Friday, 27 March 2015

Lemongrass and Basil Tiger Stripe Soap Recipe

I made this soap for a swap over on the soap making forum.

The brief was to use natural colourants to produce a soap, so I chose to use paprika infused olive oil and activated charcoal, with a bit of titanium dioxide (I know some people don't like it but I have no problem using it).  My aim was to pour a tiger stripe swirl, but while I was messing around mixing all the colours in it thickened up too much so it isn't quite as stripey as I would have liked. I am still happy with the way it turned out though.

The basic recipe consists of

Palm Oil 30%
Coconut Oil 20%
Olive Oil 35%
Sunflower Oil 15%
Fragrance 3% Lemongrass and Basil EO

I used 920g of oils for my recipe in soap calc as it fits in my 25x7x7cm silicone log mould.

Total Ingredients

Water 349g
Lye (NaOH) 131g
Palm Oil 276g
Coconut Oil 184g
Olive Oil 322g
Sunflower Oil 138g

In order to use paprika infused olive oil to dye 1/3 of the batter I divided the total recipe into two parts. One part will be made from 1/3 of the total ingredients and one part with the remaining 2/3 of the ingredients.

First prepare your paprika infusion. I put 150g of olive oil in a milk pan with 3tbsp of ground paprika and gently heated it on the stove for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then left it to cool and the paprika to settle in the bottom.I then poured the top layer of  oil off leaving the paprika sediment in the bottom. I used the top layer of oil to replace the plain olive oil in 1/3 of the soap batter.

I then prepared two batches of lye solution and two batches of heated oils.

1/3 Batter
Palm Oil 92g
Coconut Oil 61g
Olive Oil (paprika infused) 107g
Sunflower Oil 46g
Lye 43g
Water 116g
Fragrance 14g

2/3 Batter
Palm Oil 184g
Coconut Oil 123g
Olive Oil 215g
Sunflower Oil 92g
Lye 88g
Water 233g
Fragrance 28g

I mixed up the two batches of soap batter as usual with a stick blender until I reached emulsion. I then divided the uncoloured portion of batter into two parts and added 1tsp of activated charcoal to one part and 1/2tsp of titanium dioxide to the other part and mixed thoroughly.

I then alternately poured each colour of batter down the centre of the mould on top of the previous layer to create a tiger swirl. (mine isn't quite a tiger swirl as the batter thickened too much by the end and I had to glop it in instead of pour).

You can see a good demonstration of the method here.

I hope I have given you some inspiration to give the tiger swirl a go and to try colouring with oil infusions. It  really is very easy and gives you really pretty results.

You can see the other soaps in the swap over on the soap making forum here

Friday, 20 March 2015

Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge March

The challenge this month was to create a landscape in a log mould that didn't contain any man made structures. This is quite difficult as many of the landscapes around me do contain man made structures. I decided to replicate this image of lavender fields as it is grown in Devon near to where I live. I also loved this photo as the vibrant purple from the lavender contrasts beautifully with the yellow and blue clouds in the skyline.
I put this second picture up as it captures the yellow colour of the soaps better.

The soap recipe I used traces at a medium speed and creates a hard bar that can be unmoulded fairly easily.

Palm Oil 40%
Olve Oil Pomace 30%
Sunflower Oil 10%
Lard 20%

I scented the bars with 3% lavender EO as it matched my theme.

I started by making an in the pot swirl with a mixture of purple and green batter (liquid soap dye and spirulina) which half filled the mould. I allowed this to harden for a day, then removed it from the mould and sliced it into sections to represent the lines between the rows of lavender bushes.

I used my soap loaf cutter from to cut nice straight lines into my embeds. I would have really struggled without it! 

I then mixed up another batch of batter to fill the rest of the mould. I divided it into five different unequal parts to complete the design. One part brown for the soil between the lavender rows (cocoa powder), one part green (spirulina) for the tree line, one part yellow (liquid dye) for the horizon, one part blue (liquid dye) for the sky and one part white (plain batter) for the sun coming through the clouds.

I had two attempts at this. The first attempt was made in a similar way, but I used mica to colour it. I wasn't happy with the colour vibrancy and the brown lines in between the rows weren't very distinct so I tried again with the liquid colourants.

Here is my first attempt. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Solid Conditioner Bar Recipe

I had been looking to make a solid conditioner bar for a while. I thought it would last longer than a traditional bottle and allow me to control what I put on my hair.

I have very fine flyayway hair and the silicones in commercial conditioner weigh it down, make it look dull and no matter how many times I wash it, I always look like I have greasy hair within a few hours. I wanted something that would still condition my hair adequately and stop it from looking frizzy, but without weighing it down and looking greasy.

I did a lot of reading and found Susan at swift craft monkey to be extremely helpful. I used her post on solid conditioner bars to develop my own version, using ingredients I had available to me.

I only made 200g as a trial batch as one of the main ingredients BTMS is pretty expensive.


Heated Phase                                
BTMS Conditioning Emulsifier 120g
Cetyl Alcohol 20g
Cocoa Butter 10g
Shea Butter 10g
Avocado Oil 10g
Hydrolised Oat Protein 4g

Cool Down Phase

Honeyquat 8g
Panthenol 6g
Fragrance 4g   (2g Lime EO and 2g Cypress EO)
Plantaserve E (preservative) 2g

Melt the heated phase in a double boiler until it has only just all dissolved, (you don't want it too hot or all your fragrance will boil off as soon as you add it). Then add the cool down phase and stir thoroughly.

Spoon into mould, I used a silicone muffin tray as I find the shape fits nicely in my hands.

I left them for 24hrs to dry out as Susan suggests and I was really pleased with the result. You only need to drag it over your hair a couple of times, then comb it through to the ends while you are in the shower. The bars last for much longer than a traditional cream conditioner too so even though the BTMS is quite expensive, it still makes the bars fairly cost effective. I find they work really well when combined with my cold process shampoo bar and a citric acid hair rinse.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Rebatch From Scraps

I had a lot of old scraps that needed using up so I decided to melt them down and rebatch them into more useful bars.

I took 950g of old soap scraps and grated them with a food processor.

I then placed them in a crock pot on the high heat setting along with 500ml of freshly brewed coffee to turn the multi coloured scraps into a more attractive brown colour. I also added 27g sodium lactate, approx. 3% of the soap weight to make the soap smoother and easier to get into the mould.

I boiled the soap mixture for several hours stirring occasionally to make sure it didn't boil over. When the majority of the gratings had dissolved and the volume of the mixture had reduced to about a third, I added some fresh coffee grounds, about 2 tbsp and set the mixture aside to cool.

When the temperature had dropped to below 45C, I added some new fragrance. The old fragrance from the scraps boiled off during the melting process. I re scented with a mixture of rosemary and patchouli at 3% of the original soap weight. 

I am quite pleased with the results, the bars look pretty smooth and they don't look like a rebatch. I will leave them to cure for a couple of weeks before using them. I think next time I will use less sodium lactate, perhaps reduce it to 1.5%, as I think it will still be effective at a lower level.