Whole Life Soaps

June Soap Challenge Club (Attempt #2)

Bill McConnellComment

Recently, I had posted a blog detailing my creation of wine, yogurt and coconut milk soap. You can read about that experience here. I had posted it erroneously to the Soap Challenge Club’s Facebook Page not realizing that my social media post was my entry. For some reason, I thought a photo would be the entry, and we all just shared our blog posts to learn from.

Before I took the post down, Amy reviewed it and told me that if I am going to enter the advanced category, they need to be fully incorporated. So, this is my attempt to fix that.

Overall, the concept is the same. I’m using a sauvignon blanc as my water replacement. I’m using 60.8 ounces of white wine. I boiled down four bottles to get enough liquid. I bought the cheap stuff. Unlike the red wine, the white wine took on a much lighter tan when I added sodium hydroxide to my frozen pucks of wine. Unlike the red wine version, this tan color was much easier to attempt to color. In the red wine attempt, I chose to leave the color as natural because I had no way to alter such a dark caramel color without adding titanium dioxide or other lab produced pigments.

After allowing my lye and oils to cool, it was time to mix my soap batch. I added both the lye solution to my oils, as well as yogurt (my edible component). My oil batch was 160 ounces. if I were to divide this into eight parts ( 1/8 = .125. 160 x .125 = 20), then my food portion would need to be at least 20 ounces. The yogurt I bought weighed 24 ounces, so I just used the entire container. I then mixed my batch into a simple, emulsified state. My recipe tends to harden faster, probably because I like to use more coconut oil, but when I just emulsify it, it stays fairly stable and allows me to work with it over a longer period of time. I also added my scent at this time. I chose to use Frankincense oil from bulk apothecary. I enjoy the subtle woodsy smell it gives.

The next step in my process was to separate the entire batch into three batches. I decided that for the bottom layer, I would color it with spirulina powder. This food grade powder is an excellent additive to smoothies, but it also creates a brilliant green, and it adds an exfoliating quality to the soap.

10. add more spirulina.jpg

For the second layer, I chose to color it with french green clay. The top layer, I chose to use white kaolin clay powders. Just like I did when I made my red wine solution and used various shades of caramel, I’m trying to move from a darker green to a lighter one.

In between each layer, I added a pencil line. I love the look of a pencil line in soap. Between layers one and two, I used cocoa powder. In between layers two and three, I used paprika powder. Both turned a dark brown in the final soap after absorption into the layer.

Using spirulina and paprika as colorants in my soap proved challenging. Both powders caused an enormous amount of sweating after the initial cut. The paprika was especially problematic. At first I thought I would have to redo the entire batch, but I decided to lay the soaps out for a few days and let them sweat and dry. It is also extremely hot where I live (100F everyday from now until fall), and every year, the heat is another element I must contend with in my soap process. The building my store is in has no air conditioning, so I try and work early, but the heat still presents many problems and can cause batches to cure in unusual ways. When I unmolded my soap, I had to wipe down the paprika sweat before cutting, then I situated the bars on paper towels to collect any excess. With 48 hours, they seemed stable.

After a few days of drying out, the soap actually looks really good. Here are a couple of cut bars that have been edged and photographed for display.

If you’ve enjoyed this post. you can watch the video of how I made it here.