#29 Amber & Myrrh (BBW type)

#29 Sensuous Amber & Myrrh (BBW Type). Or How I had to Save a Batch of Soap. This is a long read with lots of pictures.

What used to be $10 lotion at Bath & Body Works is now nearly $60 on Amazon. The sprays are even more. My friend, Mary, who loves the scent but not about to pay outrageous prices, asked me to make her a soap. She sent me a lotion sample through the mail in hopes that the NSA or DEA or FBI or any other acronym government agency didn’t come pounding on my door wondering what the hell was in the bottle. (They didnt.)

This one took me awhile because I had to do some searching. None of the formularies of fragrance oils makes a BBW type Sensuous Amber & Myrrh. None. I looked. I asked other soapers. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.  Bath & Body Works does make a Sensual Amber, but without the myrrh, Mary hates it.


The various formularies of fragrance oils do make a Sensual Amber (bbw type), so I picked that up and a plain Myrrh fragrance oil. Unfortunately, no two vendors had both the Sensual Amber (bbw type) AND a plain myrrh. I checked Fragrance Oil Finder, and though one vendor said they had both, the myrrh was only part of a set.

I mixed the fragrance oils at a 50:50 ratio on a couple of test strips first. The test strips smelled very similar to the lotion sample.  Without the chemical smell that the lotion has. The lotion makes my nose itch.

I used three different colors: Titanium Dioxide for the white, Myrrh Gum Powder for the peachy color, and activated charcoal powder for the black. I was trying for colorful and exotic.

DSCN4000-2The activated charcoal has a number of health benefits as far back as the ancient Egyptians using it on wound-care, and the Hindu used it to filter water (LiveStrong.com).  It’s also known for drawing out the impurities and toxins in the skin (some soapers swear by it!) and beneficial against acne. Within a soap, its non drying and helps keep hands younger looking longer (EHow). Over on Charcoal Remedies, other people have listed additional uses for charcoal.

Myrrh gum powder is used to rejuvenate skin cells for a more youthful glow, decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and general skin toning (LiveStrong) . I also wanted the added myrrh to the overall scent of the soap, plus its gritty enough to serve as a gentle exfoliant.

In this case, the titanium dioxide is used to lighten a 1/3 of the batch, but a common use is also in suntan lotions for its refraction properties (wiseGEEK), but I doubt there is enough in this bar to give the skin any UV protection after use. One of my favorite soapers to follow, Jo at the Soap Bar, did a blog post about the safety of titanium dioxide back in 2011 with a lively conversation in the comments. It’s safe for cosmetic uses, but careful of nano-sized grains – which I don’t use.

My water content was 50:50 of Aloe Vera and Distilled Water, so if there are any sunburns, this soap will be very soothing. Other clients (friends of mine) have loved the aloe vera in the soaps they have purchased, especially in cases of sun burn.

I used eight different vegetable oils: Olive Oil pomace, sunflower oil, palm oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, and meadowfoam oil. This will be a highly conditioning soap, great not only for the body but for cleaning the face, too.

I had initially forgotten the coconut oil, but added it before I molded the soap, including the water to compensate (this will be important later). I decided to forgo the fragrance oil compensation at this point.

8/14/13, 10pm-ish

DSCN4004-2I took my time with this one. I didn’t want an in-the-pot swirl (video), or a mantra swirl (tutorial), and was trying to think of something I hadn’t seen yet. Though, its very possible someone already thought of this, I just haven’t come across it yet. In this picture, I have my three colors: white, gold, black, and the soap mold where I’m already half way through the process. For this, I did skinny layers of each shade, just swirls and straight lines and jagged lines, but just enough to create patterns before going to the next color. It was a long process, but it was fun.


Just finished filling the mold and the top layer is gold and black with a feathered top.

DSCN4016-28/15/13, 4am

Several hours after I put the soap log to bed for the night, I went to take a peak, and OMG! Notice how much its weeping? Without touching it, I’m assuming its oils or fragrance oils weeping, but eventually it will either evaporate or seep back into the soap. Or a combination of both. Right? Right?! (Nope.)

DSCN4011-2Here it’s splitting down the middle from the heat (I still have not figured out how to keep my soaps from doing that), but the design looks really cool from this angle, like molten lava. Note the beads of sweat on the top layer. That’s not normal.

