Different Soaps For Different Folks


There are several different methods for making soaps.  I focus on two kinds: melt and pour and cold processed.  Each type has several different properties and skin loving qualities!  Let’s start with melt and pour.

Melt and pour is the process of melting a preexisting soap base, most often adding color and fragrance or essential oil, then pouring the soap base into a mold.  Once the soap is cooled and is firmly hardened, the result is a bar that can be use right away.  The benefits of melt and pour soap is not having to handle lye, sharp colors can be achieved, fragrances are more stable, no curing time, and kid friendly.  The negative part of using melt and pour is that since it doesn’t cure it won’t last as long in the shower as cold process would.  Also, because of the high glycerin content, in humid conditions the bars may tend to create glycerin dew.  There is nothing wrong with the soap once it dews, it just doesn’t have the crisp appearance that it used to.  Because melt and pour is relatively easy to use it is more widely used as a designer or novelty soap.

Cold process soap is mixing fixed oils with lye.  A chemical reaction takes place that is called saponification.  This is where the composition of the oils changes due to the introduction of the lye to create soap.  Colorants and fragrances are added and then the “batter” is poured into molds, allowed to cool for 24-72 hours, cut, and cured.  The soap bars must cure for 4-6 weeks in order for the soap to become mild and to harden.  The benefits of cold processed soap are that you can use any blend of fixed oils and butters that can be specially formulated for individual skin types.  Cold process soap bars are harder and last longer than melt and pour.  A downfall is that due to the chemical process, there are serious safety considerations to take in to account when using lye.  Not all fragrances, essential oils, and colorants survive in cold process, thus limiting design options.  Curing time of 4-6 weeks also means that you must be patient and not immediately rewarded with a final product.

I enjoy both soaping with both types of soap but if I had to pick a favorite it would be cold process, hands down.  I love chemistry!  There are many steps in making cold process soap beyond adding lye water to oils and butters.  Each base oil and butter has a different requirement for the amount of lye needed to make the conversion from fat to soap.  This is the saponification value.  Every time you alter a recipe or change an oil you have to recalculate the proper lye and water ratio.  Then you must emulsify your lye and oils until you reach a certain stage called “trace” which is when the “raw soap batter” is ready to accept color and fragrance and ready to pour into molds.  Once in molds you can regulate the temperature of the raw soap to make the colors look shiny, translucent, sharp, bold, pastel, light, or dark.  This temperature phase is called Gel Phase.

The most exciting part of soaping is after the initial 24-72 hour cool down.  The loaf is released from the mold and is ready to cut.  Each slice of the loaf reveals a new and exciting edge of the soap.  The soap could be used at this point; it is a ready soap product but it would be very soft and harsh on the skin.  As the soap cures its pH balance softens from alkaline to neutral and hardens.  An interesting side note on curing: some discoloration occurs with certain fragrances.  Vanilla based scents react with lye and discolors brown.  There are other fragrances that will discolor to a very pretty purple.

I could go on, and on, and on about soap.  It has quickly become a topic that I love to discuss and can sometimes bore people with.  I appreciate you taking the time to read more about one of my favorite subjects.  Even more, I appreciate you enjoying the fruits of my labor!  Try my soaps and you will see the love I put into each and every bar!

Rockwellian Shopping

20170713_150910I love online shopping!  For the last two Christmas’s my entire family only had shopping lists on Amazon.  It made it so easy to buy the exact gift that each person wanted without me ever having to get out of my lounge clothes!  Then there is Etsy!  W O W!  Personalized, handcrafted, and geeky items all just a double-click away from showing up on my doorstep!  The items on Etsy are only limited by the imagination of the crafters.  It is a treasure trove of wonderful jewelry, trinkets, tools, clothes, and so much more.

I know what you are thinking: I am just a personal commercial for Amazon and Etsy.  I am not.  I just love online shopping.  The UPS lady and I have a wonderful friendship because of this!  I write all of this to say that there are a few people out there who would scream “blaspheme” at my refusing to set foot in a store at Christmas or any other time.  These people would never dream about ordering toilet paper online just so they don’t have to interact with people at Wal-Mart.  I’ve even had a lady laugh at me when I told her that if I couldn’t buy something online, I don’t need it.

Well for those wonderful Rockwellian shoppers who insist on purchasing items in person I now have two, yes two, brick and mortar stores that sell my creations.  The first one is called “The Hidden Treasure 2” and it is located at 2330 N. Main Street next to Papa Murphy’s.  The name says it all.  It is hidden and slightly out of the way but the treasures that are inside are unique to Northern Colorado.  In fact, all the items in the crafted section are made by local artisans.  You can’t get more small business then that!  The store just went through a major renovation and has it’s grand re-opening on Saturday July, 15th.  You really should treat yourself and go have a look at all the goodies they carry.

The second store is a gem!  It is “The Golden Comb” located at 195 S. Main St. #14 in the Burlington shopping center.  One look at me and you know I love color.  My stylist is Devonie who works at the Golden Comb.  She is amazing with color and I have recommended her to most of my friends.  The Golden Comb’s owner Sandy and I started discussing me selling my soaps in the shop.  Bath and beauty go together so it was a natural leap.  I am very grateful to both Devonie and Sandy for the opportunity to sell in their shop.

When I do shop in person, I try to only shop with small businesses and enjoy supporting local artists and vendors.  I appreciate you supporting these shops and many others who cater to locals.

Now back to my online surfing!

Buckle Up!

What a short, strange trip this has been.  I am an old pro at reading blogs.  Writing a blog is very new for me.  Thank you for being patient!

I am a workaholic.  Back at my old job I frequently put in 80 hours a week and enjoyed the stress of working full time.  After a few years, a marriage, and a child our family needed me to cut back on hours.  My husband got a new job that required relocation and I jumped at the opportunity to be a full time mom.  When my daughter turned school age there wasn’t a need for me to be home while she was gone so I got a part time job.  I once again over three years started working more hours for more frustration.  I needed to change and reduce the stress level again so I once again decided to stay home.  But I was stagnate in life.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, love my house, love my life but since I became a stay at home mom I felt I had lost my outlet for excess energy.

I decided to take a ceramics class at my local community college and found I wasn’t bad at throwing pottery.  I was by no means good, but I liked having the title of “not bad”.  I found it was a wonderful way to focus on just the movement and manipulation of the clay.  I was able to forget about the stresses of life and just work with the clay and create something functional.  I kept taking ceramics classes and pushing myself to go beyond the comfortable and strive for more artistic forms.  I am still working to find that equilibrium of form and function; I enjoy the journey.

Soaping was something I watched on YouTube for years before I thought, “I can do that”. Soaping looked like another outlet for my increasing creativity.  I started with what I thought was an easy project that turned out amazingly bad!  Even though the final product wasn’t what I intended to make I loved the process.  There is a science, chemistry, to soap making that I find familiar and soothing.  I was hooked.  Soon, I had a kitchen full of bars of soap and pottery.  My amazing husband gently reminded me that my habit was taking over the house and I needed to stop or we would be drowning in clay and suds!  What a way to go!

The Hubby suggested that maybe I could start selling some of my creations.  So, I dove head first into the sales business.  I had goals, tracking, sales, and a plan but no name.  I stressed over a catchy name but the Hubby came to the rescue again.  Since I was starting fresh in my creative life he came up with “Fresh Leaf Creations” and I was in love!  Business has been steady and still fun!  So I am bringing you along on my journey. Fasten your seat belts.  Here we go!