Monday, November 16, 2009

Re Batching Cold Processed Soap

Hi again.

What attracted me to cold process soap making was the idea of re batching this soap.

Re batching is taking cold or hot processed soap, melting it down with some liquid, and re molding it for another cure time.
Many wonder at those who do this, and most do it to fix a batch of soap they think has gone wrong according to their expectations. The rare person who enjoys this process, because it takes so much longer to have it available for sale, and it takes a lot more involvement with the soap. I was attracted to it to make soap in pretty molds and to be able to scent with more expensive oils.

So, my first 6 batches of loaf soap were unscented so that I could re batch it all.

Was I crazy? Then? Because, that is a lot of soap to re batch not knowing what I was getting into. Now? Because, I still try to re batch. With frustrating results, still. Re batching takes so much longer to re cure and seems to lose scent along the way.

Next time, I'm using milk...I've heard such good things about using milk with which to melt it down.

Re batching is difficult, because according to how dry your soap base is is how much liquid you add. So, often it is guesswork. You want it to liquefy enough to pour into a mold and allow it to fill all crevasses.

My last recipe involved taking a pound of soap to 9 oz. liquid. Still seems a bit much on the liquid end. It melted down and most I was able to pour.

This is my first success as far as very hard bars go. The scent is good in some, less in others. But, I am disappointed in the lather of the bar. I guess adding water to a completed soap might mess the lather properties up. It is harder than cold processed soap, but doesn't lather as well. I like my soap to lather and smell good.
So, it is back to the drawing board once again, because I would like to be able to tell someone how to re batch soap with some measure of confidence.

Thanks for reading. :)SCH

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Making Comfrey Salve

Hi Salve makers and those who want to learn:

I make a lot of salves that sell extremely well, especially locally. I make a calendula salve that is fragrance free, uses herbs of calendula, st. johnswort, and chamomile, that is often used by Moms and Dads for their young ones as a first aid salve of yore.

This is my most popular selling salve. I suppose
this equates, in large measure, to arnica salve. Both herbs are traditional pain relieving herbs.

Now, I just left the FDA site on do's and don'ts as far as claims of drugs v. cosmetics v. soap. It kind of reads like so many synthetic otc drugs and cosmetics - what the heck is it saying? I come away
thinking I am not to make any claims for comfrey or other herbs
as far as their treatabilities. Not a word, I know, but doesn't it make sense?

Supposedly, the FDA is protecting us from those who would sell us a product that doesn't do a thing it's claimed to do. But, now there are studies out on some herbs that actually validate some old
traditional claims.

I'd like to say it's not my war; but,
you see, it is. I make a comfrey salve, a calendula salve, a lavender salve, etc. This is my question to the FDA: what do I tell my customer when they ask me why I make comfrey salve?

This is what it boils down to, though, for you and boils down
to being responsible for your own treatment. It means doing the research and finding those sources you trust and learning
your own body's responses to certain treatments. And, if we could count on all of us to be that
way, we wouldn't need an FDA!!

So, this is a post on my comfrey salve making. Ha ha...I forgot to tell you how to make the salve.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dead Sea Mud Pak


I am going to be writing my next few posts on new products I'm introducing in my Etsy shop. In my posts, we are going to be writing about how it is made and why. I'm not giving my recipes away, but I am going to point you in the right direction in the making of them.

Also, many home persons enjoy making their own skin care products as a hobby - this is also for them.
The first item I would like to introduce and write about is my Dead Sea Mud Pak. This product or raw ingredient is good as is. It does not need an add; however, it is what I do. I thought hard about what exactly to add - I wanted my mud to be enhanced and not overwhelmed by other ingredients.

Since my targeted market is maturing, dry, and menopausal skin, I chose aloe vera and carrot seed essential oil as adds to this lovely mud.

New Directions Aromatics writes this about aloe: "Aloe Vera is well respected for its application as a moisturizing agent. It contains vitamin B complex, folic acid, vitamin C and carotene (a precursor of vitamin A)."
Herb Wisdom writes: Aloe vera contains protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B12 and E, essential fatty acids and is naturally rich in:

Vitamin C which helps maintain tone of blood vessels and promotes good circulation and is essential to the health of the adrenal gland which supports our body in times of stress.
Amino acids which are chains of atoms constructing protein in our body.
Enzymes, which are the life-principle in every live, organic atom and molecule of natural raw food, rejuvenate aged tissues and promote healthy skin.
Germanium which is a mineral that some health authorities claim therapeutic benefits for: immunodeficiency, pain, cardiac disorders, circulatory disturbances and eye problems.

So, this is a lot of good reason to include aloe vera in my Mud Pak.

I also add carrot seed essential oil. This is considered one of the most potent and
effective maturing skin care essential oil as it is rich in beta carotene, a much needed chemical for our glowing and thriving skin. I give several reasons to use carrot seed oil in my product under my description listing at the shop.

