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. 

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