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Friday, June 7, 2013

Soap Oops-es

Yesterday was not a great day for me soaping.  I had two fails learning experiences.  A sugar scrub didn't emulsify and playing with new toys didn't work well either.

First, I'd become enamored with the solid sugar scrubs over at Rebecca's Delicatessen.  She's one of my favorite soapy bloggers and has a great, well informed site.  I didn't have the ingredients that her recipe called for, so I used the recipe at Soap Queen, substituting crafter's choice Mango Butter base and rice bran oil and adding a bit of shea butter.  It didn't emulsify.  I ended up with a layer of scrub and oil floating on top.

  • I used a cheaper base.
  • I assumed that rice bran was a good substitute for sweet almond oil but maybe not.
  • The air conditioner is not on upstairs here, so they were sitting out at 85+ F.
I tried to salvage this by popping it in the freezer.  The top layer did freeze, but melted by the time I cut the bars into smaller rectangles.  I haven't used them.  I think they will still be scrubby, but not quite as luxurious as I wanted.

I got a new box of goodies from Brambleberry! Including my first wooden soap mold.  I was super excited to try it out and picked this recipe to try.  I loved the colors.  I received a free sample of coconut lemongrass fragrance in the box and figured that would be a great summery, beachy fragrance.
What went wrong:

  • I substituted Lots of Lather quick mix for Basic Quick Mix.  This was not a good substitution for this recipe.  
    • Brambleberry suggests using an olive oil free recipe for this soap to avoid the yellow green color of olive oil.  Lots of Lather has lots of olive oil.
    • The recipe calls for 23 pounds of the quick mix.  I had 33 pounds of lots of lather mix, and decided to use the whole bag.  I did run in through the lots of lather lye calculator, but did not anticipate how much extra I would have.  This probably influenced my colors as well; the olive oil and greater amount of oils.  I had extra molds but not enough and had to grab more.
  • I mixed with a stick blender until I got an emulsion, not a light trace.  
  • I hated the fragrance.  I'm a big fan of Bath and Bodyworks' Coconut Lime Verbena and expected the type to be more similar.  I hope that the soaping process will improve the fragrance.
  • The sea clay did not play well with the fragrance.  It kind of appeared ricy.  It might have been ricy.
  • The sea clay colored soap was not contrasted well with the plain soap, due to the olive oil in the base.  Instead of three, separate and intentional colors, it appears [to me] that the colors were mistakes.
  • Finally, I had my first lye burn.  This was either from removing my gloves (which were a size too small) or reusing my lye water container to mix colors.  It was a small burn, luckily, smaller than a dime.  I noticed that there was a shiny patch of something on my arm, and it started to burn.  I rinsed it with water and it still burned.  So I rinsed it with vinegar, which I should have done first.
First three color soap

The soap looks prettier on screen than in real life.

I also unmolded a soap sample too quickly and it smushed.  I put another sample from the batch in a silicone cupcake liner and some of the red from the liner leached into the soap.  Grr.

In happier news, a trial batch of these dishwasher tablets worked great.  I used a little peppermint essential oil, but not enough to leave a peppermint residue.

My color fails led me to research color mixing in soaps and I found this series very helpful.

I have so much that I want to try and being patient is hard.  /end grump

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