Soapmakers: Thoughts on calculating water or using discounts

Clean WaterDear Soapmakers,

Recently I have become aware of some difficulties soap makers are having while trying to figure their water needs. Let me try to help clear the air (water?) here.

1) Water is needed in your soap making process. This is not an ingredient that needs to be weighed to 1/100th of an ounce accuracy. Any excess water will evaporate so only worry about non-variable ingredients when you spend time weighing.

2) Always base your water needs on the amount of fat and never the amount of lye. Recent comments to me indicate that some people are teaching to use an amount of water that is double the amount of the lye needed. Let’s cover two examples:
a batch of soap that is 16 ounces of oils, the lye calculation needs 3.68 ounces, water would then be 7.36 ounces
second batch of soap that is 16 ounces of oils, the lye calculation needs 1.55 ounces, water would then be 3.10 ounces.

For the first batch in this example 7.36 ounces of water is quite fluid yet still workable. It will take longer for the soap to cure because the extra water must evaporate. Trace may be slow to come because of the excess water.

The second batch has too little water, trace will happen very quickly, it will be difficult to color or scent because the soap progresses too fast. Both batches are the same size, 16 ounces of fat. The first batch will likely be 22 to 23 ounces of finished soap, the second batch will likely be 20 to 21 ounces of finished soap.

How to correctly calculate the amount of water needed for each batch:

Calculate the amount of fat you are using. Multiply this amount by 32 to 42%. If you live where: the air is so dry your sheets crunch when you crawl into bed, daily reports of how low the relative humidity is in your region appear on the evening news, without supplemented water your lawn will be brown for 11 months of the year then you know you need closer to the 42%. This is about to 6.75 fluid ounces per lb of fats. If you can’t remember when the last dry day happened, mold is a constant problem, moss grows on every roof top in your city, and everyone uses the term muggy or damp on a daily basis, or if you own and use a rain coat/slicker regularly – you should use closer to 32% which is about to 5 fl oz per lb of fats. You may have needs to use more or less water than these amounts but at least you are now calculating for your needs instead of aiming for moving, unreliable target.

Think I might have missed the mark? If so, then why do we use different amounts of scenting oils when we make peppermint soap vs vanilla soap? Different needs require different amounts. Use what you need, not what is excessive or too little.

Need help with your recipes? Just comment on this blog and I will help walk you through the math.

Cheers!
Tina

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Summer Fun with the Kids: Lip Solutions Kit

What is another fun activity to do with the kids this summer? Making lip balms of course!

The Lip Solutions Gift Kits comes all complete with your choice of Lip Solutions (Vegan, Lanolin, Shea or Mango), pipettes, jars and lids, flavor oil, and LABELS! This is a fun project that the kids enjoy and means you will always be able to find a lip balm when you need one. We picked several lip solutions, added flavor and then the kids were off, filling their containers. We also had a few lip balm tubes and Lip Balm Slider Tin that the kids filled. Now the kids have one for them, one for a friend, one for them,, one for the other friend, one for them, one for me and another one just for them!

The Mango Lip Solutions Gift Kit includes:

Making the lip balm is easy. Open the jar of Lip Solutions, melt it in the microwave for approximately 1-1/2 minutes. Stir with a pipette. Add flavor oil, stir well. Use the pipette to transfer the lip balm from the Lip Solutions Jar into the small lip balm jars. Allow to cool. Cap and label! You now will have about 35 lip balms to share with your friends and family!

If you want to color your Lip Balms, consider getting our Oil Soluble Lip Colors. You will only need a small amount to color all of your lip balms. We tried this and made a wonderful brown color. (See bottom photo. We capped them with the clear caps.)

If you like your lip balms super sweet, more like a dessert, then you may wish to add a bit of Sugar Kisses Flavor Oil or Sugar Baby Flavor Oil to the mixture. We think all the flavor oils offered can stand alone without the additional sweetener, but some people prefer a sweeter lip balm. If you are one of those sweet types, then we have the sweetener you need.

So, choose your favorite Lip Solutions Kit and enjoy a fun kid friendly activity this summer!

Tonya

Collecting the supplies to make lip balms!

Collecting the supplies to make lip balms!

Filling the lip balm jars.

Filling the lip balm jars.

