Friday, September 24, 2010

Vanilla Silk - Creamy, White, Silky Love!

Yesterday, I showed you the pictures of my new experimental cold process soaps.  Today is Friday and the weekend is coming and, to celebrate, here are the cut pictures of Vanilla Silk ....

Straight out of the mould, uncut

Face on cut pic, I am liking this... is there a little glisten in that top layer?

Top down ... creamy swirly goodness!

Showing the side and top together - I definitely think there's a little glisten in there

Creamy, silky goodness

Cut bars ... Vanilla Silk


I am LOVING this! It's white and it's pretty and it smells soooooooooooooooooooo good! Happy Friday everyone!

Please feel free to leave comments below - I'd love to hear what you think.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New cold process soap experiment

So, I had a day off and decided that I'd make a new cold process soap - I'm still experimenting to get a perfect recipe but used one I'd already tried out because I wanted to practise with some additions too.

I was sent some tussah silk and some titanium dioxide along with a gold mica, by a fabulous soaper friend of mine.  Silk adds a huge luxury factor and makes the soap feels so smooth and luxurious (check out some of the really high level brands of cosmetics, they often have some form of silk in them).  Titanium dioxide is a natural white powdered pigment that helps you achieve a white white white soap - it can create more heat though so it can be tricky to work with.  Finally the gold mica ... ahhhh, what can I say? I must have been a magpie in an earlier life because I do love the glistening shiny things!

I choose a recipe with Cocoa Butter and Apricot Kernel Oil - both fabulous for your skin and both light coloured oils to help keep the colour of the final base oil whiter too. 

I decided to use a Vanilla fragrance oil - vanilla based oils can be problematic as they often make the soap turn brown but I used a specifically designed non-discolouring version so my soap will stay as white as it is supposed to be.

Not the best picture in the world, I will admit that but you can see how creamy the colour on top is... why is this, I hear you say, when you wanted white soap? Well, here's the thing.... the gold mica was calling me and I thought why not do a lovely sprinkle on top of the final soap.  Great idea! Yes, good idea when it sprinkles but not when it clumps! So I decided to swirl it and colour the very very top layer of the soap - it created this delicious creamy looking top, I love it.  I'm hoping some of the glisten may show but I'm doubting it.  You can see from the blob on the bottom edge of the mould how white that base soap is.  Now, one of the problems with using Titanium Dioxide (or TD) is that it can produce a crackle effect - this can be due to overheating issues and TD can be the cause of that at times.  We'll see when it's cut!

Now, here's a problem ... a tiny crack.  I am showing a close up on this but it's not huge, if you were to cut the soap, it'd be the width of one bar.  The crack can be possibly caused by a little bit of overheating - the soap was kept in the fridge for a few hours to help keep the temperature down.  As I said, the TD may produce a crackle effect and the heat produced could mean that I won't have the perfect white soap either. 

Tune in for cut pics in the next few days.  I will say, it smells damn fine!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Soaperstar Products - available on site now

We've introduced new products on site today!

Our Vanilla Bean Sheer Luxury Body Butter blends the best quality Shea butter, Coconut Oil and Rice Bran Oil with a sweet, creamy rich vanilla fragrance. The fragrance will softly linger on your skin during the day - you'll smell so sweet and delicious!

The butters and oils used have been chosen as they nourish, protect and hydrate your skin.

This is a whipped body butter that will melt immediately on contact with your skin. Take a little on your fingertips and rub into your hands before applying to the rest of your body.

Directions for Use:

  • Apply all over the body as often as desired
  • Gives you delicately scented and highly nourished skin
  • Best used after a bath or shower to help trap the moisture into your skin (allow 10 minutes before dressing)
  • Excellent for use on your feet
  • Excellent for use on dry, sensitive skin but can be used by all skin types very successfully
  • Designed to soak into your skin quickly & easily
  • Perfect for use as a hand and cuticle cream
  • Not recommended for use on your face

We've also introduced our new Sheer Luxury Lip Butters too - we've blended pure Virgin Organic Cocoa Butter with exotic Kokum Butter, skin loving Jojoba Oil and Meadowfoam Oil to make the best lip butter you will ever try! This creates a wonderful sheen on your lips, whilst moisturising and conditioning them at the same time.

