The holidays are coming!

With the holidays just around the corner, gift giving has been on every soaper’s mind and the fragrances they want to use for their products this year.  Fragrance oil suppliers go all-out to bring us the best of the best, something that speaks in volumes to each soaper and their customers of what the holiday means, those scents that make our homes welcoming in subtle or not-so-subtle aromatherapy sessions.  This year’s fragrances are certainly worthy of note and trends are pretty obvious.

One of my favorite suppliers of fragrances is FragranceLaboratory  run by a very dear lady by the name of Cindy Gooding.  She picked up the reins from a soaper who’d passed away, buying the remaining oils from the soaper’s widower, resuming business under a new name with his blessing, and running with it.  She’s made a lot of very positive changes, runs the business like a seasoned pro who’s done it all her life, and has one overriding requirement for her supplies – quality & performance above all else.  Her fragrance oils cannot be surpassed for reliability and they are vetted through her own testing and/or that of an outside source as well to determine whether they will accelerate trace, rice or seize, discolour the soaps at all, even a little,  and how well they scent the soap, including ‘sticking’.  Some fragrances will smell perfect in the bottle, dead on in what they are trying to convey to the user, but fade over time.  That’s not acceptable in her books.  She is demanding and we all benefit from that insistence on providing only the best.

Another source is Mad Oils for many of my mica colours as well as fragrance oils.  Again, yet another very demanding supplier, Joanna Abbott Schmidt, runs this tight ship with mad skills for getting what you needs exactly when you need it.  I love the micas she provides for their dependability for colouring without morphing, causing soaps to heat up or create glycerin rivers, unless you want them to appear that is.  I can rely on her fragrance oils to be unique to the industry, something that no one else has or can come close to duplicating, they perform like a dream, allowing us to soap with confidence and create a bar of soap that clearly shows what  we soapers are capable of doing with a soap swirl.  And those designs are legion!

My line of Christmas soaps are these:

Winterfell – (Snow Witch from Mad Oils)


Humble Pie –  (Home for the Holidays from Mad Oils)

Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays)
Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays)

And as yet unnamed made with Ultimate Christmas fragrance from Fragrance Laboratory –

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Mad Oils warns that Home for the Holidays would discolour to a light tan and it did despite adding some white colour to the main background portion of the soap batter, but it really doesn’t bother me overly much as it just gives it that homey, welcoming warmth that most of us associate with the holidays.

Winterfell (Snow Witch from Mad Oils) is a glacial fragrance, like snow crunching beneath your boots while you hunt for that perfect Christmas tree in the grove where only the best ones grow.

Humble Pie (Home for the Holidays from Mad Oils), well, you can probably guess what that one smells like.  It’s the perfect apple pie fragrance!  Cinnamon, apples, with a hint of berries, and sugary notes.  Love this one! Grab a scoop and add some ice cream!

Ultimate Christmas (from Fragrance Laboratory), which is keeping me up at night trying to name it, is that resin-y freshly-cut Christmas tree scent accompanied gently by sweet sugarplums, tart cranberries, sweet orange, bayberry from a nearby candle, and the spicy warmth of cinnamon & cloves wafting up from your mug of hot tea.  Every home should smell like this at Christmas time, but why limit it to that short span of time.  Keep this one around all year and savor it even in the depth of summer because it’s just that  amazing.  It takes your mind back to joyful times, great memories, lots of laughter and way too many sweets!

All of these fragrances soaped beautifully, no troubles with acceleration at all so I was able to employ some new swirl techniques in these.  Winterfell and Humble Pie were done with a modified hanger swirl.  This technique is done with a bent piece of wire, something non-reactive to the high pH  of a freshly made batch of real soap that will lie flat against the bottom and span the entire length of the mold.  You move, in this particular technique, in ever increasing ellipses from the bottom up.   Once you are near the top you move just beneath the surface forward and backward then rise out of the batter near the center or near where you went in.  You actually go in slightly off-center, where one of your layers of colour lies.  It works best with three colours – the base colour, and two other colours that coordinate well without being too close together in shade.

