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