Monday, 30 May 2011

New New New!

Here's an update on my latest soap.  Called Apple Jack, which is actually an American Apple cider - no alcohol here though, just a delicious apple, cinnamon smell.  Actually it reminds me of those lollies we used to get in our 50cent mixtures as kids.  Either way its yummy and my new fav :)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Confessions of a moisturiser junkie

I love moisturisers, I buy them religiously, I try all the new products, I'm sucked in by the claims of 'instant absorbtion' and 'ultimate moisturisation'.  I love the idea of slathering myself in cocoa butter or Shea - I confess i am a moisturiser junkie!

Since making my own soap, I have managed to cut back a little, my daily habit is now twice weekly, but hey I'm still tempted! For me its all about the smell and the feel. There is nothing better than the silky smooth feel of a great moisturiser after a long hot shower -so can I reproduce this feel in my own kitchen?

First things first - ingredients.  I've checked out the labels of my store brought moisturisers, and you know what?  I cant for the life of me figure out whats in them.  I'm not a chemist, I failed chemistry, and I'm not even going to attempt to reconstruct them.  So I guess the only alternative is - the natural approach.
Or should I say the more natural approach.  Lotions contain water (a large portion of water) any product that contains water MUST have a preservative.  Any 'natural' products that claim to have either no preservatives or natural preservatives ARE UNSAFE TO USE.  Bacterial and fungus will grow in water with a couple of hours, within a couple of days these lotions will be harmful - if I were to weigh up the dangers of bacteria against the dangers of a man made preservative - I would choose preservative any day.  So preservative it is!
So lets take a look at the 'natural' ingredients I have been researching, testing, trialing and applying:

*Resembles the natural sebum produced by our skin, so is readily absorbed
*Reduces wrinkles
*Reduces stretch marks and scars
*Great for acne sufferers - it 'tricks' the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil, thus balancing oil production

Apricot kernel oil:  
*rich in natural vitamins - A and E which are essential for our skin
*easily absorbed into the skin, leaving no oily residue
*hypoallergenic, can be used on sensitive skin, including babies
*soothing, anti-inflammatory and cooling

Olive oil:
*contains 'squalene', which has the ability to regulate sebum secretion (an oil that reduces oiliness!)
*contains 'chloropyll', which aids in heeling wounds and other scars (including acne scars)
*contains loads of natural antioxidants, vitamin A and E and poly phenols which are known for their ability to postpone aging

Rice Bran Oil:
*Is easily absorbed by the skin
*great for severely dry skin
*is said to relieve uncomfortable skin rashes, sunburn and other skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and eczema
*has been used in Japan for centuries as a natural beauty whitener due to its natural sunscreen properties.
Shea butter (the butter of all butters)
*full of vitamin D which aids in skin renewal and rejuvenation
*loaded with vitamin A to assist in healing wounds
*benefits eczema and dermatitis suffers by enabling your skin to absorb moisture and stay moisturised for longer.
*Soothing due to it high vitamin A E and F levels

Cocoa butter (my fave)
*a main component of chocolate - so it has to be good for you!
*penetrates the outer layer of skin, giving ultimate moisturisation
*it softens the skin and is known for reducing stretch marks
*packed with antioxidants to destroy the free radicals that cause wrinkles and aging

I plan to use all of the above ingredients in my lotion blend.  I have a couple of great trials up my sleeve and I am happy with the results.  I can honestly say that some of my experiments are far more luxurious than ANY moisturiser I have tried.  The lotions are not greasy, they are instantly absorbed and they provide the ultimate moisturisation that seems to last all day (my partner was a guinea pig last night, he came home from work today still sniffing and stroking his arm lol). 

However alll this has got me to wondering - if natural plant based products are actually that much better, why do all the big companies keep producing synthetically enhanced body products? and most importantly, why do we keep buying them?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Gloss Pots

Done and dusted - Finally!

I have created a recipe which I love, I have used a special combination of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil and Bees Wax.  This recipe not only conditions the lips but is super duper glossy.
I have a range of four flavours:

Sweetness - Bubble Gum Flavour

Vanilla Kiss - Vanilla Ice Cream Flavour

Chocolate Fix - Chocolate Mint Flavour (with Cocoa powder for colour)

Fruity Tart - Black Current Flavour

Each one has also been sweetened with Stevia for extra lickability, and slightly coloured (although they look darker in the pics)in a variety of colours.

I love the design aspect of these pots.  I wanted to use different pics and I think they turned out great!  I will be adding more flavours to the range as soon as pos, which will also include 'Nude' which will be 100% natural (without colour and flavour)

Friday, 13 May 2011

An In the Pot Swirl

There are several techniques that can be used to create beautiful looking soap.  Today I am attempting an In The Pot (ITP) swirl.  My fragrance is Lavender and Lemon.

