Lavender II

I gave another shot at same colors swirling.   This time, I covered the wire hangers with straws to make a thicker line.  I’ve also reduced the portion of purple.  I was too anxious to see the result, thus didn’t patiently wait for 24 hours to open the mold. It took me quite bit time to unmold it, and the soap was too soft to cut.  Which resulted in the surface not being smooth at all after cutting.  Sort of looks like a colorful ink blot.





I always wanted to try swirling approach to color and here is the result.

Although the pattern is not what I had expected, it has an overall unpredictable sense of chaos with a touch of impatience.  It seems to scream fluidity.

I used a relatively small scrap wire hangers for the actual swirling.  What I’ve learned is that if you like the results with broad-brush lines, you’ll need to use something like a spoon handle to achieve that result.  Personally, I feel that the purple color portion is little too overwhelming.  Next time, I will reduce the proportion of purple, so that the overall look lighter and not too crowded.  I need more practice to control it better.


Calendula Soap II and III


My family like the Calendula Soap I made in my first post a lot. The only thing is that the color was not as fresh as it first came out of the mold two months later.  I want to give another try. Since the Annatto infusion oil has very nice yellow in my previous color testing, and the color didn’t seem change so far, I decided to use it instead.  It turns out I have to make two batches because the first one I forgot the orange essential oil will make soap turn yellow, and I was going to make the top part white so that the Calendula petals will stand out more.  In the second batch, I reduced the Annatto infusion oil about 1% of total weight. So instead of 9%, I used 8% to light the yellow a little.

Here is the comparison. The front one is with less Annatto infusion oil and without orange essential oil. The back one is the first batch with orange essential oil.

Click on the image to see a bigger version.calendula comparison

First batch

calendula v2

Second batch

calendula v3

Apple Cider, Red Wine and Beer Soap


, ,

I have been experimenting with different infusions and additives when making cold process soap. It has been reach a point that I have nothing else to try. During the weekend, I thought I’d try incorporating apple cider, red wine, and beer into my bars.

Based on suggested ratios of oils & lye, I completely substituted the distilled water with apple cider and replaced 15% of total weight of oil with kelp infusion oil. I thought the cider will give the soap a brownish color, with the kelp infusion oil added which supposed to be green tint, the soap should have some green show up, but turns out..


Beer and wine have been very popular for beauty product.  The antioxidants in red wine protect your skin and prevent it from aging.  Beer sediment (brewer’s yeast) can help improve the symptoms of acne by slowing down sebum production and killing off the bacteria that triggers acne. Plus the sugars and carbs in beer and wine make good lather.  I’ve never run across one for beer or wine soap. Thought it will be worth to give a try.

For both wine and beer, you will need to boil it for 10 to 15 minutes to remove the alcohol and carbonation, and then freeze the remaining.  I replaced the distilled water with the frozen liquid in my recipe. Added maddar powder in red wine one to get the wine color, and added rosemary powder to the beer one, at trace. The rosemary powder suppose be speckled, and sandy cream with a slight green tint. Probably because of the lye-beer solution, it doesn’t come up with any greenish color.

IMG_1813 IMG_1867

Facial Spa Soap with French Green Clay & Poppy Seeds


, ,

Wanted to make a soap for busy (or lazy) guys who don’t want to use a facial cleanser and a scrub separately, so I combined French Green Clay and Poppy Seeds and voilà the 2-in-1 facial spa soap is here.

French green clay has amazing absorbent powers to remove impurities and toxins from the skin. It also tones and stimulates the skin by bringing fresh blood to damaged skin cells, revitalizing the complexion, and tightening pores according to Mountain Rose Herbs.  Poppy seeds gently exfoliate the skin and unclog pores.  So the two ingredients creates a perfect combination for men with combination to oily skin to use daily, those with dry to normal skin and women to use once to twice a week.   Notice I only added poppy seeds to the middle section of the soap to avoid over exfoliation.  And it has 10% of Shea Butter for extra moisture and nourishment for the skin,

My husband has been using it for about a week now and he is loving how it clears and moistens his skin, how it smells (added three different essential oils) and that he only needs to use one product to clean his face from now on!

