Many essential oils are very costly, so when making blends we take care not to waste these essences. Here’s a great method for testing out new blends without too much waste:
You’ll need- a blotter or cotton ball, a small Ziplock bag and post-it note or scrap of paper.
Start by adding one drop of each of the oils of your choice to the cotton ball. Jot down on your post-it note the time and name of the oils you are testing out.
Smell the blend and see what is either too strong or not strong enough. Return to the baggy an hour later and sniff again, continue to add one drop at a time (taking notes on your post-it) until you have found the right combination of oils and then let them sit for 24 hours before smelling again.
By using this method you will be sure to knuckle down what is working without wasting oils. At some point you may come up with a scent pallet that is just right. The drops can be thought of in parts and then these parts can be converted into weights.
3 drops Patchouli = 3 oz Patchouli
2 drops Rose = 2 oz Rose
5 drops Orange = 5 oz Orange
Stay tuned for more tips & tricks…
Cold Spoon Method: Simple and Effective When making a new salve or cream for the first time and not sure how thick it will be try this method. Place a spoon in the freezer then begin blending and melting down the beeswax and oils in your recipe. Once the spoon is cold enough dip it into the melted down oils and remove it. The mixture will be solid and you can now test to see if it is the consistency you desire. Incredibly simple technique and works brilliantly!
Coloring Soap Naturally There are tons of spices, herbs, botanicals, and oils to use for coloring your cold process soap naturally. When incorporating a powdered substance like a ground spice or oxide, be sure to mix with a small amount of oil, vegetable glycerin, or water first. This ensures you will be able to evenly distribute the color throughout the soap and prevents clumping. Be sure to take the small amount of oil or glycerin from your overall recipe or deduct the water from the lye/water mixture. This way, you can be sure to have the proper amount of sodium hydroxide to cure the bar properly.
Ashy Soaps? What’s that white stuff on top of my soap? That’s what we call ash-a result of the sodium hydroxide reaction in the soap. It doesn’t hurt to leave it on there, but if you prefer the way your soap looks without it, you can always “clean” your soap. Some people rub a little bit of oil on top to remove the ash while others use a cheese cutter or knife to cut or scrape off the white areas. All of these methods work great, but if you’d like to cut down on ash altogether, try laying a piece of plastic wrap over your soaps after pouring them into the molds. The areas where the plastic is touching will likely not produce ash.
The costs can really add up when you start making your own products at home. We’ve got some tips for materials and tools you might not even realize you already have or can easily get without spending an arm and a leg. In this post, we’ll talk about soap making molds-stay tuned for more tools and materials tips in future posts.
The first few times you make cold process soap at home, there’s always a chance something will go wrong. Not only that, but maybe you tend to start a new hobby and move on to the next quickly. For these reasons, it’s a great idea to invest as little as possible at first.
When you start making soap at home, you don’t need to purchase or build a mold to pour your soap into quite yet. One great idea for disposable soap molds is to save cartons of milk, juice, chicken stock and so on. Once washed and dried thoroughly, these containers make great molds!
You can turn any basic cardboard box into a soap mold. The difference here is you have to line the mold before pouring soap into it. . One option for lining a box is to use a garbage bag. This option is fast and easy.Another option for lining a box is to use butcher paper. This paper has a shiny, waxy side that easily peels away from the surface of soap, and when done right will leave a smooth surface.
How to minimize the “ash” that sometimes rises to the top and turns the surface of your soap white: after pouring your soap into it’s mold, lay a sheet of plastic or saran wrap over the top so that it is touching the soap. This will create a smooth and shiny surface everywhere the plastic wrap is touching, and will prevent the ash from forming.
How to keep your oils fresh longer: Purchase your oils in quantities you can use, cheaper by the dozen isn’t worth it if your oils go rancid before you can use them. They have a short shelf life and keeping them cool and in closed amber bottles will increase their life span. Decanting your oils into smaller bottles when there is more head space than oil remaining in the bottle helps, too. Never use rancid oils in products, soaps or on your skin, these contain free radicals that are unhealthy to you. We are purchasers and more often hoarders of products; my advice is to use it or lose it, no reason to keep it on the shelf like gamma’s china.
Hand-mixing or Stick blender? The smaller your batch of soap, the hotter the oils, and the faster you mix them, the quicker the consistency will change from liquid oils to thickly traced soap. When making small batches at home, it is best to alternate between stirring by hand with a spoon or spatula, and using a stick blender or immersion blender. If you stir by hand alone you might find yourself mixing all day before you see a trace. On the other hand, blending the whole thing too quickly with a stick blender will prevent you from being able to add all your ingredients and get the soap out of the pot and into the mold. Gentle pulses of the stick blender after you add each ingredient, combined with hand stirring throughout, will usually give you the time you need to control the process and get all your ingredients thoroughly combined.
No Lye, No Soap: We are occasionally asked by curious consumers if our soaps contain lye. It is sometimes confusing for users of bar soaps because often sodium hydroxide or “lye” isn’t included on the label. So here’s what’s up. All bar soaps, including ours, are made with lye. A lye and water solution is required to create a chemical reaction in order to “saponify” (which means turn into soap) the oils and turn our vegetable/plant oils into soap. But as our bars cure (or harden) the water and lye evaporate and neutralize the pH of the bar. There is no longer lye in the finished bar, making it safe to use, and is often the reason why you won’t find sodium hydroxide listed on many bar soap labels. Even a melt and pour soap base is made using lye. Sodium Hydroxide is in many things, cured foods as well. To make liquid soap, potassium hydroxide is used instead of sodium. As we often say: No Lye, No Soap. Soap made with lye is not harmful and has been made in this traditional way for centuries.