Tag Archives: Avocado

Charcoal Neem Soap

Before I discovered the world of fun fragrant soaps, I was preoccupied with searching for oils and additives with therapeutic values.  Along the way, I read about neem which sounded like some kind of wonder oil, except for its smell that many find off putting. I was really curious about it so i placed an order last July, which finally arrived at my Philippine doorstep two weeks ago.

Neem oil is said to be good for the hair and skin, and may alleviate conditions such as dandruff, acne, psoriasis, eczema, and fungal infections. It is also used as a pesticide to deter ticks and fleas, and to repel insects and pests. (Click here and here to read more about neem’s benefits) We’ve been getting a lot of black ants from the plants and trees outside, so we smeared some neem oil around our windows and doors ways. So far it seems to be working.

I was a little bit apprehensive though about soaping with neem because seriously,  it stinks like fermenting onions!  But after reading Moj Sapun‘s neem soap which Gordana fondly calls “Happy Pampkin“, I got the push I needed.

I used 10% neem oil along with coconut, olive, avocado, pili and castor oils for their supporting skin benefits. I also used activated charcoal for its detoxifying properties, and essential oils of tea tree, peppermint and lavender for their healing qualities and to mask the strong odor. For a harder bar of soap, I added 3% salt and 3% sodium lactate.

neem 2

neem 1

When I removed the cover of my log mold, I was horrified to see crystal droplets on the soap surface.  My immediate thought was “lye heavy!”  I wanted to take pictures but I was too anxious to check the inside for lye pockets and other telltale signs of too much lye.  I touched the crystals and I felt no sting.  I brushed it away with a pastry brush and it turned into dust.  When I cut into the soap, to my pleasant surprise, the texture was perfectly smooth and creamy! The edges were a bit brittle/crumbly, but it may have been the salt and sodium lactate combination or too much of either one? My guess is that it was salt condensation that I saw on the surface, but does anyone have a similar experience or know exactly what it was? I tried the zap test for the first time ever this morning, and I all I got was a soapy anise-like taste!

As for the smell, the tea tree was plenty strong but there was also a distinct putrid egg smell when I unmolded it.  However, after a day, the odor had mellowed down, leaving the tea tree and peppermint to shine (I could not pick up the lavender scent).  I would say it smells medicinal but nothing offensive.

 

Avocado Soap

Avocado is one of my family’s favorite fruits.  It is currently in season so we have been happily eating and drinking it (sweetened with condensed milk, it makes a delicious shake.)  Seeing all these beautiful avocados inspired me to make soap with it.

I used olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, pili oil, castor oil and stearic acid (850 grams total.) I pureed 50 grams of avocado along with some of the water in the recipe and less than 1/8 tsp green chrome oxide. I strained the avocado mixture, blended it with the oils, then added in the lye solution. It reached medium trace pretty fast.

I finished making this batch at 8pm last night.  Before going to bed at midnight, i took a peek and saw that it had fully gelled. I removed the thick towel insulating it, and replaced it with a kitchen towel.

After the problem I had unmolding my coffee soap, I made sure to unmold this one after 12 hours.  Alas, it refused to slide off.  I had to use a bench scraper to separate it from the acrylic panels.  I don’t know why my acrylic mold is not working anymore. Could it be the stearic acid?

avocado 1

12 hours later…Ready to be unmolded and cut. Unfortunately, the soap is stuck like glue and would not slide off.

I think this is a nice green colour but not quite avocado green. Next time I will add a touch of yellow to get a more accurate colour.

avocado 2

I used an ounce of green tea fragrance for this batch.  It smells “green”, fresh and subtle.  It complements the smell of the avocado, which surprisingly stayed in the finished soap.