Let it Bleed: Cold Process Soap Color Gradation Tutorial
- Time:2 hours
- Yields:about 16 bars
I’ve long been fascinated with how to make Labcolor’s inherent bleeding qualities work in a bar of soap. It does a great tie-dye look and the swirls are romantic and ephemeral. But, the idea of a sunset or a rainbow really drew me in. I started with a simple but sophisticated color graduation. It’s a very easy concept in theory but in practice, takes precision and weighing … and patience.
My husband and I are using this bar in our shower at home right now at home and it has fantastic lather and a great balance of bubbles with moisture and creaminess. Coupled with the absolutely exquisite scent and sophisticated color, it’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve made in a while. Read through all the instructions; it requires prep and precision.
21.5 oz DistilledWater
5 containers that will hold 18 ounces each
5 lb Mold With Sliding Bottom
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(Note: If you’re looking at this recipe and thinking “Why, oh why, are you weighing to .96 on any of these? Anne-Marie, you are on crack!” It’s okay to round up to whole numbers on the Palm Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Mango Butter and not change the lye. You’ll end up with slightly more superfat but not enough to change your recipe. So not to worry you don’t need to buy a brand new scale!)
Stop. Check. Do you have all of your safety gear on hand? Are kids out of the house? Animals locked outside? Do you have an hour to focus? Do you need to review the Lye Safety Video? How about scaring yourself half to death with this scary blog post I did on lye? Done? Check? Great. Eye protection
Step Two: Weigh out all of your oils. Melt the Palm, Coconut and Palm Kernel Oil. Add the Mango Butter to the warm oils and stick blend the Mango Butter in. Add the Sweet Almond Oil and Olive Oil to this mixture. Set this aside.
Step Three: Weigh out your water (I don’t do volume because I like the precision factor of weighing it). Weigh out your lye in a separate container. Add the lye slowly, slowly, slowly to the water, stirring the entire time, taking pains NOT to breathe in the fumes. Work only in a well-ventilated area. If you are ultra sensitive, wear a mask.
Step Four: We’re working with a hotter mixture this time so check the temps of your oils. If they’re not up to 140, heat them up until they are. Check the temp of your lye; has it dropped to 140-150? Is it clear? If so, it’s ready to add into the oils, slowly. Careful! No splashes.
Step Five: Use your stick blender to achieve light trace.
Step Six: Separate out the soap into 5 containers. WEIGH the soap out into containers. Weigh out 18 ounces of soap per container. There is no fragrance added yet.
Step Seven: We are working from lightest to darkest. For each layer, you will add fragrance and color and *then* stick blend to a very thick trace.
Layer 1: No color, Fragrance suggested usage rate: .8 oz.
Layer 2: 7 drops of color, Fragrance suggested usage rate: .8 oz.
Layer 3: 14 drops of color, Fragrance suggested usage rate: .8 oz.
Layer 4: 28 drops of color, Fragrance suggested usage rate: .8 oz.
Layer 5: 43 drops of color, Fragrance suggested usage rate: .8 oz.
For each layer, you’ll strive to achieve a THICK trace. Then, pour carefully over a low-placed spatula. This helps the soap not break through to the next layer. You’re looking for very straight lines. Do not hurry the pour. You have time.
I did a light dusting of fine glitter
over the top just for a little Fairy Queen look.
This soap does best with a warm gel phase; the colors pop! more with a strong gel phase.