Key Ingredients:
  • Virgin Organic Unrefined Cocoa Butter - rich, creamy & smooth & smells deeply of chocolate, this butter moisturises, soothes and protects providing a natural source of Vitamin E
  • Kokum Butter - excellent for chapped skin, this creamy butter helps reduce the degeneration of skin cells whilst restoring elasticity
  • Jojoba Oil - has an unique ability to penetrate the upper layer of skin, this oil is particularly good for chapped lips.
  • Meadowfoam Oil - has high emoollient properties and helps promote healthy skin tissue; excellent for dry, cracked and sore lips

Our Sheer Luxury Lip Butter comes in a variety of flavours:
Pure Peppermint - pure Peppermint Essential Oil gives a minty fresh zing to your lips, feel the minty tingle!
Pure Coconut - sweet Coconut with a creamy vanilla base, delicious.
Lemon & Tangerine - a blend of pure Lemon & Tangerine essential oils, giving a zesty zing to your lips.

All our new products are available on our site now - treat yourself to some Sheer Luxury today!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today I found out that Soaperstar has been nominated for The Irish Web Awards 2010 .. not once, or twice but three times!!

We've been nomatined in the following categories:
  • Best Facebook Page for a Business or Organsisation
  • Best eCommerce/Services Website
  • Best SME/Small Business Website
You can read the full list here - you can check out our nominated website at (great September Sale on now) and our Facebook Page (don't forget to like us when you're there!) at  I'm so delighted, it's just great to be recognised alongside some really big names in Irish industry.  Thanks to those who nominated me and fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Geranium & Ylang Ylang - new cut pictures!

You'll know that I've slowly ventured into cold process soapmaking in the last few weeks - I'm really enjoying it a lot! It's different from my usual method of soaping - glycerine soap - in lots of ways but I find some of the techniques and experiences are transferrable.  For instance, a key thing in any soaping of any kind is prep work ... get all your ingredients weighed and set up, ready to go, so that you're not running around trying to remember what goes where when you're up to your elbows in soap!!!

On Friday evening last, I made a Geranium & Ylang Ylang cold process soap - this one contained Sweet Almond Oil and Cocoa Butter, amongst other things.  I also added a little pink clay but I don't think you can see this at all so I think I probably needed to add more.  Here's a picture of how it looked in the mould, just after I swirled.

And here are the cut pictures - 4 days after they were made.

Straight out of the mould - see how much the colour has changed?
Cut soaps - lovely, swirly tops

Two colours were used - you can see the brighter pink just at the edge of this soap

More swirly tops!

Side view - smooth soap

More swirls - don't they look a bit like caramel shortcake?

Final pic - making soap balls with the leftover trimmings - niccceeee bubbles baby!

So, that's my latest - now I'm thinking what else I'll make.... ideas on a comment please!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fabulous Review of our new Sheer Luxury Lip Butters - coming soon!

Regular readers might know that I've been working on my lip balm formula for about 6 months now - it's something that I just couldn't seem to perfect.  I kept getting 95% of the way there and stumbling on the last 5%.  As you'll know, I have to utterly love a product before I release it and I wasn't in love... yet.  Just before I went on holidays (actually the day before!) I sent off some samples to a select few people who I knew would give me good, honest feedback.  They are all fabulous people but also all bath and body product makers so they know what they're talking about.  Happily, on my return from holiday, I got a massive thumbs up from them all! Chuffed, that's me!

Tonight, one of my testers, the ever fragrant Helen from (mentioned my Customer Service post about a month ago), wrote a fabulous review on her own blog and I'm really happy to share it with you here! She wrote:

I cannot say that I know anything about cheeses and I know nothing about fine wines but I do think myself as a little bit of a connoisseur, when it comes to lip balms. I have been using a superb Lemon & Tangerine lip balm, created by Soaperstar. 