The latest batch, fragranced with Ultimate Christmas, is done with a wooden dowel rod.  I found a 6-pack package of pre-cut dowel rods about 12″ in length with two of each in 3 different widths.  These were wide, medium and small with the widest being 10 mm. the medium is 8 mm and the smallest is 5 mm.  I used the 8 mm dowel rod.  I started at one end of the loaf and went in an infinity pattern the length of the mold, turned the mold around and went back in the other direction in the same pattern.  The result gave me the above mirror images throughout the loaf and these are always interesting, lots of fun to photograph and provide truly amazing in images for your web site!

I have completed all of the Christmas soaps for this year, but I’m not done creating soaps for this year and into the early part of 2015!  There are two fragrances, one from Fragrance Labs, the other from Mad Oils, that I plan to combine to create one breathtaking fragrance for a batch that I want to do very soon, but first comes the decision to be made on colours.  The rest will follow after that.  There are a couple of others that are custom blends that are also waiting to be soaped as well as a fragrance from Rustic Escentuals that I’m looking forward to trying out.     But more on those later.  I’ve got to leave something as a surprise, don’t I?


Soaping with Black Cashmere fragrance oil

This fragrance oil, Black Cashmere, if no one has heard of it before is an enigmatic one.  It has to grow on me over time, I have to admit.  At first I was not a fan even after allowing it to mature on a test strip.  But that was then.  This is now.    I had my Fall Fragrances all lined up and test strips attached to the bottles. as usual, but the one that kept tickling my nose all week was Black Cashmere.  The review of how it performs on the site Fragrance Laboratory states a discolouration to yellow initially then tan as time passes and the soap firms up.  The tester’s soap is also shown and it’s definitely tan.  Still, I didn’t want tan.  Despite it being a fall scent, I wanted a white, a pearly white actually so I used a Pearl White mica from TKB Trading. The other two colours are Sweet Tea, also from TKB and Metallica from Mad Oils.  These two warm earthy tones were the perfect offset to the white and brings to mind fallen leaves, warm days spent fireside with wine and a really absorbing book. Which is exactly the way it’s described in the Facebook page.

If you are also a soap maker, you’ve got to give this fragrance oil a try.  It might not strike you as one you’d like initially, but it will definitely intrigue you after some time has passed and haunt you until you give it a chance.  It’s completely worth it!


The soap has Kaolin White clay incorporated into the rest of my usual goodies to add some slip for men who’d like to use this for shaving, though it’s not really formulated for shaving.  Still, it has enough lathering potential to create a nice lather, give superior slip, plenty of sexy scent over the oils I use that are touted as non-clogging, light, easily absorbed (though since it’s a soap and will wash away, that doesn’t factor in this case) and moisturizing.  If I come up with an actual shaving soap formulation that meets my standards for performance then I’ll definitely add this fragrance to the line.  It’s a winner for either gender.

So here’s Sweater Weather.  Stay warm everybody!


A Silk & Milk Soap
A Silk & Milk Soap

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The Truth: Bar Soap vs. Liquid Body Wash

A terrific explanation of the reasons bars of real good old-fashioned soap are far better every possible way to the liquid soaps from store shelves.

Go Green Hong Kong

I remember as a child, my whole family used the same bar of soap. Gradually though the bar of soap seemed to disappear and was replaced by liquid hand and body wash. Using bar soap had come to be considered to be unhygienic and a source of bacteria. The strange thing is even though we shared soap, we seldom got sick and had no diseases. In the last five years, I’ve switched back to bar soap again and am still reasonably healthy. So I am just incredibly lucky or have makers of personal care products been masterfully manipulating of our fear of germs?

The switch from bar soap to liquid has been driven by a fear of bacteria lurking on bar soap. Companies encouraged the notion that using liquid soap was more hygienic.

This NY Times article which asked “does each member of the family need an individual bar of…

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