Category Archives: Perfumed Soap

Soap Balls

Do you like making soap balls?

It appears to me that people enjoy making them and turning them into fun and creative soaps.  I do make soap pucks from fresh trimmings but that’s just one or two at a time.  I give them away or use them as kitchen hand soap.   I stopped collecting scraps to make into a whole new batch because the couple of times I did, I was not too happy with the way they looked. Maybe I’ll revisit it in the future.

Last month I made a batch of soap that accelerated trace and simply didn’t cut it. I decided to grate some of the fresh soap while it was still soft and I made them into ball embeds. The first few balls were fun to make, but rolling 40 of them? I don’t know how others do it, but I was getting tired compacting and rolling the soap into neat little balls.  I feel though that all that work paid off with the way the soap turned out, but seriously, I don’t wish to make more!

Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Some of the reject soap also ended up as cube embeds – my preferred style and the more practical approach – but I have to say that the ball embeds are rather cute and fun. 🙂

Bamboo Grapefruit

Bamboo Grapefruit

 

Remakes

There was a time when I hardly repeated anything I made, but after more than a year of soaping, I find myself remaking soaps that I like and what’s popular. I am slowly narrowing down what I would like to form as my core products.  I am a scent addict and I have fragrances and essential oils that I have not even used, and I still continue to purchase new ones (it’s really hard to stop!).  Because of this serious addiction, naturally I will always be making something new – it’s part of the thrill of soap making!  And let’s not get started on the colours. I came in a bit late on that but am sure catching up!  Don’t you just love the jewel-coloured micas? 🙂

Here are some of my recent remakes vis-à-vis their old versions.

1.  Tea Tree and Spearmint with Activated Charcoal

Tea Tree Spearmint

Old

Tea Tree & Spearmint

New: the batter got thick so I was not able to do a fluid drop swirl like the old version

2. Fir and Eucalyptus with Activated Charcoal:

Fir and Eucalyptus

Old

Fir and Eucalyptus

New: ITP swirl; I used the wrong stamp for this!

3. Berries and Violets

Berries and Violets

Old

Berries and Violets

New: a different shade of green and violet

4. Bora Bora

Bora Bora (old)

Old

Bora Bora

New: very similar to the first version; the blue is a bit lighter.

5. Flamenco

Flamenco 2

Old

Flamenco

New: the batter was thinner than the old version so the coloured swirls went down farther.

The Fairest of Them All

If you look at the photos of the soaps I’ve made since I started blogging last May 2013, you may notice that I never had one that was a perfect white. Even the ones with titanium dioxide (TD) were off-white, partly because of the fragrance or essential oils used and partly because of the carrier oils.  Achieving a white-white soap was not important to me, so I always used less TD than the recommended 1 tsp per cup of soap.

Early last month I made soap with 95% olive oil and 5% virgin coconut oil that I named Fil-Castile. It didn’t contain any TD but it turned out a gorgeous white which came as a complete surprise.  The only problem I had with it were the pockmarks.  I tapped the stick blender to “burp” the oils but somehow I still got a lot of trapped air bubbles.

First batch of Fil-Castile Soap with plenty of air bubbles.

First batch of Fil-Castile Soap made last May. Notice the pockmarks from the trapped air bubbles.

Because of the high amount of olive oil, the Fil-Castile soap batter takes more than an hour to reach trace. When I made another batch a week ago, I did not immediately pour the batter into the mold after stick blending it into an emulsion. I left it in the mixing bowl while I made other soaps, hand stirring it every now and then. After about an hour or so, the batter finally reached light trace – similar in consistency to light creme anglais. I slowly stirred it for another couple of minutes before pouring into the mold.

The result is soap as smooth and fine as porcelain. It still has a few air bubbles, but hardly noticeable.

F-Castile 3

F-Castile 2

F-Castile 1

New batch of Fil-Castile Soap: perfectly smooth.

I get it now why it’s important for some soap makers to achieve a white-white soap.  It is beautiful in its simplicity and purity.  Just to see what kind of white I could get using TD at full dosage, I made a batch using a normally off-white formula containing olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter.  I chose a clean-smelling yet feminine FO that is colorless and non-discoloring. It has notes of ozone, watery greens and white florals: smells soooo good! I am calling it Aqua, and for Christmas, I am thinking of adding some peppermint and/or eucalyptus and naming it Snow.

Aqua 3

Aqua 2

Aqua 1

Aqua: perfectly white using 1 tsp TD for every cup of soap batter

Fil-Castile is almost as white as Aqua, but the TD in Aqua makes it brighter. Here they are side by side:

Aqua 4

Top: Aqua; Bottom: Fil-Castile

I wish you all a happy week. 🙂

 

 

Soaps of Summer

Today is one of those rare days when the streets are empty and the city is quiet.  Most establishments are closed for the next two days in observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and a lot of people are either at the beach or out of town.  My husband and I are just staying home.  We love the peace and quiet.  It’s also a good time for me to make soap and take photos!