The instant citrus burst, followed by the delicious cocoa flavour, is reminiscent of a certain famous chocolate orange confectionary – delicious. The balm glides on like a dream, deliciously melting onto the lips with no drag at all – perfect! Initially, when you apply it, it feels cooling but then is feeiling soon replaced by a comforting warm sensation.

I absolutely love a lip balm that shines and boy, this positively gleems!! I have been using it over the top of a natural rosy lip liner and it gives a brilliant effect, making the lips appear healthy, shiny and full. I also like how it lasts so long. Yes, I think I am rather smitten and would, wholeheartedly recommend it. An absolute winner for me!!

You can read the blog post here.  I'm really really happy and proud and thankful for the review! That makes all the hard work over the last 6 months to get it just right, totally worth it!

Now, all I have to do is go and make some and put them on the site! Currently waiting for labels to arrive and I'll be making batches of them this week and next.  Hopefully on site by early October at the latest. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Amber Vanilla ... I am in love!

Following on from yesterday's post, I'm posting cut pictures of the Amber Vanilla soap I made on Friday 3 September.

Here's how it looked in the mould (apologies in advance for the terrible picture, the light in the room was all wrong but I was in a hurry).

It didn't really look yellow at all, actually it was a very very pale cream.  It had Cocoa Butter and Apricot Kernel Oil and I superfatted it with the best smelling Coffee Butter ever (like the nicest creamiest coffee you'll ever have!).  It's fragranced with Amber Vanilla fragrance oil which is deep and creamy - a grown up sort of vanilla if you will. 

And here are the cut pictures:

The full tester size soap, before cutting and after demoulding

Cut pictures

Swirl close up

Swirl close up

Smooth sides

All the cut soaps

I trimmed the soaps a little; with the leftovers, I wet my hands and squidged them all together into soap balls which will be handy for the kitchen - this is the bubbles it made on my hands - felt great!

These will need 6 weeks to cure before use - in that time, I imagine they are going to darken considerably due to the vanilla fragrance oil used.  I'll post some pictures when they're fully cured to see the differnce in the colour.

So that's my second adventure in cold process soapmaking.  Stay tuned for more info!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Long Break and New Experiments!

Well I am back from my fabulous holiday - I enjoyed every second of it and have realised I'm a complete sun and water baby! We swam every single day, about 4 times a day minimum! There's a lot to be said for having a swim in the sunshine before breakfast! We were very very careful and used lots of sun cream in a high factor - especially useful as the temperatures in Turkey hit 50 degrees C for a few days! Most people faint when I told them that, but we were fine with it - yes it was hot, no doubt about it but if you keep your fluids up and eat a healthy diet and keep cool as much as you can (like swimming 4 times a day) then it's completely manageable.  We ate really well - the fruit and vegetables are just amazing out there ... we visited a market one day and I swear to God, the peaches were the size of babies heads!!! We had to buy some - they were incredible, so sweet and delicious but we only had a half each they were so big. And watermelons galore, fresh apricots, and figs plucked straight off the tree given to use by the local villagers - I never knew it but green figs are stupendous (far nicer off the tree than bought in a shop too).  Can you tell we had fun?? We'll definitely go back - saving like mad already to book for next year!

Anyway, when we were away I had time to time and realised that I love the experimentation part of soap and body product making the very best of all.  So I decided I'd try something new and, this week, made cold process soap for the very first time.  Cold process soap making is a traditional method, used by your Granny and your Granny's Granny that makes soap from caustic soda (or lye) and fats - in this case, oils and butters.  You can add fragrances and herbs and colours or you can leave it as plain as you like. 

