Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Testing Floral Waxes in Soap

Some very expensive perfumes are made from absolutes. These are incredibly expensive to buy. From my wholesalers you are looking at fragrances like rose, jasmine and mimosa starting at around $20 for 2 ml and these aren't even the particularly expensive ones. Obviously unless you have very deep pockets you aren't going to use them in soap. For those of you that don't make soap the rate of essential oil use in soap varies depending on the oil but is generally in the vicinity 2-6%.

A by product absolute production these floral waxes are full of lovely phospholipids and of particular interest to me they still retain a significant amount of the scent too. Last year I had the opportunity to import some through a co-op buy with some lovely US soap makers to try them out.

There isn't a lot of information around on using them is soap so I thought I'd just let you know my experience.

I'd received 4 waxes Jasmine sambuc, rose and mimosa from The Perfumery (previously the Essential Oil University) and narcissus from Premier Specialities.

Clockwise from top left - Narcissus, mimosa, jasmine, rose
The first 3 were strongly scented the Narcissus only weakly so.

Thoughts on the scents smelt straight up.

The mimosa smelt softly green with a slightly floral/lilacy scent. The scent was soft but very persistent. I quite liked it but found that it wasn't popular with customers in general.

The rose smelt very much like fresh green moss roses rather than heady floral rose. Lovely in a blend but perhaps not what someone would automatically expect as a straight rose.

The jasmine, extra strong heady jasmine sambuc with the musky notes from the indoles.

Anyway, I melted these in the microwave and added them in the thin stream while stick blending the soap at light trace. This seemed to incorporate them well. The melt point is relatively high so they start to re-solidify at room temperature very quickly, so ideally need melting immediately before use. The saponification value for them was very low. Even lower than beeswax so I ignored this when calculating the amount of sodium hydroxide for the batches and treated them purely as a fragrance.

I tested them all at 3% of the oil weight. At this the scent of the narcissus was lost completely. The rose was quite strong (about right), the mimosa a bit too soft and the jasmine overpowering only those that like their soap super scented would like it at that level.

Jasmine wax soap coloured with charcoal
The jasmine wax noticeably discoloured the soap to a light yellowish tan as shown in this photo. The colour of this soap base is typically off white. The other waxes discolouration wasn't noticeable.

Since I did the initial tests I've been using them in blends with quite a bit of success. If I get the opportunity again, I'll certainly buy the jasmine and rose waxes as they add to the range of affordable scents I can use in making my soap.

Mimosa wax soap with French green clay.
The mimosa I simply can't work out what to do with enough in soap to purchase again. Although if you were into making lotions I could see it being useful.

Note. None of these straight floral wax soap is left to sell. There are a few for sale containing the waxes in blends.

Random Winter Photos

New Holland Honeyeater
Willie wagtail
I had an hour to kill this morning before an appointment. So I decided to walk up to Kingston Park with my camera as it was a beautiful clear sunny morning.

I was thinking it would be quiet up there but the birds were all out and making a racket. Lots of cute lorikeets in the canopy. My camera is not ideal for birds as I don't have a big enough lens but here are a few of the locals that were around.

The New Holland honeyeater calling out to the rest of its family there are loads of them locally.

The black and white Willy Wagtails who never sit still and when nesting in their cute little cobwebby nests scold and chase away birds 10 x their size.

Eastern Rosella
Crested pigeons

Eastern Rosellas we have lots of these resident in the area. They nest in old eucalyptus tree hollows locally.

These plump crested pigeons I never noticed here before the last drought but now you see them all the time feeding around the local football oval.

Nest box

My husband last school holidays downloaded plans for a nest box to build with the kids. This one is aimed at the Eastern Rosellas but there are plenty of other hollow dependant animals and birds that could move in. We are still waiting? We've got lots of hollow dependant parrots around here  so hopefully someone will move in.

Dusty Miller - Spyridium sp

The dusty miller in my garden is still flowering, seriously I think it has flowers on it 12 months of the year.

Golden wattle

Johnny Jump Ups
There was some golden wattle flowering but mostly it was like this one just days away from bursting into fluffy golden balls.

I love these cute little Violas and how they just spring up in random spots to brighten the garden.

A surprise yesterday I found these (just slightly LOL) out of season roses flowering in the garden.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Storing your hand made soap.

I'm feeling guilty as I haven't blogged forever. My health had been suffering due to TMJ joint problems causing chronic headaches. I gave up and had surgery in early May which has a very long recovery time. It's worked very well so far and I can't wait until the recovery process is over (6 months was the time frame I was given). I'm feeling better than I have in years.

Anyway I thought I might as well answer some of the most common questions I get asked at markets in some of my blog posts.

One is "How do I get my soap to last the longest?"

In use the simple answer is to store it on a draining soap dish so it's not sitting in a pool of water. If it's sitting in water then if will soften and dissolve over time.
Many of the modern sinks don't actually have a good spot for this. So buying an inexpensive draining soap dish is a good idea.

Something like this works well.

Another thing is if you use your soap in the shower to make sure it doesn't sit under the shower spray when not in use. Depending on your shower you may be better storing it out of the shower anyway. Some showers stay quite humid and the soap doesn't dry out between use. I find this is particularly a problem in hot weather.

If you buy multiple bars then the ideal spot to store them is somewhere cool, dark and dry. So all those soaps being used to scent underwear drawers and linen closets are in the perfect spot.

Why cool, dark and dry? The scent and colours will last longer. Heat causes fragrances to evaporate. Many colours are light sensitive and fade over time. Also like the oils they are made from soap can oxidise. Especially if the soap has lots of short shelf life oils like canola, soy or hemp. Light, heat and moisture can accelerate this process. How do you know if your soap is oxidised? It will smell off and may develop soft orange spots. I'd suggest if you find soap like this you throw it out. I tend to avoid using these oils in the soap as I make I prefer to use longer lasting oils like olive oil and coconut oil.

The soap that has been used to scent a cupboard and faded pull it out to use. It will be very dry and last for ages in use. It's quite likely the once you start using it and wash off the outer layer that there will be some scent left in the centre.

Remember that myself and any other soap makers would love to make you more. After all a cup of coffee costs around $3.50 - 4.50 and is gone in 15 minutes. A bar of $6 soap can give a month or more of pleasure.