Last weekend I made a new winter soap called Snow Days. I get my supplies from a few different awesome soap suppliers – and am very loyal to whom I purchase from, once you know the quality together with great customer service you stick with that. So I am pretty reluctant to try someone new (burned once or twice – it’s hard to step out of my ‘loyal’ box). But I have been hearing such good things about a company called Mad Oils in Florida, that I had to give them a try. Well I gotta say – I AM MAD FOR Mad Oils. These ladies and their crew are dedicated to making and keeping their customers happy. I could do a whole blog post about this little fledgling company, but right now we’ll get back to the Snow Days soap. Other than my base recipe, I decided to do use only Mad Oils micas and fragrance oils, and walk my non-soaping friends through the process.
Once I’ve decided on my design, I choose the size of mold I want to use and then run my favorite soap recipe through a soap calculator to make sure all my measurements are right on and I get the best skin benefits from the ingredients I use. I then weigh out my ‘hard’ oils and butters (shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil) I then melt my palm oil (sustainable of course) and add it to the butters
I then add the remaining room temp liquid oils and give them all a little jussh with a stick blender. To make sure there are no little bits of butters left.
I have already pre-mixed my micas (that’s Vanna White mica and Silverfin blue mica from MadOils), mixed and weighed my fragrance oils (that’s Snow Witch sooo yummy from MadOils) and other ingredients, this is when I add my dry ingredients (clays, colloidal oats etc) and give the oils another jussh with the stick blender to dissolve the powders.
Once all my ready oils are at a low temp (I like to soap when my oils are at less than 90 degrees), it’s now time to goggle-up and add the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) that I mixed the night before with a little distilled water (this mixture is ideally within 10 degrees of my oils). I carefully pour the NaOH mixture into the oils and slowly start to stick blend in short bursts until I reach a light trace (no more separation between the oils and NaOh mix, but still thin liquid). Now it’s time to add my organic heavy cream, followed by the fragrance oil and blend well with the spatula, stick blend a tad if needed (don’t want to thicken my trace too much or it will be too thick to do any design work). Once all the ingredients are mixed I pour the batter out into separate containers to add different colors.
Once the colorant is mixed in, I added chopped blue/green/purple soap bits into the white soap and mixed well) I have my blue and white mixtures ready to pour into the mold. My plan for this soap is a nice blue bottom – let that set a little, then carefully spoon on the white with soap bits to cover and then drop-swirl thin streams of blue into the white.
I save a tad of the blue to decorate the top, once all the batter has been poured into the mold,I bang the mold pretty hard several times on the floor to get any air bubbles out of the batter. Then I drizzle on the remaining blue batter and give it a bunch of swirly – scoopy turns with a small spoon. Once I like it, time for pictures – then I slide the wooden lid onto the mold, cover well with heavy towels and let it gel overnight (the gel process heats up the batter and makes the color much more vibrant)
The oils react with the sodium hydroxide in this first 24 hours and soaponify, there is no trace of the sodium hydroxide left, just a beautiful hard log of glycerin filled soap. The next morning I remove the pink silicone liner from the wooden mold and pull the sides away to let the soap log air out a little for another hour or so, then I remove it carefully from the silicone and let it sit out for several hours to dry. Usually that evening or next morning I put the log on my cutter and cut each slice – every single time I marvel at what a fun process this is and how awesome each slice turns out. Such a fun hobby/job/business I have.
After about 3-5 days I trim the soap bars and place them on my drying racks to cure for the next 4-5 weeks. They then get labels and bagged and go to Valley Fort Farmers Market (or some other fun venue I may have joined) to be purchased by some cool customer that appreciates the joy of homemade artisan soaps!