Monday, August 27, 2012

Mystery Fragrance Final Review

If you have not read my previous blog post about testing Pure Fragrance Oil you might want to read it first before you continue on this one: The Fun of Testing Mystery Fragrance
Again, the objective is to use the exact same formula, same sodium hydroxide concentration, same FO usage and compare the end result.  And here are the group shots of all with the control bar which is unscented and uncolored.

#8: Smells like fruit cake in the holiday season
#5: Sugared plum? very sweet with cough syrup undertone
#4: Cinnamon
#9: Heavy grape or berry scent, a bit like cough syrup
#14: Scent is amazing, fruity but fresh and tart 

#3: Smells like rum cake or eggnog
#12: A little fruity, a little floral, but fresh like snow, very winter type floral
#2: Nice apple cider type scent
#7: Cinnamon pumpkin type scent
#10: Very strong peppermint scent, like candy cane but less sweet
#6: I didn't like it first, but when added to soap, the powdery musk/sandalwood comes out and it actually smells light but soothing
#13: Clove, lots of clove, patchouli, and other spice
#15: Juicy with citrus & sugarcane & green leaves.  lot of that complexity lost in soap
#11: This smells exactly like Brambleberry's Woodland Elves. Very Christmas scent with berries, pine, and spice

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lanolin Body Butter

Have you neglected your feet through out the summer wearing sandals or walk barefooted?  While it is more comfortable letting your feet breath, it is also very wearing on the skin.  It is very easily forgotten because we hardly look down there??  As the summer is ending and the fall/winter coming in, I'm starting to think about foot cream to repair all that cracks I suddenly see under my heels.
Last year I made a version of anhydrous body butter that was 99% pure skin beneficial butter and oils.  See post here: Is Butter Better?  Yes 99% because I decided to add 1% preservative to protect everyone from bacteria or mold if God forbid some one carelessly dip their wet fingers in the jars.  Theoretically if there is no water present in a product it needs no preservative.  Bactria, yeast, and mold only grow in environment where there's H2O.
This year I'm trying out a new formula using 20% glycerin.  Glycerin is a well known humectant.  But if you only use glycerin in a relatively dry area, very low humidity environment, it might actually do the opposite for your skin, it might draw even more moisture out of your skin to reach inside outside equilibrium.  However, if it is used in conjunction with a moisture retainer, it can be sealed into your skin without "leaking" the humectant back out.  So here's my new totally not vegan body butter ingredient list:
Cocoa butter
Mango butter
Lanolin wax
Bee's wax
Sesame oil (high content of Vitamin E)
Meadowfoam oil
Aloe vera extract
Natural Vitamin E
BTMS (natural derived conditioning emulsifier)
Modified Tapioca starch (to cut grease) 

1st whip:
 For body butter to get fluffy I do a triple whip.  What does that mean?  That means after I melted butter and oils together, I put it in my refrigerator to cool down temperature fast to a semi solid stage again.  Whip it with a hand held whisk mixer.  Then pop it back to the refrigerator again to solidify.  Take it out and whip it again.

2nd whip: 

I repeated that again and whip the third time with added preservative and fragrance then package it in jars:

3rd whip:
 You can tell from the photo transformation that the more times I repeated the whip, the smoother it gets!  The end product looks totally like heavy whip cream you see on cakes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let's End The Tropical Vacation With Lava Flow

This ends my summer tropical vacation series soap.  If you have not seen the previous 2 soap creation inspired by tropical cocktail drinks, here's Sip the Mojito, Would You?!   And here's Mango Lava  And if it's not enough for you just look at photos, here's the video of making Mojito soap: How I Make Mojito

I usually have some kind of inspiration before making the soap.  It can be a photo, it can be a color scheme, it can be a name or just an idea.  3 weeks ago I proposed on my Shieh Design Studio Facebook Page to see which tropical cocktail drink would my followers want to see me make.  This is the photo I posted:

The final vote obviously went to Lava Flow!  The funny thing is, none of the voters really cared about how Lava Flow taste like, all they want is the visual because it's so striking.  Lava Flow is a famous Hawaiian cocktail, it's made with coconut rum and pineapple juice blended into smoothy then poured the strawberry puree right on top to create the lava.  It is so yummy!  So, here's what I came up with:
It is a cold process soap swirled in melt & pour glycerin soap base and topped with melt & pour strawberry halves.  And of course how can I leave the soap without a little drizzle and a little fairy dust (glitter)?!
This soap is made with coconut milk and coconut water.  The fragrance is a mix of strawberry, vanilla cream, coconut, and a splash of pineapple jasmine. 
My typical bar weight about 4.5 oz.  But this one went over 5 oz.! This is a big bar!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Using Fresh Herb

One hand full of bundle cilantro is only 50 cents here in the the Chinese grocery store, and Thai basil is slightly more costly but not that much more.  The problem is, these are easily perishable in 3 days.  Unless you are cooking for a big fest, the left over will usually get wasted, end up in trash can or decompose.  I heard of soapers using fresh mint to soap and it comes out a nice green!  I wonder if I can do the same with cilantro and basil, would be nice if the color and the scent can survive lye!
 I should have left it cool...  Instead, I put it in the oven with some heat to force gel...  I thought it would darken the color to make the green more noticeable.  Well, I was right, it did darken, just not to the vibrant side!  It went mossy, olive green.  You can see the leaf green bits from cilantro & basil puree, dark green speckles from dry mint powder, and the white tiny spots.  Those white spots are not lye pocket or butter not melted correctly.  They are tiny jojoba beads I added for visual contrast and extra gentle exfoliation!  This will be a perfect gardener's soap to scrub off the dirt after hard yard work.
This smells so fresh and not over powering!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Fun of Testing Mystery Fragrance Oils

Last year I had the honor of testing Brambleberry's mystery fragrance oils they were considering selling.  That was a lot of fun.  We the testers don't get paid, no financial ties to any of the suppliers.  I do it only because I can be the first one to test the upcoming quality of the fragrance oil and have input on what suppliers are stocking.  This year, Pure Fragrance Oils who is based in California (which is close enough for me to consider it local), had asked me if I would be interested to do the same for them.  I gladly accepted the challenge and these are my initial results so far in cold process soap (all veggie recipe with 31% lye concentration & 8% superfat 5% FO):
Mystery fragrance #2
Apple cider kind of scent, sweet and spicy but not sickening.  Behaved surprisingly well, slight to none acceleration.  But it did turn the batter yellow when pouring.  Color came back to normal but 24 hours later it did discolor to beige with yellow tint.

Mystery fragrance #7
Pumpkin spice kind of scent, very warm for the fall.  Behaved just like a spicy fragrance, seized and riced right the way.  It heated up so fast it was hard to hold the pot when I tried to glob the "mashed potato" into the mold.

Mystery fragrance #9
The least of my favorite, smells like cough syrup out of the bottle.  It is hard to pin point what scent this is, maybe heavy grape or berry?  This one did not accelerate at all, plenty of time for me to play in the pot swirl.  It did discolor the soap to pale yellow (top drizzle is unscented soap to compare) and lost the intensity of the sweetness.  I hope the scent comes back soft and nice eventually.

Mystery fragrance #12
I have 2 favorites, this one and the next one #14.  This one is fruity but not sweet, has floral notes in it but strikes me to be the winter type fragrance instead of spring because of the green notes.  This one discolor the least to ivory white with slight acceleration only.

Mystery fragrance #14
Fruit but fresh and tart is what I put down on my notes.  Unfortunately this one went fast, no way if you want to put colors in it.  I tried, and instead trapped tons of big air pockets all over the log of soap.  Another "mashed potato"!