Coconut Milk Soap




We have previously shared a post about making the wonderful Goat Milk Soap, but for people who prefer vegan soap, it’s not an option.  So today we are going to talk about Coconut Milk.  Coconut milk is high in saturated fat just like goat milk and it makes super creamy and silky vegan soaps!

This is an original recipe that we created which uses a variety of high quality oil and butter including Avocado, Rice Bran, and Sweet Almond just to name a few.  For coconut milk, we picked the organic one with only two ingredients and no preservatives.  Coconut milk was added at thin trace and the soap was kept in the fridge for 24 hours.


This soap turns out really nice, it’s actually one of our favorites.  The coconut oil and coconut milk along with the sugar in the milk create a delicious lather!  Really love this luxurious vegan soap!

Making Soap with Wine – Part One: Sake



Sake is a strong Japanese wine made from fermented rice which is abundant in essential amino acids, that’s why sake makers’ hands are like babies’ hands.  Who doesn’t want baby soft skin? Hence the idea of adding sake to soap and skin care was born and has become very popular.  However, making soap with any liquid other than distilled water can be tricky so research and experience are important.  Basically there are two ways to incorporate wine to the soap making process. The first one is to chill the wine and and add lye to it.  The second way is to make a concentrated lye solution with a portion of the liquid required for the recipe and then use wine as the rest of the liquid needed and add it at thin trace.

Tried the second way the first time the other day and it was a success!  Was worrying that the soap may seize (trace acceleration) or the color may turn dark or brown, instead, the soap has a nice light color and a silky, creamy feel.  Will make the same soap again and put it in the fridge to skip the gel phase,  the color should be even lighter.  Will post more pictures for comparison.

Next project, Facial Soap with Sake Kasu –  the lees left over from sake production, it has even more age defying enzyme than Sake.  Stay tuned for Part Two and keep soaping!

Natural Coloring with Herbs, Spices and Clays – Part Two

Past few days, I have been trying to compare gel versus non-gel technique of forming a soap and the results of using infusion oil versus simply using powder.

For a quick reference, gel is a method of molding a soap by wrapping it with some kind of towel to keep the soap warm.  On the flip side, non-gel technique is to simply leave the soap in room temperature.

Basically this is a trial of all different mixtures of colors mediums and applications of soap formation to see the different effects.  Here are some of the interesting results. Click on the image to see a bigger version.


Top: Parsley Infusion Oil
Bottom: Alkanet Infusion Oil

The infusion oil took 12% of the total weight. The small soap on the top used the non-gel so that you can see the Alkanet infusion oil resulted in a light purple/blue. The bigger one at bottom using gel shows up darker and richer.  Surprising, Parsley infusion oil is not as green as using powder in both gel and non-gel, thus both have very similar color.



Top: Tumeric Powder
Bottom: Tumeric Infusion Oil

The effect of gel versus non-gel is more evident in the Tumeric Powder soaps.  The small one on the right is non-gel and it resulted in a bit more orange color compared to the left gel version.  Infusion oil part of the soap resulted in a more creamy texture with no gel. The color itself is very similar to each other, not much difference between the two.



Top: Pumpkin Seeds Powder
Bottom: Paprika Infusion Oil

Pumpkin seeds powder didn’t have speckled effect like Maddar, Tumeric or Parsley, and the color is very light yellow regardless of the method.  Paprika Infusion oil turns into peach color in the non-gel soap. Gel version have a lighter salmon color.  Overall, Gel is richer/brighter than non-gel (small one).



Top: Maddar Root Powder
Bottom: Annatto Infusion Oil

I didn’t get a chance to make a non-gel version but thought the result is an eye-opener.  The Maddar powder came out in a soft pink as I expected, almost like  strawberry ice cream.  However, I was expecting the Annatto to turn into orange. Little surprise for me when I took it out from the mold.  It’s golden yellow, very rich and almost reflects a rich cheese color.