DSCN4020-28/15/13, 6pm

When I tried to unmold it, it was sticking to the sides and bottom in clumps and was really super soft. I was so angsty because I knew I would need to rebatch it.  All the careful time I put into the pretty stripes *SIGH*. Plus this batch had the activated charcoal, so it was going to be an ugly brown/grey color. I DID however take a pic of the stripes. They remind me of a tiger. *sniff* I’d like to come back to this technique at a later time, and hopefully I don’t mess it up.

I angst about rebatching for a good hour or two, and even sent my question to a soaping group I subscribe to (Soaper’s Retreat, love them!). Remember the added coconut oil? When I calculated the actual oils in SoapCalc, I had a 21.5% superfat.

What is superfatting?

  • S: (adj) superfatted ((of soap) containing extra unsaponified fat) “superfatted toilet soaps” (WordnetWeb)
  • S: (n) saponification (a chemical reaction in which an ester is heated with an alkali (especially the alkaline hydrolysis of a fat or oil to make soap)) (WordNetWeb)

What makes handmade soap different than the lye soap your grandmother made is the amount of lye to oils ratio. It wasn’t precise back then, just dump a bunch of lye into the oils/animal fat pot and hope for a nice hard bar of lard soap that was good for laundry. Lye also tended to vary as well. However, these days, lye is chemically precise, and soapers will superfat a batch anywhere from 3-8% (sometimes more or less, depending on what the application will be for). For instance, a super fat of <1% is good for laundry soap. I generally superfat all of my soaps at 5% which allows for more moisturizing. I’ve read that a 100% coconut oil bar should be superfat at 20% because of the nature of coconut oil.

This batch only had about 13% coconut oil, not nearly enough to warrant that much superfatting. At least I knew what the problem was, I recalled adding the coconut oil without compensating with lye/water.

I posted the results on Facebook and what I needed to do to save it (including adding more activated charcoal to make it a black soap), and Mary posted back with, “YAY! Black soap!” Paraphrased since I can’t find the exact quote. I was feeling much less angsty after that.

Once I submitted to the fact I had to rebatch, I dumped the slices back into the pot, and let it warm up inside another pot with water. Double boiler method, I didn’t want to burn it. I added the missing lye/water, more activated charcoal for a deeper grey/black, and another .5 oz more of fragrance (the same 50:50 ratio as above) since it was definitely lacking.


I had started with adding the activated charcoal within a bit of oil so it wasnt so powdery, but I quickly realized that I would need more charcoal until I achieved black or the slate grey that I ended up with. If I kept adding more oil, I would have the same issue as before, too much oil, not enough lye. So I added more distilled water.

I added too much. Hmph.

When I poured the soup back into the mold, it was behaving as it should, but I knew it would take forever to cure. A normal cure will take anywhere between 4-8 weeks, depending on the batch (some oils take longer to cure), I was expecting 3-4 months, and Mary had waited long enough already.

DSCN4026-2Here is my embarrassment: I would like to point out the shoddy mix job. I had not mixed it with the stick blender, and it shows. As this picture illustrates, do you see all the white spots? (I was arranging soap squares for a possible embed project.) It was also soft (not like the day before when it was also oily, this was just water-soft). I can now tell the difference when its lacking lye, or when it has too much water. Live and learn, right?


I rebatched it a second time, however, no more water or fragrance this time. Just dumped it into the pot and let it simmer for a few hours to simmer off the excess water. I stirred it every 30 minutes to an hour to make sure it was coming along ok. I even put the stick blender in this time to really get it blended well. Those white spots were annoying me, it was the OCD kicking in. When I poured it this time, the soap didn’t want to make swirly q’s on the top for me. It could do jagged just fine. *smirk*

DSCN4024-2One of Mary’s friends said it looked like mud.

I wasn’t quite sure if this would be enough, so I turned on my oven to 170, popped the soap in the oven and let it bake for 5 hours.

This method is called CPOP (cold process oven process) which is meant to force the soap through a thorough gel phase. For my purposes, I wanted it not only to saponify the rest of the lye I had added in the rebatch, but to evaporate the excess water.