Here in the Philippines, we only have 2 seasons: wet and dry. March to early June is considered our summer, usually the driest and hottest months. But these days the weather is so unpredictable. It’s hot, yet it rains  intermittently, with storm warnings.

While many of you in the temperate regions are happy to step out of the cold of winter and make soaps to welcome the blooms of spring, I’ve jumped seasons and went straight to summer.

Presenting my summer soap collection:

1. Sea Bubbles – a fresh and airy scent with a hint of floral and fruity notes.  This is my first time to use ball embeds and to have this kind of height and dimension, and top surface design.  I would have preferred a better arrangement for the balls, but it was hard to control where they moved as I was pouring the soap batter. I only had a few balls so this is a tiny batch of 6 bars.  I am having a hard time parting with them.

Sea Bubbles - a fresh and airy scent with a touch of floral and fruity notes.

Sea Bubbles

2. Summer Breeze – light, breezy, fresh scent with apple and melon notes. Both men and women love this fresh and fruity fragrance.

 

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

3.  Sea Sparkle – I think the embeds almost look sparkly against the blue, or I’d like to think so. This is a feminine scent with lilac, lavender and a hint of musk.

Sea Sparkle

Sea Sparkle

4. Berries and Violets – juicy smell of berries, apples, and oranges with a touch of violet.

Berries and Violets

Berries and Violets

Of all the soaps I’ve ever made, I love the colors of this collection the best. But it wasn’t without failure.  The ball embeds in Sea Bubbles? The yellow was from a batch that slightly overheated and had a wrinkly surface, and the pink was from a batch that traced too fast. The embeds in Sea Sparkle was from a batch that somewhat riced and had colors that looked anaemic. Just like the weather, soap making is not always predictable. 🙂

Soaps of Summer: The Collection

Soaps of Summer: The Collection

 

 

 

 

 

Kaolin Soap Collection

Alexandra, my friend who invited me to join her and her group on a field trip to Jingdezhen last February, asked me if I could make a soap collection inspired by our trip. She suggested  Jiangxi Orange for which Jingdezhen is famous for (aside from porcelain), and Green Tea. Naturally, the soaps must contain kaolin clay – a key ingredient in porcelain and a wonderful soap additive.

Kaolin Collection 1

Front to Back: Green Tea, Jiangxi Orange, and Blue Jeans

The first soap I made was Green Tea. For the entire formula of 1,500 grams of oils, I used 20 grams or 2 Tbsp of kaolin clay, and 5 grams of titanium dioxide.  I mixed these into a paste with some of the yogurt I used in the recipe, maintaining my lye concentration at 37%.  The result was a very hard bar of soap! It was a bit brittle, but not crumbly.

Kaolin Collection, Green Tea

Green Tea

I made a lovely Taiwan Swirl for the top, but I was so disappointed to find traces of pink.  I loved the celadon-ish green (1/4 tsp green chrome oxide to 1000 grams of soap batter containing kaolin and TD) and the pattern from the drop swirl. To salvage the soap, I chopped off the tops.  I wish I had taken photos of the mysterious pink, but by the time I was going to take photos a few days later, all traces of pink had disappeared.

Kaolin Collection, cut tops

Pretty tops cut off. They originally had pinkish stains but disappeared after a few days.

Has anyone experienced getting pink from out of nowhere on the surface of their soap? I used my standard recipe and tried-and-tested fragrances. I am wondering if it was my yogurt that was quite sour? I got more pink appearances on a remake batch of Citrus Berry I made the following day. Same thing happened – it disappeared after a few days.

Next, I made Jiangxi Orange. The colour of my first try came out peachy. I made another batch, and this time it came out reddish-orange – not what I imagined – but I was happy with the way it looked.  I mixed 18 grams of kaolin and 5 grams of TD with extra water.  I mixed the kaolin and TD paste into a little more than half of the soap batter.  With the extra water, this batch was not as extra hard as the Green Tea.

Kaolin Collection Jiangxi Orange

Jiangxi Orange

Even though my friend asked for only 2 kinds of kaolin soap, I made a third one that is supposed to be a Ming blue. I mixed 3/4 tsp ultramarine blue and 1/16 tsp black oxide into 900 grams of soap batter. It is scented with Yuzu, Vetyver, Black Tea and Tangerine – a fresh, sporty, and masculine blend. Everything about this soap screams Blue Jeans. Sorry, it ain’t a Ming.

 

Kaolin Collection, Blue Jeans

Blue Jeans

I find that at my usage rate of 2 tsp kaolin per 500 grams of oils or 1.33% of my oil weight, the soap’s lather is very fine, but noticeably less. It would make a nice and gentle shaving soap, but personally, I prefer a sudsier bath soap.

For more on kaolin clay, Maya of Infusions Blog and Gordana of Moj Sapun have written about their experiences with it.

