Friday, June 26, 2009

Newest soaps

It's been a little too hot and too humid to get more bath bombs made and it hasn't been tolerable for heat either, so we're slow on candles.
Though we've been testing honey in soap and have tried a few essential oil soaps, we've found some time to add to our line as well. All of these soaps will be ready for the fair in August!
Pictured above is what we call Pretty. This fragrance had a good debut in the spring in bath bombs, so we were finally able to get it into soap. Pretty is a mixtures of succulent nectars, plum blossoms and mimosa with hints of fragrant air (minus the humidity!)

Our most popular scent, behind Lilac, Lavender and honeysuckle, has been Misbehavin' (pictured above.)
The picture is a little deceiving. That nice soft pink has been gradually turning to the darker pink color of the embeds. It is a bar of flirty fun.

We decided to do a small batch of this and we're going to call it Heart Throb for that special man in your life (and if you steal it from him, we'll understand too.) It's everything reviews of this fragrance said it was -- good, sexy and a few things I won't repeat. Be sure to get a whiff of it while it lasts.

We do have other batches curing -- Caribbean Queen and South Pacific. Caribbean Queen will be released first. South Pacific has a month to sit while it cures.

We're still working on a fall lineup. We're pretty sure Apple Jack will return along with a little more than what we had last year, since it was gone in less than a month, but we're also trying to find a little something not-so-common too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Intro to EO and honey

While still experimenting with the use of honey in soap, we thought we might as well add a second testing element and get a better idea of how essential oils react in soap.
Surprisingly similar to the aromatics we currently use in all but the price range.
Essential oils are usually distilled or steamed variations of the actual plant. There are some synthetics out there, because some of these elements can be upwards of $100 for less than an ounce.
So our honey experiment has led us to this:
A batch of lavender essential oil mixed with a light-colored pure honey. We used two colors of purple, which look pretty cool to me in the wet stage. Since honey has the ability to slow trace, it's not really a surprise that these logs won't be pulled and cut for days, because of their softness.
With the exception of perhaps two batches, most of these went into our log molds a thin to medium trace. Not my favorite thickness to pour, but at the same time the soap was starting to heat and I wasn't wanting cracked or volcanic soap.

The second batch above is less than two hours old. This is a mix of basil eo with some spearmint and bergamot added and two colors of green were used. We opted to try the dark honey with this, so the butterscotch-colored batch we had has darkened the greens. In the wet state, I think the colors are surprisingly gorgeous. We'll see what happens as it hardens throughout gel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Honey and soaps

Honey in soap is apparently a skin delicacy according to some people.

So we're trying it, purely in the testing stages, to see if there is truth behind articles that say honey can aid in radiant skin. Its known to be a humectant and according to the National Honey Board, it has antimicrobial qualities. Humectants attract moisture and help retain it.

In soap, honey might impart a light, warm and sweet scent and adds to the lathering. We happen to love the lather off our bars and others do as well, so we will make tests in this arena too.

We have a light golden honey, a medium shade and an ultra dark one that has a nuttier aroma to it. None of these batches are more than four days old as of this post. Two of the three batches have fragrances added to it that should complement.

The light, golden honey in this batch is mixed with a fruit combination. This was by far the easiest of the honeys to blend with the oils and water. This is the oldest of the batches made. Made with full water, it will take longer than the other two to develop into a hard bar, but we'l see what happens in the fourth week.
In this batch, I used the darkest honey and had trouble getting it to incorporate, which is evident by the flecks in this uncolored batch. While it's known that honey soaps have a tendency to take a long time to come to trace, I discounted water and added buttermilk to this batch, which made trace easier to reach. I'm disappointed that there are golden flecks in this batch, but I'm looking forward to trying it just to get a feel. In this batch we're also using cocoa butter just to see what it's like compared to the mango butter we normally use. It's my opinion this is the complete tester batch with the addition of three ingredients. I'll probably have to sample this at more length.
The third batch simply has the medium honey, which was warmed before introducing it to the oils and that didn't go over as swimmingly. I fear the honey pearled an am expectly small bits of it to be in the soap. This may work as a gentle abrasion that works with dry skin. We'll have to wait for the tests, which will likely start four or more weeks from now.

Because of my issue with not being able to pick up the honey notes, I added a fragrance to this batch, reduced water and found that the scent actually helped to induce trace. It went into the mold at a medium-thick trace, since I had to work faster to get the two colors incorporated.
Actually I need to make a few more honey batches and do my best to put down the color and the fragrances. I'm most looking forward to the milk and honey version, but I'm intrigued by what could happen if I increase the amount of honey in each batch. Since honey and sugars will add heat, I have to be careful to avoid it in excess to keep the soap from turning into a volcano or cracking.
There are several variations to try. Depending on how testing results go, we could be adding honey soaps into our line. These batches will go through a national sampling. We'll analyze the results and then submit to a more strident field of testers before anything will appear on our shelves.

So here's to honey and what could be an interesting road ahead.