Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gilded Chocolate Soap

Finally, a chocolate-scented soap I can truly be proud of! The key? Why adding real cocoa powder of course! I scented this soap in Chocolate Truffle, and it's totally colored with Hershey's cocoa powder (and the natural darkening due to the vanilla content.) This soap smells so much like a real Godiva chocolate (I much prefer Godiva to Hershey's, lol) that I literally want to bite into it. I wanted to really create thick, swirly peaks at the top, but I didn't whiz the soap long enough. I compensated for it by brushing the top with this irridescent mica powder to give it this fabulous golden sheen.

Now that you know what's on it, here's what's in it: Rice bran oil (rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins, especially E, and absorbs easily into the skin ), organic palm oil (a tad costlier, but very eco friendly and a natural anti-oxidant), and avocado oil (uber-moisturizing). This soap will be ready in two weeks-I just couldn't wait to share:)!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Embracing My Crunchiness!

Yes, I am crunchy and proud! My sister has called me that for years, and I fought it tooth, nail, and claw, but I is what I is!  So what does it mean to be crunchy? According to urban (Parents, if you want to know what the hell your kids are talking about, add this site to your favorites, lol):

 Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc. Also used to describe establishments where alternative foods and products are sold, i.e. natural food stores. Modified derivative of granola.

While I can't say that everything in this description applies to me (I am in no way a vegetarian or vegan, but I am starting to select and eat meats that are organic, farm-raised, or free-ranged), a lot of this crunchiness does. I am becoming so much more conscious of the things I put in my body, and on my body! All of my newest creations, be it soap, fragrance, whatever, will now only feature phthalate-free fragances (another day, another post). This means my choices may be limited, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make in honor of my crunchiness!

Now, let's move on to the subject at hand: deodorant! I am a sweater! Not the kind you wear when it's cold, but the one who can just feel heat and the glands kick into high gear. I've always been self-conscious of my sweating problem, but time has taught me to accept the things that I cannot control. I've decided it's high time to ditch the commercial deodorant/anti-perspirant in favor of my own natural, creation. Let's get something straight first. Deodorants are just that: They de-odor. They do not necessarily stop wetness. I can deal with that as long as I don't smell like a bag of raw onions.

I've been testing my formula for the last month, and I am quite pleased with it. Every single ingredient is all natural. It's stuff you find in both your kitchen and your local health food stores. The main ingredients are shea butter, baking soda, and arrowroot powder with a few other goodies thrown in the mix. It's scented in essential oils of lavender cuz I love the calming scent of it, tea tree cuz it's a natural anti-septic and stinkanator, and sweet orange cuz, well I love sweet orange, and it balances out the medicinal smell of the tea tree oil. The consistency is thicker than your average cream deodorant and a little grainy-but not crumbly. The shea butter melts right into your armpit, and you won't get that sticky, gloppy feel-like I used to get when I used Tussy. Do ya'll remember that old school deodorant?

Guess what I named them? Okay, you'll never guess, so I'm going to tell you: Neo Deo (even though it's plain as day in the pic, lol)!  I have not yet listed these because I'm still deciding on the final packaging, but I'm really excited to share this with you! The first 5 (cuz that's all I have) responses will get a free .50 oz sample tin. This should last a few days at most.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Midnight Rendezvous

Isn't this a pretty soap? I have been dying to make something purple and blue with sparkle, and here it is! I call it Midnight Rendezvous. This is a blended fragrance of nag champa, ginger, and lime, and the outcome was quite a pleasant surprise. It's a little spicy, a little fresh, and a whole lotta sexy! These bricks are pretty huge too. They weigh at least 6 oz each, and I've gone back to my rice bran and avocado blend. I really love the outcome of the soaps with these oils. Rice bran oil is so underrated....

ps...I miss you Michael Jackson

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Little Handmade Soap 101

 Image courtesy of All Saints Regional Catholic High School

I tend to have a one-track mind. Because I make soap and have befriended a lot of soap makers and soap buyers, I expect everyone to know what I'm talking about when I use soap making terms like "trace", "superfat", and "seize".  But not everyone does-not even some newbie soap makers. We have to remember that when we're communicating to our customers and potential customers, we have to speak in layman's terms, but that doesn't always happen. I can't tell you how many shop announcements or soap descriptions I've read that contain a lot of soap speak. I know what they're talking about, but does the average online shopper looking to buy some handmade soap know what you're talking about if you tell them all your soaps are 5% superfatted and cure for a minimum of 6 weeks? You mean the soap is sick before you sell it? WTF?!

So, I've decided to create a little glossary for you to familiarize yourself with a few terms you may run across when you're buying soap. This in no ways cover it all, but here are a few basics:

The Main Types of Soap Making
  • Cold process or CP: A method of making soap without utilizing any external heat source
  • Hot process or HP: A method of making soap utilizing an external heat source (such as an oven or a crock pot) to speed up the saponification process
  • Cold process/Oven Process or CPOP: A method of making soap by preparing it the cold process way then putting it into a warm oven (generally 175 deg or less) for an hour to accelerate the saponification process
  • MP/M&P: A method of making soap utilizing a pre-made soap base by cutting and melting it down then pouring it into a mold
Common Soap Making Terms

