September 16, 2013
If you haven’t noticed the cost of olive oil is going up. Every time I go to the store it seems the price has increased. Olive oil makes up about 40% of my oils in most of my recipes–so the price increase IS affecting my costs significantly.
I’ve been researching oils and trying to figure out my best option for alleviating some of the cost increase from olive oil. The question: How can I use less olive oil and still get the same properties in my bar of soap. This includes: lather, conditioning, moisturizing properties as well as shelf life. My options are:
- Olive Oil Refined
- Olive Oil Pomace
- Rice Bran Oil
- High-Oleic Sunflower Oil
I pulled out my latest oil spec sheets from the last batch of oils I bought and did a comparison:
|Olive Oil Refined
|Olive Oil Pomace
|High Oleic Sunflower
At first glance it would seem like high oleic sunflower oil is the best choice. I love sunflower oil. I use it in a couple recipes, but sunflower oil has a short shelf life. I haven’t noticed any problems with the longevity of my products where I use sunflower oil, but then I’m not using them at a usage rate of 40% of my total oils.
The next best choice (if I want to not use olive oil) would be rice bran oil. I actually use rice bran in some of my recipes (I do a 20:20% ratio of olive:rice bran instead of a straight up 40% olive oil). I haven’t noticed really any difference overall. Problem is rice bran has a much higher percentage of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic) than sunflower or olive. I use avocado oil in my recipes which is also fairly high in poly-unsaturated fatty acids. I try to keep a balance recipe of saturated/unsaturated fats when making a recipe. I don’t want to get rid of avocado oil (I LOVE that oil). Anyway, I’m hesitant to use rice bran oil as a complete replacement for olive oil partial because of this.
So, the question is: What do I do? I won’t cut olive oil out completely, but I do think I need to sub a portion of the oil for another (cheaper oil). my gut says go with a combination of olive oil and sunflower oil (despite sunflower’s shorter shelf life). I do add ROE to my oils when I get them, so I think overall my shelf life of each bar won’t be affected too much, but still… So, the question remains what do I do?
Have you been dealing with this same problem? What are your thoughts and opinions? I’d love to hear what you do/think/like?
September 11, 2013
I admit I was hesitant on buying another soap book. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it would be an awesome book it was that I have a SHELF FULL of soap books (and everything in between from hydrosols to cream soap). Every time I get into research something new I end up with a new book. So, I was like do I need another book??? Umm…yeah I did. :D Let’s face it, you can never have too many books (especially if they’re good)!
I’m glad I bought the book. It’s gorgeously presented…I wish some of the books I used when I first started soapmaking had been like this one! The basic information is similar to many of my other books, but presented in a manner that is a bit more friendly and explains certain aspects better. For example the fact that you NEED to melt down your palm oil. Something I didn’t learn about until about a year into making soap and even then I stumbled on it completely by accident.
The reason you REALLY want this book on your shelves (if you don’t already have it) are for the recipes! It’s not just different recipes, but step by step directions (with pictures) on how to do each recipe…something you’ll find most soap books lack. There’s a wide range of recipes covering everything from coloring to using natural ingredients.
I remember when I first started out and I researched (what felt like) hundreds of recipes. I was still learning about oils and didn’t have a clue how to formulate my own recipe. Nor did I know how to tell if a recipe I found was good or not. That alone led me to numerous failed batches. This book would have been so helpful back when I was starting out.
That said, it’s still a cool book to have now, even though I don’t necessarily need all the recipes. If nothing else it’s a nice base for me and I know how to alter the recipes to what I want so it will save me some trial and error too. There are definitely some recipes/techniques I’m going to try…of course I’ll end up putting my own spin on some of them.
Stay tuned for future posts as I try out my take on the following recipes from the book:
- Stained Glass
- Cupcake Cuties (I’m finally going to try whipping some CP soap! It’s only been on my list to do for over a year :D).
- Pumpkin IPS
- Coconut Milk Bars
- Calendula Cleaning Bar
September 5, 2013
I have also been experimenting with deodorants. I tried three different recipes. Two were solid bars and one was a cream. And the overwhelming favorite of everyone who tested it was the cream/paste. And I’m in totally agreement there.
- It’s a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. I do still sweat some, but I don’t smell. Even when I work out.
- It’s not sticky or clumpy and it doesn’t leave a residue.
- I actually found I didn’t mind the cream. I know most people cringe when they hear they have to apply it with their finger…but really I actually kind of liked it over the stick. And if you think about it, we use our hands to apply every other product to our body.