In order to work out how my lye you need to transform your oils/butters into soap, you HAVE to use a lye calculator - if you don't and you get it wrong, you could have a seriously flawed soap - which is dangerous because lye is caustic unless it has enough fats/oils to work with it to transform into soap.  If you don't get your proportions right, you could have a soap overloaded with lye - BAD soap!

So, I worked out a recipe on, a very reputable lye calculator used by most of the soapers that I know.  You also have to balance the ingredients in such a way that you get a soap that bubbles, but also conditions your skin, isn't too soft or too hard.  So a little bit of tweaking here and there, and some advice from soaping friends, I worked out a simple recipe with Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil and Castor Oil. 

My first batch was fragranced with Sweet Orange, Grapefruit & May Chang essential oils - see pic below.  This is the basic soap (which you can't see cos it's on the bottom of the picture) and I took out two portions and then coloured one with Tangerine POP mica and the other with Lemon Drop POP mica (if you're a regular reader, you'll know that I had these specially imported from the US).  By swirling the top of the soap but not mixing the colours fully, you end up with a swirled pattern like I have below.  I actually put too much of each colour on and the soap batter was a little too thick to swirl properly but it pretty much worked. 

Above is a picture of the soap, just poured and swirled still in it's mould.  Below is a picture of it the next day, demoulded and cut. 

You'll notice that the tops of the soap are a little softer coloured - this is called ash and lots of soapers get it ... still not quite sure what causes it so I've more studying to do.  You'll see where I trimmed the edges a little and the bright tangerine colour is as vibrant as usual undernearth.  The ash actually doesn't cause a problem at all, it's perfectly good to use and lots of soapers don't mind it as it can add another layer to the design.  In this case, it softens the vibrancy of the orange which I think adds an interesting element.  I need to see how I can avoid it though - that way I can choose to have it and use it as a design feature or I can choose to avoid it. 

All cold process soaps need to dry out (or cure) for approximately 4 - 6 weeks.. I've decided to leave mine the full 6 weeks as a longer cure means a milder bar of soap.  I've used some soap by other makers that have cured as I've used them so they were lovely at the beginning but stunningly lovely by the time I'd finished them. 

Last night, I decided I'd try again and use a different recipe (the key being to find a recipe that I fall in love with - just like all my products, I cannot sell something I don't love).  This time I made it using Apricot Kernel Oil and Cocoa Butter amongst other things.  Agan I worked out the calculation on Soapcalc (I will never NOT do that, I dread to think what'd happen if you didn't and I'm not good at maths to work it out on my own!) and tried to balance it for bubbliness, creaminess, hardness etc.  This time I fragranced with an Amber Vanilla fragrance oil - I used this for a body oil I took with me to Turkey and it really reminds me of my holidays.  Almost all Vanilla based fragrances will discolour to a brown due to the natural vanillin in them - this one is sure to do that too so I decided not to colour it at all and allow the vanillin to do it's magic.  This soap batter was thinner than the previous nights so it would have been fabulous to work with to make thinner, more defined swirls.  I also used Coffee Butter as a super fatting agent (an additional portion of butter that the lye won't react with and that reminds in your soap to moisturise your skin even more) and this made the oil/butter mix a touch brown anyway. 

I apologise in advance for the terrible picture above - the light was horribly yellow in the room when I took it and I couldn't work out how to change it.  In reality, it was a creamy colour.  As you see, I made a swirl pattern on the surface of the soap - I'm hoping that it'll look really cool when I cut it.  I checked it this morning and it's now a really creamy fudge colour - takes all I have not to have a bite (totally NOT advised!!!).  This soap too will need 6 weeks to cure but it smells fabulous even now. 

So ... I'm backing to my love of experimenting and I'm loving making these soaps.  I can see that I will want to put these on sale (well not these soaps as such, they're only testers, but soaps made to the perfect recipe) but, before that, I will need to get them safety assessed (regular readers will know how much we value high quality ingredients and processes and safety in all our products).  But time enough for that, right now I'm enjoying playing around!!! I really hope you enjoyed this post and pictures - please feel free to leave a comment!!!

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