Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tried and True

While it can be fun to venture into new territory when making soap, sometimes it is also nice to revisit recipes and fragrances that are friendly and familiar.  Such are the two soaps in this posting, both among my favorites!  The first is scented with vanilla and chai tea fragrance oils.  Warm and spicy, these fragrances together are a perfect complement to cool, crisp mornings, falling leaves, and soup suppers. Settled in a base of coconut, palm, olive, and castor oils, with a touch of olive butter and vanilla bean specks, this soap simply says "Welcome, Fall!"

Next is a crisp, clean "green" scent aptly named Green Clover & Aloe.  I first became aware of this fragrance in soap many years ago when I purchased a bar from Kathy Miller's website.  It was awesome and I've continued to make a variation of it ever since!  This, too, is anchored in a base of coconut, palm, olive, and castor oils rounded out with rich olive butter. Colorants used are ultramarine violet and chromium green oxide topped with a hint of glitter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Simply Sweet

My recent post on using rose clay to color soap naturally was my first venture into that process.  Recently Bramble Berry put out a natural colorant soap challenge to soap makers which gave me that little nudge to try it again.  I decided to go with an infusion of annatto seeds in olive oil to create a shade of orange that I hoped would be perfect for the last bit of orange essential oil I would be using.  Somehow, when I thought of what would complement the sweet scent of citrus orange, chocolate came immediately to mind.  The second natural colorant to enhance the always to-die-for scent of chocolate would be cocoa powder. 

I first began by infusing the annatto seeds into olive oil.  After doing a little research, I added 2 tsp of annatto seeds to ½ c light olive oil and placed both in a small double boiler to simmer on low.  I had originally planned to heat the annatto seeds and oil for 2 hours, but the color seemed pretty light, so in the end I let it infuse for five hours.  By this time, the infusion was at least a medium shade of orange which I thought would add sufficient color to the main base of the soap batch.

Once the infused oil had cooled, it was time to make soap!   I decided to use the annatto seed infusion at a rate of 5 percent.  For this one pound batch (16 oz of oils by weight) I added .8 oz of infused olive oil.  It initially seemed a little darker than I was hoping for but in the end turned a just-right shade of soft orange.

For the swirl, I separated out a small portion of soap and added 1 tsp of pre-moistened cocoa powder.  At light trace, I added orange essential oil to the main base, as well as the chocolate fragrance oil to the swirl portion. 

Timing is so important when trying to create a swirl, so I quickly proceeded before both portions of soap moved into a heavier trace.  I used a hanger to accomplish the swirl this time.  I’m fascinated by this method of swirling and amazed by the unique designs it creates.

So now, a sweet smelling batch of orange and chocolate is officially on the curing rack!  I really like the idea of using natural colorants and it may become something I do more often.