Making Salt Bars

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Three Butter Salt Bars

I had seen a lot of people on various social media sites posting about salt bars, so I started doing some research. It seemed odd to me that adding a bunch of salt to a bar of soap could be beneficial in any way. I looked at recipes and even purchased a book all about salt bars.Everything I read seemed to suggest that it is wonderful on your skin even though most contain a high amount of Coconut Oil which can be drying. A couple of soapers said to just try it because you will be surprised at how lovely they will be. So I went to the book I had purchased by Amanda Gail and decided on a recipe and gathered the ingredients. The two things I changed were the recipe called for Yellow Brazilian Clay and I used Kaolin clay and hers called for essential oils and I used a fragrance oil. I thought those would be minor changes and all would be well. I also needed a multi-cavity mold since everything I read suggested that once you have molded the salt soap it can be very difficult to cut if you don’t catch it at the right time because it can be crumbly and hard.

Once I had everything I needed I read and re-read the recipe, watched a few videos and felt like I was ready. I used a recipe that contained mostly Coconut Oil with some Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter and Shea Butter added. The fragrance oil I chose was White Tea & Ginger from Bramble Berry. It seemed like a good choice to me since it is a nice fresh scent. I melted all of my oil and butters, mixed them together, added my lye and water solution and then once cooled I added my clay and fragrance oil. I stick blended to a light trace and then added the salt.( I used European Spa Salt, fine grade) As soon as I added the salt I stick blended to get it incorporated as fast as I could. I did not find that it was difficult to work with at that point as some people describe.I was able to get it into the molds with no issues. I un molded them around 24 hours later and they felt and smelled very nice! It was very hard to wait through the whole curing process to use it,my curiosity was killing me!!

I finally got them out and wrapped and gave some to friends and family and then used one for the first time this week. It is Heavenly!! It felt a bit scratchy when I first started using it but after a few minutes that went away and it was just lovely! Lathered so nicely and the fragrance was just what I hoped for and when I was finished my skin felt so soft and fresh and clean. I totally get why so many people love these bars and I am already starting to gather more ingredients so I can make some more from the recipes I purchased. I will be using these salt bars a lot from now on and I imagine after a day out in the sun those salt bars will be amazing. Now to make some handmade lotion to go along with the salt bars…….

Fragrance Review-Mad Oils

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Mad Oils Haul

My last fragrance review is of the small company which seems to be gaining popularity lately..Mad Oils. I have gotten more micas from this company than I have fragrances but Mad Oils is great and I highly recommend giving them a try. The fragrances I have gotten from them are Black Raspberry Vanilla,Marzipan,Loo Loo Shampoo, Snow Witch and Spanish Fly.Out of all of these the only one I didn’t like was Black Raspberry Vanilla. It just didn’t smell the way I expected it to and really did not smell like Raspberry or Vanilla as far as I could tell. I used it in one batch of soap and it has really not been used since. This is another lesson I learned…..buy a small amount until you know if you like it. On the other side of that coin is Loo Loo Shampoo! I bought an 8 ounce bottle of that and it is by far the best fragrance I have used so far from any company…..Hands Down!! I have used it in soaps, bath bombs, lotions and bubble bath bars. I was totally shocked when I went to reorder and found out that they had discontinued that fragrance. Had I known I would have bought a whole lot more than 8 ounces. I still go to their website and check just in case by some chance they bring it back.

The other fragrances I have used are all very nice. The Marzipan smells just like marzipan and mixes well with a chocolate or caramel fragrance. The Snow Witch is Amazing and I have also used that in all kinds of products and friends and family have snatched it up rather quickly. The Spanish Fly is also very nice and is a very sexy fragrance which is musky and slightly citrus scented. It is definitely one for the ladies.They seem to be adding some new fragrances lately so I will have to try some of them as well.All of their fragrances are Formaldehyde free and all of the ones I have used so far are also Phthalate free.  I also must say that the micas that I get from Mad Oils are fantastic and the names are always a source of entertainment. And when you order they always send along a freebie of some sort and also a few pieces of candy which is always welcome at my house,and they come in the cute little bag pictured above.

I have not had a bad experience with them yet and their customer service and shipping are fantastic so I would recommend this company. I will continue to hold out hope that Loo Loo Shampoo will make a come back!!

