Almond Biscotti

September 1, 2014

If you love the sweet vanilla and almond scent of almond biscotti then you’ll love this soap.  I knew the soap would discolor so I was trying to create oval embeds that would look like almond slivers.  It didn’t quite work, but if you use your imagination and go a little abstract you can see them.  Right??  Now available!

soap almond biscotti


What does over 245lbs of soap look like?

August 30, 2014

First off I’d like to say this post was originally titled: What does over 150lbs of soap look like?

Then I got ambitious and decided I’d get all restock soaps as well as 85% of my winter soaps done and made before the end of August (since September is going to be a crazy busy month and I didn’t want to have to worry about having to make soap).

Wonder what 245lbs of soap looks like?  Here you go!

250soap

 


Calculating and Using Percentages to Formulate

August 26, 2014

Understanding how percentages work when calculating a recipe is very important.  It’s one of the biggest questions I get asked from new soap makers.  How important is it?  The HSCG has questions on their certification exam on this topic!  That should tell you just how important it is.

It’s a question I’ve answered enough times that I figured it was worth taking the time to write a blog post about it.  This way I can refer questions back to it and potentially help those who don’t know who to ask for help.

I’m sure you’ve seen recipes that look like this:

20% Coconut Oil
20% Palm Oil
50% Olive Oil
10% Shea Butter

What does this mean though if you want to convert the percentages into ounces so you can make soap?  First step is to convert  the percentage into a decimal.

So you take the percentage and divide it by the total percentage of all items.

In this case: 20 + 50 + 20 + 10 = 100

20 / 100 = .20
50 / 100 = .50
20/ 100 = .20
10/ 100 = .10

Once you’ve converted the percentages you can then determine the amount of oil you’ll need. You simply take the weight of the batch and multiply it by the converted percentage.

With that in mind let’s go back to the problem on hand.  Let’s say we have a total weight of oils of 28oz.  We take that and multiply it by each percentage.

.50 x 28 = 14.0
.20 x 28 = 5.6
.20 x 28 = 5.6
.10 x 28 = 2.8

If we did our math right then 14 + 5.6 + 5.6 + 2.8 should add up to 28.  Woohoo! We did our math right.  Now you can take the ounces and plug them into a soap calculator to calculate the amount of water/lye you’ll need.

Part 2

Now if you understand this then you can calculate recipes even if you just know the weight of one of the oils! So we know that olive oil makes up 14oz of the recipe and we know that olive oil is 50% of the recipe. Before you can proceed you have to determine the total weight of oils this recipe will make.

If olive oil is 50% then we need to account for another 50% in oils. Simple math tells us that if half is 14oz then just add another 14oz (or double 14) to it and the total weight if the recipe is 28oz.  Now that we know this we can apply the same method as above:

.20 x 28 = 5.6
.20 x 28 = 5.6
.10 x 28 = 2.8

Part 3

Okay, now that you understand that I’m going to make it harder!  What if it’s not “simple math” and you can’t go oh I know 50% is half?  Then just set up your problem as an algebraic equation: Let’s look at a NEW recipe.

An oil blend is to contain 50% olive, 20% palm, and 30% coconut.  How many pounds of olive oil should be used with 8 pounds of coconut oil?

What your recipe has: (converted to decimal)
50% olive oil (.50)
20% palm oil (.20)
30% coconut oil (.30)

What we KNOW for actual weights of oils:

50% olive oil = ?
30% palm oil = ?
20% coconut oil = 8lb

Let’s set it up as an algebraic formula:
You need to determine: 8lb is 30% of what (x)?

So, 30% = .30

8lb = .3x (x represents the total weight of the batch)

Then just solve the formula: (to get “x” on its own you have to divide each side by .3)

8/.3 = .3x / .3

(the .3 cancels out leaving you with just “x”)

x = 8/.3

x = 26.6

Now that you know the TOTAL weight of the recipe you can calculate 50% olive oil.

50% x 26.6

(convert the 50%)
.5 x 26.6 = 13.3lb

If you’re studying to take the Certification Test you’ll see questions like this:

An oil blend is to contain 50% olive, 20% palm, 20% coconut, and 10% Shea Butter.  How many pounds of palm oil should be used with 6 pounds of Shea butter?