When you are making your own Dead Sea Mud Pak product, this is what you may want to consider:

1. Use very little of each add so as not to disrupt too much the consistency of Dead Sea mud.
2. Do not include many adds for the same reason.
3. Attempt to use ingredients that enhance the consistency, like gels, thick rich skin care oils, a touch of powder, etc.
4. The natural aroma of Dead Sea Mud is actually quite refreshing. I thought the carrot seed oil would enhance this aroma if used minimally. You can get a whiff of the carrot, but the aroma of the mud still comes through - cool.

Thank you for reading! Now, go and put some mud on your face and enjoy those benefits!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sea Salt Soap?

A new soap for Sweet Creek Herbs, sea salt soap.

I learned all about this soap online. I own several soap books, but none of them mention this soap. And, in my opinion, they are missing one heck of a soap.

The concept of this soap is to add just about as much salt as you do oils. Most use as much, some use 80% as much. I used 100% weight of the oils. A 3 1/2 lb. batch of soap oils uses 3 1/2 lbs. fine sea salt. Actually, I used 3 lbs. 5 ounces with 3 ounces of Celtic grey salt, a slightly bigger grain salt. But, it equaled 3 1/2 pounds.

In order to make a salt soap that lathers well, you have to use a lot of coconut oil. Coconut oil produces big bubbly lather in soap, even in cold sea water (filled with salt). This is why it is used in salt soap and at a high percentage. I use 75% coconut oil in this soap, along with 25% blend of avocado and castor oils. I superfat at 16.5% to make up for the huge amount of coconut oil, and discount my water 20% (using 20 ounces purified water).

After the soap has lightly traced, and the colorant and essential or fragrance oils have been added, stick blend or stir until the soap comes to a medium trace. Add the salt at a steady rate while hand stirring. Add all of the salt and mix it in well.

After the salt soap is completely mixed well, pour it into your prepared molds. I line my molds with plastic trash bags, and after the soap is poured, I cover it with saran wrap plastic. I was a little bit concerned about the plastic wrap the first time I made this soap, because for the first time in my soap making experience, I'm putting a soap in the oven.

The first time I made a salt soap, I did not do this, and it was a tough job cutting it without crumbling on me. So, I read this advice of putting it in a low temp. oven (I use "warm"), and then shutting the oven off for two hours. Then, take the soap out and immediately cut it.

Well, that's what I did the second and subsequent times, and it works very, very well. No crumbling, beautiful cut salt bars. The soap is quite warm when I cut it, but it handles superbly.

And, this recipe and process produces an awesome soap. This one has two different ultramarines to make this color, as well as lavender and rosemary essential oils. It is my favorite sea salt soap so far.

I've just listed this soap at my Etsy shop. I'm taking it out to the Appalachian Fair tomorrow, too. It has cured for over three weeks, (I've been using it for two of those weeks:), and I'm excited to introduce this new product among my other wares.

I would love to hear about your salt soap making experiences. Thank you for reading mine.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Olive Oil Soap Making

I come to soap making with these skills...self-taught baker, crocheter, recent college grad, some knowledge and practice of herbs, patience, and curiosity. And, after browsing the web 24/7 since March 2008, I consider it lucky I didn't use the web to learn soap making. There are more don'ts than dos, and I have learned in my life that just because it is written doesn't make it right.

That being said, I make my unscented olive oil soap with 100 and 2 1/2 percent extra virgin olive oil. According to much of Internet reading, that is a no-n0.

The reason for this, mostly, is because it takes a bit to trace. When a soaper gets used to a stick blender, they are used to a soap that traces rather quickly, in a matter of 2-3 minutes. I have created two recipes in which I must stir the soap from beginning to end, it traces so quick. This soap I make with extra virgin olive oil takes more than 2-3 minutes, but not more than 10, which is a long time to stick blend to trace, but I can get it to medium trace in that time. This
creates an awesome, the most awesome, soap anywhere.

I have learned that some soapers use grade A olive oil, pomace olive oil, or a mix of the two with some extra olive oil thrown in. Pomace oil traces rather quickly for an olive oil. I've learned since that some soapers call their soaps olive oil soaps and there is not even a majority of olive oil in the soap! Another reason these soaps are a no-no, they are considered non-lathering. Well, grate a few pinches and put it in your dishwater - bubbles galore.Then, I've learn that my attitude toward olive oil soaps makes me a soaper snob. So be it!

I will tell you I've tried them all, even the olive oil soaps with other oils used to make the soap. I have read that some think that soap is soap no matter what is used to get there. That may be true - I've not discovered a chemical breakdown in differently made soaps...still looking, though. If you have tried more than one recipe of soap in the bath/shower, I think you will also think that different oils makes different types soap; whether it be more lathering, longer-lasting, less drying, more creamy, or any other adjective used well with soap.

I think olive oil soaps using any olive oil is a good soap, most especially if it is all olive oil. This is my experience. I also think the extra virgin olive oil soap is a superior soap for acne, eczema, rashes, babies, sensitive skin, and other conditions. This seems to be the experience of my customers.

So, run (don't walk - because your personal soaper may change her mind about making this soap with the expense and little known information about this type of soap) to your personal soaper and buy a bar from her or him right now. You will be so glad you did! :D

Sweet Creek Herbal Soaps