Kisanii Festival

Kisanii Festival

Kisanii

I have finished my soap favors for the Kisanii festival in October!

In the end I made 2 types of soap: Meadowfoam & Neroli Rebatched Soap and Cocoa Butter & Rose Soap. I also made 2 types of solid lotion bar: Rose & Lavender Solid Lotion Bar and Vanilla & Ylang Ylang Solid Lotion Bar, and some Travel Candles. I’m really happy with them and think that people will really like them too!

My cousin who is organising the event told me last night that it has been postponed due to a sponsorship and venue issues, so it won’t be happening in October anymore but later on in the year or mid next year so I’ve promised her that I’ll save them for her to use at another event instead. It’s a bit of a shame but at least they won’t be going to waste.

The soaps are in the process of being cured so I haven’t had a chance to use them yet but I’m very much looking forward to sampling them. According to the Soap Calculator they both have some pretty good properties!

Now that I’ve done a bit more soapmaking I’m much more comfortable (though not completely comfortable you understand!), about doing more. I’m feeling much more adventurous and it IS exciting coming up with new recipes and creating new fragrances – it’s also what I do best!

 

Roses

 

 

 

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’!

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’!

 

So last night I made another batch of cold process soap!

As you know, my last batch didn’t come out well at all (seize alert seize alert!) and I was fearful that this batch would be a repeat of my past failure. I done a lot of research beforehand trying to eliminate all possible causes of a botched batch. I opted to use pure essential oils instead of fragrance oils, soaped at no higher then 80 degrees faranheit, added the essential oils to the oils before trace, made a smaller batch, used less hard butters and more soft oils and stirred my soap with a spatula instead of a hand blender. What a change eh?!

You might be asking…

Why Essential Oils instead of Fragrance Oils? – Because Fragrance Oils speed trace. Due to there synthetic nature, and particularly due to the inclusion of alcohol in Fragrance Oils which reacts with the oils in soap, you will nearly always have an accelerated trace when using Fragrance Oils. Depending on where you buy your Fragrance Oils, some of them have been tested for there behaviour in cold process soap, and this can be helpful BUT as with most soapmaking it is a scientific thing, variable depending on a number of factors namely your recipe, or what temperature you soap at.

Essential Oils are much more stable in that they allow you more time to work with your soap before it reaches trace, giving you time to add colourants, herbs and clays etc. Needless to say though, this differs depending on which Essential Oils you use, typically Floral Essential Oils and some Spicy Essential Oils can accelerate trace quite dramatically therefore it is always suggested to test your fragrance in a small batch first. I used Neroli (citrus oil) and Lavender (herbaceous floral oil) in mine.

Why soap at such a low temperature?
– Because heat accelerates trace. Some people say that soaping at low temperatures stops the saponification process from happening but the saponification happens when you combines the lye with the oils, combining them at a lower temperature does not stop this from happening.I soaped at 80 degrees but some soapers combine the oils and lye at a much lower temperature then this, indeed some leave both the lye and the oils in the fridge overnight and soap the following day!

Why make a smaller batch? – Incase of a botched batch! I could have wept the last time I made a full 1 kg batch of soap only to find that it had seized irreparably. It was painful indeed. Not just because of the time and effort it took to make the soap but because of the ingredients which were not cheap! Therefore I thought that as I did not want this to happen again I would make less first to test, and then if it was a success I would increase the quantity.

Why use less hard oils?
– Because hard oils accelerate trace! A ratio of 45% hard oils to 55% soft oils are recommended to achieve a good consistency, but up to 55% hard oils should be fine also. Anything more and you run the risk of a fast trace. Hard oils are those that are solid at room temperature such as Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil etc. I replaced the Mango Butter that I had in my original recipe, with Sweet Almond Oil, which is a soft oil.

Why add the Essential Oils before trace? – Because this too speeds up trace! It is advised to add the Essential Oils to the Oil blend before adding the lye to it which allows the Essential Oils to be fully combined, this leads to less of a shock when the lye is added. The chemical reaction is much less severe when done in this way.

Why use a spatula instead of a hand blender? – I’m sure you’ve guessed it – because it speeds up trace! I also have the windows wide open when I’m soaping to keep the room cool, and to speed up the cooling down process of the oils and lye.

So, using all of these processes I began making my soap. I’ve agreed to make some complimentary favours (including travel candles), for a festival that my cousin is organising at the beginning of October and thought that soap would be a perfect favour to give.

When I was making my soap I did indeed notice a difference in the consistency when soaping – it was much much lighter, indeed it allowed me to be spontaneously creative and add herbs which would have been impossible for me to do before. I could also have added a colourant but as I wanted my soap to be white I just added some calendula petals and left it colourless. Or at least I thought that it would be colourless anyway!

