Tag Archives: Sodium Lactate

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.


Beer and Egg Soap

After reading all the good things about beer in soap, I naturally wanted to make my own. I was already fantasizing that this would be my pièce de résistance.  The timing could not have been better.  My new acrylic mold had just arrived.

I originally did not plan on scenting this soap, except for the rosemary I had air-dried more than a month ago.  I only had lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus e.o.’s – not exactly a good beer match, in my opinion.  If I had a choice, I would have used something fresh and citrusy, or something manly like leather or tobacco.

As  expected, the beer and lye solution smelled nasty.  I read that the smell eventually goes away, but I did not have full faith that it would, so at the last minute, I added 15 ml of each e.o. I had on hand.

I increased the liquid percentage for this batch because I did not want to waste the beer.  It reached light-medium trace quickly but did not get much thicker even after I added the rosemary and essential oils.  It behaved very well and gave me plenty of time to mix thoroughly.

Twenty six hours later and with much anticipation, I was able to easily slide off the acrylic mold from the soap.  My heart dropped a little when I touched the surface moisture and it was oil. I am 99.9% sure I mixed it properly.  Could it be from the acrylic cover I placed directly on the surface of the soap? Maybe it couldn’t breathe? Was I supposed to let it breathe? Maybe it needed time alone….

It looks like there is a pool of oil, but it's partly air pockets.

It looks like there is a pool of oil, but it’s partly air pockets.

The following morning, I was a bit relieved to see that more than half of the oily sweat had been reabsorbed. Maybe 45 ml of e.o. was too much for 800 grams of oil, not to mention there’s the fat from the yolk, on top of the 5% lye discount??? This loaf was a bit on the soft side but sliced beautifully.  Fortunately, the oil was limited to the surface of the soap, and no pockets were to be found in the middle.  Even with all the e.o’s, I could still smell the beer – not a very pleasant scent combination.

It has already been a couple of weeks, and so far so good.  The beer smell is definitely a lot fainter.

Beer & Egg

         Beer & Egg Soap   
  • 255 g. Olive Oil (32%)
  • 240 g. Rice Bran Oil (30%)
  • 225 g. Coconut Oil (28%)
  • 40 g.   Cocoa Butter (5%)
  • 40 g.   Castor Oil (5%)
  • 15 g.   (1 small) Organic Eggyolk
  • 7 g.     Sodium Lactate (<1%)
  • 280 g. Cold Flat Beer (San Miguel Pale Pilsen)
  • 112 g. NaOH
  • 1 T.     Ground Dried Rosemary
  • 15 ml  Lavender
  • 15 ml  Peppermint
  • 15 ml  Eucalyptus
This is my first time to use sodium lactate.  I could not find it anywhere, until I was able to persuade a soap manufacturer to sell me some.  Even then it took them a few weeks to sell to me because they had to find a small container that was compliant with their standards. Right now I can’t tell if the sodium lactate has made any difference.