Back to Basics: Layered Lavender Cold Process Tutorial

Today is the third tutorial in the Back to Basics Cold Process Series. The first two projects were designed to give you a “feel” for soaping, and did not feature color or any complex design elements. Now, we are ready to work with color, thick trace and gel phase!  The Back to Basics Soapmaking Kit includes all the soaping ingredients you need to create all four recipes in this series, including the 10″ Silicone Loaf Mold. It’s also 35% off until July  31st! Now, let’s get soaping!

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Layered Lavender Cold Process Soap

Basic layers are a fantastic design option for the beginner soaper. To make sure layers don’t blend together, the bottom layers of soap need to be thicker than the top layers. This Layered Lavender Cold Process Soap works with thick trace to ensure the layers stay separate. Thick trace soap has a texture similar to pudding, and holds its shape. To help give the soap its thick texture, this project uses Lavender & Cedar Fragrance Oil, which accelerates very slightly. To learn more about trace, check out the All About the Trace blog post.

In addition, this project uses LabColors to give the layers a purple ombre effect. LabColors are highly concentrated liquid dyes. In order to be used in water based projects, they first must be diluted in distilled water. Click here to learn more about LabColors, and how to dilute them. LabColors become more vibrant when the soap goes through gel phase. Gel phase refers to the part of the saponification process where the soap gets warm and gelatinous. Gelled soap looks slightly more transluscent and shiny than non-gelled soap. Click here to read more about gel phase, and see how gel phase affects LabColors.

Layered Lavender Cold Process Soap Tutorial

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Back to Basics: Beginner Project Roundup

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Last week featured two recipes perfect for beginners: the Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap and the Creamy Orange Cold Process Soap. Both of these projects are made in a recycled box and do not contain complex design elements. If you have never made cold process soap before, I highly recommend starting with a simple recipe like these to get a feel for soaping. Once you have a few basic cold process recipes under your belt, it’s time to challenge yourself with more complex techniques. These include swirls, layers and embeds. This upcoming week will feature two starter tutorials, specifically designed for beginners who are ready to challenge themselves.

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Sunday Night Spotlight: Lotion Bases

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Making lotion from scratch is a fun project. The process includes emulsifying water and oils, much like making soap. Other additives such as extracts, vitamin E and DL-panthenol can also be added to increase benefits to the skin. If you love the feel of homemade lotion but don’t want to formulate it yourself, the Bramble Berry Lotion Bases are here to help! These pre-made bases are ready to customize with scent and color.

The lotion bases come in four varieties: Aloe Lotion BaseBasic Lotion BaseBeeswax Lotion Base and the Shea Body Butter. The main ingredient for all the bases is water; what makes them different are the types of oil, extracts and other ingredients such as emulsifiers. All the bases include the preservative optiphen to prevent mold and bacterial growth. To learn more about preservatives and how to us them, check out this blog post. Check below to see the ingredients of each base!

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Soapy Social Media Roundup

It’s always fun to try new soaping techniques, but it can also be valuable to revisit the basics. The past week I shared two tutorials perfect for the beginner soaper as part if the Back to Basic series. If you have never made cold process before, the first tutorial in this series, Simple & Gentle Cold Process Soap, is the perfect place to start. Be on the lookout next week for tutorials of the purple and blue soaps below. This series also includes the Back to Basics Kit which includes all the ingredients (except lye) you need to create the four projects!

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Facebook and Instagram Photo of the Week (July 18th ~ 24th)

There are many factors to consider when making cold process soap. This week and next week will focus on the basics of soap making. One of the most important parts is safety. When working with sodium hydroxide lye, it is important to wear safety gear like goggles, gloves and long sleeves. With the correct precautions, soaping is a safe process. Learn more in the Back to Basics: Lye Safety Guide.

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Back to Basics: Creamy Orange Cold Process Tutorial

Today is the second tutorial in the Back to Basics Cold Process Series. Now that we have made a basic recipe with coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil, we are adding cocoa butter into the mix! The addition of cocoa butter adds to the firmness of the bar. It also causes the soap batter to reach a thick trace more quickly. In addition, 10X Orange Essential Oil is added to give this soap a beautiful, natural orange color. The Back to Basics Soapmaking Kit includes all the soaping ingredients you need to create all four recipes in this series, including the 10″ Silicone Mold. It’s also 35% off until July  31st! Now, let’s get soaping!

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Creamy Orange Cold Process SoapThe soap bands shown above are included in the Back to Basics Kit!

One of the most best parts of soap making is trying out different oils and butters. It’s interesting to see how various oils and butters affect trace and the final product. There are so many soaping oils, it can take a few batches to find “the perfect bar” for you. Everybody likes different soap properties (cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, etc), so it’s fun to experiment! This recipe is comprised of coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil and cocoa butter. To learn more about properties of common soap making oils, check out this blog post.

The coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter contribute to the firmness of the bar. A large percentage of olive oil is used to give the bar softness. In addition to firmness, coconut oil also gives the bar a lush lather and cleansing properties. Cocoa butter is used at 10% for firmness and for its skin loving properties. Cocoa butter is a stable fat and also contains natural antioxidants, making it a popular choice for cold process recipes. Read more about it in this Sunday Night Spotlight.

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Back to Basics: How Temperature Affects Cold Process Soap

Today is the next lesson in the Back to Basics Cold Process Series. Today, we are reviewing how temperature affects cold process soaping. If you missed yesterday’s Basic and Simple Cold Process Soap, be sure to check it out! It’s the perfect recipe for the beginner soaper. Tomorrow will feature another cold process tutorial including butters and essential oil. If you’d like to receive all the ingredients to make all the projects in this series, the Back to Basics Soapmaking Kit is 35% off until July 31st!

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Cold process soap making is a science. It involves mixing oils and lye solution to begin a chemical reaction known as saponification. Like any scientific process and reaction, it’s important to be precise and consistent. For soap making, these means carefully measuring and mixing ingredients and controlling for factors such as temperature.

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The temperature of cold process ingredients (the oils and lye solution) can greatly affect the final product. The temperature of your soaping area also affects your results. If you were to ask advanced soapers, “What is the perfect soaping temperature?” you would receive a wide range of answers. This is because it depends greatly on the particular recipe and design. For most soapers, the preferred temperature of soaping lye and oils are 120-130 ° F. In addition, many soapers and books believe it is helpful to have the lye and oil within 10 degrees of each other.

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