This morning I went to check on my soap (which was a suspicious bright orange colour when I last left it) to find that it was still (surprise surprise) ORANGE!
And yes I was a little surprised as I expected it to turn white overnight. I looked over the ingredients:

Meadowfoam Oil – a very light yellow colour – no
Shea Butter – creamy white – no
Lavender Essential Oil – no
Sweet Almond Oil – a very light golden brown colour – no
Coconut Oil – white – no
Palm Oil – BRIGHT orange
Neroli Essential Oil – greeny, yellowy

I was stumped. The Palm Oil that I used previously was a creamy white, slightly yellowish colour and I will admit when I compared it to the Palm Oil that I received yesterday I was a little concerned as it was BRIGHT ORANGE. However I just put it down to the fact that it was from a different batch and therefore might have different visual characteristics. But when I done research on whether Neroli Oil discoloured soap I couldn’t find anything and so I wondered….
I looked back on my previous order for Palm Oil to find that there are infact 2 different types of Palm Oil (Unrefined and Refined), and on the previous occasion I had ordered the Refined Palm Oil which had obviously been bleached to make it white. Red Palm Oil however is much more sustainable then the former and is naturally a reddish orange colour. I called the supplier to make sure and they confirmed that yes, the Red Palm Oil does discolour soaps and there isn’t really anything you can add to remedy this. After my initial shock I soon came to accept that it was a small error but infact it is better knowing that my soap has been naturally coloured, is more sustainable and most importantly WAS NOT A BOTCHED BATCH. Hallalujah, I did not make a botched batch!! 🙂

If I am so inclined (as you know I am not one for taking pictures!) I will out up a picture of my new and improved soap which according to my lye calculator indicates that it is going to be a very hard and creamy, wonderfully conditioning, thoroughly cleaning, relatively bubbly bar of soap!

I’m going all natur-elle

I’m going all natur-elle

 

Contrary to popular belief, there are a range of natural products that can do the job of maintaining your beauty regime just aswell if not BETTER then your current commercial staples. There is almost no product that can’t be replaced with a natural one, which is just aswell as I’ve decided to go all natural. With my recent transition of going natural with my hair (meaning no texturisers, relaxers or chemicals of any kind), I’ve started to see the benefits of being completely natural.
Also, though it can be a little time consuming, it’s less maintenance overall.
I’m no longer having to go to the hairdressers to get them to treat my hair as I can do it at home, using my own homemade products. For styling I simply use a homemade blend of water, glycerine and essential oils to soften and lightly scent my hair and then I grease my scalp and hair with Coconut oil. Coconut Oil is great for the hair and skin, it aids with hair loss, strengthening the hair and imparting a natural sheen. It helps with loss of protein and provides a cooling sensation on the scalp for people with sensitive scalps. It’s also a very good conditioner and lessens the build up of dandruff. Melted and applied to the hair and used as a hot oil treatment is another great way to keep the hair soft and moisturised and the scalp healthy.

The following products can be made at home, using products from your kitchen cupboard! Do you know any great natural recipes for any of them? – if so post your recipes below for a chance for it to be featured in the next I’m going natur-elle blog post!

Hair Shampoo

Hair Conditioner

Hair Moisturiser

Face Mask (See our wonderful Manuka Honey and Bentonite clay recipe here: https://silklafox.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/bentonite-clay-manuka-honey-face-mask-recipe/

Face Cream

Body Butter (We make a wonderful Body Souffle’ that you can buy from notonthehighstreet): http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/rose-geranium-or-lemongrass-body-souffle

Exfoliator/Body Scrub: You can buy our Himalayan Pink Salt Body Scrub Souffle here: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thesecretscentsociete/product/rose-geranium-and-jasmine-salt-scrub-souffle

Deodorant

Soap (The Secret Scent Societe’ is working on perfecting our Meadowfoam Soap recipe so that we can make it available to buy in time for Christmas!)

Just 2 weeks to go!

Just 2 weeks to go!

British-Vogue-Logo

Yes, tis a mere 2 weeks to go before my debut in British VOGUE Magazine and gosh am I excited!
My plan to replace all of the pictures on my NotOnTheHighstreet page is in process (a work in progress!) in preparation for lots of views (and hopefully, sales!)
It’s far from perfect but I think that finally I’m getting the hang of this photography thing, which is a relief I can tell you.

I have pre warned a few friends that I may be requiring there assistance should things get a little crazy following the VOGUE release and I’m giving away my very first batch of cold process soap to some specially selected friends and family with a prompt for them to review it and give me there honest opinion. I think this will be really helpful in order to improve on my next batch of soap, listening to there very honest advice and taking into account all of the things that they think constitutes a good bar of soap! I intend on doing many more soap tests to get the perfect bar before I release any for general sale.

I’m continuing to market my products on Etsy, though I’m not getting many bites. To be honest the only reason why I bother staying on there at all is for my presence on the internet, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. Despite my products being cheaper on there then on notonthehighstreet sales are still excruciatingly slow, almost non existent.

The feature in VOGUE is out on Monday 7th April so do pick one up! It’s called “Best Kept Beauty Secrets”

Also, if you haven’t already done so, do follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook and I will follow you/like you back! Links below.

