Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lavender Test Batch

Testing, testing! I'm really excited about this new lavender fragrance oil we're trying out. So far it has performed beautifully in cold process soap and the fragrance is incredible-- I can't tell it apart from the real thing! I used ultramarine violet oxide and left the rest of the soap uncolored (notice how white without the use of titanium dioxide!).

Many customers have come to me asking for help with the ultramarine violet pigment, saying it won't change colors or that it goes gray. I have experienced that as well, but only when I hand-mix the color in. I really recommend stick-blending the pigment in the raw soap to activate the color. It needs a little extra force to break it up, but then you'll see it burst into violet.

Quick Swirl Tip!
For a basic yet striking swirl pattern, I only colored about 1/4 of the batch and left the rest neutral (if you have a fragrance with vanilla in it, you will need to add titanium dioxide to lighten it, otherwise the soap will brown). Begin by pouring a layer of white, then pour a small amount of violet in an "S" pattern from one end to the other, go back with a layer of white, and repeat with the violet pattern until the mold is full. Leave it or do a figure-eight with a spoon or knife for further detail.

Above is a shot of the cold process batch going through "gel phase." You can tell by the darker center that has a transparent appearance. This happens when you insulate your soap and the heat rises, which quickens the saponification process. Many soapmakers prefer un-gelled soap for its silky and velvety texture. Also, keep in mind not to insulate milk soap because the high temperatures will burn the milk. The soap was about 120F degrees at this point.


  1. That's a really nice purple color with just straight Violet Oxide - and what a beautiful white color as well. Just the traditional test batch? Coconut, Palm, Canola?

  2. Beautiful swirl job! Gelling really is the key for some colors, others don't like it at all. I use to be diligent about gel-phasing non milk based soaps, but not anymore. I really can't tell the difference, other than that non-gelers stay on the curing rack for at least 6 weeks. Lavender FO? Sounds tempting as EO dies so quickly..Best, c'bong

  3. @Anne-Marie: Love the purple! Same old test batch with Coconut, Palm, and Canola.

    @Cocobong Soaps: Thank you for the comment! Good point about colors and gel phase-- sometimes it makes all the difference.

  4. Your soap is pretty and I like how white it is and the Lavender FO sounds divine if it smells like the EO version. I prefer non gelling my soaps but sometimes I can't wait 6 weeks so will oven process instead.

    All your soaps are very marvellous!

    Thank you for the swirl instruction!
    My soaps-to-do list is getting longer and longer! :-)
    So much soaps to produce - but so little time!!! ;-)

    Kind regards, summerbabe

  6. I love that I'm not the only one with ugly stained soap towels! LOL! Your soaps are awesome! :)