Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Essential Oils in Soap & Skincare – Therapeutic Properties Versus Scent

So many choices and decisions to make when soaping - size, shape, properties, colour, scent, packaging etc. etc.

So, for those of you who use exclusively essential oils in your soaps and skincare products, do you create your blends based on how it smells or what it will do for your skin?
(My latest Potpourri Soap - with Lavender, Lemongrass, Fennel and Ylang Ylang Essential oils, a blend I created for the scent...)
I usually aim for therapeutic value…. But try to blend nice scents.  For example, our oily skin soap has a nice blend of Tea Tree with Eucalyptus.  Our sensitive skin soap has my favourite blend – Patchouli, Geranium and Lavender.
Sometimes it is more difficult… so many things to think about.  In creating our Rose Hip facial serum, as we are aiming this product at mature skin, I had a blend in my mind before ever smelling one of the essential oils I wanted in it… Then it arrived… I opened the bottle with so much anticipation (I am like a kid in a candy store with new essential oils!!), and YUCK.  Have you ever smelled Carrot Seed Essential Oil?  Well, it smells like DIRT.  I knew I didn’t want any citrus essential oils in a product specifically for the face because of photo-sensitivity and was sure I wanted Frankincense in it… so I finally came up with a blend that is loaded with therapeutic value for the skin, and has a pleasant but not a Wow scent.
Me, at our stand at the Artisan trade fair we did this past weekend in Murcia
Maybe I will grow to like Carrot Seed Oil?  That has happened to me with several oils in the past.  Oh how I love essential oils… blending… sniffing… inhaling… some are love at first sniff… the passion develops slowly for others… like patchouli (which I couldn’t stand at first but now love it but only in blends), and like my new obsession – Vetiver.  What a change from supplier to supplier… I recently opened my vetiver essential oil from a new, local, supplier and WOW!  Previously Vetiver was simply smokey campfire to me… unique but basic.  Had never created a blend I loved with it… but now?  I can’t get enough.  Alone, blended, whatever… the oil from this new supplier is incredible… it is more than smokey campfire, it is bewitching, lingering, enticing, sensual, reminiscent, luring, addicting, playful yet calming, up & down, feet-on-the-ground yet magic-carpet ride… I am in love.  
Questions for you:

1)      What are your favourite Essential Oil blends for soap and for other skincare products? Why?

2)      Does anyone out there like the scent of Carrot Seed Essential oil?  What do you blend it with?

3)      What are your favourite Frankincense blends?

4)      Can you contribute any soapy essential oil blends with Vetiver? 

5)      As the scent of essential oils changes during the soaping process, I have had certain blends turn out beautifully in soap, but then haven’t been able to achieve the same scent in a non-soap product! Like patchouli, geranium and lavender… I have been trying to duplicate my soap scent for one of my moisturizing creams… I have attempted so many different versions but it never comes out smelling like the soap.  Any tips?
Please feel free to share any thoughts on Essential Oils!
Happy Soaping!
xo Jen

Friday, 18 October 2013

Christmas Soap Experiments

The cut soap from the other day (scoop glob)... turned out okay.
 I tried a new one.  Used up some cut offs from my super accelerated wine soap and experimented with Titanium Dioxide... surprisingly pleased with Titanium Dioxide!
Happy Soaping Soapers!!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Scoop-Glob Tecnique - Handmade Soap

My ideas for a Christmas spoon-swirl soap did not go as planned this morning...
Romantic visions of a fulfilling soap-flinging soap-making session this morning were thwarted.... and I had to resort to scoop-glob...
I have a re-found respect for you soap swirlers out there!!
Happy Soaping all!!

Friday, 11 October 2013

New Red Wine Soap

The answer to the guessing game was guessed by Mika at
I was making soap with Wine and it accelerated too fast.

(New batch of Red Wine Soap - I am so pleased with this one!!)
I am still trying to come up with something to do with that big batch of wrecked wine soap I made earlier this week... i will most likely be cutting or grating it up for a potpourri Christmas soap.... then if there are left overs, I grate it into my laundry soap but onto the happier story....
I continued with wine soap and bravely made another batch that turned out wonderfully.  I used to make wine soap but in smaller batches and had no problem, did not need to boil the wine down as seems to be recommended.  This is a private label soap, that I had been making for a local Winery.   I tweaked the recipe slightly this time, adding a little silk, and new essential oils.
Curiously, upping the batch size, changed everything.  heat heat heat.  So, I made a new batch, this time using red wine that I boiled down and reduced first.
It still accelerated, but was managable.  This time trace took 5 minutes instead of the distaster batch, which didn't even let me get the stick blender into it before hardening in Globs.
The scent?  I added a blend of Essential Oils of Cedarwood, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, May Chang and Vetiver... but it still smells more like wine than of Essential Oils.
This batch also got ash on the top and this is a first for me. I always thought that ash came from sunflower oil soaps and as I don't use sunflower oil, I had never had it before..  But this appeared out of nowhere and I like it.  I know that sometimes ash is undesirable, but I like the way this top turned out - kind of romantic.  
So pleased with my new wine soap.  So pleased that I am sorry to be handing this entire lot over to the winery.... I think I will be making another batch to sell in the shop!!
Happy Soaping!!!!!!
xo   Jen 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Guessing Game.... Again...!

Another guessing game for you....
What do you guess I was experimenting with in this soap?
What do you think happened?
The game is on!!

Friday, 4 October 2013

More Shampoo Bar Experimenting - Sodium Lactate

I am so excited to be experimenting again after a summer focussed on producing and sales.  I feel like a mad scientist with my lab coat on!
This time I didn't use Citric Acid, but tried Sodium Lactate for the very first time.  Again, strange streaking... unusual looking.  I believe the Sodium Lactate didn't mix in properly for some reason.
Can't wait to see how these bars differ from my normal bars after the cure period!
Happy Experimenting!! xo Jen

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

pH in handmade soap – Shampoo bars – Citric Acid

Although I am okay with the pH in my handmade soap bars as it is , I am still experimenting with bringing it down in my shampoo bars.  I read a very interesting post recently on Soap Queen
claiming that they achieved a pH of 7 in a shampoo bar recipe using Citric Acid, so I decided to try it.  I am not sure if the quantity I used was correct but I got some strange seeping…
won’t know for another 6 weeks about the pH!  Will update!
Xoxoxo Jen