Monday, January 30, 2012

On the Curing Rack and a Science Lesson Too

If you have checked out my website ( or my Etsy Shop (, you may have noticed that i make two different kinds of soap.  The glycerin designer soaps are made by adding things to a premade glycerin base.  The soaps from scratch are just like they sound.  They are made by me with high quality oils (lots of olive oil), water and lye.  This post focuses on the soaps from scratch.

I make soaps from scratch in small batches using the cold process method.  I can combine the ingredients at room temperature, and then wait for saponification to turn the concoction into soap.  Here’s what Word Web ( says about saponification.  “A chemical reaction in which an ester is heated with an alkali (especially the alkaline hydrolysis of a fat or oil to make soap)”.  In my words, it means that the oils and lye work together to create soap.  Pretty technical, I know.  The lye is what gives the soap its cleansing power. 

The saponification process takes time.  The soaps from scratch need to sit out in the open with air circulation all around them (this is curing) for about a month.  This allows the soap to completely saponify, and also allows some of the water to evaporate.  Curing makes the soap milder and longer lasting.

You made it through the scientific stuff, and are still reading!  You don't know how much I appreciate that.

When I walked into the soap room this morning, the first fragrance to reach my nose was the lemongrass/rosemary essential oil combination in the gardener’s soap.  It will be ready in about two weeks.  I can hardly wait! 

Here are some of the other soaps that are curing.  It’s so hard to wait for the soaps to be ready, but they are so much better after they have cured for a month or more. 

Top Left: Clove All Natural Soap
This is one I try to always keep in stock.  It’s one that I use daily, and one that customers come back for time and time again.

Top Right: Raspberry Bliss
This is a customer favorite that I also like to keep in stock.  The fragrance is very sweet and long lasting.

Middle: Sherbet Soap
This one was a bit of an experiment.  The colors aren’t quite as vibrant as I had intended, but the delicious fragrance is hard to resist.  This one literally makes my mouth water.

Bottom: Feel Good Spa Soap
This is one I have made before, but I did it a bit different this time.  This is scented with a variety of essential oils, with the strongest being ylang ylang.  It also has a touch of vanilla fragrance. The tan color comes from the vanilla fragrance.  Vanilla tends to discolor soap from white to anywhere from off-white to brown.  I love the color this one turned.  The red comes from Moroccan clay, and the black comes from activated charcoal, which has detoxifying properties that are wonderful for all types of skin.

Standing Soaps:
The one on the left is the Sherbet Soap. 
The one on the right is Feel Good Spa Soap

Thanks for reading!

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