Fragrance Review-Bramble Berry

IMG_0190The very first fragrances I bought when I began learning to soap came from brambleberry.com and since then I have tried other suppliers but still keep coming back and getting more.I will say that you really need to read the reviews of any fragrance before you buy them because they don’t show any videos on how they perform in cold process soap, so the reviews are helpful in knowing if a fragrance is going to behave nicely or not. I have gotten some that have seized on me although in all fairness it may have been partially because of the temperature of my oils in some cases. I totally love almost all the fragrances I have gotten from Bramble Berry, I am just saying,”do your homework.” As for scents, I have only found one or two that I don’t care for out of all the ones I have either bought or gotten as a sample from them. (you always get a free sample from them when you place an order). One of those was Patchouli and Ginger……yuk! I didn’t like it out of the bottle or in the soap I tried it in. It behaved fine but I did not like the scent at all. On the other hand I have to say that the Oatmeal Milk& Honey is my favorite fragrance from Bramble Berry. I love this fragrance in everything and when I use it in soap it is even better after curing! I know other suppliers sell this fragrance but I will never buy it any place else because I love it so much and have never had a problem with it. It does discolor slightly but I usually just incorporate that color change into my plan so it isn’t an issue for me.Another fragrance which is probably one of the most requested one from family and friends is the Dragon’s Blood. Everyone, especially the guys, love this scent so this is another that I won’t get anywhere else. This one does discolor pretty dark brown and I think sometimes makes the suds brown when using the soap but it does wash away and I have not had anyone complain about that part of this fragrance. Tobbacco & Bay Leaf and Drakkar type are other”Man Cave” soaps I make that have been well received. They have also behaved well in soap. I think the Drakkar type gets scooped up pretty quickly and I will need to order more of that soon. On the woman’s side I have had great response to fragrances such as Neroli & Shea Blossom which is flowery and very girly! I have used it in soaps and lotions and it is lovely! Another is Champagne, which I usually blend with a citrus fragrance and it is very popular.On it’s own Champagne smells just as you would expect, bubbly and kind of like ginger ale lol. White Tea & Ginger is a fragrance I received as a sample and liked it so much that I had to order more. I also had purchased Black Raspberry Vanilla from Bramble Berry, then when I was out ordered from another supplier and did not care for it so I will stick with the original from now on. You also cannot go wrong with Fresh Snow, Crisp Cotton, or Celestial Waters. They are fantastic and what I call Spa fragrances. I can use these in everything from bath bombs to lotions and love them in all. A fragrance that really surprised me was Chipotle Caramel. I was unsure about this one out of the bottle but once cured in soap I really liked it! I also get good feedback from this fragrance as most people are also pleasantly surprised with the scent.

The only issue I have when ordering from Bramble Berry is the shipping costs. They are located on the west coast so shipping tends to be high for me ( Massachusetts) otherwise I would most likely order exclusively from them. They offer fantastic products and great customer service but sometimes I am just looking for a bargain so I wait for a good sale before ordering from them. All in all though I am very happy to purchase fragrances and feel confident that I will like them from this company and would highly recommend giving them a try.

Next up is the newbie…….Mad Oils

Fragrance Review-Be Scented

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The picture only shows a small portion of the fragrances I have bought from Be Scented.I have learned to purchase the 2 oz. size bottles so I can try them in soap before I decide if I like them or not. Sometimes a fragrance smells wonderful out of the bottle and then either doesn’t in soap or doesn’t hold strong through the curing process. Sometimes they just behave badly in the making of the soap so I would not want to be stuck with an 8 oz bottle of one of those. I have not found many of any of those from the Be Scented fragrances I have used so far. I love almost all of them. My favorite one by far is Forever Red type. It is so nice and holds well in soap and I even made solid perfume with it ( which was grabbed up by all my friends and family) My son’s girlfriend said she even took the one I gave her mother lol. I also love the the Candy Apple type fragrance.Very sweet smelling which I think is a hit with the kids too. One of the first fragrances I used from them was Rainbow Sherbet which I have used in a lot of different products and everyone seemed to like that one so that is why I decided to try more fragrances that I thought would be kids friendly.Sweet Berrylicious is one of those but I was on the fence with this one. It is ok but I probably won’t buy this on again.The winter fragrances that I got from Be Scented were Amazing! I got Mistletoe,Winter type,Holly Jolly and Frosted Snow Drop.I loved all of these and they all behaved beautifully. Frosted Snowdrop I think could be an all season fragrance. It is just so nice and fresh and makes me think of the outdoors. Avobath type (zesty lemon) and Pink Grapefruit and really popular citrus fragrances I have used in soaps and bathbombs which also seem to go fast.I don’t think you can go wrong with either of these. I have one friend in particular who wants everything I make in Avobath. For the mens fragrances, I have used Bay Rum which i did not like out of the bottle but once in soap and cured….I Love It! This is why you really need to use a fragrance in soap and let it cure before you can make a final decision. I though this one smelled like clove and was so strong when I first smelled it that I wanted to put it away for later.I am so glad I didn’t. It still smells a bit like cloves but it has mellowed out to a very nice manly fragrance that I think will do well. I have also used the Suit & Tie fragrance which is also very nice and I think the guys will like. Definitely seems to be well received so far.The only “man cave” fragrance I have used so far from Be Scented that is not working for me is Clean N Fresh. It is a perfectly fine fragrance but has almost completely faded in the soap during the curing time. I actually had to go to my notes to see what fragrance was in that particular soap because I couldn’t smell it enough to know. It is a Bramble Berry dupe so I may try it from them sometime in the future but I have a few really great men’s soaps right now so I will probably stick with those.

