Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Discoloration

I was cutting soap today, and one of the bars caught my eye as a great example of discoloration. (see previous post for more info on various effects fragrances have on soap - other then "smell".)
Frankincense & Myrrh Soap, just after being cut.  Before it's fully discolored.

This bar will be a rather dark bar - in a couple of weeks.  BUT, shortly after being cut, you can see very clearly how different the bar will soon look.  How cool is that?!

And what's on the bars in the background, you ask?  I added gold colored mica (it's bronze, actually) to the tops of the bar so that it's truly a "Christmas" bar of soap.  Being Frankincense & Myrrh, with a bit of gold on top.  :->

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fragrances and Discoloration

There are all kinds of important reasons to test new soap fragrances. Some fragrances don’t stick, some fragrances change completely when soaped (aka: morphing). Some cause problems while soaping (acceleration & ricing are two terms soapers use to describe potential issues with fragrances), some aggravate potential problems down the road. 

This pic is a great visual for another reason to test fragrances.  SOME fragrances cause discoloration in soap.

The pic doesn't show it, but the top right bar even has a tinge of green to it.
These 8 sample bars are from one test batch.  The soap formula I used makes a rather white soap.  I made one batch and divided it into 8 portions and mixed in the appropriate amount of fragrance.  Each bar is a different fragrance. The results show a great variety of discoloration a simple fragrance can have on a bar of soap. And remember – the bars were made at the same time, in the same pot, all the exact same formulation… just divided into 8 portions, with 8 different fragrances.  

Here's the other part of the equation we'll have to update you on later.  Soap color can change over time.  This pic was taken two days after soaping.  Some will darken even more.  Some won't change.  Some will change color hues.  

And WHY is this important?  Let's say that I want to color my bar...  and perhaps I have GREEN in mind. Fragrances  B and C obviously won't have a good chance at being colored Green.  They're simply going to be too dark.  Yes, btw, the soaps have letters carved into the top ("A" is the top left, "B" is beneath it... and so on.  "E" is the top right.)  Matters not to you and the pic, really.  But later, down the road - we'll still need to know which bar is which.  I've made notes on the bottom of these bars as well.

We'll check back in with these soaps in a month or so...  I bet they change even more.  Until then, thanks for joining me behind the scenes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Beautiful Words

Thumbing through a few blogs, I saw a program called Wordle.  Simply put in your blog or website address and it gives back the most frequently used words in a great graphic format.

Here's the one from my blog.  Don't ya love it?!
(you can click on the pic to see a larger version)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Oats?

We use oats in our shampoo, face wash and in a special bar of soap because oats are amazing!
As I prepared to make our Avocado-Oatmeal Soap this week, it occurred to me that I spend extra time on this bar - and thought I could use this opportunity to explain why.   
Avocado Oatmeal
Just Bar Soap
Oats are good for you!  
Hypoallergenic and anti-inflammatory, oats contain various proteins, lipids, enzymes, vitamins, saponins, and antioxidants. 
Oats soothe the skin and ease the discomfort of skin irritations and inflammation caused by rashes, dry skin, abrasions, insect bites, poison ivy, sunburn and chicken pox. You can also count on oats to be gentle enough for babies, and to help with eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 
Oatmeal Protein is actively substantive to hair and skin and is great for conditioning. As you can imagine, we feel that the benefits to the skin and hair are worth the extra effort to get them into our our products.
Sooooooo, there you have it.  Oats Rock!   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soothing Calendula

I've been asked (many times) about our most popular bar of soap, and why it's so different than other bars.

Calendula officinalis
Sooooo, here's the answer: Calendula.

Much has been written about the powers of Calendula. A quick search will reveal thousands of articles about this amazing plant.

Therapeutic Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is sometimes referred to as "marigold" or Pot Marigold, it is a very different plant from the common variety (Tagetes patula or Tagetes minuta) found in our gardens. 

Calendula has one of the longest histories as an herbal medicinal plant. Sometimes consumed to treat a variety of illnesses, the primary use of the plant has been a local, topical application.  Boosting healing rates and preventing infections of wounds, Calendula in the form of an herbal tincture, an herbal infusion or as an ointment – has been used to help a variety of skin conditions that ranging from chapped skin to acne, diaper rash and chronic eczema.

Our best selling soap not only has calendula petals in the bar, but we infuse the olive oil with calendula petals to make an extra soothing and very mild soap

This is a bucket of calendula petals in olive oil – infusing the great qualities of calendula into the olive oil. 

The yellow color comes partially from the high concentration of natural iodine (which may contribute to valuable healing properties).  Calendula also has antimicrobial compounds and antifungal properties as well as high levels of carotene, lycopene and manganese. 

So now you know.  The secret is truly in the bar - and in the olive oil we use to make the bar.  Infused with the amazing properties of an amazing flower.  It's all about Calendula.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I was wrong.  There.   I said it.

Honestly, I think men and their vast array of tools can border on hoarding. Just as my obsession with soap fragrances (and my vast collection) could possible appear on the “hoarding spectrum”. 

When my husband came into a room (at some point in the past - to tackle what ever task it was) with this portfolio of pliers and such… I likely rolled my eyes.  
Who could possibly need so many of these babies!?  I’m sure I felt that the marketing genius that convinced people they need this variety of plier-type-things had done a great job.

I must stay I’m humbled.  Crow doesn’t taste all that bad. 

WHY?  Why the change of mind?  I needed a bunch of the tools in this great little pack – just to do ONE job.

This is my soap cutter.  In the industry, it’s known as “The Tank”.  It’s awesome.  Cuts bars beautifully.  It uses piano (or is it guitar?) wires to slice through soap. 

I broke a wire recently.  I think I tightened it too much.  Either way, I had to replace it and it wasn’t pretty.  Normally, it’s a straight-forward job, but this one broke in a way that I had to cut wire, and wrestle the old one out before I could put the new one in. 

I honestly used 5 of these tools before the job was done.  I’m happy to have this little tool kit around.   Now stay away from my fragrance oils… I NEED them. All.  J

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cucumber Soap

Sometimes I find cucumbers in our garden that have grown bigger than that "ideal eating" size.

Why don't we eat them? We're beyond overloaded with cucumbers right now.  We've passed them on to friends and family to the point that they wince when we call or visit - worried we're going to drop more cucumbers in their laps.  We've made traditional pickles.  We've made salads.  We've made refrigerator pickles.

The next logical cucumber project would be - soap, naturally.  

Here's a quick look at how I make soap with cucumbers.

First, puree the cucumbers.  Skin, seeds and all.

Weighing the Shea Butter.

Cucumber puree with lye - going into the oils.

Blending the oils and lye.

Adding buttermilk.

Soap with green colorant being added back to batch for a swirl effect.

Cucumber Soap!