Beneficial and Delightful Soap for Skin, Senses & Spirit

Saturday, January 21, 2012

An Abbreviated Tutorial

Yesterday, I made a double batch of Vata Shea Ayurvedic soap (one of my best sellers).

I thought that I would also whip up a pure castile, which is one of the world's true luxury soaps - nothing but virgin olive oil, distilled water and sodium hydroxide.

The Vata went beautifully! It was a good soaping day! The Vata takes a little longer to trace and a bit more time to cure than soaps that do not have as many rich oils and butters. Vata has raw shea butter, jojoba, avocado, almond oils plus other goodies that make it so skin-loving.

Well - the Vata was nothing compared to the castile. 45 minutes to trace - and one year to fully cure.

Good, true soap making is a lot like wine .... it requires a chemist's mind, an artist's creativity and a perfumer's nose. Oh, yes, and patience.

For those of you who do not fully understand some of the soap terms (and why would you?) - here is a quick, no frills tutorial for cold process soap making:

Fats, oils and butters are carefully selected and weighed with precision according to your recipe. This mixture is heated to a specific temperature.

Sodium Hydroxide and cold distilled water are also weighed, then combined. This mixture of lye water heats up and then cools. When the lye water approximately reaches the same temp as the oils, both are combined, beat (stirred) continuously until the batter reaches "trace". 

"Trace" is a state of emulsification (or saponification). The common term 'trace' comes from the batter leaving marks, or "traces".

Colors, additives and fragrances may be added along the way. (You can see this can be tricky)

The lot gets poured into molds, covered and/or insulated (or maybe not!). 

Typically, after 24-48 hours, the soap can be unmolded, sliced and left to air dry for about 4 weeks (minimum). During this "curing" period, the water evaporates from the soap and the ph values change. This period cannot be rushed!

I love soap making because of the changes that naturally occur. Soap making always surprises me! 

And, yes, I have had to use the trash can for more than one spoiled batch! Seems that these bad soaping days occur mainly in summer.

Please do not try this at home unless you have help or know what you are doing! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweetheart Soaps

I have been working very hard to replenish stock sold during the Holidays. 

To not feel like a one-woman assembly line, I have concocted three new romantic soaps that coincide nicely with Valentine's Day. All three of these bars are Limited Editions.

I am pleased with these new creations and they are a bit more lavishly scented than my 'regular' line.

Grimoire (Book of Shadows)

Love Letter
Champagne Blanc Shea
Grimoire features Dragons' Blood resin, myrrh, incense, blood orange. All in all, a rather exotic "red resin" soap. Good for men and women. Fortified with clay for a little slip if used as a shaving soap. Gilded on top to look ancient.

Love Letter - dust, woodsmoke, white rose, resins and incense. A mysterious creation intended to evoke a yellowed, old note that was found in a dusty album, just next to a pressed flower. This soap is also filled with French Pink clay for shaving and gilded.

Champagne Blanc Shea - this was a surprise! This soap actually does have some bubbly olfactory notes. A beautiful bergamot is the star here, coupled with ozone and lemon-lime, this soap has an effervescence. Creamy white and sprinkled with gold. This soap whispers of possibilities.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dreaming of the Tropics?

One bar left of our lovely, petite Coconut-Cardamom-Lemongrass Cream!
This organic, raw cocoa butter soap is enriched with organic coconut cream and coconut milk, fair trade, organic palm oil and, of course, castor oil for true luxury. 
This soap smells like fresh coconut and will leave your skin beautifully conditioned and lightly moisturized.
There is cardamom and lemongrass essential oils in the fragrance mix and the bar is sprinkled with these respective herbs.

Petite Coconut-Cardamom-Lemongrass
So - if you cannot jet off to the Caribbean for that winter getaway, grab this soap and head to your shower for a spa-like experience!
Happy New Year!