I still have a few more of the Be Scented fragrances to try out but all in all I think I have narrowed it down to the ones I know I will be buying more of in the future. I love the products from this company and I like how Jennifer tests all of their fragrances and posts videos so you can see how they react in soap. I have had very little trouble with the fragrances I have bought here which is great, especially for beginners. Trust me,I have had some horror story fragrances already but none of them are from this company. I would recommend watching all of the videos of any fragrance you are interested in because it really helps.

Up next I will review my fragrances from the “Big Girl”……..Bramble Berry 🙂

 

Fragrance Review-Wholesale Supplies Plus

 

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Wholesale Supplies Plus Haul

I was very excited when Wholsale Supplies Plus had a sale on all of their fragrances. I know that a lot of soapers try to stick with a small group of scents when they sell, sticking to what they believe sells the best. I have not gotten to that point in my soaping experience yet so I am trying out different scents from different companies to try to get to a point where I make just a handful of scents…..or that is my plan anyways. I Love getting and trying new fragrances.It is like Christmas Day every time I get a new package of them! I open every one and sniff and sniff and make anyone in the room sniff too. There is something really exciting about the whole thing and some times I can decide on the product I am going to use a fragrance in just by the smell of it. There are just some that scream soap and others that you know would be great in a lotion or body butter.
Sometimes I have bought a fragrance from one company and loved it and then bought the same fragrance from another company and did not like it at all. So I am at the point now of trying each fragrance I have and seeing how they behave in soap first ( do they cause problems, or discolor or not hold their scent) Then, I am seeing how friends and family react to the fragrance and see how many bars of that particular fragrance I have left. Obvioulsy I will still have some left if they weren’t well recieved. I am pretty secure in the recipes I use for the soaps at this point so I think the fragrance is what makes the difference now. I am making notes of which fragrances I get from which company seems to go the fastest and will be adding them to my list of must haves. So far from this order from WSP I already have a couple of those and also a couple of no thank you’s.
Top of the list in this batch of new one is Fruit Loops! Oh my gosh! Everyone loves this fragrance. I used it in bubble bath bars, bath bombs and soap and the kids especially cannot get enough of it. I was compltetely out of products made with this fragrance within a week. Except of course the soap which is still curing. I will be purchasing more of this for sure. It really does smell just like the cereal, all fruity and sweet. It soaped really well and seems to be holding it’s scent in the soap so all in all this is a definite keeper. Another fragrance that I thought was spot on is the English Tea Rose. If you close your eyes and smell it you would think you are smelling a bouquet of roses. My kids said it smells like old lady perfume lol but for sure if you like the smell of roses you will love this fragrance!
It did accelerate a bit in soap but that was not unexpected. All florals tend to do that but it has held strong in scent through the curing process. I probably won’t buy this again unless requested by someone once all the bars I have now are gone. Orchid and Pink Amber is another very nice fragrance although it is very similar to Forever Red type and I love that fragrance so much that I would probably stick with the Forever Red. And speaking of that…..I have used the Forever Red type from Be Scented and love love love it. I have not used the one from WSP yet but it smells pretty close right out of the bottle so I will have to try it in some soap before I decide where I will purchase more of that fragrance which I use in everything! I also used Bella’s Kiss in some soap and while it is a very nice fragrance, a light floral very girly scent but it seems to not be holding well in the soap. It could be that maybe I could have used a little more or maybe it would be very nice in a lotion but it won’t go to the top of my list right now. The only fragrance so far from these that I do not like at all is the Cucumber Melon. I did not like it in the bottle and like it even less in the soap. This is a fragrance that I really want to carry so I will have to try other companies for this one. That is all I have tried from this haul so far but I will be posting more on these soon. Next up will be my Be Scented fragrances…..

