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.

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