Soap making is alchemy at its most useful and beneficial. We take two entirely different things, combine them, and magic happens. The results is an end product that’s both useful, beneficial and more often than not, it’s pretty to look at and feels terrific on the skin. There’s nothing sexier than soft, silky, sweet-smelling skin! We soap makers have this knowledge feeding our need to be creative, giving us justification to obsessively make, create, and develop to our hearts content, but sometimes, just sometimes, we think, what else is out there that I can use in my soaps to give it that little something extra?
We’ve all been there. We look at everything differently than before our soapmaking days. Every container has Mold Potential written all over it. We can’t resist going through the bin of flat boxes at Costco or Sams to find the sturdy double-walled flats for a spectacularly well-constructed and reasonably priced, aka free, slab soap mold. I know I’ve done it even when all I picked up that day was a jar of cashews for the hubby or a four-pack of spray starch. I certainly didn’t need that humongous, flat, cut-down box that once held pears from California or grapes from Guatemala to lug those spray cans to my car, but I was not thinking of hauling when I nabbed it. No sir, I was thinking, “Wonder what swirl I’d do in this one?”
Then there’s the ingredients that go into soaps. Some like it hot, others like it cold. I like cold process because it’s more fun to play with it and make it something special rather than something ready to use within a week, two at most. I’d take that trade-off any old day. So, the basic ingredients are relatively consistent across the board with regard to oils and liquids. Both are necessary to make soap and lye, no matter which way you shake it, must be in the recipe to make genuine real soap. No lye, no soap.
The liquids can be varied so long as they’re liquid and not too heavily acidic as it can interfere with the saponification process. I’ve even heard some soapmakers using vinegar in their soaps and they’ve said the soap turned out just fine! That was interesting to hear and learn about, but I haven’t tried that yet, so I can’t say firsthand how well it worked out. I’ll go into other forms of liquids at a later date. The focus here and for the next few posts will be on oils. Different oils.
Today’s oil, not one I’ve seen used in other soapers’ products too often intrigued me because I didn’t realize there was an oil produced from watermelons, since they’re more than 90% water, it just didn’t dawn on me to look beyond the edible parts and seek out the seeds for the source. Shows how things can change when you think outside your given field of vision. But yes, it will create an oil.
The oils, attained by pressing the seeds, is a golden yellow colour and contains none of that classic juicy watery watermelon scent that’s so beloved by all.
Watermelon’s INCI name, Citrullus vulgaris, is often known as Ootanga or Kalahari oil and possibly sprang from the Kalahari Desert region of western Africa around 5,000 years go. They slowly made their way northward towards Egypt and were later cultivated by the Romans. Traditionally, to obtain the oils the outer casing was removed and the softer pale centers were toasted in the hot sun. Once dried, the seeds were pressed and the oils collected. The oil attained from this pressing is high in Linoleic acid and is also very high in Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids. The linoleic acid helps to remove the excess oils as you cleanse with products created from this oil as well as to wash away the excess oil built up in your pores. This make Watermelon Seed Oil the ideal candidate for use in facial bars and washes. Liquid soap, too, would be a perfect application for this oil!
The values for this oil are as follows:
Stearic Acid 10%
Oleic Acid 15%
Linoleic Acid 63%
Unsaponifiable matter 1.5%
Iodine Value 115-125
SAP Value (NaOH) 135
SAP Value (KOH) 198
Specific Gravity 0.896
Colour: light to medium yellow gold to clear
Major Characteristic added to formulations: Moisturizing
This oil could be mixed with others that are slightly heavier and/or thicker in order to extend their shelf life since Watermelon Seed Oil has an excellent shelf life. (Try nearly indefinite if stored properly!) With its natural lightweight characteristic, it’s ideal for use in baby creams, facial lotions, balms, ointments, salves, eye creams and liquid soaps, in addition to being the ideal oil for use in massage oils. When used in massage oils, creams, or lotions, it disappears quickly, being readily absorbed into the skin, making it perfect for a light summer lotion for after tanning, when a light moisturizing application is needed, or anytime since it’s not going to leave you feeling greasy or sticky afterwards. This feature was the biggest selling point for me because I don’t like the way tapioca, arrowroot powder or other powders feel in lotions. It leaves a dusty feeling on my hands later after the oil part of the lotion has sunken in.
Have I sold you on the beauty to be found from the use of this marvelously beneficial and versatile oil yet? You can find Watermelon Seed Oil here.
Given all the positive attributes Watermelon Seed oil has going for it, it would work perfectly as a naturally softening, moisturizing & soothing part of a silky lotion, so I’ll try it in a batch soon with another oil to see how it compares to the one I currently make all the time. My regular lotion recipe uses Golden Jojoba oil and Peach Kernel oil and there’s absolutely no greasy after-feel left behind once it’s been taken in my the skin. And there’s no powder added at all, so it’ll be hard to beat that formula, but I really want to add some diverse formulations to our collection of creams & lotions, so this will likely be a good one for a summer formulation. But it also will be appearing in soaps in the future too!