Category Archives: soap

Misadventures in Soap Making Part 2

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Lately I’ve been on a glycerin soap kick. I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with the different ingredients I can use to make glycerin soap do more than just clean. So when I got an email to participate in a soap swap, I was all excited about what I could make with the ingredients I had in my stash.

I came up with a triple layer loaf that would be exfoliating and antibacterial. I decided I would use oatmeal, rosehip seed powder and honey powder. Oatmeal and rosehip seed powder are very gentle exfoliators and honey is highly antibacterial. I also added a little olive oil and camellia oil to make the bars more moisturizing. I could not wait to see how these were going to turn out.

My first layer was a mix of oatmeal, white glycerin soap base, olive oil and fragrance oil. As I melted the soap, I used a coffee bean grinder to pulverize the oatmeal. Once the soap was melted, I added in the olive oil, oatmeal and fragrance oil. This layer poured nice and easy.

Looks cool huh?

The second layer was the honey layer. As I melted the honey glycerin soap base, I measured out the amount of honey powder I wanted to use. As soon as the soap was melted, I dumped the honey powder in. And then it happened.

Maaaaaaaaaaan. It got all clumpy.

Um yeah. I had to fix this and fast. The soap was starting to harden up and if it did, there was no way I’d be able to get all the clumps out. I grabbed a slotted spoon and started digging the clumps out as fast as possible. And luckily I did get them all. I think the mistake I made here was to not dilute the powder in oil first. Had I done that, the powder would have easily dispersed into the soap. I think it would have anyway. Since I had honey granules in the stash, I decided to use those instead. Honey granules are a lot more substantial than the powder, so by swapping these in, I was able to save the layer.

The final layer was the rosehip seed layer. Rosehips are a gorgeous dark brick red color. Between the lighter oatmeal and honey layers, I knew this would be the perfect offset. In addition to the rosehips, this layer was made with clear glycerin soap base, camellia oil and fragrance oil. As I melted the soap base, I added the camellia oil to the rosehip seed powder. I was not about to have another “ai-yah” moment. Luckily for me, this layer worked as planned with no problems.

And here is the finished loaf, cooling down and waiting to be cut.

Since I added so much extra material to the soap base, I decided to let it harden up overnight before I cut into it. But when I did cut it up the next day…

Dude…so not cool.

My bar broke in half between the layers. I was able to save some of the bars by “gluing” them back together. The “glue” is actually more glycerin soap melted and poured lightly in between the two things you want to glue back together. I’m not sure why my layers seperated other than maybe the temperatures weren’t right when I poured the layers. I’m pretty sure my friend Rose of Sugarloaf Soaps can tell me what I did wrong, but for now, I was happy that only 3 of the bars had issues. The rest were looking good.

When I tested the bars, they came out exactly as I wanted. Light scrubbing action with super clean and soft hands. Luckily for me, this didn’t turn out too bad after all.

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Basic Soap Equation

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French Green Clay Soap

About a week ago, a friend of Fernando’s posted some questions on his Facebook page about my soap. His question about the soap was: “She doesn’t use lye to make soap does she? I’m asking because lye is caustic acid/poison.”

This got me to thinking about how best to educate people in general about natural soap and how it’s created. While the person who posed the question was correct in stating that lye is caustic, he was incorrect in his assumption that lye in soap is bad. Lye is one of the three essential ingredients needed to make soap. The most basic equation for soap is:

Water + Lye + Fat (animal or vegetable) —> Saponification (chemical reaction) —> Soap (by product of the chemical reaction)

My general response to the question was: “When you mix water, lye and some sort of fat (vegetable or animal), it goes through a chemical process called saponification. Within about a week, the water and lye are “cured out” but you are left with a by product of the chemical reaction, which is soap. So, lye goes in, but does not come out.”

So for those of you out there wondering how the heck soap is made (even with a caustic ingredient), there is your quick and simple answer.

Funny enough, the guy never responded to my response. Hmph.

Camille

store: www.havelinasoap.com

Merlot Wine Soap

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The awesome thing about being a soapmaker is that you always get to make and try new soaps. This merlot wine soap I made is my new favorite.

This soap smells like fresh fruit, roses and wine and I almost want to bite into it. It’s also super sudsy, with lots of bubbly action going on.