Firstly I get my colours ready.   Today I am using Ultramarine blue, pink and violet along with some titanium dioxide to whiten.

I then add my already made soap mix.  I have a large portion that will be white and rest is split between the 3 ultramarine colours.
Now that I have mixed the coloured portions thoroughly, I am going to pour them into the white portion.  If I do this from a height the colour will sink through to the bottom.  First the pink.
Then the violet
And finally the blue.  Once all the colours are added, it will look something like this.
Now I am going to swirl the colour together.  I don't want to stir the mix too much or the colours will become one.  Just a couple of swirls should do it.
Once my soap looks like this, it is time to pour.
Here it is poured into the mold.
Now for the final touches, I use a spoon to create a textured top and add a sprinkling of lavender
And here it is the following day, freshly cut!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I stumbled across this wonderful craft site yesterday.  Its full of amazing artworks and gift ideas - at really good prices too.

I am so in love with this site that I had to share.

Check out these photo blocks by Susannah entitled 'Nostalgia'.  These are definitely on my wish list - I LOVE them

I also have a thing for rings and I totally love this steampunk inspired ring by 'closetogothic'

There bath and beauty section is pretty cool also - and you can check ME out on there:

Thanks for looking!!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Straight off the cooling rack!

Delicious mini cupcakes in zesty lemon and orange flavour!  Made with 100% cold press soap!

The 3 main types of hand made soap

With all the handcrafted soaps on the market, it can be difficult to know what soaps are best to use. When it comes to handcrafting soap there are three main types of soap that can be made: Melt and Pour (MP), Hot Process (HP) and Cold Process (CP).

Melt and Pour
MP is exactly as it sounds.  You buy a base, you melt it and then you pour. Sometimes these soaps are known as glycerin soaps.  Glycerin is great for moisturising the skin as it attracts water.
If a melt and pour base does not contain any preservatives, chelating agents, sulphates or titanium, the list of ingredients will look a little like this:

INCI * Saponified Coconut Oil *
Saponified Organic Palm Oil *
Propylene Glycol (food grade) *
Vegetable Glycerin *
Sugar *
Decyl Glucose *
Lauryl Glucose *
Coco Polyglucose*
Zinc Oxide* 

These soaps are often beautifully presented in a range of colours and fragrances.  They can be identified by there opaque appearance, but can also be white
MP is an easy way to make soap and anyone can do it.  

Cold Process
CP in my opinion is the best soap to use, but the most difficult to create.  CP involves making soap from scratch.  It a chemical process which turns simple vegetable oils, and sometimes animal fats, into soap by adding lye (saponification).
This process is difficult and has many variables, however the benefits of working with this type of soap, is that you can create your own recipes to suit different body types.  You can increase conditioning, cleansing and creaminess, by selecting a variety of oils, and you can also change a soaps hardness and bubbles by altering your recipe.
CP must cure for anywhere between 4 weeks and 6 months.  This is to ensure that all the water in the bar has evaporated, the soap is at its mildest, and the bar is hard enough to use.  Any soap used before the end of cure will not only have a short life, it will also be drying on your skin.
CP soap is smooth in appearance and has a creamy look to it.  It can be multi coloured or if non dyed it will be a cream colour.

Hot Process
HP soap is similar to CP soap the only difference is the soap mixture is heated or cooked to accelerate the saponification process and decrease curing time.  Extra oils (superfats) can be added to the mixture during cooking to increase conditioning properties and HP soap is usually ready to use within a couple of weeks.
The main downfall with this type of soap is its appearance.  HP soap is 'rustic' and does not have the smooth texture consistent with CP soap and is difficult to colour.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

This Could Be a Disaster

I have this fabulous new fragrance called 'masculine musk'.  Its very manly and I think my line could do with some male scents.
I love this smell, it smells expensive and sexy.  The only problem is its a nightmare to soap with.

Cold Press soap making is a chemistry.  Its a formula that has to be followed by the gram, if your out - it fails.  So here is a quick chemistry lesson:

Soap is saponified oils.  That means that we add lye to the oils to create a chemical reaction that causes the oils to become soap.  When making soap your can do a special thing called 'superfatting'.  That means that the percentage of lye added to the oils is decreased to leave free floating oils in the bar.  This is what gives handcrafted soaps those luxurious, moisturising qualities they are known for.  
Seems easy enough?  With practice it is, however we all love scented soap, and this is where the difficulty level increases ten fold.
When you add a fragrance to your saponified oils several things can happen.  Sometimes the soap accelerates - this means it starts to set before its even pored.  Sometimes it completely seizes - in the bin it goes!  And sometimes it can rice - yep you get creamed rice pudding in a bowl.

