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!

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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 ó¾°€ 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

Working with Fragrances

Fragrance CollectionTodays topic is Fragrances. We love some dislike others and all probably have a couple of our absolute favorites. One big factor in deciding on which ones to purchase is how they react in the products you are making. Some work perfectly and others not so much. They can rice,which is exactly what it sounds like, looks like rice granules in your batter. It can accelerate which means your batter will thicken faster. It can seize, which means once you add the fragrance to your batter it becomes hard almost instantly. With ricing, a lot of the time you can use your stick blender and smooth it out. Acceleration can be dealt with, it may just mess up a specific design you were planning on, seizing….well that just sucks!

Another factor is whether or not your fragrance has vanilla in it, if it does it is going to discolor to some extent. The more the vanilla then the darker brown it will eventually turn. There are several things that you can do in this case. You can just plan on the color change and add the fragrance to only part of your batter,although I am not so sure that the brown won’t eventually spread into the uncolored part. You can use a vanilla stabilizer,which i have not yet tried, but have heard that it is also just a temporary fix. Or you can just go with the flow and let the color turn and embrace the brown. I have found that some fragrances are worth it!

Some fragrances,like any florals tend to move pretty quickly so you should prepare your batter accordingly, soaping at a lower temperature, maybe not using a water discount,and being prepared to have to plop it into your mold if it comes to that.

My best advice is to go to the site you are planning on buying your fragrance from and research that fragrance. There will be good descriptions and reviews,and some sites will have pictures of the color the fragrance may turn in cold process soap.Some sites like “Be Scented”have videos on youtube that show you what happens when you use any of her fragrances and that is a Huge help! I also like “Vibrant Soaps”. He has videos too and sometimes will show you the color change several weeks after he has cut the soap. So really, if you do your research there shouldn’t be too many surprises in using fragrances in cold process soap. Although when using them for other products like bath bombs, there usually isn’t much to worry about although I have found that some bath bombs work better than others even when using the same recipe and color so i suspect that there is a difference in the fragrances there as well.

So far I have tried fragrances from Brambleberry, Be Scented, and Mad Oils. I have not had one seize yet,although a few have accelerated pretty quick. I have had a couple that have riced and some that discolor but I have researched and planned ahead for every fragrance and so far I have not had any really bad batches or been unhappy with any I have purchased.So once again my best advice for you is to do your homework because all the information you need is out there for you to be able to use any fragrance that you really want!!