excitement of getting it poured and left it out.  The embeds have plenty of scent to them to it’s going to be terrific even without the clear being scented.  I’m determined to remember it next time though!  If I have to write it in Sharpie across the top of my hands I’ll remember it next time!

 

This isn’t quite the end of the road for this one, no no.  It’s now been cut and the look is nothing less than exactly what I’d hoped and aimed for!

 

I’m also running a bit of a contest to name this soap.  The best name wins and they receive a bar of this plus several others that are nearing their ready date.  Pop into my Facebook page, post your name suggestion in  the comment box and good luck!  (The post for the contest is pinned to the top of the page, so you’ll have no trouble finding it.  :)

 

And the cut bars, Phase 4….

Cut "Fruit Splash"

Cut “Fruit Splash”

Infusing Oils

Infusions are simply an herb, dried or fresh, that’s steeped in a slightly warmed oil, capped, then left to steep for a while until the potency of the botanicals are achieved to the level you prefer.  Some leave them for a couple of weeks, some for a couple of months, and other will leave them for half a year or more.  It all depends on what you want to do with them.

Many of us have used infusions without even realizing that’s what we’re using.  A good cup of tea is an infusion.  It’s sped up a bit, but it is still an infusion.  It’s infused into water which is then sweetened and the “ah” factor is achieved.

Oil infusions are often employed for soaps to do 1, 2, or more things.  We’ll infuse a botanical into an oil to bring the various benefits that herb can offer to a formulation in our bath & body care items.  If you plan to use these for CP or HP or CPHP soaps, however, the benefits may be lost in the heat of CPHP or HP processing and then the alkalinity of all of them will also alter the benefits to be pretty null and void.  The infusions would be best served into lotions, balms, butters, if you hope to leave all the antioxidants, Vitamins, etc intact in your final product.  Just bear in mind that though there’s no high pH in lotions, and balms production, there is heat and that may destroy/alter some or all the nutrients you hoped to add.

Another reason we use infusions is for colour, natural colour in a soap that we’re hoping to keep as natural as possible for a particular line of product we’re developing, or for a particular sector of our customer base.  Perhaps we have customers with sensitive skin, allergies, personal preferences for naturally-derived colours, for which these would be a perfect fit.  Maybe vegan and vegetarian followers want this option as well.    That’s well and good, but please know your additives and realize that they might not all be ideal, even for those select groups either.  Annatto seeds are found in many items that are a deep yellow-orange, such as some cheeses, but they can also be the cause of allergic reactions to some individuals.  Know what your sensitivities are and those of your customers before you try out an additive.  Be aware of these when labeling and your customers will be able to fully enjoy your products without any bad side effects.

So, that said, these are the ones I did this weekend.

Refined Olive Oil infusions

Refined Olive Oil infusions

 

From left to right they are -

Camu Camu Fruit Powder

Orange Peel Powder

Lemon Peel Powder

Hibiscus Flower Powder

Annatto Seeds

All powders were sealed into tea bags then covered with Refined Olive Oil, which is a Golden colour that was slightly warmed, and once the oil was cooled sufficiently, they all were capped and placed in a safe location to prevent breakage.  I give them a shake occasionally to see if the colours are beginning to show, then walk away.  That’s the hard part!

These will all be filtered through either an unbleached coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth once their infusion stage is complete.  That should clear out any small particles that escaped the bags during this submerging or shaking.

The benefits that these might bring to a lotions or balm are typically those of antioxidant or Vitamins our skin needs in order to remain happy & healthy. Annatto seeds, while often used to colour certain foods, are also know to cause certain allergies, so label any product made with these with a note of caution for sensitive individuals.,  They contain high levels of carotenoids which are beneficial to the eyes.  While I wouldn’t recommend putting anything you make in or on your eyes, know that the bixins that contain these carotenoids can get through to your system by way of your skin to benefit the eyes anyway.  The antioxidants contained in anything containing carotenoids has the ability to fight off free radicals that lead to premature aging as well as fight off chronic illness and prolong life.

You can buy Annatto seeds here and read more in-depth material here.

Camu Camu Fruit Powder was called a superfood for a time when its benefits first hit the spotlight.  It’s since become a well-known source of Vitamin C and antioxidants and is great for supplying us with other vitamins such as B1 B2, B3, beta-carotene, bioflavenoids, phytochemicals, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and calcium.  It’s also been found to be helpful with weight loss, premature aging, reducing dark spots on the skin, and is great for shine for the hair. You can buy camu camu fruit powder here and read more about this superfood here.

Lemon Peel and Orange Peel powders are both excellent for lightening those dark spots we get from being outdoors whether it’s for recreational purposes or necessary tasks like gardening or lawn care, shooting hoops with the kids, or shooting the breeze with friends.

Orange peel powder is loaded with Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Beta-carotene, Vitamin B1, and thanks to the high levels of flavonoids contained within, it’s also a terrific anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent.  That said, do NOT presume it’s safe to do without a preservative.  It’s is never a good idea to do without a preservative in any formulation which goes into a jar, tub or tube then is sold to the general public. The scent of orange is believed to be uplifting and much loved in aromatherapy formulations.

It can be bought here or here and more information can be read on this juicy addition here.

Lemon Peel Powder can be bought here.

Hibiscus Flower Powder is the dried petals of the beautiful flowers of the hibiscus plant, ground to a fine powdery form.  This powder will give your infusions a red colour that varies according to the length of time the infusion is allowed to continue.  The flowers are often used in hair care products as they have properties known to thicken hair or reduce hair loss and for dandruff control.  Being a gentle addition, they’re often found in baby care products.  They also even out skin tone and texture.  It also is known to cleanse, soothe, protect against acne, and soften the skin.

Buy it here.

 

Many other suppliers might also be checked out for these and many other beneficial additives to your formulations of creams, lotions, balms, butters, etc. Virtually anything you can dream up is possible so long as you bear in mind the ‘scratch’ factor of these when determining whether to use them or not.  Many might be too abrasive to use in a lotion or oil, but might be perfect for your scrubs which requires a certain amount of scratchiness in order to do its job properly.

I’ve checked in several of my own favorite suppliers when providing the above information, but you might also want to visit the following web sites to see what they offer as well. They’re all reliable sources of information and are excellent supplies resources.

 

http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/

http://www.sfherb.com/

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

http://www.brambleberry.com/

http://www.soap-making-resource.com/natural-soap-colorants.html

Soapmaking Resource, above, offers the convenience of a Kit to give you more natural colourant bang for your buck.  All the most widely used, popular natural colourants are sent to you to try out at your convenience and determine which ones you like best for future orders.  A real bargain!

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