Happy Wednesday! 🙂

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’

Soapmakin’ Troubleshootin’

As frustrating as it was for me last night having to work quickly to pour my almost pudding like soap batter into the mould (and forgo my kaolin clay in the process), since then I have found some very interesting techniques that will possibly help the whole process go a little easier for me next time.

When I began to mix the lye water with the oils at first it didn’t seem to emulsify much at all. Even when I began to use the hand blender to mix it all together (and I made sure to stir it first), there still wasn’t much of a trace but as soon as I poured in my fragrance oils (lily of the valley and iris), it started to turn. In my eagerness to avoid it turning lumpy I immediately used my hand blender to blend the mixture which seemed to improve it momentarily but then soon after it began to get really thick and clump like. I realised then I couldn’t wait much longer – I had to pour it into the mould.
Doing the texture as I had wanted, on top of the soap was near to impossible as it was by then so thick that I was unable to manipulate it easily.

There are a few things that I’m going to try in my next batch, namely, soaping at a lower temperature. Last night I was following a guide of soaping between 80 degrees farenheit to 110 degrees farenheit, but a conflicting process said that you could soap all the way up to 145 degrees farenheit so long a both the oils and the lye were within 10 to 15 degrees of one another. My oils and lye water was taking aaaaages to trace, I even resorted to putting the bowl of lye on a table near to the open window to try and cool it down but it was still taking an age, so in the end I combined the oils at around 130 degrees farenheit each. I know now that this was perhaps too hot, so in future I am going to wait until the oils come to almost room temperature and either pop the lye into the fridge and wait for it to cool down to almost the same temperature or into a cold water bath.

The fridge option isn’t so encouraging for me as I soap at the very top of the house (3 storeys up), and the fridge is on the ground floor so going up and down the stairs with scorching hot lye solution isn’t the safest option.

Also I’ve just recently found out that fragrance oils accelerate trace so that’s something to bare in mind also. I wonder why that is?
Anyhoo as this is as much a science experiment as much as an art experiment I will have to try these variations using the same recipe and see what happens. One solution for working with potentially trace accelerating fragrance oils is to add them to the melted oils first which I think is pretty smart.
If I get into the habit of adding the fragrance oils to the melted oils first it should give me a bit more time to work with the soap once the mixture has been blended with the lye water and hopefully more of an accurate estimation in terms of the best combining temperatures.

There is so much to learn about soapmaking – lots of potential disasters that could occur, and indeed what to do if you ever experience any of these disasters. Once you know all of the potentials it’s probably becomes much easier to identify and correct over time.

I prefer the look of simplicity with an artistic edge and there is lots of techniques that I want to try out but until I get that perfect trace (and some people have recommended doing only a very light trace for such experiments), then I think it’s best to wait to try to do these.

I am a huge fan of this girls soaps. She is based in Australia and makes some utterly beautiful yet simply designed soaps and I would love to learn her technique. I could never get sick of using or looking at her soaps – they are totally beautiful and unique!

Vice and Velvet

I’m about to take the plunge!

I’m about to take the plunge!

Tonight, I’m going to make cold process soap! Pray for me!

I have been doing LOTS of research on soapmaking over the last couple of months, watching lots of video’s, reading lots of articles and forums and I bought this highly recommended book on soapmaking a couple of weeks ago: The Soapmakers Companion.

The idea of soapmaking is exciting but equally terrifying. I LOVE the science behind it: Choosing your butters on oils based on there properties and health benefits, researching the various ways ingredients behave in soap, and working with strictly raw ingredients found in nature. Then there’s the unlimited ways of decorating and fragrancing your soap: The possibilities are endless!

Slowly I have been acquiring the ingredients to start my very own first soap batch, processed all of the necessary safety information and now I feel I am ready to begin. I really feel as though this is just the beginning for my soapmaking ambitions. I want to make the best bar of soap you can find! A bar of soap with the best, most luxurious and exotic oils available on the market.

In order to make soap the first step is to choose your oils and then work out the quantities of all of your ingredients using the calculations for your mould volume and including the sodium hydroxide for the lye and distilled water which you eventually mix with the sodium hydroxide to create lye water. The butters and oils that you intend on using are then melted down and then the lye water is added to the oils once the temperature of both the oils and the lye water has reached approximately 110 – 120 degrees each. The fragrance/essential oils, colourants or herbs and clays are added to this mixture at trace. Sodium hydroxide is an extremely dangerous substance so I have got my goggles and gloves prepared for when I’m working with it.

There are so many different soapmaking techniques that I love that it’s hard to decide what to try first though I know that they say you should start with something simple first, but I’m not sure that I will as unfortunately I’m too impatient, lol.

I also just received my custom soap stamp which I was hoping to use on my M&P soap favours but I think it would also be perfect to use on my soaps too.

Fingers crossed everything goes according to plan and do let me know if you’ve made any soap yourself!
If it comes out reasonably well then I will post a picture up, but if it’s a complete and utter disaster..well then…!

This is gorgeous..

rose soap