After 5 hours, I turned off the oven, and left the soap to sit over night. Five hours might seem excessive, but I have read of another soaper who does 5 hour bakes (forum post). While others will do a 1 hour bake.


I think I burned the soap.

Anyone know? Because this is how it came out, and this is how it stayed (this pic was taken on 9/1/13). Only the outer layer is this brownish/rust color.



I decided to take it off, starting with the bottom. Normally I can just scrape the soap, but this wouldn’t scrape off. I had to actually cut it off. The soap is still fairly soft underneath, so it was easy to slide the cutter under the brown layer to remove it. After the fifth bar I was getting pretty good at this.

See? Damn, I’m good.

DSCN4049-2After slicing off the thick layer, the soap is initially tacky, but it hardens up in no time at all, so that is a good sign. Once the bottom hardened, I cut off the sides. I left the top at the request of Mary. I gave her the option, leave the top, or cut it all down and bevel it. The textured top is far more interesting. This will be left to cure for another 3-4 weeks, then I’ll clean it up for presentation, box it up, and make labels.

The moral of this story is: Write everything down. I kept tabs of what I added on top of the initial recipe and documented every step of the way in trying to save the batch. I had not done so on the batch I ruined last year. 

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#23 Roses and Champagne

Roses and Champagne, take 2.

The first batch, granted it was only 4 roses, went really quick.

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The second batch has not. Unfortunately with this batch, they aren’t as pretty as I would I have liked. It’s a hanger swirl, and though it does normally look pretty, the Red Lab Color I used from Bramble Berry bled into the white parts of the soap. It might be good for swirls, where the bleeding would be ok, but for anything needing more crisp lines like this, it wasnt such a great idea. However, it’s what I had on hand at the time. I’ve been looking for a red mica, but when I have money, the red happens to be a bit more pricey than I would want to pay.

However, don’t let the ugly soap fool you, the roses and champagne fragrance smells wonderful!

This is a perfect example of how fragrance oils can keep the price down. Whereas, Satyr’s Emerald Dreaming is $9 a bar because of the essential oils, especially Wormwood, this is entirely made from fragrance oils, ‘cept the dash of Rosemary I added. For instance, the Roses and Champagne bars are $5 each, and the roses are $3 each.


INCI Ingredients:

Distilled Water, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil**,  Sodium Hydroxide*,  Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter, Fragrance, Red Lab Color, Hydrolyzed Silk and Sodium Lactate.

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#18 Satyr’s Emerald Dreaming

For those on my personal Facebook page know, this soap got a lot of action back in March because I needed a name and couldn’t think of one. The winner with the most votes received a free bar.

DSCN3712-2It came down to Satyr’s Emerald Dreaming and two bars went off to their new homes. I received good reviews from those who have tried it, and my husband, M~, asked me to set another bar aside for him. Hee!

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I know I am late in posting this, and there is only one bar left on my Etsy site. I gotta say though, working with both fragrances and essential oils, I love the essential oils, but the prices on fragrances are by far a lot better. For instance, for this bar here, the Wormwood alone was nearly $13 dollar for a little .5 oz bottle. When a 3lb batch can take up nearly 3 ounces, it gets crazy expensive fast. Thankfully, most of my friends have been happy with fragrance oils – but this was made on special request.

My friend Tina and her daughter, “K” were given a sample bite of this soap, but unfortunately, they showed allergic reactions to it. Wormwood is in the same family of Asteraceae as Ragweed . Though, I do believe, I am also allergic to ragweed, I did not have the same allergic reactions to it.

Wormwood is not just for drinking from an Anise flavored alcoholic drink, but can also increase sexual desire and the imagination. Ooo la la! Maybe I should make sure M~ uses it more often!

Wormwood isn’t the only essential oil, remember, its an expensive oil and I needed to pair it with other oils. It blends well with the Sandalwood FO, Patchouli EO (Deodorant? No wonder hippies douse themselves with it!), and I added the Peppermint EO for an extra crisp and clean smell (and also great for your skin!) to the overall huskiness of the woods.

INCI Ingredients:

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sodium Hydroxide*,  Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil**, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Spirulina Platensis Powder, Activated Charcoal, Montmorillonite (French Green Clay), Fragrance,  Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Powder (infused in Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil),  Artemisia Scoparia (Wormwood) Powder (infused in Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil), and Sodium Lactate.

