Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I've heard a lot of people say good riddance to 2008, seems it wasn't the best year for many of us. I agree it will be nice to start off with a clean slate, though in reality that is an option we have every day. It doesn't require a New Year to make changes or have a different outlook, but that's a topic for another post. I am in agreement that I'm glad 2008 is over and that hopefully 2009 will be a year filled with peace, happiness and good health for all.
I was able to get some photos during one of my soap making procedures and wanted to post them. I'm on my seventh batch and have only been soaping for the past 5 days. I am definitely an addict. I'm making notes on each batch to refer back to later so I can remember what worked, what didn't work and any new ideas I might have. So far I've had both failures and successes but I've definitely learned from my mistakes.

This first photo is of the oils used for soap making. I use predominantly olive oil, which is wonderfully conditioning for the skin, as well as some coconut and palm oils, which help create lather and harden up the soap. The oils need to be melted together and then brought to a temperature of about 110 degrees.

Below is a photo of the temperature reading.

While the oils are melting the lye is mixed with water, which requires safety gear of long sleeves, goggles and gloves as the lye mixture produces quite a bit of heat and can cause burns if splashed. Below is the lye water mix and the oils, which are now ready to be combined. The oils are stirred constantly while the lye is slowly poured in. The mixture is stirred until it reaches a thin pudding consistency, which is called trace (below right).

Once the mixtures are completely combined and have reached trace they are poured into molds and covered for 18-24 hours, which allows them to cool off slowly. After they have set they are cut into bars and set on a drying rack for 4-6 weeks to cure. The soap is completely usable at this stage but won't last long because the bars are soft. When they are cured they are hard and won't turn to mush when you use them. I've been pleased even when washing out the pans and molds; the soap lathers like crazy and feels so soft to the touch. The soap isn't drying, which was the main purpose behind my wanting to make my own. I love hand made soap. Commercial soap makers use chemicals and remove the glycerin from their soaps because they can sell it separately and make more money. Soap without the glycerin isn't conditioning. When soap is hand made the glycerin remains in the soap and it's also possible to superfat the soap, which makes it even better for your skin. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this in the future.


Ellie said...

Happy New Year Kim! The soap looks wonderful. Would never know its a knew hobby for you. The bars in the pic look professional (to me at least). So glad you're having fun with your new hobby. :) -Ellie

Tina said...

Oh Kim it looks awesome! Your going to be so silky smooth ! I'm sure you'll smell pretty darn good too!

Here's to following your heart-Tina

environmental fiend said...

Way to go Kim! Looks like your soap making was a success! I am curious though: did you try any other batches adding other stuff??

I put a picture of my latest batch of "Q" soap on my FB page. It sold like hot cakes at my work!