Carefully filling some lip balm tubes.

Carefully filling some lip balm tubes.

All of the finished lip balm!

All of the finished lip balm!

Brown lip balm made with the Oil Soluble Lip Colors.

Brown lip balm made with the Oil Soluble Lip Colors.

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Summer Fun with the Kids: Clay Masks

Masks. What a super easy and fun activity to do with your kids! My teenagers love to create and use their own clay masks. They love clay masks so much that I often find containers in their bathroom with the residue of their clay concoctions clinging to the container.  Kids!

Today I will show you how easy it is to make your own clay masks at home. My teenagers had a few friends over to put together some small bags of clay. We had some small bags and put in approximate 1-2 tablespoons of clay per bag. We used zip top bags for easy use later when they want to add in the liquid portion to their mask. We labeled each bag and when they are ready will add in fresh water, honey or plain yogurt into their bag, mix well.

There are a few clay options to choose from; Bentonite, French Green, Pink Kaolin, to Morocco Red; you also have a variety of additives you can add to your clay; choose what you like from the following.

Water – great for oily skin
Half and half – awesome for combination skin
Jojoba Oil – fabulous for dry skin
Honey
Plain yogurt
Powdered milk
Mashed bananas
Ground oatmeal – wonderful for oily skin

Add your liquid of choice into the clay a little at a time, not too much or your mud mask will become too thin. You want to get a pudding consistency then apply the mask to the face and neck. Allow the mask to dry approximately 10-15 minutes, then rinse completely off with a warm washcloth.

You can use a facial mask on any part of your body, but it is a good idea to try it out first on the inside of your elbow. Remember, it is always a good idea to check for any allergies first.

Happy Mud Facials Everyone!

Tonya

 

Clay Options

Clay Options

 

Additives for your clay

Additives for your clay

 

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Wahoo! The Yellow Lip Balm Color is back in stock!

I am so thrilled to announce that the Yellow Lip Balm Color is back in stock! I have been dying to make a few projects using this color and haven’t been able to get any. I know I haven’t been the only one trying to get some. Well, it is back and waiting for you to put it to work.If you haven’t used this fabulous color before, here are a few projects you can do using this fun product!

Plumberry Spice Celebration Soap
This fabulous soap uses Melt and Pour Soap Base, color and glitter. It is beautiful and simple enough project, you can do it with the kids!

Lemon Poppy Seed Soap
I love lemon poppy seed cookies. They taste so darn good and are wonderful all year long. In summer, in winter, with hot cocoa, coffee or even iced tea. This Cold Process soap was inspired by these fabulous cookies. We even posted the recipe for the cookies! Yummy!

Coffee & Cream Lip Gloss
If you are looking for a scrumptious lip gloss recipe, look no further! This recipe tastes just like a sweet, creamy latte. We even added a little shimmer to this gloss, but remember, shimmer is optional. Just like the whipped cream on top of your morning coffee, you can have it with or without. You have all the power!

Testing Colors – Part 3
Have you ever wondered what it would look like if you added one of the oil soluble colors to cold process or melt & pour soap? Well wonder no longer. We have already done the testing! I highly recommend using the Yellow Lip Balm color is you are looking for bold and stunning yellows. No dingy yellow here!

Honey Flavored a la Lip Crème
Fresh honey right out of the sun warmed jar tastes so good. I grew up trailing my father through the field checking on our beehives and sneaking a bite every time we harvested honey. This delicious lip balm reminds me of those days and that wonderful flavor. If you have ever gotten honey from a local beekeeper, this is the recipe to try. You will love it!

 

 

Taylor

Melt & Pour on the left and Cold Process on the right.

Testing Colors – Part 3

Finished lip gloss.

Coffee & Cream Lip Gloss

Finished Cookies with a Cup of Vanilla Tea

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies with a Cup of Vanilla Tea

Honey Flavored a la Lip Creme

Honey Flavored a la Lip Creme

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Summer Fun with the Kids: Melt & Pour Soap

The kids had so much fun with making the bath bombs that we decided to do another fun project with Melt & Pour Soap.

