Saturday, November 3, 2012

Trying new liquids

Last week we tried out some new liquids in our soaps. That is, we used liquids other than just water (or my only other deviation--goat's milk) for the lye mixture in a few batches of soaps. We learned a lot both by doing and in-the-moment OMG!! internet research, and now I'm not sure if I can ever go back to soaping with just plain ol' water again! 


Our first alternative liquid was an alcohol, frozen first of course. My favorite for several years now has been hard apple cider, and we recently picked up a new brand we'd never tried before called Angry Orchard. The packaging was really "gnarly" and fun, and the bottles were a bit bigger than the brand I usually buy. And it was yummy, so we soaped it. :) 



The fragrance we used was a mixture of cedarwood, apples and spices to mimic a non body safe Cider Barrel fragrance. It smells like sweet cider soaking into an aged wooden barrel, mmmm. Not sure if it was the fragrance or the alcohol, but this soaped moved pretty quickly and we ended up with some air pockets sadly.


Next up, we made a 100% heavy cream lye solution. We were a little freaked out by how the lye/cream mixture actually started to saponify as we mixed it, getting very thick like accelerated soap batter. But a hastey internet search told us that this was normal since the heavy cream is actually so fatty. It ended up stick blending in quite smoothly. I expected this soap to trace really quickly, but it actually didn't. After a good bit of stick blending the batter was still fairly thin and creamy. However, when we added the fragrance--holy moly, did I have to start moving fast! The fragrance was Woodland Elves from Bramble Berry, and I'd heard mixed reviews from other soapers about the way it behaved in cold process. I can tell you from my experience, that it was a real mover!! It's a really strong fragrance too, so I think I could've gotten by with a little less than my usual half an ounce per pound of oils. I also wasn't able to pick up on the fruit and floral notes in this FO so much. I mainly just smell evergreen, but it could just be my sniffer! Still a nice choice for an evergreen scent I think.

I made up an unscented batch of soap using a spoon swirl technique
in Christmas colors a few weeks ago for these tree cut outs, soap balls,
curls and a few bars left over for shredding but wasn't quite sure what I
wanted to do with it all.....

....but kudos to Heather from Winberg Bathworks for the design idea!


After heavy cream came coconut water. My honey loves all things coconut (the coconut milk shampoo bars I made months ago are still his favorite of all soaps), so he was pretty excited. Like the heavy cream, we froze the coconut water first because of it's sugar content, and still got a slightly yellow final lye mixture. This didn't affect the color of the soap batter at all though, and I had no problems with acceleration. My honey wanted to use a tropical sort of fragrance because of the coconut water, but I picked Frosted Cranberry from WSP instead. I fell in love with it when a soap forum friend sent me a sample piece a while back and just had to buy my own bottle. :) It really is a beautiful, beautiful fragrance in soap! The website shows it having a 1.00% vanillin content, but almost two weeks into cure I haven't noticed any discoloration in the soap at all.


I topped this soap with Opalescent Bourdeaux mica from BB.
It's always been one of my favorite micas.

And last but not certainly not least, I soaped what I think might just be my new favorite fragrance using the usual water lye mixture, but with a little frozen heavy cream and a tempered egg yolk added in to the warm oils before adding in the lye mixture. I am really excited to try this one out soon! Such a nice and creamy texture, I think I may be addicted to egg and cream in soap now. I bought this new favorite fragrance Spicy Apples & Peaches from Rustic Escentuals after reading about it on a couple of fantastic soaping blogs recently, and boy was I not let down! I am head over heels in love with this one y'all!! Mmmmm. I did an ITP swirl for this soap using four different colors: natural soap, orange oxide, burgundy pigment and gold mica. I'll admit I probably overcolored with the gold because I really wanted it to stick and shimmer, and that it did! I was very pleased. Even though the soap got a really good gel, the tops still ended up a little ashy (probably because I peeked while it was abed!), so I steamed the bars this morning to help get rid of some of it. 

Squee, gold!!
It actually kinda looks a little spicy, don't you think?
I think I am happier with this ITP swirl than any I've done before.

What's your favorite "alternative liquids" to soap with and why? I'd love to try them out, so do share!!

Thanks for reading.... now I am off to stick my nose on some spicey soap!


18 comments:

  1. Woweee, love them ALL! The cider blend sounds fabulous and I love the Christmasy look of your cream soap (my yogurt soap did the same thing, the lye solution turned into a pudding consistency!). Your frosted cranberry colors are perfect, and your spicy apple soap is sooo gorgeous with the gold shimmer and swirls! You guys have been busy...you make a great team! =) I think the only other liquid I've soaped is chamomile tea, which is really nice too.

