Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomato Leaf Soap

As I've mentioned before, I have too many fragrance and essential oils. But I keep buying more. You know how it is - you need some lye and maybe some soapmaking oils and you think, "Well, since I'm putting in an order, I may as well get some more of Fragrance X and ooh, look, I've been wanting to try Fragrance Y, and one of my buddies said that Fragrance Z was uhmazing ..."

And the next thing you know, you have half a dozen fragrance oils in your shopping cart, and that's if you're displaying any kind of restraint.

And that is how I came to acquire some of Bramble Berry's Tomato Leaf fragrance oil a couple of months ago. (Along with a few other fragrance oils, too, of course.) I had heard so many great things about it, and with spring nearly gone and summer approaching, I was in the mood to try something garden-y. And I figured I had better get around to soaping with it soon before autumn and Christmas make me forget all about Tomato Leaf until next year.

Mind you, I am not a gardener, but the idea of having a garden appeals to me very much. I might consider having a garden if I didn't have an enormous talent for immediately killing any and all forms of plant life. I am truly impressive when it comes to swiftly murdering plants. Gifted, really. I'm not bragging. I always feel terrible whenever a plant expires under my "care," and it always does, even when I try really hard to keep it alive. I even somehow managed to dispatch not one but two cactus plants to their untimely deaths.

Really. I don't know how either.

With that kind of track record, I don't think I can be trusted with even a window box herb garden. The poor thing would be doomed.

Also, I would have to get over my inability to tolerate heat in order to be a gardener. I hate being hot. And I would also need a yard for a proper garden, and I don't like yard work.

A garden actually sounds like a terrible idea for someone like me. I think I'll stick to soap.

Burgundy and green oxides, mixed with a bit of glycerin
When I first sniffed the Tomato Leaf fragrance oil, I was transported back to my grandmother's little tomato and green bean garden that ran alongside her house. The fragrance oil smelled just like I remember the tops of the tomatoes smelling right after we snapped them from the vine. Very green and herbaceous. I immediately thought that I wanted to do a red and green layered soap with a gold mica line running between the two layers.

For the red portion of my soap, I opted for Bramble Berry's burgundy oxide, and their green chrome oxide for the green. I also used their Gold Sparkle mica for the mica line.

I added my fragrance oil to the cooled base oils before adding the lye solution and then split the batch after reaching trace. I poured off one-third of the batter into another bowl, leaving two-thirds behind in my original bowl. Then I added the burgundy oxide to the two-thirds portion, and the green to the bowl with one-third of the soap. The goal was to make the soap look sorta like a tomato - well, a rectangular tomato, I guess - with most of it being red with a bit of green on top to represent the leaves. I figured the mica line would add some interest and contrast.

To build the layers, I poured the burgundy soap at a medium-thick trace, dusted the red layer with the gold mica (using a tea strainer), and then poured the green soap at thick trace over the back of a spoon to cover the mica line. (Tip: Wipe your mold clean after pouring the first layer of soap, and wipe it clean again after dusting the mica line so you don't have any errant soap or mica all over the sides of your bars.)

Here's a video I made of the process. I also share a little trick for cutting the soap so that the mica line doesn't drag down through the bars - cut the soap on its side! (This trick also works great if you have herbs, oats, seeds, or any other sort of additives on the tops of your bars):


Overall, I am very pleased with how this soap turned out. I was trying to get some texture on top of the red layer so that my mica line would be a bit uneven. I like how the line is a little crooked, but I think I could have gotten a more interesting line if my soap had been brought to a thicker trace. I like the texture that my mini whisk gave the top of the green layer - it looks almost like the veins that run through leaves!


In the finished bars, the Tomato Leaf fragrance is a soft, delicate leafy scent with a touch of sweetness. It would be lovely in a gardener's cornmeal scrub soap, too. Or maybe a soap made with tomato juice or puree.

What are some of your favorite spring and summer soap scents?

