Saturday, 3 July 2010

Alkanet Experiment 1

After all my attempts, I have still not mastered Alkanet soap colouring... but in my quest for the perfect Mediterranean Lavender soap I will not give up!

My past experiments have been rather haphazard, randomly trying anything. I have now decided to experiment with 1 recipe, just altering 1 simple thing each time, and will post pictures of my experiences.

Reading up on the Internet, I have found various tips (even conflicting!) but nothing concrete. Apparently, it is the alkaline value of the soap that makes it either purple or blue (some say you can even get red from Alkanet?!?) and if I understand correctly, the more alkaline the more purple, the more acidy the more blue.

So, how do we make soap more alkaline? Tips welcome!!!

Some of the advice I have found on line is that you can alter the Alkanet colour result in a soap by:
- Superfatting the soap more
- Changing water quantities in the soap
- Using different oils

I am prepared to experiment with these tips and post my results.

This first soap is a no-palm recipe with lots of Shea butter, superfatted at 8%.

The colour result is odd. At first I thought it was blue, then I thought it was gray, then I thought it looked purply... Maybe it’s a gray-blue purple? Or a blue-purple gray? Rather non-descript and non-exciting. I do not look at it and think – Wow! I gotta try that soap!! I would say it is interesting looking but not enticing.

It has been difficult getting a decent picture since my daughter took the good camera to Canada with her for the summer and I am working with a digital point-and-shoot... after 40 or so blurred pictures this morning, I finally found the close up mode!

Hopefully tomorrow I can post pictures of the next experiment.

Happy Weekend & Happy Soaping!!


Between Friends said...

Look forward to your next experiment! There's one time I infused my entire pot of oil with alkanet for a week, the soap turned out purpleish black! It might not sound so pretty, but i absolutely LOVE it!

Michelle said...

I'm looking forward to your next experiment also! :)

I did find this on the net about alkanet root, not sure it will help:

"For beautiful results, use oils in your recipe that produce a relatively white soap and try to avoid fragrance or essential oils that will drastically change the shade of your product"

TheSoapSister said...

That color is lovely! A very pretty purple on my laptop screen... I would buy a lavender soap that color in a heartbeat! Nice job!~Becky

Amy W said...

This will be an interesting experiment!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Ambra said...

Great Jen! I'm very interested to see what you and Becky come up with in your experiments. I just re-batched my rebatch and what a result. One of those: Do not repeat at home :)

Edith said...

Your soaps look lovely to me Jen..I wish you luck with your experiments as I too wish alkanet wasn't so hit and miss once and only once have I got a very pretty pink and didn't change a thing I used the exact same recipe and oils but never achieved the same colour again...

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the results will be like with your coloring if you vary the liquid you use in your lye solution? A fruit juice will have a higher acidity than a milk or carrot juice. So the pH of your liquid in conjunction with your oils may change the outcome of color. Water is naturally neutral. Here's another thought - what if you did a spa type salt bar? That addition of 50% + salt volume will likely change the pH too. ? Maybe?

Jennifer Young said...

Thank you all for your encouragement and comments and suggestions. Courtney, some of your suggestions are fabulous and doing research about alkalinity itself yesterday on-line I had come up with some of the same conclusions! I will be trying this recipe with various levels of Sea Salt and also a little lemon juice... My actual Sea Salt bar, I have been trying to get blue but can't... it is a purple!