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#24a Marrakesh Delight

Marrakesh Delight is a sandalwood and vanilla soap that I made for my friend, Jason, upon request.

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With his psoriasis I added almond milk to this batch for the added moisturizing. I make no statement that it will cure psoriasis, but he has stated that it does help relieve it.

I do have to come clean on this one though, I did goof on my fragrance amounts. *hangs head* I normally measure in grams, but this time I measured in ounces and totally goofed on the vanilla and vanilla stabilizer, those being waaaay more than I had originally planned. So, this batch will be more vanilla than the next batch I make, which was supposed to actually have more sandalwood with a waft of vanilla. Still smells outstanding, I’m not complaining, but I did goof. 

I added the different clays, not only for color, I was trying to go for a reddish hue and a white hue, but vanilla pretty much says “NOPE! It’s brown!” So the dark brown/reddish part *ahem* is red sandalwood powder and Moroccan red clay, while the white/lighter brown *smirk* is titanium dioxide and French green clay. Color aside, the clays help bring out the impurities and dirt from the pores, leaving skin feeling fresh and clean.

A separate friend, “K”, stated that he loved how his face felt after shaving, that it felt very smooth. So, goof aside, there is that. 🙂


INCI Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil**, Prunus Dulcis (Almond) Milk, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide*, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Fragrance,  Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Powder, Kaolinite (Moroccan Red Clay), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), and Montmorillonite (French Green Clay).

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#26 – Replenish Shampoo Bar

Replenish Shampoo Bar. This was made on June 9th, 2013.

This is another brain child of my friend, Jennett, who asked for a ginger and carrot bar for her hair.

Organic Carrot & Ginger smoothie bar for hydrated smooth locks!

~Made with organic carrot juice and fresh ginger! Replenish your thirsty locks with beta-carotene rich carrots and fresh detoxifying ginger!

I got a bit creative with this one.

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Carrot and ginger didn’t smell right on the test strips to me, so I played around with some of my other essential oils. I wanted to work with just essential oils to get something very clean and would smell delicious. I managed to do just that. I added a number of essential oils for a mouth watering bar that makes me think of gingerbread.

The ginger essential oil is great for the hair and helps against dandruff. It’s also good for relieving mental stress. Though cinnamon leaf essential oil is good for the stiffness of muscles, the antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties make this a very cleansing bar. Carrot seed essential oil has antioxidant benefits that will be wonderful for hair and face. It also has added benefits of antiseptic, antiviral, and disinfectant properties, and may even relieve psoriasis sufferers. Lemongrass essential oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, but also acts as a deodorant. Last, but not least, Rosemary Essential oil helps hair grow strong and relieves dandruff.

Instead of water to mix with the lye, I added goat’s milk to a blend of carrots and ginger juice – Fresh out of the juicer! The carrots really made the batch a very beautiful shade of orange. To really help with the hair, I added a bit of Vitamin E to this batch and egg yolks – the eggs were from my neighbor’s chickens, so they are from very spoiled chickens! This isn’t a vegan batch, but no goats or chickens were harmed in the making of this soap.

INCI Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Goat Milk, Sodium Hydroxide, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Daucus Carota (Carrot) Juice, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Juice, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Egg Yolk, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Sodium Lactate, Silk Amino Acids, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), and Essential Oils.

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Tattoo Lotion and Balm

My friend’s daughter decided to get a tattoo. She had decided on it when she was fourteen, but was only allowed at seventeen to get it with her mother’s blessing. And the state. I think. Age limit and all. Anyway, I told her that I would make her some tattoo balm, expanding on the basic lotion bar recipe and adding some feel good oils to help the healing process.  That was Friday. On Sunday, this was the update:

Update on the lotion bar you made [daughter] – she’s been putting it on any time it begins to itch or after she washes her hands. it’s stopped the scabbing process and it’s reducing the generalized swelling from the work.

This sounds like a win to me.


The ingredients I used:

Coconut Oil – This oil has a million and one uses, and using it on the tattoo is no different. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, among other things. You can read about the benefits in a host of places, you can get started here, this one and this.