18 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your video Jenny! Love the soaps, beautiful rich colors…perfectly suited to the fragrance, and it sounds lovely! Cute idea using the whisk on top for texturizing, and I love your clever mold with the cutter built in. You mentioned that you added your fragrance oil to your base oils, does that help avoid acceleration issues? My favourite spring scent right now is Cherry Blossom, and my favourite stand-by for summer is always Blackberry Sage :)

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    1. Hi, Cee Gee! Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you liked the video! I like to add my fragrance oil to my cooled base oils for a few reasons. One reason is because I figure that the oils might give me a bit of a buffer if an FO decides to act up. Another reason is so that I won't forget to add the FO later on in the process. And it saves me a step to just add the FO to the oils up-front before stickblending instead of whisking them in later. Cherry Blossom sounds like a lovely scent. I've never tried Blackberry Sage, but it sounds nice, too.

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  2. I have always been super intrigued by the idea of this scent for some odd reason. I hate the way tomato plants stain my hands and the way the scent lingers for hours, but still, I keep thinking I should order this oil sometime. Thanks for the reminder. Oh, and your version came out great! It even looks tomato-ey! :)

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I had been meaning to pick up the Tomato Leaf FO for a while, too. I like it - it is a delicate, airy leafy green scent. It would be nice in a blend, too. If you try it out, I hope you like it!

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  3. Ooh..I really like the colors of this one...and I think I can smell it from here,I love garden tomatoes! ha ha..I don't do so well with plants either. Hard to pick a scent because I like so many, but one of my favorites is apricot freesia but I haven't tried it in CP, so not sure if the scent would hold up. It was one of the first fragrances I ordered when I started soaping and I've kept the bottle for a long time..there's just a tiny bit in it and I have to get a whiff once in a while!!

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    1. Hi, Kalla! Thanks for the compliments. I wish I did better with plants - maybe then I could grow some tomatoes! I took a look at BB's Apricot Freesia. It sounds like a lovely scent. BB did note that heat burns the fragrance off and to keep the temps low and don't let the soap gel. I have some bottles with just a tiny bit of FO left in them, too. I should start coming up with some blends to get rid of all of the tiny bottles I still have in my fragrance cart!

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  4. Another beautiful soap, Jer! Love the video, too. I admit this soap looks intriguing -- a wonderful summertime idea. Also like cucumber-melon for a nice summertime fragrance.

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    1. Thanks! I'll have to make sure I bring you a couple of bars when I come home in a couple of months. You're probably not in any danger of running out of soap before then, I hope. ;) Cucumber Melon is very nice for spring and summer, too - I know that's one of Dad's favorites.

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  5. Wow, beautiful soap, Jenny! I am really curious avout the fragrance you mentioned, I have never heard about it ;).I will have to try it once also!
    Lovely colours too and the video is so inspiring!

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    1. Thanks for the compliments, Natalia! I'm glad you enjoyed the video. I hope you like the Tomato Leaf FO if you give it a try!

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  6. I absolutely love how this soap turned out, the colors are just so intensely beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Anne-Marie! I am very happy with how the soap turned out, too. I love those oxides, and the fragrance is really nice!

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  7. Jenny, I am a gardner and before I read your post I thought "tomato" just looking at the soap photo. Beautiful job and thanks so much for the tutorial. It takes time to explain and I so appreciate YOUR time!

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    1. Hi, Donna, and thanks for your comments! And thank you for the compliments on my soap. I'm so glad that you like the tutorial - it's fun making the videos! I enjoy your blog, too, and I appreciate the time you put into it as well. :)

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  8. That turned out great! I have some Tomato Leaf FO, too. (I collect them the same way you do.) I haven't tried it yet, but I hear it's also great for blending with other FOs.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! Tomato Leaf is nice on its own - it smells delicate, leafy, and green to me. I have also heard that it blends well, too. Anne-Marie posted some Tomato Leaf blends on the Soap Queen blog a while back. I like the sound of the Cucumber Melon-Tomato Leaf blend, and I'll bet Tomato Leaf would mix well with Basil EO, too!

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  9. I LOVE your blog, thanks for sharing! I am just starting at handmade soap cold process world now! It is a lot of fun! :)

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    1. Hi, Carla! Thanks so much for your kind words. I am following your blog, too, and looking forward to seeing more of your soaps. Soapmaking is so much fun - I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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