Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sugared Lime Foam Bars

This easy guest soap project is a combination of zesty lime essential oil with shaving melt-and-pour soap base, foaming bath whip, and white sugar. They lather like a dream and are super refreshing!

Gather Your Supplies:
1 pound shaving melt-and-pour soap base
1/2 cup foaming bath whip
4 ml lime essential oil
1 cup white sugar
2 drops lime LabColor
Rubber ice-cube tray mold of your choice

Begin by melting the entire one-pound shaving base in 1 minute intervals in the microwave. The shaving base adds to the finished bars' luxurious lather. Add two drops of lime LabColor, 4 ml lime essential oil, and cup of sugar. Stir thoroughly.

In a separate dish, combine equal parts foaming bath whip and melt-and-pour mixture (about 1/2 cup each). Whip with a spoon until texture is thick.

Pour remaining scented/colored soap base in tray mold and let harden (which doesn't take long thanks the the sugar). Top with foaming whip mixture.

Pop these in the freezer for 15 minutes, un-mold, and enjoy the lathery lime goodness and gentle sugar scrub!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In-the-Pot Swirling Explained

I had a question on the last post asking what exactly "in-the-pot" swirling means. The best way I can answer that is with pictures, so here we go!

Step 1: Separate batch at a light trace into smaller containers for color, leaving about half or more in the pot uncolored.

Step 2: Pour the colored soap back into the pot from high above until the colors pop up on the surface. Pour colors at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock, 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.

Step 3: Make one pass through the colors with a rubber spatula to start the swirl.

Step 4: Pour the soap steadily from one end of your log/loaf mold and gradually move the bowl to the other end as you pour. You can make an "S" pattern with the rubber spatula through the poured soap at this point, but try not to swirl it by hand too much or you will get one blended color. Gravity and the actual pour creates the swirl in this technique!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ylang Ylang Love

Hi everyone, it's Kat! Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching a one-hour private class on in-the-pot swirling and made this fun 3 pound loaf. The colors are yellow mica, cellini red mica, activated charcoal and ultramarine violet. We wanted to stick with all-natural scents and came up with an exotic essential oil blend of Ylang Ylang, Grapefruit and Orange Valencia. The results are fantastic! I could see these colors working beautifully with a Patchouli (or patchouli blend) soap. Love it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Treat Your Feet

When it's time to unwind and relax at the end of a long day, don't forget about your feet. Complete health, comfort and balance goes from head to toe, and pampering yourself with a personal pedicure is one easy way to get treat yourself.

Find some quiet, undisturbed time and create a soothing foot bath. In a bucket or small tub, add enough hot water to cover your ankles (or cold water if you need to take down swelling). Add a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil as a disinfectant (Tea Tree works wonders to beat foot fungus). You can also add a couple drops of Peppermint essential oil for a cool, clean feeling. Soak from five to 15 minutes and pat your feet dry with a warm cloth.

Using Aloe Vera gel, message your feet and lower legs, gently pull your toes and practice simple foot stretches. Point your toes to the ground, then your heels to the ground, and rotate your feet in a circular motion. Take this opportunity to inspect your feet and carefully remove calluses with a stone or rasp. Trim your nails and file them smooth.

Slough off dead skin with a lavender salt scrub. In a small bowl or cup, combine two tablespoons of sea salt (there are many different types of salt available, so your choice!), two tablespoons carrier oil (avocado, sweet almond, apricot kernel, olive oil, etc.), and five to 10 drops lavender essential oil. Lavender has antiseptic properties and is very calming, perfect for the end of the day. Rinse your legs and feet with cool water to lower your temperature. Dry off and then moisturize with your favorite cream or lotion.

Stephanie Tourles provides great professional tips to keep your feet in great shape in her book, "Natural Foot Care."
-Use a good sloughing lotion two to three times per week to dry, flaky skin at bay.
-Smooth your calluses with a good foot file or rasp one to two times per week.
-Inspect toenails once a week and trim and shape as necessary.
-Have a professional pedicure once a month if possible
-Walk, walk, walk, walk...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bug-Free Summer Fun

What's missing from this picture? Bugs! And that's a good thing. Nobody wants skeeters to ruin a great camping trip, and we have a super easy natural bug spray recipe that works like a charm.

1. Add .25 ounces (or 1/4th of a 1oz bottle) of Bug-Be-Gone Synergy Blend to a 2oz aluminum spritzer.
2. Add some witch hazel and distilled water until full
3. Spritz away the bugs!

You can also fragrance lotion bars with Bug-Be-Gone so your skin is not only moisturized, but bug-free!

My favorite lotion bar recipe:

5 oz. Beeswax
8 oz. Sweet Almond Oil
4 oz. Mango or Shea Butter
2 oz. Cocoa Butter
About .25 oz Bug-Be-Gone Blend

Enjoy this wonderful weather while it lasts!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let's Talk About Color

What are the benefits of coloring your soap?

Whether you have a successful soap business or hand out bars as gifts, understanding color use will give your product that extra WOW factor. Also, soap is all about our senses. We love handmade soap because it feels great on our skin, it smells divine, and it looks amazing. You can match color to the fragrance for an even stronger sensory association.

You can make detailed swirls:

Or keep it simple with layers:

I want to color my soap, but where do I start?

There are many forms of soap colorants available, from synthetic liquid and dry pigments to all-natural clays and herbs. If you are using a dry pigment, such as a clumpy oxide or ultramarine, you will need to break it down in a little oil or liquid glycerin before incorporating it into your soap.

When you reach a light trace, hand stir the color into the soap batter. Avoid using your stick blender too much because it will rapidly thicken the soap, and a nice thin consistency is ideal. I like to add color before fragrance, just in case the fragrance acts up and speeds/thickens trace. Most super-floral synthetic scents accelerate.

How do I know what colors to use?

Color choice is based on your personal aesthetic. You may want your bars to be energetic and vibrant (neon pigments with a busy design), or soft and simple (natural, earthy infused colors with little to no pattern). Generally, start with a basic color wheel and pick colors opposite each other. These will be far more interesting than colors that are side-by-side and will pop out the pattern if you swirl. Take a second to write down colors that scare you. Brown and orange are good examples. Now, use them in your soap! You'll be surprised at how great they look. Unpredictable colors and designs are guaranteed to stand out above the rest. It just takes a little confidence and creativity to step out of the box with color.

I can't get my pattern all the way through my soap. It just sits on top. What am I doing wrong?

You are (a) not using a rubber spatula and/or (b) you are only pouring colors close to the surface of the soap (and possibly your soap is too thick). Pour lines of color from high above to get it all the way through the base color, then pour lines close when the mold is just about full. The closer you pour, the more the lines show up on the surface. Now for the real trick, pull your colors through with a rubber spatula. You should feel it touching the bottom of the mold as you swirl.