  • Saponification: The actual process of soap being formed by combining a base (your fats, that is oils and butters) with an alkali (your sodium or potassium hydroxide) to produce soap (your hardened fats and glycerin)
  • Superfat: The un-saponified or "leftover" fats that remain in your soap once the saponification process is complete. Many CP or HP soaps are superfatted to retain some of the moisturizing properties of the fats used to make the soap.
  • Cure: The period of time between making the soap and the soap actually being ready for use or sale. You will commonly see that many soap makers allow their soaps to cure for 4-6 weeks. This allows for all of the water to finish drying out of the soap thus making the bar harder, and to also increase mildness. Cure times vary depending on the method of soap making used. For HP and CPOP, the cure time is much shorter, often being ready to use in 3 weeks or less. There is no cure time for MP soap because there are no caustics (lyes) or added water involved.
Miscellaneous, But Good To Know
  • Surfactant: A detergent-often used in commercial "soap" bars to increase lather (such as sodium lauryth sulfate)
  • INCI: The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients-the scientific naming of ingredients other than the English equivalent. All soaps labeled in the US should contain the INCI names.
 This concludes your introductory lesson as this only scratches the surface. There will be more to come.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A New Summertime Treat: Black Cherry Sundae Soap!

I love black cherries! They are so sweet and delectable. My only gripe is that damn seed in the middle, lol. I'm always eating around the cherry because I've had one too many close calls with chipping my teeth. Anyway, I ordered this black cherry scent from Southern Soapers called Cherry Garcia on a whim last week with the intention of testing it in cold processed soap, but ice cream sundaes just kept popping in my mind. I couldn't wait to do the cold processed thing, so I ran with the glycerin, and here they are!

Now, at first glance they look like a bloody mess, but then it grows on you, and once you smell it, you forget altogether how they look. I purposely designed them to look messy because, let's keep it real, what sundae have you ever seen where all the components stayed neat and perfect? This 3-layer soap is also a 3-scented soap: black cherry, French vanilla supreme, and chocolate truffle. And yes, they're available now in my Etsy and 1000 Markets shops. Yum!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fake Tan

I was inspired by all the Jersey Shore and Jersylicious hype. I've never watched a single episode, but they're all over the gossip and entertainment blogs. What struck me was how horribly tanned some of the cast members were-some to the point where they looked burnt orange. So here I am with Fake Tan. You won't get sunburned or melanoma from using this soap, but it should bring a smile to your face-just as Snooki's trademark bumped up hairdo does whenever I look at her. Fake Tan is scented in bergamot, mandarin, coconut, and mango and is made with primarily olive and avocado oils. This one's still slightly tanning but will be ready in about two weeks!

Don't forget to enter the Lily Queen giveaway (if you haven't already!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Old Friend Revisited

I don't know why I stopped making candles. Oh yeah, I do know why: They weren't selling, lol! I love to burn candles-especially when I'm being super trifling by letting the garbage pile up or not changing the yip's litter box like I should. When I first started making candles, I used only paraffin wax. Mainly because it was cheap, but also because I didn't know anything about soy wax. Now I've read all the debates between the soy joys and the paraffiners, and I have to admit that I prefer soy wax. I've found that it really does burn cleaner, and to me, it holds scent much stronger than paraffin. I love how my candle burns "down" with no wax stuck to the walls of the jar. I don't have to preheat my jars with soy wax like I did with paraffin.

So, I've decided to reintroduce my soy candles, and I call them Happy Endings, and yes, they are dessert-inspired. They're made with 100% soy wax, and they're dye-free. Some may have a slight tint due to the color of the fragrance oil. I plan to introduce one new fragrance a month. First up is Oh Cherry. This is a very strong scent. It smells of fluffy, whipped meringue topped with a bunch of maraschino cherries. So, naturally, I had to top this candle with a maraschino cherry.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Winner Announced: Name That Soap....

Thanks to everyone who entered my little contest. I appreciate your time and your interest! You've all given me some good names, but there was one name that stuck in my head the entire time. It was so obvious from the beginning, but I was too angry with the soap to think clearly, lol.

So, without further ado, I've decided to name this soap Sweet Nothings! Ms. RE-Recycled Frockery, congratulations woman! This soap is yours. Hit me up at the so I can mail you a bar this week. And Mama, this soap is vegan and made with pthalate-free fragrances.

I'm keeping all these other names in mind for future reference. If I use it, the product is yours!

Friday, June 4, 2010

OMG (Oat My Gosh) Soap!

Okay, here's the story behind this soap: I absolutely love Usher's new song, OMG! I find myself singing it all the freaking time. I was in the process of actually making another batch of Milk & Honey soap when I started singing OMG, and then it all came to me like an epiphany: Don't just do the standard oatmeal, milk & honey soap. Do oatmeal-with a twist! There's no OMH scent at all in this batch. It's actually almond and tangerine scented. Different huh?  Doesn't it look like a big ole granola bar? I'm really digging it. This one's made with olive oil, sunflower oil, organic palm oil, coconut oil, and a shot of castor, lol...

Oh, I forgot to also mention this is my very first goat's milk soap! I had some powdered goat's milk, but wasn't quite sure how to incorporate it into my batch. What you do is add the powdered milk to 2-3 oz of your oils, mix well, then add to your soap batter at trace. Worked like a charm. Oh, and I only used 1 tbsp of goat's milk powder per 8 oz of water. Since this was a small batch, I only used 1 tbsp. Nice.....