We had the kids pick some fun molds that they wanted to use. They chose some animal and flower molds! They also wanted to embed some objects in the soap. We decided on using a bag and embedding some sea creatures into some of the Melt & Pour Soap that we colored blue to make it look like the ocean water. Ava chose an octopus and coral to place into her soap and Dylan chose a fish, shark and a treasure chest to place into his soap. If we added ALL the objects that the kids wanted, we would have ended up with the largest soap ever!

After melting the soap, we colored it with some premixed Ocean Blue color. We allowed the soap to cool for a little to help prevent the bags from melting and leaking everywhere. Once the soap was cool enough, we then poured the soap into a plastic bag and placed the objects into the soap. After placing the objects in the soap, we set the bags of soap with sea creature embeds into a bowl until completely cooled. The kids will definitely enjoy their showers and tubs as they wait for their sea creatures to come out of the soap!

For the flower and animal molds we melted the Melt & Pour Soap, added in some color and poured directly into the molds. Allow to cool completely, then pop them out of the molds. If you have bubbles on the top of your soap from enthusiastic mixing, lightly spritz the soaps with some rubbing alcohol to help the bubbles pop. You do want to spritz your soaps shortly after pouring into the molds before the soap has time to set. Soaps stuck in the molds? One easy way to remove your soaps from the mold is to spray a thin coat of oil into each mold prior to filling with soap.

This was a super fast and easy project to do with the kids. I hope this inspires you to come up with some fun projects to do with the kids during the summer break. What a fun way to keep them active as well as create some fun memories with the kids!

Enjoy!

Tonya

Filling the Sunflower Mold.

Filling the Sunflower Mold.

The Butterfly Mold as the soap cools.

The Butterfly Mold as the soap cools.

Adding fish and shark to the soap.

Adding fish and shark to the soap.

Adding sea creatures to the soap.

Adding sea creatures to the soap.

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Summer Fun with the Kids: Making Bath Bombs!

Summertime. What a fun time to hang out with friends and family at the pool, beach, park or backyard! I really enjoy the sunshine and fun family activities that come with the summer season. BBQ parties, hiking, swimming, fishing, or even just sitting on the porch; it is nice to be able to get out and enjoy ourselves.

This summer I want to show you how you can expand your summer amusement with some fun, simple and easy to do projects with your friends and kids. Today I am going to show you how to create some Bath Bombs that the kids will surely enjoy the next time they take a bath. We all know how dirty they can get, so anything that we can to do to get them in the bathtub and clean is best for all. At the end of the day, we get some great bonding time as well as some clean kids! What could be better?!

Collect Needed Materials:

Ingredients
Baking Soda
Citric Acid
Corn Starch
Fragrance Oil of your choice
Water Soluble Color
Distilled Water in a Spray Bottle
Equipment
Multi-Cube Clamshell or other Molds of your choice
Scale
Pipettes
Large plastic bag for mixing
Small plastic bags for individualizing each clamshell
Recipe in pounds:
3 pounds Baking Soda
2 pounds Citric Acid
1 pound Corn Starch
Recipe in Percentages
50% Baking Soda
34% Citric Acid
16% Corn Starch

Recipe: (Makes 6 pounds, fills 20-22 Multi-Cube Clamshells)

Weigh dry materials into a bag and mix well. If using the Multi-Cube Clamshell, weigh 4.4 ounces into a small bag. Add up to 1/2 mL fragrance oil and mix well, making sure all the clumps have been broken up. Spritz plain water and colored water over the dry powder once or twice and then mix thoroughly. Alternate spritzes of colored water and plain water until the mixture is the texture of coarse corn meal. Be careful to not over spray or your bombs may start fizzing, so spray once or twice and mix thoroughly, then repeat if necessary. Compress finished product into Multi-Cube Clamshell or Mold of your choice and let dry thoroughly about 6-12 hours.

Now your kids will love it when you send them off to take a bath. Since we used the Multi-Cube Clamshell, simply break off a cube or two into your next bath and let the fizzing begin!

 

Color Note:
Adding color to this recipe can be done with ease if the color is mixed with water and spritzed lightly into the dry ingredients. Try a .15 cc scoop of the water soluble dyes into a 4 oz size bottle with spray head and see how easy it is to color your bath bombs!

You can find Water Soluble dyes in our catalog at thesage.com, but I have also included links to all of our water soluble dyes here for your easy perusal!
Grape
Lemon Yellow
Purple Raspberry
Ocean Blue

What a fun summertime afternoon project with the kids. What we should create next? We want to hear your ideas!