Making Soap for Baby

In honor of my first grandchild I decided that I would make a soap that was gentle enough for her. I used the recipe from Amanda at Lovin Soap that Soap Queen used in her video on Soap Queen TV on youtube It included buttermilk and carrot puree. I made the recipe using pure olive oil and not olive oil pomace.I also did not add any essential oils or fragrance oils.I froze the butter milk and added the lye to it very slowly just as the recipe stated and I had no problems with it burning or overheating.The recipe stated that it can be a somewhat soft soap and may require a longer time in the mold but I did not find that to be the case. I believe I unmolded it the following day just as I would any other soap but if you use this recipe you may want to keep that in mind. I did not use any colorants in the soap and also let it cure for over twelve weeks and I think it turned out lovely. My daughter has been using it on the baby since she was two months old( she is now five months old) and her skin is just as soft and smooth as it can be. It is super gentle and I would recommend this recipe to anyone who is interested in making a nice gentle soap.I don’t think it is just for babies either. I think that anyone looking for a soap that is more natural with no artificial additives would like this recipe. This is the video along with the recipe.https://youtu.be/Kerep0O4woM I would suggest using a soap tray in your tub or shower to make sure this soap dries between using,otherwise it does have the tendency to get soft pretty fast. If you want to find some wonderful videos and recipes for not only soaps but all kinds of bath and body products I highly recommend Bramble Berry and Soap Queen TV.

Another Contest

Well I was not chosen to be one of the secret fragrance testers by Bramble Berry and I must say I was a tad disappointed. I was really looking forward to that but maybe another time. I hardly had any time to be upset before Be Scented started a contest on their site. This is a drop swirl contest and you submit pictures of soaps you have made using the drop swirl technique. That is when you use two or more colors and drop them into the mold moving side to side creating beautiful swirls in the final product. Well at least you hope they look beautiful. I had tried in the pot swirls and hanger swirls but not the plain drop swirl. I thought it was going to be boring but hey they are offering some really good gift certificates so I figured I would give it a shot.  I can’t believe how nervous I was about making the first one. ( we can submit 5)  I think mostly because I know a lot of really good soapers are on this site and I was afraid I would embarrass myself. But then I thought that if it comes out crappy then I just won’t enter it and I will try again.  I did the first one and I really liked the way it came out and got some really good feedback on my Facebook page so I submitted the picture. I have since added three more pictures and have two other soaps that I don’t think came out very well but I may submit one of them. I really really hope I win at least something in this contest. I know I am not nearly as talented as some of the others but I think a couple of mine have come out really well. I sure could use the gift certificate to purchase some holiday fragrances. If I do that I may try to sell some of my soaps at a couple of fairs. I think I am getting to a make it or break it time for me to decide if I am going to move forward or just keep this as a hobby and continue to just give my things to friends and family. So I guess this contest is going to be more important to me than just some bragging rights. These are my four contestants. Not sure if I will add a fifth or not

    
   

Mystery  Fragrances

I blogged yesterday about Bramble Berry doing their 2015 Summer SOAP panel and I just wanted to add a little about these ” mystery fragrance” testings that go on. I have seen them done by Bramble Berry and also by Be Scented. What they do is pick different soapers to test usually 6 or 8 fragrances and then tell all of us through blogs or facebook or youtube how these fragrances performed in the products they make with them and whether or not they liked the smell of them. The testers are not told anything about the fragrance so they are going on the scent alone. I am totally addicted to these tests, and I will watch every video that any tester outs out there and I take notes and read all the blogs and posts and then I make a list of which of these new fragrances I will want to try if or when they are released for sale.  My favorite part of the videos is when the selected testers first receive the samples and open them and try to guess or convey what they believe the fragrance is. I have note pads and jot down what each person says and compare them to what the next person says. It is soooooo much fun seeing what different people say about each fragrance. Some of them come to similar conclussions and others think the fragrance is totally different than the next person. When they are all done I wait on the edge of my seat for the list of what the fragrances actually are and compare them to all the notes I have made from the different testers. I always wonder if I could even come close to guessing what is in any given fragrance or would I be totally off the mark. I like to think I have a good sense of smell but who really knows until  you are put to the test. I would say to anyone who is interested in soaping and all of the amazing fragrances out there to make sure to go to  Bramble Berry and Be Scented’s facebook pages  and look for some of their  past Soap Panel Testing and watch or read all of the information put out there. It is so much fun to watch!! One of my favorite fragrances from Bramble Berry, Crisp Cotton is there because of one of these testing panels. And I have applied to be one of the testers for their Summer 2015 SOAP Panel, and even if I am not chosen, I am still incredibly excited to be able to watch the people who are because it really is just that much fun. So if I am chosen I will be blogging like crazy through every step of the way!! And it should be quite a hoot!! Stay Tuned and Happy Blogging!

