Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Soaping Fairies and Saving the Day

I haven't been too well lately, suffering from extreme tiredness - I've had a few days off work to rest and relax and decided I'd make a soap to help me de-stress.  I had in mind a nice swirl maybe (I always have this in mind, it rarely actually works that way ... is this going to be any different?!) and wanted to work with the Pomegranate Noir fragrance oil I've used many times before in body butters and my glycerine soaps.  It's a lovely fragrance, deep but beautifully scented.  It's also really popular with men and women. 

So I decided to make a nice cold process soap with Sweet Almond Oil and Cocoa Butter plus add my favourite pure silk to it as well ... then maybe a dark pinky swirl (thinking of the pomegranate element) and a deep dark blue swirl (to illustrate the depth of fragrance) alongside pure white soap.  So I weighed and checked everything, double checked in fact.  Weighed out my water and my lye (I was tempted to reduce the water level a little but then thought best not to since I was going to try and swirl).  Did everything the way I've done it before and it's all worked fine.  The only variable was the fragrance oil which I'd not used in cold process soaps before.

Everything went fine ... I mixed the fragrance oil with the now liquid oils and butters and mixed it all thoroughly in; then added the lye and wham bam thank you Ma'am, it was seize city! I mean whoooooo hoooooo.... ricing too, lumpy bumpy.  I beat that thing, beat all the ricing out of it and thought, to hell with it, I'm going to do my damn colours anyway, so I poured my prepped titanium dioxide in the batter, stick blended it as much as I could, then poured (or glopped in reality) some of the batter into my pink and some into my blue colours.  Then beat it again because it was starting to rice and sieze and then glopped the white into the mould, then glopped the blue, more white and then the pink and the last tiny bit of white on top.  Banged any air bubbles out of it and hoped for the best.  It looked like creamy semolina at this stage.  Hubs was around and helped out by carrying it upstairs to the spare room which is a sort of soap airing room now. 

So I tidied up (I was literally in a sweat now cos I did all that in milliseconds, rushing like a crazy thing - isn't soaping meant to be relaxing??) and sat down - I have to say it didn't help my exhaustion! Then I decided I'd have a peek and take a photo anyway.  Oh my Lord, this is what I saw:

See the granulation and the pools of oils on top?

This picture shows the pool of oil on the right hand side of the mould

This isn't what it should have looked like at all - I wasn't happy! Fearing it was incorrectly mixed lye (but thinking it couldn't have been either because I stick blended that thing to within an inch of it's life) I checked and found it was definitely oil but didn't want to find out if it was fragrance oil (by tasting) because I'm not that brave.

I went online to my soaping buddies and was advised to hot process it in order to able to save it.  As I put it in the crock pot, I had to scoop it out of the mould and found it had seperated inside also so it was definitely a goner unless I HP'd it. 

As it was cooking, we discussed it online and the consensus was that the fragrance oil heated up the batter so much that was already gelling in the bowl and that it was seperating or leeching out oils - this one is obviously one to HP from scratch.

So I HP'd it and, though it ruined my nice layered effect (which, as I dug it out of the mould to put in the crockpot, I was happy to see that it actually looked really nice), and blended all the colours into one, it certainly made for a nicely smooth soap.  I was pretty happy with the end result and it does smell pretty good. 

In the mould, just at the end of cooking

Cut pics, it was only after that I thought I should have dusted the tops with some mica

Pretty smooth side for HP soap (which can look rather rustic at times)

Finished article

So the moral of this story is that, when something goes wrong and you're sure you've done everything right, HP your soap in order to save any waste ... plus maybe test new fragrance oils on a smaller batch first!

If I had a stamp, I think a stamp and some mica would really bring some life into this soap - I don't though! It does smell really good though and I'm growing to like HP more and more!


  1. Isn't soaping relaxing? (lol) Now seriously, don't feel bad and just chalk it off to live and learn. I don't think there is one soaper among us who hasn't had the instant concrete affect mess up the master plan. POs really should be tested on smaller batches first, if they are not properly marked by the places you get them from. And all of that aside, it's a fine looking hp soap!

  2. Relaxing ... sometimes! This one didn't help the tiredness LOL .. when the HP was suggested, all I could think is "oh not now, I need to sit down" LOL. I'm actually happy that I had this happen and could rescue it and I do think it's a pretty good looking HP soap, nice and smooth. I may try bevelling this and see how that goes. Admittedly, it doesn't look the way I'd planned but such is the soaping life!

  3. I know this is an old post but just wanted to say thank you! I was going to huck my whole mess in the garbage today, big seize lumpy mess, but landed at your site and thought "what the heck I'll try the hp method." It actually turned out a lot better than I thought it was going to! :)


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