Avocado butter – This is a deep penetrating oil packed full of vitamins such as A, B1, B2, D, E, lecithin, and omega 3’s. I picked this butter for its moisturizing and healing properties. You can read more here and here.

Mango Seed Butter – This is another good butter full of vitamins and able to heal the skin. You can read more about it here and here.

Shea Butter – Another moisturizing butter with vitamins A, E, and F. You can read more here and here.

Beeswax – This provides a breathable layer while still protecting the raw skin while its healing. Its also antibacterial. I’ve read as much from a number of sites, but you can also read about it here.

Cocoa Butter – This is a butter that is high in antioxidants and works as a moisturizes and emollient. It also soothes skin irritation. You can read about it here, here, here, and here.

Emulsifying Wax NF – This is what allows water and oils to combine together to create a creamy texture. It’s one of the nasties I use (and may discontinue based on what I read tonight – though the alternatives might not be as good either). It’s a combination of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60.

Tamanu Oil – This is a rare nut from the South Pacific which grows in sandy coastal places. It’s said to be a healing oil with anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. I’ve been using it on a gouge on my shin that never healed quite right, and its not so angry and red as it used to be. It’s one of those (expensive) wonder oils you can read more about here, here, and here.

Aloe Vera extract – Aloe Vera is known for its healing properties and prevents infection. You can read more here.

Vitamin E – I added vitamin E to this balm because its known healing properties and moisturizing. A little goes a long way.  Read more here and here.

Optiphen – This is a non paraben, non formaldehyde preservative system.

For my friend’s daughter, we chose not to use the essential oils, which I had a combination of Tea Tree, Lavender, and Rosemary that I was going to combine. I’ve read in various places that tea tree oil can have mixed results for tattoos. Lavender was praised. No commentary about Rosemary and tattoos. Anyway, we wont know with this particular tattoo.

If there is anyone that can give me a heads up on something other than EWax NF for lotions, I would appreciate it.

This balm isn’t listed on my Etsy website. If you want a bar, let me know.

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SLS, Acne, and Psoriasis

I came across a couple articles that I thought I would share.

The first is regarding Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) And Why We Must Avoid It? It’s a degreaser that is in many soaps and shampoos, as well as dish soaps. It’s also a toxin. It comes with a video that goes down a couple different grocery store isles to show just how many products do contain SLS.

When I got to the bottom of the page, I came across Why Buy Handmade Soaps? Other than the reasons listed, the ingredients added to handmade soap can be pronounced and identified easily. It might be more expensive, but you know exactly what you are buying, and know it it’s not toxic to skin and body. I have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the experience this past year in making soaps. Its been such an amazing experience. But I also love the comments of how much people love using the soaps. Though, a reaction I get often in the beginning when I ask if someone wants soap, they ask, “Why? Do I smell?” 

I have two teens in my life; my “niece” and her boyfriend are at the age where acne is just part of life. So I was interested to read this one: Different Types Of Soaps That Aid In Acne. For them, they have been using my soaps to wash their face. I haven’t formulated any soap specifically for the face but I like using the Four Thieves and Tea Tree & Clary Sage. The Tea Tree and Clary Sage was made as a shampoo soap, but I like the Tea Tree on my face, too. Anyway, the teens seem to have been able to cut down on their break-outs just from switching to a handmade soap. For instance, in 5 Natural Remedy To Effectively Cure Acne Problems, honey, coconut oil, and tumeric are mentioned. I use coconut oil in every batch of soap, so some of the properties of coconut oil comes through in the finished product. The Oats and Honey soap has a dollop of honey added to the batch. I might need to formulate something with turmeric. Hmm. The gears have just started on what to whip up for acne soap. *ponder*ponder* I’ve also read of mixing clay and honey into a mask to help with acne and skin blemishes.

A friend of mine has psoriasis, and though I can’t make any medical claim regarding handmade soaps versus what you can find commercially in the drug store, just going for something with natural ingredients is a step to feeling better. Natural is the Way to go for Psoriasis Sufferers mentions using a gentle soap and applying moisturizers after. I can take it a step further and mention that any handmade soap will be gentle to the skin and still retains the glycerin that moisturizes. I currently don’t have anything formulated specifically for psoriasis, though I do keep an eye out for oils, essential oils, and whatnot that are good for soothing the skin. I have a Sandalwood Vanilla coming out that he requested, but I still haven’t been able to find certain vegetable oils that are supposed to be good for treating psoriasis.