I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on it too:
Worked all day. It smells a tad strong but I like the consistency. – Shielagh
I preferred test sample #3. I didn’t mind it being in a jar. I actually preferred the jar over the tube, because I noticed I didn’t use as much. I liked the light fluffy feeling of the deodorant. It did burn, but only a mild burn more like a tingling. I did use it right after shaving. Even after sweating a lot after a workout I didn’t smell and I didn’t feel sticky. There was no residue on my clothing either. – Jessica
I’m super excited about this. I did have a mild burning sensation when I used it right after shaving. Which is probably my only complaint about the deodorant, but I also have super sensitive skin. I actually was able to kind of work around it too by shaving at night. Then by the time I used it in the morning I didn’t have that problem. All in all I’m really excited about the deodorant. I now have an all natural deodorant! Which was the last item I really needed to add to my skin care to completely switch over from store bought/chemical products.
I’m still having more people test it. I want to see what people think over a long span of time, but I’m hoping that I can add it to my product line sometimes this year.
August 30, 2013
A while back I started playing around with some new items I wanted to add to my line. I’m not a fan of lotions. I don’t like making them and not really a huge fan of using them. I think it’s more the dealing with preservatives in them (which I don’t have issues with preservatives, I know that most are perfectly safe, but I just wanted something that I could make and use for myself that didn’t have preservatives in them).
I started with a whipped body butter about a year ago. I started with a recipe the Bramble Berry shared and slowly started altering it a bit to change up some of the ingredients and just reformulating it to have more of the ingredients I loved in it.
Recently I wanted a facial cream. So I went back to the drawing board and created a couple of recipes. I’ve been testing them out and the Avocado Facial Cream I created has been a complete success. Everyone who’s tried it has loved it.
I have dry skin and this has made all the difference in the world. I put it on in the morning and evening. And I find my skin stays moisturized throughout the day (where normally I dry out by noon when I just used a lotion). It is a “butter.” It’s just oils and butters so it is a bit greasy, but it absorbs in fairly quickly and little bit goes a long way.
These are some of the feedback I got:
My skin type is dry. The first time I used the facial cream I noticed my face felt greasy. The second time I used it I used less and my face did not feel greasy. All I had to use was a very small amount. It made my face feel soft and smooth. I used it at night after washing my face and in the morning after washing my face. I have not experienced any breakouts since using the cream. And I will continue to use it, because it makes my face feel good and helps with my dry skin. – Jessica
I liked both facial creams. I used the avocado one during the day and the night time one at night :). I liked the feel of both of them. The night one I would use as soon as I got out of the shower in the evening and sometimes even with the face still a bit wet. I used both every day and still am. I have dry skin and have had no break outs from using it. – Jan
I excited to add this to my line of Bath and Body products! It doesn’t like the heat of the summer (no beeswax in it) so look for it to come sometime in Fall (probably late September).
August 22, 2013
Sometimes I feel that soap making can be like watching the clouds. I used to always try and find shapes and animals and other objects in the swirl of the clouds. This latest batch of Fresh Snow soap I felt like a kid again finding animals in every slice of soap!
Bat/Bird (depending on how I look at this one I see multiple animals):
Pumba (Remember Pumba from the Lion King? I swear I see him in this soap!):
Dragon (This one is my favorite!):
There you have it animals in soap! Do you see them too?
August 20, 2013
I finally sacrificed my dining room to create a more efficient work space for myself. After not having been able to USE my dining room for the past year because every chair had stuff on it and under it and not being able to see the top of the table there was so much stuff on it (oh and we won’t even mention trying to move around the table there were so many storage boxes) I decided it was time to just turn the space into a functioning work space.
Business has been growing, which is great, but it’s meant I’ve needed a much more efficient work space. I ordered some heavy duty storage shelves and a stainless steel work table. The dining room table is now taking up residence in my parents basement. I miss my table! But I love my new work space. The plan is to one day be in a bigger space and have a dedicated work room, but for now this new space works well!
I didn’t get a picture of the space when everything was pulled off of shelves, boxes and what not and all dumped in the middle of the room. I wish I had…it looked like a complete disaster zone! But things started to get organized once my shelves arrived. Here’s a look at the space with the two new shelves.
And here’s the new work space with the stainless steal table. Yeah I’m a happy girl! Can’t tell you how much happier I am working in this space.
Oh and I had to add another dry rack ha! Fall/winter is going to be busy!
August 15, 2013
So this month’s attempt turned out much better than last months…but it still had it’s problems. Mainly me not thinking :-P. I wanted to swirl blue and yellow…the problem with that was when you mix blue and yellow you get green! So the color theme didn’t quite end up how I wanted. That said I still think it’s a pretty neat looking soap.
I also tried a modified version of the challenge. I embedded a heart on the bottom and then poured a swirled soap into that (and didn’t do a top layer). I really liked that soap.
Two new soaps! It was fun and I’ll use this technique again for sure!