So anyway, back to the story.  Masculine Musk is a tricky fragrance, I have used it once, I wanted to do some beautiful (manly) swirls, but alas, being the stubborn male that it is, it wanted to accelerate.

I am determined to get this fragrance to obey.

Here is my second attempt:

I have decided on attempting what is called a mantra swirl.  This is where the mold is divided into 2 sections, 2 colours are pored and then swirled together.  Confused?  I have pictures to demonstrate,

Lets start at the beginning:

First I measure out my oils.  This is a mix of Olive Oil, Rice Bran oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil (sustainable) Cocoa Butter and Castor Oil.  I need to melt these and have them sit at around 40deg

I then add my lye to my water.  This heats up to about 70 deg, but I need it to cool to the same temp as my oils before I can combine the two.  So while I wait I'll prepare my mold and colours.

Here is my mold, all lined and ready to go
But as I mentioned earlier, I am attempting a 'mantra swirl' so I need to divide the mold into two sections.
Here are my colours ready to go.  A chocolate oxide, and titanium dioxide to whiten.
Now I measure out my fragrance.
Now my oils and my lye are both sitting at around 40 degrees - time to make soap!  I poor the lye water into my oils and stick blend
Viola!  this is called 'trace', its where the saponified oils reach a kind of pudding consistency.
I have split my batch.  A small portion will be coloured white, a large portion chocolate.  I am not going to scent this portion.  The fragrance oil (FO) will darken the colour (lesson learnt the first time) and I don't want this to accelerate so I have time to swirl.
Now I poor the nice white soap into the mold
I then colour the second portion and add the FO.  Its time to move!!
I have added the second portion.  As you can see by the texture the soap did accelerate.  But I got it in just in time.
 Unfortunately things really began to speed up here, and I couldn't take anymore photos.  The next step was to remove the divider and then use a skewer to swirl the two colours together.

This is where the cursing began, and I had to remind myself - keep it simple sweetie.

The soap had accelerated too much to swirl.  This is it in the mold:
Not quite what I had in mind, but the proof is in the cutting, will see what tomorrow brings.
And here it is!  Not quite the beautiful mantra swirl I was aiming for but a delicious looking soap all the same!
 This soap will need a couple of weeks of curing before it is ready to sell.  Curing soap makes it milder and lets the water evaporate so it is harder and lasts longer. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

First Gift Basket Order

Gift basket contains 9 soaps and comes with a gift card in a basket and tied with a ribbon.  I can make gift baskets to order - just ask!

Name The Soap Competition!!

I started a Face Book page today, and I have decided to start with a competition.  I need a name for my new 'Precious Amber' scented soap (check out previous post on this).

If you click on the FB badge at the right hand side of this blog, and 'like' the K.I.S.S page, you can also be in with a chance to win a free bar.

I want a name that is suited to the scent, but a little bit quirky :)

Going Balmy

My next step in my beauty adventure is to create lip balms.  Lip balms are really easy to make, no need for preservatives and I already have all the products on hand.

So I set about experimenting with different types of oils, those being beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and castor.  I began testing different quantities and then worked on the combinations (as you can see from the state of the pots below, there was a lot of testing done!)

My aim was to get a balm that had gloss, and was fairly soft for easy application, as well as being ultra moisturising

 I found a winning combo - first one is flavoured with wild berry the second has real chocolate.

My hunt for packaging is now on!!

Precious Amber

I have discovered the most beautiful scent ever.  Its called Precious Amber which is a duplication of a famous perfume by perfumer Jean-Francois LaPorte.  It smells expensive, and if your a fan of heavy, warm fragrances (like me) you will love it.

It is described as:

"This rich, beguiling unisex fragrance begins with top notes of natural bergamot, galbanum, lemon, petitgrain, and lime, leading to a sweet-spicy middle of amber, vanilla, nutmeg, and clove, with rich bottom notes of ambergris, balsam peru, and sandalwood."

However, the problem with this fragrance is it discolours like crazy in CP soap.  I have attemted 2 previous batches - and they looked ok, but failed the bubble test (this is when I test for colour run in the bubbles of the soap).

The other day I tried again: 


 I have used a swirl technique for this one - its called a 'coat hanger swirl' - yep you actually use a coat hanger!

 As you can see, I have seperated the batch out and multi coloured.  One white and unscented (no amount of colouring can keep the scented part white), one black, on brown and one natural.

  The natural part of the soap is the yellowy brown.  This will colour over time to a nice brown (heres hoping!)

 And here it is a couple of days after cutting, as you can see the soap is darkening as I had hoped :)

But now for the bubble test (fingers crossed!)And yessss!  White bubbles!!!

This soap will be up for sale in a couple of weeks after curing.....Now for a name.....