Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To soap or not to soap

The idea of making cold process soap excited me so much. Chemistry, fragrance, and color combine into one little bar. But unfortunately, it seems to draw out the mad scientist in me, leaving me with the occasional bad batch. In trying to clear out space for all the supplies I need for my business, I've been making soaps with odds and ends. Sometimes the results are good. A recent soap came out quite nicely, with a cheerful yellow color (from turmeric and madder root infused oils) and bright pink jojoba beads dotting the top. The smell is a strong citrus floral, made by combining a fragrance oil with orange essential oil. The oils used were a bit of a hodgepodge, but it had no problems setting up.

But then the most recent batch did not work out as well. The color is OK, though not as vibrant. This one had only madder root for color, and the color is a bit of a muted yellow. The fragrance is fine, but a bit strange, since I threw in various fragrance oil samples with some left over citrus oils. I didn't throw in any strange oils, though it was my first time using hydrogenated soybean oil as a replacement for palm. In the end the soap cracked all across the top after a few hours in the molds. I'll test it in a few days to see if it's lye-heavy, but I'm hoping it just overheated. Either way, I won't be giving any of this batch to friends and family, since I don't want to worry about what I'm giving to them.

On the plus side, the perfumery text book I'm reading has a nice long chapter on organic chemistry. So even if I don't continue with soap, there will be other opportunities for my inner scientist.

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