Tag Archives: Lavender Soap

Shikon and Bamboo Charcoal Soap

Sitting in a dark corner of my pantry, I had shikon roots macerating in olive oil since November. It was huddled together with my collection of various infusions: calendula, mugwort, chamomile, stinging nettle, guava leaf, papaya leaf, moringa, and turmeric.  A few of them have been there for over a year.  Not forgotten, mind you. 🙂  The shikon infusion, with its deep rose-burgundy hue, got me the most curious.

Shikon is Japanese for Lithospermum erythrorhizon, also known as red-root or purple gromwell.  It belongs to the same borage or Boraginaceae family as the alkanet – a popular natural blue/purple colorant for soaps.   But more than its pretty colour, shikon is known for its medicinal properties. According to Plants for a Future:

 “It is used internally in the treatment of irritant skin conditions, measles, chicken pox, boils, carbuncles, hepatitis and skin cancer. Externally it is used to treat nappy rash, burns, cuts, wounds, abscesses, eczema and haemorrhoids. The plant is an ingredient of commercial skin care creams.”

Whether any of its skin healing properties is retained after saponification is arguable.  Nonetheless, I wanted to create a luxurious soap with the shikon and bamboo charcoal powder from Maya. If you have been following my blog, you would know that Maya had generously given me a bunch of soaping ingredients to experiment with.  (One of them was  Japanese Indigo.)

It was my first time to soap with shikon and it was fascinating to see the colour change in every step of the process.  The infusion had 60 grams shikon root and 450 grams olive oil, which, after straining, formed part of a batch with a total oil weight of 1500 grams.  It consists of olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, shea butter, fresh yogurt, goat’s milk, and and an essential oil blend of lavender, rosemary, cajeput and patchouli.

Shikon Color Changes

1. The colour of shikon-infused oil is a rich rose-burgundy. 2. Infused oil mixed with the other oils, yogurt and goat’s milk – before the lye was added. 3. As soon as the lye was mixed with the oils, the colour changed to a very dark purple. The white specks are from the milk, before it was properly mixed. 4. From purple, the soap batter turned into a very dark blue, nearly black.

Shikon Soap wet & dry

In the mold, the blue-black soap batter had morphed into blue and stayed that way even after it had dried. The black portion is coloured with bamboo charcoal.

Seeing how dark blue the soap batter was, I had serious doubts that it would turn to purple or that it would lighten up.  In fact, I was having second thoughts whether to continue with my plans of making bamboo charcoal swirls.

When I cut the soap, it was still blue and the inside was a muddy gray.  I was honestly disappointed with the colour.  But after a few minutes, I noticed that the outer edges were starting to turn purple. Half a day later, the colour had stabilised into a deep, dark purple-grey.

I have just started using a bar and I love the way it feels rich and creamy, with pretty good bubbles.  It is quite hard considering that it contains more than 50% olive oil.  There’s no salt but I added sodium lactate. The scent is soothing and fresh, and while it makes the bathroom smell wonderful, it does not linger on the skin.

Shikon 1

Shikon 2

The actual colour is a much darker and duller greyish purple than what the photos depict.

Inspired by Gordana’s body butter, I also whipped up a batch for myself, colouring it a baby pink from what I could squeeze out after straining the shikon infusion.  This recipe contains 70 g. raw shea butter, 10 g. guava leaf-infused coconut oil, 10 g. calendula-infused coconut oil, 10 g. shikon-infused olive oil, and a few drops of cajeput. The consistency is that of a rich buttercream!  l like using it on my legs and feet, just before going to bed.

Shikon Body Butter

Naturally pink body butter with shikon infusion.

If you are interested to see the different shades of purple one can achieve with shikon, here are some links:

https://infusionsblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/purple-natural-dye-for-soap/

https://infusionsblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/shikon-soap/

https://infusionsblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/here-comes-the-next-autumn-soap/

http://mojsapun.blogspot.com/2013/02/shikon-soap.html

 

Lavender Mist

Even though we don’t have Black Friday sales here in the Philippines, I still get excited to check out the deals online. I was behaved and made just one purchase, which will take 2-3 months to reach me.  It’s quite a wait – a good practice in delayed gratification. 😛

I hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving weekend! Did you snag some good bargains? 🙂

No soap making for me over the weekend, just a lot of packing. One of them was Lavender Mist – a big, bold and beautiful lavender scent. The first time I made this, i used 2 tones of violet mica.  I changed it up to blue and violet, and I must say I really  like this new combo.

Lavender Mist 1

Lavender Mist 2

Lavender Mist 3

Lavender Mist

 

 

Classic Soaps & Tapeless Plastic Packaging

As a soapmaker, part of the fun and challenge is coming up with creative designs and scent blends, but sometimes we just want something familiar and comforting, like these timeless favourites:

1. Lavender – soothing lavender with a small amount of litsea cubeba, rice powder and kaolin clay to help anchor the scent. The top is covered with soda ash, but I actually like the contrast.

Classic -Lavender

Lavender

2. Peppermint oatmeal – finally, a pure peppermint soap! At 3% of oil weight, it is perfectly minty.

Classic - Peppermint Oatmeal

Peppermint Oatmeal

3. Honey Orange – a delicious classic pairing of honey, orange 5-fold, and blood orange.

Classic - Orange Honey

Honey Orange

4. Fir and Eucalyptus with Activated Charcoal –  I have not walked through a forest of fir trees, but I imagine this is what it smells like. I adore the fresh, outdoorsy scent. It is a proprietary blend of 6 different essential oils.

Classic - Fir and Eucalyptus

Fir and Eucalyptus

Recently I’ve switched from using paper to plastic for wrapping my soaps. I still have not found the perfect packaging, but for now, the plastic pouch I’ve devised suits my needs.  I wanted packaging that would show the soap designs I’ve laboured on, protect the soap from dirt and dust, help retain the scent, allow customers to smell the soap, and that didn’t take too much time and effort.  This isn’t as efficient as tapeless paper wrapping, but it checks my other prerequisites, and it’s still tapeless!

Plastic Packaging 1

Plastic Packaging 2

It looks like plastic I just folded over and secured with a paper string, but I actually cut the plastic to make it into the shape of an envelope.  I cut and removed the sides of the top half of the plastic at a slight angle.  I then folded one of the flaps and cut it out, leaving behind one to close the “envelope”.  The design leaves a gap on the sides, which allows the soap to breathe and let people smell the soap.

Plastic Packaging 3

Plastic Packaging 4