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#25 – Ocean Breeze

This batch was the brain child of my friend, Jennett, when she messaged me a couple of her ideas, this was one of them.

“Ocean Breeze”~Strengthen hair with ocean minerals supplied by fresh kelp water and crisp cucumbers scented with mint essence for a breeze that will calm your nerves and ease split ends!

I love having friends with a flair for marketing. 😉

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I had run out of aloe vera, so I wanted to be certain I had that, and the nori for the kelp component. I picked up both at my local health food store on Friday so I could soap this weekend. I soaked the nori in aloe vera over night to give the aloe vera a boost in all of those minerals and vitamins. It turned the aloe vera purple, but the lye turned it back to green. I strained most of the nori out of the aloe vera, only adding a couple teaspoons into a small portion of the soap to see how it behaved. It smelled fishy. I was concerned.

When looking up the benefits of seaweed, or nori, in soap, I came across the following on Ehow.com, though I would take it with a grain of salt. (Ha! I’m so pun-ny sometimes):

Possible Additional Benefits

  • Some manufacturers claim their seaweed soap can also detoxify the body, increase metabolism, reduce cellulite and even have a slimming effect by stimulating the thyroid with the iodine seaweed contains. Research has not been done to prove or disprove these claims, but many users report success with certain soaps for these purposes.

I don’t think I added enough nori for this particular batch to have that huge effect. Only the one sheet, but I didn’t add it all into the bar. Smelled too fishy to me, and I didn’t want it to over power any of the essential oils, especially the mild scent of cucumber essential oil.

To the aloe/lye mixture, I added the liquid silk though I’m thinking I didn’t add enough. Been browsing some forums talking about the differences between the liquid and the tussah, having used both, I miss the tussah. I need to find another source. The tussah silk (as well as other ingredients) in smaller quantities at Soap Making Resource is not cost effective for me – great company though, and I’ve used them and loved their stuff and their customer service. Shipping is normally fast, except when having major sales (at least that one time a year ago). Though, glancing over those same forums, someone mentioned The Scent Works. I get my boxes and labels from them. Hmm.

I read that sodium lactate makes a harder bar and moisturizes, but I don’t think I’ve been using enough. My Mad Scientist picked up a gallon of it for his own science projects, so I’ve been dipping a few millimeters off the top at a time. I normally use about 4 ml in a 3 lb batch of soap.  However, visiting the Bramble Berry site, it says to use a teaspoon per pound.

This batch has the essential oils of Cucumber (“The oil is used in many treatments for anti-aging, acne, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkle reduction, dry scalp, sunburn, stretch marks, brittle nails and damaged hair. This oil is proved to improve the elasticity of the skin and balance the nutrients required by the skin.”), Ylang Ylang (” Ylang ylang oil is an excellent moisturizer for the skin. It balances the production of sebum of the skin and helps in maintaining a healthy skin. Ylang ylang oil has been effective in treating split ends, wrinkles and few other aging problems.“), Spearmint (“It has restorative, antiseptic, insecticide, carminative, stimulant, antispasmodic, emenagogue and cephalic properties….Certain skin disorders like acne, congested skin and dermatitis are also treated with the healing effects of Spearmint oil.”), Peppermint (“Peppermint oil is used to treat numerous disorders like acne,…  sunburn,… drowsiness,…  mental fatigue,… tension,…” I only snagged what might benefit in the shower.), and Rosemary (“It is sometimes used in care of the scalp in relation to dandruff control.”).

Each of these essential oils has many benefits for the skin and hair, for instance, the cucumber will help with sunburns. Mixed with aloe vera, this will be a wonderfully gentle soap for the summer. The rosemary, the small amount that I added, helps in extending the shelf life of the soap. Overall, the scent is divine. My kitchen smells wonderful. ❤

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Hydroxide, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil,

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Avocado Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Nori, and Fragrance.

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One year later

I made my very first batch of soap a year ago on April 28th. It’s a citrus blend that I copied from a Soap Making Resource recipe, nearly ingredient for ingredient, with a couple additions which you can read all about here.

This soap was cut with a guitar string, which is why its ragged and uneven.

