Buttermilk, Carrot & Honey Soap

This was my first attempt at a milk and carrot soap. It can be tricky as milk and honey heat up quite a bit with the potential of volcanic problems if you are not careful!

The milk and pureed organic carrots are frozen to keep the temperatures down. The honey was added at the last minute. As I poured into the moulds the colour of the soap went very dark because of the sugar in the honey, during the next 24 hours it went almost toffee colour. The soap was left uncovered in the coldest room in the house. After 48 hours, thankfully, the colour had become lighter in shade and no cracks had appeared. Sometimes when using honey and milk the temperature gets so high the soap can bubble over and cracks can appear on the top of the soap. It will be ready in a few more weeks, I am really looking forward to using this one.

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Mountain Man Resurrection

December 2015

Dark Winter

Back in the Summer you will remember that I made snowballs from a Mountain Man soap batch that did not quite go to plan. Recycling soap can be fun and a new Dark Winter soap was made 3 weeks ago.

A natural soap colourant was used, giving a wonderful dark black colour to the soap. This is obtained from activated charcoal sourced from coconut shells. This is a superior natural charcoal with much higher absorbancy compared to other activated charcoals.

The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It’s also good for spot treatments, rashes & bites. Added to aloe vera gel it makes a great poultice for problem skin.

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Soap Behaving Badly!! - A spectacular soap seize can be saved if YOU ACT QUICKLY

A few weeks ago I had my very first “seized soap” experience after adding a fragrance oil....and it was spectacular!!  All was going well, preparation completed. All oils melted, colours blended, fragrance weighed out...ready to start.

After adding the lye to the oils I brought the mixture to a light trace.  I divided half the mixture into 2 pots to colour different shades of pink.  All was fine. I waited until the last possible minute before adding the fragrance oil as a precaution, since I had not used this oil before and was unsure how it might react.

The plan was to do an in the pot swirl, so the fragrance was added very slowly to the jugs, stirring only to avoid acceleration. Immediately it went VERY thick. Panic!! - I was barely able to pour the mixture.  I quickly emptied it into the moulds and pushed down to flatten it before it became completely solid.

You can see from the pictures below how solid it was, it was just like playdoh in texture and appearance.

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The soap set hard in the mould almost instantly. I piped on top from a 2nd batch of oils that I had ready, which took a very steady hand, then I covered the soap, left it....and hoped for the best.

4 days later I unmoulded and cut it... and to my huge relief it seemed to have worked! The design of the soap was not as planned, but coming as close to disaster as it did, I don’t think it turned out too bad.

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Mountain Man Survivors - A 'Happy' Accident

I had wanted to make a ‘man’ soap for sometime and, living amongst the beautiful Cairngorm mountains as I do, what could be better than to try a two-layer Mountain Man Soap.
This batch was a favourite of mine using hemp milk and all was going well, when I realised that with diminished lighting as evening fell, I had accidentally, oops… put spirulina on as a pencil line instead of charcoal, which also meant that the mixture for the top was not green as planned but black!! Panic struck for a few moments but it was done and there was no way to change it.  The loaf babies were put under towels to insulate and I hoped for the best.
Two days later they were ready to cut but ~ the two layers had not stuck together and came apart whilst I was cutting.  The problem was that I had put on far too thick a layer of spirulina (when doing a pencil line it must be a VERY thin line to allow the other layers to stick together).
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I was so disappointed at the loss of almost 2 loaf batches when I remembered a phrase from artist Bob Ross, ‘we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents’.
Some Mountain Man slices did survive and have stuck together as normal and, although this batch is very ‘limited edition’, I actually think it is better than I had first planned. I will definitely make it like this again! (with a much thinner line of spirulina, obviously!)
As for the ‘victims’ which didn’t survive, I cut the cream base into chunks and rolled them into balls, then cut the charcoal soap into rugged chunks to be used in a future mountain soap endeavour.  I have to admit that it really was rather therapeutic, massaging the cubes of soap into balls ~ quite meditative!!!  Here in the Cairngorms over the winter months it gets really cold and snowy, so an idea of a snowball soap is underway, although I have never tried to embed into a cold process soap before so that will be another learning curve.
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The end result was not as planned but I like it so happy accidents can sometimes work out better! !