Monday, April 29, 2013

Bacon Soap

Yep, bacon soap!

I don't usually eat bacon. I tend to stay away from red meat and pork. Occasionally, I'll eat poultry or seafood. But I remember bacon. And it was good, especially when crisp. Soggy, fatty bacon is disappointing. And gross. But then, life is full of disappointing, gross things. But I digress.

So, anyway, this former bacon-eater was cruising around the Nature's Garden website one day and noticed that they had a bacon fragrance oil. Now, I probably shouldn't be buying fragrance oils because I already have so many that I still need to use. But I couldn't pass up bacon FO. And if I bought 10 one-ounce bottles, I could get 50 cents off each one.

You know where this is headed. I bought a bunch of fragrance oils. But I limited myself to ten and told myself that I had done a very good thing.

Out-of-the-bottle, the bacon FO smells just like frying bacon - smoky and meaty. It kinda reminds me of beef jerky. The scent holds up fantastically in soap, and it is very strong. The soap is sitting on my curing shelf now, and I can smell it from a room away.

I wondered, though, would anyone really want to use bacon-scented soap? Is it a novelty thing?

So, I asked my husband, Ken, "Would you use a soap that smells like bacon?"

"Sure," he said. "I'd use it."

"What if the neighborhood dogs start following you around?"

"That's okay. I like dogs."

Hopefully, we won't be attracting dogs. Especially since I don't need any help attracting dogs - they already love me and they will follow me to the edge of the world. If I charm any more dogs, I'll look like I'm leading a big, slobbering canine parade. They'll follow me home in droves and it will look like Dr. Dolittle up in here.

And how to best convey bacon through soap? I decided to use the tiger stripe technique, figuring that it would give me those wavy lines that you see on bacon strips. To do the tiger stripe, you split your batch into two or more colors and then pour lines of soap down the center of the mold, one on top of the other while alternating colors. For my soap, I lightly colored one portion with brick red oxide and left the other portion uncolored.

I used a recipe that would allow for a nice, slow trace: 45% olive oil, 29% coconut oil, 17% palm oil, 6% avocado oil, and 3% castor oil. The fragrance oil behaved beautifully - no ricing or acceleration, and I had plenty of time to work.

Here is a video of me making the Bacon soap:

I'm very pleased with how it turned out! I tried to use the brick red oxide a little sparingly, and it mellowed into a lovely reddish-pink color. And the fragrance oil discolored the uncolored soap to a perfect bacon-colored light beige.

And the scent is spot-on and sticks very well.

This seems like a guy soap, and I'll bet my dad and brother will get a kick out of it when I take some home soon. I just hope that my brother's dog doesn't eat the soap. Or him.

So whaddaya think? Pretty cool, huh? Have you or would you use bacon soap? Who do you think it would most appeal to?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Getting Ready For A Soapy Swap!

It's been a while since I've participated in a soap swap. About two and a half years ago, I joined a melt-and-pour soap swap that Bramble Berry was sponsoring. It was a lot of fun - I got to try some new soaps and fragrances, and I met some great soapmakers through their creations.

When Bramble Berry announced recently that they were sponsoring another soap swap, I decided to get in on the action. This time, I'll be making cold process soap.

So, how does the soap swap work? Participants make twelve bars of soap using a Bramble Berry fragrance of their choice (I'm going with Wasabi). Soaps are then sent to Bramble Berry headquarters, and they send each participant back twelve bars made by twelve different soapmakers.

Cool, huh? It's always fun to try other soapmakers' soaps and experience new fragrances. I just hope that everyone who receives my soap enjoys it!

For my contribution, I decided to make a soap with my vertical mold for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only mold I have that will hold a batch large enough to produce twelve bars. I have two 3-pound molds that make about 9-10 bars each, and my column mold probably would come up a little bit short, too. The vertical mold holds approximately four pounds of soap, which works out to about thirteen bars. Second, I wanted to try Anne-Marie's vertical twist technique.

I decided to substitute my own recipe, though, instead of trying the palm-free one. I have no doubt that it is a great recipe, and I do want to try some palm-free recipes. But I wanted to work with something familiar, especially since I had enough Wasabi FO for only one batch.

Here's my recipe:

Olive oil - 40%
Coconut oil - 28%
Palm oil - 26%
Cocoa butter - 6%
(Superfat @ 7%)

I also added sodium lactate (1 Tbsp for 45 oz. of oil) and Wasabi FO (.8 oz. per pound of oils) to the cooled base oils before adding the lye solution. For the colorants, I mixed Gold Sparkle mica and Hydrated Chrome Green pigment with a bit of glycerin to work out the clumps. After splitting the batch in half, I colored one portion gold and the other green. Then I poured the gold soap into one side of the vertical mold and the green into the other. (I find it works best to pour both colors into the mold simultaneously to prevent any soap from creeping over onto the other side.) When I removed the divider, I twisted it round and round as I pulled it up and out, making swirls.

Here is a video of the making of the Wasabi Vertical Twist Soap:

I think this batch turned out pretty cool! Every bar looks different. Some are very swirly, others look kinda like yin-yangs, and one bar even has a zig-zag look. 

Check out all of the different looks from the same batch!
And I love the Wasabi fragrance oil! It behaves well in cold process soap and it smells great! It may sound like an odd scent, but, trust me, it is uhmazing. To me, it smells very green, like fresh-cut grass, with a hint of peppermint and ginger in the background. Definitely very refreshing, invigorating, and unique! It's one of my all-time faves. Hopefully, I'll be able to introduce it to someone who hasn't tried it yet through the swap. I first encountered the Wasabi FO as a free sample in one of my Bramble Berry orders. One sniff and I had to get more. That's the great thing about free samples - you discover new fragrances that you might not have ever bought on your own. Plus, they're FREE!

If you want to participate in the soap swap, there's still time if you step lively. Soaps are due at Bramble Berry HQ by May 6, so they recommend mailing them no later than April 30. The categories are melt-and-pour or cold process soaps. If you want to make cold process soap but worry that it won't cure in time, you can put a note indicating the cure date on your soap if you're cutting it short. Or you could do hot process. And make sure you email Bramble Berry to let them know what you're planning! Get all of the details here.

Are any of you participating in this swap? If so, what are your plans for your soap?