You can answer this question by doing the above math.  Figure out the TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE OILS in that recipe.  Then once you know that you can CALCULATE the percentage of whatever oil they’re asking for!

Learn to understand percentages! It’s really important and will be in invaluable skill for you in your soap making career.  I offer an advance class on Formulating a Recipe that goes over percentages.  If you’re local to Massachusetts and are interested in it watch my calendar page (www.jennifersoap.com) I offer the class once or twice a year.

So, give it a shot?  What’s the answer to the above question?  how many pounds of palm oil should be used?

Side Note

Most molds hold either 2lb, 2.5lb, 3lb, 5lb or 10lb of oils.  Part of the total weight of a batch will be made up of the lye/water solution.  So, a 2.5lb batch of soap doesn’t have 40oz of oils total.  Only a percentage of that will be oils. The rest will be your lye/water.  To help you get started with your own recipe calculations I’ve calculated the amount of oils needed for each mold weight and am sharing it with you.  Here’s a little “cheat sheet”:

Oil Cheat Sheet
2.5lb Batch  = 28oz oil
3lb Batch    = 34oz oil
5lb Batch    = 55oz oil
10lb Batch   = 110oz oil


Arnica Oil

August 22, 2014

At the soap conference this year one of my roommates introduced me to the arnica plant.  I’d never heard of it until then!  She had a slave she used for sore muscles (I’d hiked up a mini mountain the previous day, prior to the conference starting and was sore!)  She let me use some and I was sold on the amazing qualities of arnica.

Arnica is reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe sprains, bruises, arthritis, insect bites, aches and pains. It relieves pain and provides an overall soothing experience.

I got to work formulating a balm and salve recipe.  I also use arnica in my Itch Relief stick.  I love my salve (a butter) and the itch relief stick has kept me from itching bites raw this summer.

muscle balm

muscle salve

itch relief

You can find these new items now listed on my webpage! Itch Relief, Muscle Slave, Muscle Balm


Pepperberry

August 19, 2014

I love the small of this soap.  I wish I’d picked a different color pink (maybe a much lighter one.  The green ended up darkening more than I though (because in part of the fragrance oil).  I feel like the neon pink just competes with the green.  I was trying to do a drop technique.  Not really what I was going for…but the soap really does smell amazing.  It’s got this spicy kick to it I love.

Pepperberry: This complex warm blend starts out with traditional Black Pepper notes mixed with Black Orchid. This spicy, sensual mixture is accentuated with All Spice, Wildberries and Bulgarian Rose, finished up with heavier notes of Pine Needle, Oak and just a small hint of Vanilla.

soap pepper berry

Available now!

 

 


Pomegranate & Black Currant

August 17, 2014

Loved how this soap turned out. I had left over black soap from something I was making and just poured it into my heart molds because they were sitting there.  When I was wondering what to do with the soap I though something red/maroon might go well with the black.  Went through my fragrances and saw the Pomegranate and Black Currant and knew I’d try and swirl and embed the hearts.  LOVE!

Pomegranate & Black Currant: This blend has tart Pomegranate notes, enlivened by citrus zest and intertwined with juicy Black Currant notes with just some light hints of soft florals and leafy greens to give the fragrance depth. It is a surprisingly sweet blend, almost as if the Pomegranates and Black Currants were sugared prior to blending.

soap black currant pomegranate

Available Now!


Nectarine & White Ginger

August 15, 2014

I was working with a new fragrance and had NO IDEA how it would react in the pot.  This should have been my first clue to TAKE IT SLOW.  Nope not me.  I had this really cool three layered idea with mica veins between layers.  That didn’t happened.  The fragrance caused the soap to seize pretty quickly and I was left mashing the yellow into the mold.  I unmolded it and wasn’t too happy.  It had a very rustic feel.  I liked the two colors I’d managed to do.  And the scent was phenomenal, but I wasn’t happy.

The soap has since grown on me.  It really is a simple soap, but I think maybe it’s simplicity amongst all the other more decorative soaps is what has made it stand out to me!  Nectarine & White Ginger is now available!

nectarinewhiteginger


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