Saturday, June 2, 2012

Week 11 of the weekly "Soap Challenge".

This week's soap challenge was to make an "All Natural Soap". So what exactly does that mean, no synthetic fragrances or colors can be added. You could use plant-based essential oils for scent or no scent added at all. I looked to see what I had on hand that I could use and decided on a calendula soap using a peppermint and spearmint essential oil blend for the fragrance. The first step in making this soap was to infuse the calendula in olive oil. To speed up the infusing process I used a crock pot (dedicated to soap making only) and added the calendula and olive oil and heated it on a low temperature for about 4 hours. I then strained the mixture using a coffee filter to remove the calendula petals. I used 1/2 aloe vera juice and 1/2 water to mix with my lye . After making the soap base and mixing in the EO I divided out some of the soap base into 2 measuring cups for the top and set aside.  With the remainder of the soap I added some dried calendula and mixed it with the stick blender and poured that into the soap mold.

Now for the top of the soap, I decided I wanted to use paprika as my natural colorant. In one of the measuring cups I added 1/2 tsp. of the paprika to the soap base and mixed, I wanted it darker so I kept adding 1/2 tsp. at a time until I liked the color. I ended up using a total of 1 1/2 tsp. I was afraid if I used too much it would be too scratchy.  I wanted a nice red color to go along with the peppermint EO but when I put the color on the top it reminded me more a tomato soup color. With the other measuring cup I left it the natural soap color and I will use this as a color to put on top of the paprika color and swirl.  I am happy how the color did turned darker after the soap went through the gel phase The next time I try paprika as a natural colorant I think I will go ahead and add more to the soap and see what happens and what color I get.

This is the last soap challenge for now. I am not sure if Amy will be offering more challenges after her busy summer season, if she does I will be very excited to participate in doing more.  Amy I would like to thank you for all your hard work putting this challenge together for us and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have learned and how grateful I am that you would share your awesome skills with us.

Please to go to Great Cakes Soapworks  and see Amy's beautiful soaps.

Also go to this link for and take a look at all the other great soaps that other soap artists have made for this weeks challenge :  

Here are some of the pictures of the process and the finished soap.

Oils ready for the lye, essential oils, calendula, and paprika
all ready to go.

Soap base seperated for the top. Adding in the calendula
for the main part of the soap.

Starting to mix in the paprika for the top soap color.

Here is the top colored with the paprika.
Looks more orange than red.

I added the uncolored soap base to the colored base
 and swirled it in.

Here it is just out of the soap mold. I like the color
much better after the soap went through the gel phase.

Cut Bars. I love the look of the calendula in the bottom layer.

Calendula  Mint  Soap