Bramble Berry is hosting another S.O.A.P Testing!!

I just found out that Bramble Berry is having a Summer 2015 S.O.A.P Panel which is where they send you fragrances and don’t tell you what they are. You test them and give them feedback about each one. I would love to be chosen even though I am a fairly new soaper. The fragrances are the Whole Reason I soap. I love getting new fragrances and when I order some and they come in it is like Christmas Day opening them. My kids get a big kick out of watching me open new fragrances and I usually go around the room making everyone smell them 🙂 one of the favorite fragrances I have gotten from Bramble Berry is Crisp Cotton. http://www.brambleberry.com/Crisp-Cotton-Fragrance-Oil-P6192.aspx it brings back memories of being outside while my mother was hanging out laundry in the summer. I don’t think I would ever get sick out that fragrance and use it in everything. I must say that I have not gotten any product from Bramble Berry that I have not liked and that is not just fragrances. The only thing I would like more is if they opened a place on the East Coast so I could get things faster 󾰀 Fingers crossed that I get chosen for the panel and if I do I will be posting all of the info here and on my blog stpierresoaps.wordpress.com

Using Colors

IMG_0031 Using colors  in soap making and other products such as bath bombs is pretty simple you would think right? Well I have not had that experience so far! When I first wanted to make bath bombs I read all the articles, posts and blogs and was more confused than ever. Most people say not to use food coloring or frosting colors,but others swear by them. I even heard some stories of people having their skin getting colored from a bath bomb……yikes! So after trying to use some of the micas I had purchased ( barely enough to color them) I felt a little more comfortable especially since nobody I gave them to reported any issues with their tubs or skin. However using pale colors got really boring really fast and I wanted to add some vibrant colors to some of the bath bombs and bubble bath bars. So I continued to do some research and heard people talking about the bath bomb colorants from Be Scented. I decided to give them a try and ordered a few colors.There are more than a couple to choose from, and I got some that I hoped would allow me to make some really colorful products without damaging anyone or anything. I made a few using the red colorant and the blue colorant and had my daughter give them a try, totally expecting her to come out looking like a Smurf. She dropped the bath bomb into the tub and the color was fantastic! A nice shade of blue and she soaked and had a great time with the blue water and then came out none the worse for wear due to the color!!I was sooooooo excited! Now I have found out that Be Scented also sells sparkle bath bomb colors so I will be trying them soon as well.

Now on to using color in cold process soap, which to me seems extremely challenging. There are so many micas,oxides,and liquid colorants out there and while it seems the choices are endless and exciting….it is not always easy to achieve the colors you are looking for. Some colorants morph (change color) when added to your batter. Which is hard enough to try to figure out but some of them morph back to the original color after having cured for a while…..say what?! I used a beautiful shade of yellow this week called Lemon Chiffon from Nurture Soap Supplies and as soon as I mixed it in the the batter it turned a funky color orange. At first I was shocked and disappointed, but then remembered reading about a color yellow color that did just that so I thought maybe this was it. When I was finished molding the soap I went to their web site and sure enough the description of the Lemon chiffon said it would change to orange then back to yellow. I was all excited and couldn’t wait to look at it the next morning. It was like some kind of really cool science experiment and sure enough the next day the color was back to being the beautiful yellow color that I had ordered!! Unfortunately though not all colors hold up well in cold process soap so make sure you do your homework so you aren’t surprised or disappointed when the colors in your finished product don’t come out the way you hoped. Also make sure you check to see if your fragrance has vanilla in it because that will also determine the final colors of your soap