Thursday, 31 March 2011

Aloe Vera Cream & Suppliers’ Differences

I have been meaning for a while to post about how I use Aloe Vera in my products. I make an Aloe Vera soap with 100% of the liquid being Aloe Vera gel from the plants in my garden. Recently I also tried using the Aloe Vera gel from my garden in my moisturizing hand and body cream. I scented it with Spearmint and Lavender Essential Oils. I have posted about Grandma Aloe Vera before but here she is again, and she is just about to blossom!!! Grandma Aloe Vera was the very first Aloe Vera plant I had here. She was given to me as a cut off/shoot off from another plant about 5 years ago and was quite small at that point. Now, as a size reference for you, the top of the tallest stalk in the phot comes up to my nose!! I call her grandma because she has offered a lot of shoot-offs which I have re-planted and now the shoot-offs offer shoot-offs. She may be a great-grandma soon! Take a look in the photo at the two stalk-like things. Excuse the lack of proper terminology but most of what I know has been passed on to me by people in the area, rather than from books. If I understand correctly, in order for the Aloe Vera plant to be good for the skin or for our bodies (yes, people drink it too!) the plant needs to be a few years old. Apparently, as soon as it begins to sprout these stalk-like things which eventually blossom into small red flowers, then it is good for the skin. Here are some of Grandma’s new shoot-offs. I will take these out and re-plant them. I have about 25 Aloe Vera plants now and 7 of them have produced the stalks this spring. Here are some of the other plants, Grandma’s first shoot-offs which are now offering stalks. First Step – I cut off some of the bottom branches/ arms, which look nice and full of gel. Next Step – I cut off the prickly edges. Next Step – After cleaning it off well with water, I cut it open. Next Step – I cut/ scrape out the gel. Warning!!! Aloe Vera gel is gucky, gooey and stinky!!

Next Step – I put it all in a mixing bowl and blend with my hand mixer.

I blend for quite a while, making sure that all the lumps are smoothed out. It can get frothy.

This time I substituted ½ of the water for Aloe Vera Gel in my moisturizing cream and it is really special. It has a very unique texture, almost slippery but cooling and pretty nice.

I want to try a soap one of these days with not only the Aloe Vera gel, but the skins blended in as well. Will post when I do.

SUPPLIER ISSUE – I recently received an order of beeswax from a different supplier than usual. Both of the products I have made with the new beeswax (a Cream and a Salve) have turned out much harder than previously, using the very same recipe.

So, my conclusion is that the hardness of beeswax varies from supplier to supplier. This Aloe Vera cream for example was thick when I scooped it into the pots, but then it almost hardened into Butter!! So, I re-mixed, adding in more liquid and it turned out nicer.

Basically I think changing suppliers can drastically change the recipe and result. I have found this with Essential Oils as well. Quality and strength varies drastically from supplier to supplier.

Questions for you:

Have you had similar issues?

Can you add any experiences or knowledge about Aloe Vera?

Happy Soaping!!

xo Jen

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Blog Award

I feel honoured to have been awarded a Blog award by Sonja of Purali Thank you Sonja! It is called the Liebster Blog (Nicest Blog) award and has been created to give relatively unknown blogs a spotlight.

So now I would like to pass this blog award onto some new bloggers I have discovered and am really enjoying:

Soap is Beautiful
I recently discovered this delightful blog and am amazed at her showcases and photos!!

Briny Bar soap
I am not sure what I enjoy most about this blog - the photos of her innovations? Her wonderful and comical writing? Or hearing about her enthusiastic soap-making escapades...

Sahara Supplies
I love this blog for the simple yet awesome skin care recipes she offers. I have tried out several and loved them!!

Happy soaping and Happy blogging!!


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Lemon – Sea Salt Soap

I have been wanting to create a lemon soap for a while (Essential Oil combination of Litsea Cubeba, Lemon, Lemongrass & Citronella) and have also wanted to try varying my salt soap recipe with different salt quantities and oils so I tried both at once.

The whole soap room smells fresh and clean and citrusy right now, as I have just cut and stamped these. Not easy to get a clean-cut stamp with a salt soap.

I love the colour FOR NOW. I made a Lemon Poppyseed soap a while back ( which was coloured with Carrot Tissue Oil. It was a stunning yellow straight out of the mould, but after a few months it had faded almost completely. See recent photo of the same soap.

So... I hope that the luscious yellow of the fresh salt soap stays more this time. Will let you know!

Any other suggestions for natural bright yellow?


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Rich Honey Colour

I did it! I got a great honey colour I love! It may not be as deep honey brown as I might have liked but I am really pleased. Wow.... I am on a roll!

To get the richer honey colour, I simply soaped at higher temps and incubated lightly! You can see the richer colour when you see the lighter soap next to it.

I loooooooove honey. In my tea.... in my coffee... in my Breakfast Oats Bake... on bread... on toast... in soap!

I would love to see some examples of other honey soaps! Can you post links to photos in comments? Maybe someone would like to take on a honey soap showcase?

Happy honey soaping!

xo Jen

Friday, 4 March 2011

Wild Lavender, Honey Goat Milk & Question

Wild Lavender Soap - fresh out of the mould

I have finally achieved a Wild Lavender soap that I adore, although for some reason I am getting some serious bubbles! I don't really mind them but will work on getting this soap smoother in the future. For now, this is my soon-to-be-launched Naturalmente Mediterraneo Wild Lavender soap. In the end, I use Ratanjot instead of Alkanet but as I understand, they are basically the same. The wonderful thing about working with Ratanjot or Alkanet is the colour evolution during the curing period! This is the soap fresh out of the mould... I will try to remember to post a picture after 4 weeks curing.

Honey Goat-Milk

In my attempts to get a nice dark rich honey colour, it seems each batch of my honey goat-milk soap keeps getting lighter! As I have been soaping at lower temps lately (28º both oils & lye) I think that maybe that is what is having an effect on the colour of the honey soap. Usually when I make any soap with goat milk, I freeze the goat milk the night before, so when I mix the lye in, the temperature never goes over 30º. So instead, this morning I let the lye mix get up to 55º by half un-freezing the goat milk prior to mixing in lye! Then I mixed the oils and lye at 35º instead of 28º. Additionally, I have covered the moulds with a thin blanket. I usually do not cover my goat milk or honey soaps.

See what a rich colour the lye mix got! (without curdling the milk...)

So – I will unveil tomorrow and reveal if all of this has had an effect on the colour! Fingers crossed for a deeper, richer honey coloured soap!!


1) How can I stop the "crumbling" at the bottom of soaps? I do not mean salt soap. Sometimes when I cut my soap, as the knife gets to the bottom, it takes off a bit of soap. This happens if I cut same day I remove from the mould or even if I leave it for a week. Any thoughts? Here are some examples of what I mean. I would LOOOOVE your input and ideas!

Happy Soaping everyone! Have a super weekend!