This soap was cut with a guitar string, which is why its ragged and uneven.

The above picture was taken a year ago right after it was cut – the day after it was poured. The following picture was taken a couple days ago.


Not much of a difference, right? I’m pretty pleased that the color and scent has stuck around so long. A year later and no DOS (dreaded orange spots). My Summer Solstice is based loosely on this recipe, with a few changes to make it my own.

So, I decided to check out how my laundry soap did (which I blogged about here and here when I was still talking about my soaping hobby on my personal blog). I used all vegetable shortening. Please keep that in mind when viewing the next couple photos.

I’ve only done one load of laundry with this soap, but I didn’t like how it smelled, since it didn’t have any scent. I like my laundry to smell yummy. I haven’t touched or looked at this batch in months.

This batch is also over a year old, poured on May 3rd. It was partially gelled, which I didn’t know what that was at the time. I thought it was odd, but was more concerned with the soap ash on top. It also was cut and photographed the day after it was poured.

May 3rd, 2012:


A year later, May 31, 2013:


What in the…?! Yuck! I have it stored in a drawer on freezer paper. I stuck my hand down to grab these four to bring them out and immediately dropped them back into the drawer when I felt how slimy it was. It smells. I can’t place the smell, but smells like its rotting. So, I went and got a paper towel and a plastic bowl and set them up for their photo shoot. I’m actually embarrassed to be presenting these, but its a learned lesson. Don’t use cheap oils. This seems like DOS to the extreme. Do any of my soaping followers know?

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My first Fair! – KETCH Artisan Fair

I was approached on Etsy on April 18th to be a vendor for the KETCH Artisan Fair. Overall, I think it was a great experience, and was wonderful meeting everyone. I handed out a number of business cards, so I hope they visit. Because of the Fair, I finally decided to publish my Facebook page, so you can add me there, too.

I was apprehensive about doing a fair already. I made my first batch of soap last year, so I didn’t think I was ready, or have enough stock. I asked my friends on Facebook and they said it would be a great opportunity, which I agreed. The cost for the vendor booth wasn’t a bad price, plus it was going toward a good cause. I also donated 3 bars of soap to their auction, even prettied it up in a basket with a loofah.

I asked my friend Tina to come help me, because I am too humble to sell my own soap. I might get better at it, but she gushes about my soap. For instance, her teen daughter had acne and nothing seemed to work for it, but now her acne breaks out are few and infrequent.

So, anyway, Tina was super excited about helping me out and by the end of the day, she got a bar of soap. 😉  Her mother-in-law stopped by toward the end of the day and asked to barter with me, dinner at Texas Roadhouse for a bar of soap. How could I refuse?!  The meal was super appreciated! I was so hungry by the end that I was tempted to eat my own soap.   Despite how hungry I was, though, I only ate half my steak and fries. I took it home to hubby, gave him a kiss, and passed out till the next day.

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I’m ashamed to admit that these pics were taken by me. I should know better, but I was feeling especially lazy after dragging everything into the hotel, and setting it up – and didn’t think the pics would be used for much, only to show how I had things set up.

I really wasn’t prepared to do a fair, since I wasn’t aiming to do one anytime soon. I’m mainly focused on selling to friends and family, and people they know right now, and getting my recipes set up how I like them. However, I have to say, this was a huge learning experience on what to expect at a fair.

As you can see from the pics, I have a bowl set up with samples (they look like cheese bites!), and the name of the soap with the ingredients and the boxes of soap in front of the sample bowl. I need to figure a better way to display my soaps.

Why don’t people take samples?

Anyway, I made back my vendor fee, which makes me happy. I just went over the costs of each of the soaps and the profit I made, remove the vendor fee, and I still made a slight profit. So, not a complete bust, and got my name out there.

There were not a lot of people who showed up, but I don’t think it was heavily publicized. There were times when Tina and I were just sitting there chatting with each other, or our neighbors.

For future fairs, I would like to dress up in steam punk fashion: corset, little hat, and a lab coat. Wha?! I’m doing alchemy here! *hehe* I would also like to start making the labels with a steam punk graphic designed look. I accidently did that with my business cards. They were purple and yellow, but I inadvertently printed them in black and white… and I like them! 

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