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  2. Oooh! I'm squeeing over here for you!! You've got some gorgeousness going on. :) I really like your tree embeds and Frosted Cranberry sounds like something I would like. They're all beautiful.

    As far as liquids--I've tried whole pureed cucumber before. It works but definitely has an odor! And I really like yogurt and kefir.

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  3. I've used aloe juice and many different flavours of teas brewed with bottled or filtered water, let it cool in the fridge, left it unsweetened and used that with the lye. Works great! No acceleration at all using teas or aloe juice while soaping. They can overheat after they're blended and either treated and/or scented, so it's best to put them in the fridge after you've fixed them in the mold the way you want them. I've posted several in my blog as well as my Facebook page if you'd like to see how they perform.

    These juice and tea blends are also a bit darker. The aloe juice turns purplish when the lye is added, so you might want to adjust colour and fragrances to match or complement this. The teas can be a bit tan, beige or brownish depending on the teas. Just use TD or leave them natural and work with it.

    Of course the benefits of using teas or aloe juice goes without saying.

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  4. Everyone keeps mentioning yogurt, I'll have to give this a try! I've bought cucumbers so many times to soap with I am embarassed to say, and I always ended up eating them or throwing them out. Tsk tsk on me! I want to try almond and rice milks eventually also! And Neecy you reminded me I have soaped with black tea and aloe liquid when once or twice when I first started soaping. I don't remember my aloe turning purplish, so maybe what I had is different? I bought mine from BB.

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  5. Laura, your soaps are BEE-U-TEE-FULL! Love the Frosted Cranberry colors! You are truly an artist. :)
    I have the Spicy Apples and Peaches from another vendor and used it for wax tarts as soon as I brought it home - it smells so good! I haven't ventured too far with alternate liquids - a couple different kinds of milk, some yogurt, carrot puree, and beer so far. Egg yolk is on my "things-to-try-some-day" list.

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    1. Aww, thanks so much Linda, but I promise mine is usually an accidental artistry haha. Egg is pretty easy to incorporate into your recipe, you should definitely give it a try!

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  6. All your soaps are super beautiful! Definite eye candy now and soon to be skin candy! I've soaped all sorts of liquids but a bit of cream is still my favorite and buttermilk is my least favorite. It is nice in the end product but it does like to curdle!

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  7. You had a hard-working last week,I see and you shared with us great outcome! I'm thinking of using wine,still haven't made up my mind weather white or red.
    None could say you were trying these liquids for the first time,the soaps are so neat and professional! Good job,Laura!

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  8. Wow, you've been busy, Laura! I love how all of the soaps turned out - I especially like the swirls in the Frosted Cranberry and Spicy Apples & Peaches. I love using beer or goat's milk in soap when I deviate from plain water. I also have a little bit of leftover coconut milk in the freezer, thinking I could use it in soap. Never tried heavy cream, but I should give that a go, too. And yogurt and egg yolks. (Sounds like I've got a lot to do!) Great job on your soaps - they all look so pretty and festive!

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  9. Water, Goat Milk, Coconut Milk, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Pomegranate Juice, Prickly Pear Fruit Juice, Egg, Aloe Vera Juice/ Gel, Cucumber, Avocado, Carrot Puree, Green Tea, Nettle Tea,Coffee, Beer, Wine... have tried all of these and maybe some I am forgetting... with interesting results. Some are keepers. Some are forgettable. Love your experiments. Keep m' coming! Beautiful photos! xo Jen

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    1. Ooh, how'd the orange and lemon juices turn out? I am curious about the acidity.

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    2. Hi Laura, I thought the citrus juice would bring the pH down, but it doesn't. Doesn't change much, but I have stuck with the Orange juice in my orange poppyseed soap. Not currently using lemon juice. Keep the experiments coming!! Love the cutter... may finally get one... xo Jen

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  10. Acidity of those citruses is too week for the strong alkali such as sodiium-hydroxide. I've never tried any,but as for chemistry,they can not affect reaction L/O.

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    1. Chemistry that occurs in soap is: strong alkali react with weak acids resulting with a soap (plus by- products,aqua and glycerin). If we substituted those weak acids with a strong one (such as vinegar,or so),alkali would react with it, but without a soap as result. I really don't know what type of salt it could be created that way,but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a soap. Probably some oily mass because lye would react with the stronger acid then fatty acids in oils are.
      That's why all handmade soaps are alkaline and nothing can be done to change that.

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  11. Wow, I love all your soaps. They are beautiful.
    My favourite liquid is almond milk, makes a great super soft leather. And very often I use Soycreme, just put 10% in the soapbase, keeps the soap very liquid, wich is great for swirling.

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    1. What is Soycreme, is it coffee cream? Just curious,I like additives that slow sponification down.

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  12. I Love the Frosted cranberry! :) Very pretty soap!

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