I have been using my beer and egg soap for both body and hair the past couple of weeks. The beer smell has mellowed and it has rounded out very well with the other e.o.’s. I am actually liking the smell, something i could not have imagined when the soap was new. It is fabulous as a soap – I love the way it lathers and makes my skin feel soft and nourished. As a shampoo bar, I’d say it is quite decent. It produces a very rich and thick lather and I haven’t experienced any concerns with my hair. Some people report developing greasy hair. I feel my hair is a tad oily but I may have applied too much argan oil. I will give it a few more weeks before deciding whether my hair likes it or not.
Since my husband and I are really loving the first beer soap, I decided to experiment with more. I wanted to try a dark beer this time, so I bought a bottle of San Miguel Cerveza Negra. I used a 33% lye solution and the following oils: olive oil, coconut oil, lard, rice bran oil, castor oil and stearic acid. For a manly scent, I combined leather and citrus fragrances with eucalyptus.
Except for my very first soap, all other dozen or so soaps I’ve made so far have been successful. Some of the finished products were less than ideal, but at least no mishaps during the soap making process….until last night.
Two things happened:
1. When I poured the lye solution into the oils (both around 90˚F-95˚F ), the mixture immediately started to get thick. As i stirred and blended, it kept on getting thicker and thicker until my stick blender could no longer do its job. The texture was like very thick mashed potatoes.
2. I was debating whether to put in the fragrances or not. With the way it was going, I thought the mixture would turn rock hard once I added the fragrances. As I glanced at the pre-measured fragrances, I noticed that there was a pool of liquid under the plastic measuring cup. Aaack! The cup was leaking! Good thing I placed the cup on top of a flexible chopping mat. I picked up the mat with the cup and poured all the liquid into the soap. It didn’t become any harder, but boy was it super stiff to stir!
As panic kicked in, I thought if I could just make it softer by melting it a bit…. The mixture was in a large pyrex measuring bowl, so off it went to the microwave. 20 seconds. Nothing. My brain somehow started to work again and realized the microwave was not going to be of help, so I just scooped out the lumpy soap into the mold. I knew I had to do a rebatch but I was tired and was not going to think about it until the next day. My consolation was that the fragrance combination smelled sexy and manly!
First thing I did upon waking up was to google “soap rebatch tips”. After my first rebatch attempt using a crockpot, I hoped I would never have to do it again, but I simply could not let last night’s manly beer soap go to waste. Of the many rebatch techniques available, I was drawn to Soap Queen’s Plastic Baggie Technique.
Because the soap was still soft, I just sliced it up into thin pieces using a bench scraper. I used 1,250 grams of oils for this batch, so I divided the soap into 2 freezer bags. I added around 40 ml of water to each bag (I think I could have used less since the soap was soft). I dropped the bags into the pot of boiling water and every few minutes, I would lift out a bag to massage it so that the soap melted evenly. I was really thrilled to see that the soap became a homogeneous mass of jelly-like consistency.
I had to work quickly with pouring the melted soap into the mold because the surface started to set and become opaque, especially as I tried to spread it out.