Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Salt Soaps - Help?

Here are the 3 salt soaps I tried... They all have 80% Coconut Oil, as recommended for the suds... but WOW - they sweat and sweat or shall I say dripped and dripped. They have almost sweat all the scent out! The first one on the left was my first attempt and I made it with chunky dry salt (sal gruesa y seca). I left it to incubate for 12 hours but it was almost impossible to cut... it just crumbled at the bottom. The colour comes from Olive Oil light coloured with Alkanet Root. The second one I tried, in the middle, was made the same way except no incubation. I just put it in a pre-heated oven for 2 hours, then cut straight away. Slightly more Alkanet coloured Olive Oil. I still had problems with cutting and as I noticed they both started sweating like crazy, I tried a third attempt, this time with fine salt. The colour is from Alkanet coloured Castor oil, but steeped for a lot longer. Nice purple!! But I was aiming for a Mediterranean Sea soap and blue! I used the oven method again. This one was slightly easier to cut. But the three sweat or rather shed water like crazy. Even after 1 month of curing they still drip! The third one is nice and sudsy, but with the fine sea salt, I am not sure what is so special about the salt? It is not that noticeable. I prefer the feel of the chunky salt. Can anyone provide any guidance?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Palm Oil - How do you Feel about it?

I am interested to know how fellow soap makers feel about Palm Oil. A few of my best recipes include palm oil - it is cheap and makes my bars so hard and long - lasting. I even found I liked the suds better with palm oil. BUT - I don't feel right about using something that is so environmentally questionable. Do I want to contribute to cutting down Orangutan's homes? I'll bet I could find Fair-Trade Palm oil if I really searched but then it wouldn't be cheap....

So, I have been experimenting and experimenting, tweeking different oil quantities, trying to come up with a fabulous recipe without Palm. Some have been not bad.... One in particular I really loved until after using it for a while I realized it used up quickly and toward the end it got pretty mushy.... ah well. I was back to the drawing board.

Just yesterday I tried Batch 102 of mine (no name yet.... the photo is below) and I LOVED it. The suds are just as awesome as any of my soaps with Palm Oil and it left my skin feeling great! Loving the scent as well... a combo with lemongrass and lavender and other stuff. It smells so clean. Now I just need to continue using it in order to do the longevity & mush test. I just may have found my great No-Palm recipe. Now, please tell me - How do you feel about Palm oil?

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while, and no photos but I have come to Canada to be with my family for a few weeks. Seriously going through soap-making withdrawal but loving being with family as I live so far away.... Went to the One-Of-A-Kind show in Toronto the other day and met and spoke with some other pretty fabulous soap makers. They all say that it takes a LOT of work to make a living at this, but that it is possible. They were all passionate about what they do. It was very nice to see.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on Palm OIl.