 

Drop Swirl Variation

I didn’t sign up for this month’s Soap Challenge Club even though the Drop Swirl is currently my favourite technique.  In between travelling, having house guests, and getting the flu, I knew I was not going to be able to make a new batch before the registration deadline.  But I’d like to share anyway the last Drop Swirl soap I made last Feb. 16. 

After dropping the coloured portions into the white base, I swirled it with a chopstick.  I don’t know if there is another name for this technique, but to me it is still a drop swirl.  Please let me know if there is a proper name for this.

It is scented with Neroli and Grapefruit, the same fragrance I used for January’s Taiwan Swirl challenge. The pink came out darker than I wanted it to be, but nonetheless, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

Puppy love 2

Puppy Love 1

Puppy Love 3

Puppy Love 4

Puppy Love 5

Puppy Love 6

Puppy Love

Color Riot

Last month, while I was going through Time magazine, I came across an article about the release of the 2 former members of the Russian punk protest group, Pussy Riot.  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, who both spent 21 months in prison for charges of hooliganism, have been in the media spotlight for a while, but I never really followed their story.  However, at that moment I was reading the news, I had a sudden hit of inspiration.  It was so clear in my head – I was going to make soap called Color Riot, and it was going to be just that: an explosion of colors.

It was my first time to have the name of the soap come first before the fragrance and the design. I usually decide on the fragrance first, then the look.  The name comes much much later because I usually have a hard time coming up with one.  What about you?  What kind of conceptualisation process do you go through?

If you haven’t noticed, I tend to be a bit restrained with my use of colors.  Aside from titanium dioxide, I normally use just one or two other colors, and more often than not, they’re on the sedate side. It has only been the last few months that I started to achieve better color saturation and contrast.  (Click here , here, and here to see my earlier color-challenged soaps.)  Color Riot is thus quite a departure from my usual look.  It is bold and loud.  So not me.  But I love it!

Color Riot

Color Riot

I really liked the ease and outcome of the drop swirl technique in Desert Dune, so I decided to do the same for Color Riot. For the first time ever, I used 5 colors: white (titanium dioxide), periwinkle blue, raging raspberry, neon yellow, and neon green.  It is scented with Mango Pomegranate – a fun, tart, and fruity smell.
Color Riot 1

Color Riot 2

Bleeding Pink

I made Color Riot last Jan. 26.  I looked at it almost everyday and didn’t notice any bleeding of colors until I steamed it the other day.  It had very light soda ash, mostly just on the two end pieces.  I normally would leave it as is, but because of its name, I wanted the colors to really pop.  Has anyone experienced this after steaming?

Aside from Color Riot, I made one other neon-colored soap last year.  When I saw the colors in the cut soap, I hated it!  I thought it was gaudy.  After a while, I thought it was fun and learned to like it.  Fragrance used was patchouli raspberry, which I renamed Happy Hippie.  I later found out that Lush had a product with the same name.  I will have to think of another name should I do a remake.  The colors used in this soap are similar to those in Color Riot, but I don’t remember now if the colors bled.  If it did, I didn’t notice.
Happy Hippie

A Galloping Happy New Year of the Horse!

Based on the Gregorian Calendar, we are well into the New Year of 2014.  But based on the Chinese Calendar, New Year is still on January 31. My family does not exactly celebrate Chinese New Year, although it gives us an excuse to have a Chinese meal together, but am taking advantage of this calendar difference to bring out the soaps from 2013 that I was not able to blog about.

I like using this blog to document the soaps I’ve made, because knowing me, I won’t be able to remember many things.  Moreover, it’s interesting to be able to look back and see any progress I’ve made, and the colour/design/scent phases I went through.

Here are most of the soaps that I had taken photos of, but that missed last year’s blog train. Some of them look similar and have common scent components, like the Lavenders and Green Teas.  The second version of the Kumquat & Lavender is supposed to be orange and purple, but the orange came out yellow instead. All of them smell great except for the 2 prettiest, in my opinion. Midsummer Night smells fresh and green out of the bottle, but in cured soap it reminds me of dirty laundry soaking in soapy water. I love the look of the Sandalwood Musk, even as it eventually darkened to a light tan, but I think it smells like an old lady.

Kumquat and Lavender, version 1

Kumquat and Lavender, version 1

Kumquat and Lavender, version 2

Kumquat and Lavender, version 2

Lavender and Lemon

Lavender and Lemon

Lavender Green Tea

Lavender Green Tea

Sweet Pea and Green Tea

Sweet Pea and Green Tea

Lavender Mist

Lavender Mist

Midsummer Night

Midsummer Night

Flamenco

Flamenco

Almond Joy

Almond Joy

Peach Sunset

Peach Sunset

Scarlet

Scarlet

Sandalwood Musk

Sandalwood Musk

Happy Lunar New Year to all of you! Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog and leave comments. You’ve all been so helpful, inspiring and encouraging, making my soapy journey so much more fun and meaningful.  May the Year of the Horse bring all of us galloping love, happiness and success! 🙂