Alchemist @ Work

Earlier in the afternoon a thought hit me that I wanted to try something.  Now my kids can tell you this can bode well….or not but in this particular instance, I’m hoping for the former rather than the latter.

At the HSCG conference, which I could not attend this time, Kevin Dunn, author of Caveman Chemistry and Scientific Soapmaking spoke on the topic of variations in water within portions of one batch of soap and how it can produce unique effects in your CP soap.  This intrigued me enough to try this with a soap that discolours -deeply discolours. For this I went straight to the one I own that will give me that – Coconut Fusion from Fragrance Laboratory.   Their website offers test batches of several of their fragrance oils so I knew in advance of what to expect with regard to discolouration so this was the ideal opportunity to work with it instead of against it.

I began by calculating the size of the portions by halves, dividing one of those halves into halves yet again.  From this I calculated the amount of fragrance needed for each of those two smaller portions, then cut that fragrance amount by half again.  The largest amount of FO would go into the main (largest) part of the batch.  The rest would be split 2:1 between the two smaller portions.  The amount of soap in these two smaller portions were equal in size, however, their FO amount was not nor was their additional mica.

Fragrance Oil Divided into descending-sized portions

Next I add the coconut milk to the oils, stick blending to a smooth mixture.  Then the lye goes in.  I used silk and coconut milk in this batch simply because I always do.  The gold mica in oil is for the top only. Just because.  Bling is good. Coconut Milk & Mica in Oil These four oils are ones I often use.  I have several soap formulations and a four oil is just one of them.  I don’t have issues with these in soaps – ricing, tendency to separate, misleading false trace, etc., so I went with this one. 4 oils ListingWater, Silk & Lye SolutionI also like to use silk in soaps so that went unchanged as well.  I decided not to go totally crazy with the coconut theme and stuck with regular water, not coconut water.  Maybe later on I’ll try that twist to see what results I get but for this initial trial, it’s plain filtered water, chilled.  (Got a bit of coconut oil on the handle there. Hmf! Messy!)

Once the various parts were blended with a stick blender to emulsion phase,  I stopped and noticed it looked a bit grainy and thicker than I’d expect for so little mixing.  A stir told me it was trying to separate, becoming a bit grainy and going towards a false trace, something of a surprise.  So more blending and it loosened up again, going smoother and surprisingly dark for so early on in the making.  It was a warm beige by the time I was done mixing!  The two smaller portions together were half of the batch but the amount of colour added varied as did the amount of FO.  I added Pearl Basics to one portion and a small amount of Titanium Dioxide in water to this part, stick blended to get it absolutely smooth.  The other small portion had Extra Bright added along with a bit more Titanium Dioxide than the other portion had. The largest portion of the soap had no mica added and no titanium dioxide added.

Given the three levels of water in each part of this in addition to the three different levels of fragrance added, this should give me three different shades of brown due to the discolouration from the FO and a textured look and feel to the surface thanks to the addition of water with the TD.  Time will tell so now we wait until it’s firm enough to come out of the mold and be cut.  Once it’s cut, hopefully the textures will begin to appear.  As the soap dries out at different rates the raised appearance of each colour segment should become apparent.  That’s my hope anyway.  I’ll update with pictures when it’s cut and had a chance to dry out a bit.

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