Thanks Dylan and Ava! I loved spending the afternoon with you!

Tonya

Making Bath Bombs

Making Bath Bombs

Look What I Made

Look What I Made

Mixing mixture

Mixing bath bomb mixture

Mixing mixture with colored water in a bag

Mixing mixture with colored water in a bag

Pressing mixture in a clamshell

Pressing mixture in a clamshell

Using a mold to create shapes

Using a mold to create shapes

Shapes & color options

Shapes & color options

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GMO – Help!

Question

OK, folks. I need to lean on your shoulders for something that is really bugging me right now. It is GMO, or more accurately, non-GMO.

I don’t want to discuss whether GMO is right or wrong, what I want to discuss are the terms to describe whether a product is GMO free.

Here is the deal: a customer called me the other day and asked if one of our products (a soy product) is non-GMO or GMO-Free. I couldn’t remember with 100% confidence and offered to look it up. She explained she needed to know if it was one or the other, and I was puzzled. I explained these terms would describe the same thing. She said she has been informed this is not the case. My first reaction was to laugh. Why do marketers have to pretend things are, or are not, something just to market them? In a few days I will share with you my thoughts on marketing people muddying the waters for the consumer.

So, I have done more research and I am still not fully satisfied with the answers I have been given. All vendors I have talked with say there is NO difference between non-GMO and GMO-Free. They say these terms are interchangeable. Are they? What is your experience with either term?

I need all readers in Sage-land to educate me on this item. Send your thoughts through the blog or send them to us privately via email. You are welcome to add more questions to this list and are not obligated to provide answers.

One more thought, there is a product out there that is pretty common but is most often wild-crafted. It is harvested where it grows in abundance and sometimes it is planted in big garden plots for harvesting a commercial crop. This same caller asked if this item is also non-GMO. I admit I am rather confused as to why one would market a mostly wild-crafted product as non-GMO. I expect all products that are mostly non-mass grown to be non-GMO.

Go ahead, I’ve opened this can of worms and I may regret it later but I am hoping that we can have an educated discussion here.
Cheers!
Tina

P.S. The soy product in question is non-GMO, as I suspected it would be. The soy is non-GMO and the product as a whole does not contain any genetically modified materials. Is this the part where the two terms come about? Would the GMO-free mean nothing in a blend is a GMO? My conversation lead me to believe that non-GMO is the favored term and GMO-Free indicated that further processing was done to remove the GMO indicators. The whole time I just kept thinking “WHAT?!” All in the name of making a buck. Confusion in the marketplace! GEEZ!

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Beautiful Botanicals Challenge Soap Submission – Karen

Soap makers are artists and scientists rolled into one and anyone who says differently needs a day shadowing a soap maker. Soap makers work with a media that can be unpredictable in shape or even colors but when things turn out just right, we all want to celebrate! Karen submitted a beautiful soap that used botanicals, micas and clay! Here is what she has to say about this bar.

 

This is a CP soap I made just for me.   I put in the things I  like.   From the bottom up, I did layers with  vanilla bean, rose hips, blue Cambian Sea clay, copper mica, red merlot mica.  Scented with bergamot,  lavender, lavendin, grapefruit.  I love these colors and the gentle scrubbiness. Very restful, very beautiful.

I agree Karen. It is a very beautiful soap and the scent blend sounds so delightful. Is anyone else wishing computers were scratch and sniff? I certainly am!

Does Karen’s soap inspire you? If you want to join this challenge, pull out your soaping container and starting creating! Don’t forget, winners have a chance at an MMS gift certificate!

 

Taylor

Karen's Soap

Karen’s Soap

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Coffee Lip Scrub

I think we are lip scrub junkies here! Lip scrubs are easy to make, and are great additions to gift baskets, product lines and more. If you already offer body scrubs and lip balms, then you should try lip scrubs. They are easy, fun and even tasty!

 

Are you still worried about lip scrubs being complicated? Don’t worry about it! I’ll tell you why I chose the ingredients I did so you can see how easy they are. Let’s go have some fun!

Sugar: To have a lip scrub, one must use an exfoliant and sugar is the kinder exfoliant to the lips. (Plus it tastes good!)