For this particular batch, I used an Australian merlot from McGuigan Winery.

I checked out their website and saw that they have been making wine since 1869! How cool is that?

Merlot bars will be up for sale on the website on December 2nd. Get your bar before they are gone!

-Camille

Special Edition Soap – Lavender & Rose Petal Infusion

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I wanted to make a few special edition soaps for the holidays so I decided to use one of my oil infusions.

This is the outcome.

This is my lavender and rose petal infusion soap. The lavender was from Mt. Madonna and the rose petals were from my garden. I had been holding onto the oil for awhile and decided now was a good time to break it out. This is a special edition because I won’t be able to make this particle infusion again for awhile.

Once the bars harden up a little more, they will be available at the online store. Quantities are extremely limited (about 6 bars) so watch for them!

Camille

Beer Soap 2.0

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After getting positive reviews on beer soap, I’ve started making more for sale in the online store. Today’s post shows some photos of the soap in progress.

This is what the soap looked like after I’d combined all the ingredients and poured it into the mold.

This is what the soap looked like after I unmolded it, 3 days later.

Unfortunately the picture I took doesn’t do the batch justice. There was very little soap ash and the colors were still gorgeously vibrant. I was also pretty happy with how the bars look cut.

The bars smell so good too, with hints of chocolate and spices. The colors will get brighter as you use the bar and will look almost as if they were just made. These will be available in the wine & beer 4 pack sampler and as single 4 oz bars. And don’t worry, the online store will be up and ready before the holidays hit!

Camille

Chardonnay Soap

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A few days ago I made a batch of wine soap using 3 Blind Moose Chardonnay.

This is wine from our central coast which has been producing some very high quality spirits. I tried to find some contact information for 3 Blind Moose so I could send them a bar, but alas, I had no luck. (3 Blind Moose, if you’re reading this, let me know if I can send you a bar!)

Anyway, the chardonnay started out a beautiful light golden color but didn’t stay that way long. As I added water and lye to the wine, it turned this gorgeous orange color:

If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this was beer.

I was really excited to mix all the ingredients together because I couldn’t wait to see what color this was going to turn out. I thought the soap would be a light yellow and had planned on mixing in some orange oxides (colorants) to give the bar a little extra character. This bar didn’t need any help with color. This is how it looked this evening when I pulled them out of the mold and cut them up:

These look like pumpkin pie filling.

These didn’t turn out at all like I thought they would, but I love them. They are scented with litsea cubeba (citrus smelling) and grapefruit essential oils. I am going to have them ready for a holiday show I’m doing and will also be including them in the beer & wine four pack sampler I’m putting together. Can’t wait to show them to you again when they’re ready!

-Camille

With Sadness

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As you all know, I’ve been in an herbal medicine class for the past year. Our last class was Saturday, and I’m still sad about it. This class was more than just learning about herbs. It was a celebration of all things sacred to women, a reclaiming of our voice in a world. Many of us have forgotten how women were the caretakers of not just their families, but of the earth as well. For thousands of years, women were connected to plants and listened to the earth’s needs and wants. Somewhere along the way, these skills were lost, and we as people suffer because of it.

For the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by other like-minded women looking to become caretakers of the earth as medicine women. We are women who believe in the healing powers of the green world and are on a mission to spread the word. I hope some of you someday can take this class with Kami. It will change you in so many ways. 

In another post, I mentioned that we exchange little tokens on our last day of class. Here are some of the cute things that Kami and other students brought:

Pumpkin pie spice, candles, herbal teas, body butter sample

Guess which one Ms. Katherine brought?

How cute is this? She is just so creative!

Other students brought herbs and plants to share with the classmates. My classmate, Janet, even brought California poppy seeds for planting! How cool is that? Oh and before I forget, here is how the Medicine Woman soap turned out.

The green got greener, but I still got hit by the soap ash monster.

I also made these cute little four packs of soap for a few of my classmates and our teacher. (Yes, Katherine got one and yes, Dani, one is ready for you too.)

The four pack has a Simple Soap, Camille’s Blend, Good Morning Sunshine and Medicine Woman soap.

I’m still thinking about how much I’m going to miss my herbal classes and my herbal sisters. And with that said, I am signing off to go make some herbal fire cider.

My name is Camille and I am a plant person.