Coffee Butter: To make a proper coffee lip scrub, it is a requirement to use this yummy butter!

Shea Butter: I love the texture that Shea Butter contributes to a finished lip scrub. The creamy feel and low odor of Shea Butter makes it an ideal ingredient to use.

Peach Kernel Oil: I enjoy using Peach Kernel Oil in a variety of lip products because it doesn’t feel a heavy or tacky feeling on the lips like Castor Oil can have.

Vitamin E Acetate: I wanted to extend the shelf life of this product by slowing the oxidation process. Vitamin E Acetate was my first choice!

I flavored this lip scrub with Natural Vanilla Oil and Coffee Flavor Oil. This scrub really doesn’t need the extra sweetener, so we can skip using the Sugar Baby or Sugar Kisses Flavors. Trust me, it is fabulously yummy without these extra flavors!

The finished lip scrub on my finger.

The finished lip scrub on my finger.

Ingredients weighed into the food processor bowl.

Ingredients weighed into the food processor bowl.

Let’s go make some now!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Sugar
Coffee Butter
Shea Butter
Peach Kernel Oil
Vitamin E Acetate
Coffee Flavor Oil
Natural Vanilla Oil
Equipment
Scale
Transfer Pipettes
Microwave safe container
Food Processor *See Notes*
Spoons
10 mL Lip Balm Jars

Recipe: (Makes 100 grams or 3.53 ounces)

Recipe in ounces:
2.29 ounces Sugar
0.35 ounces Coffee Butter
0.35 ounces Shea Butter
0.35 ounces Peach Kernel Oil
0.04 ounces Vitamin E Acetate
0.01 ounces Coffee Flavor
0.04 ounces Natural Vanilla Oil
Recipe in grams:
65 grams Sugar
10 grams Coffee Butter
10 grams Shea Butter
10 grams Peach Kernel Oil
1 grams Vitamin E Acetate
3 grams Coffee Flavor
1 grams Natural Vanilla Oil
Recipe in Percentages:
65% Sugar
10% Coffee Butter
10% Shea Butter
10% Peach Kernel Oil
1% Vitamin E Acetate
3% Coffee Flavor
1% Natural Vanilla Oil

Weigh all of the ingredients into the food processor bowl. Gently pulse the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Once the scrub is mixed together, fill the jars and cap.

Notes:
If you want to make a small batch, you can easily use a small personal blender like I did for these photos. I used a food processor attachment for a stick blender.

How do I use this?:
I’ve been asked over the phone about how I use a lip scrub, so here is how I use a lip scrub. Scoop a pea sized amount out of the jar. Using your finger, rub the scrub over your lips. Don’t scrub too much, or you can irritate your lips. Now you can either wipe your lips off, or lick them! Apply a lip balm and now you have pampered your lips!

This simple lip scrub reminds me of a sweet coffee treat and is a great way to get your coffee flavor fix without indulging on a large coffee. I hope you enjoy this scrub as much as I do!

Enjoy!

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Beautiful Botanicals Challenge

One of my favorite things about summer is the garden. I find great delight in sitting in the garden, watching the butterflies, birds and bees. I also find great humor in watching the neighbor’s fat, orange cat slink through the plants only to be startled. Many bees and other insects have sent him streaking back to the safety of his yard. As I sat in the garden this weekend, I thought of all of the body care products that have been inspired and influence by nature. I thought today I would release a challenge. I want you to create a product based on botanicals. Get inspiration from gardens or local parks.

 

All participants must submit a photo of their product, a photo of their inspiration and a description about it, include what it is scented with. We will accept submissions of products inspired by botanicals, gardens and parks. All submissions will be displayed on our blog. Good luck!

Now here is the really exciting news. We will accept submissions in three categories. Soaps, Bath Goodies and Cosmetics. The Soaps category can include cold process soaps, hot process soaps and melt & pour. Bath Goodies includes bath salts, bath bombs, bath oils and even bubble bars. The Cosmetics category will include lotions, creams, lip balms, massage oils, etc. Please note that all submission are due by July 18th. To make a submission, email your description and photos to taylor.blog@thesage.com. I have gift certificates for winners!

Happy creating! I can’t wait to see all the submissions!

Taylor

Poppies
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