In addition to beautiful colors and fantastic fragrances, exfoliants can add a touch of interest to soap to make it extra special. Bramble Berry carries 19 exfoliants, from Bamboo Powder to Walnut Shells. Talk about choices! Our guest blogger Jean Horn did an excllent re-cap of a Soap & Cosmetic Guild Conference session about navigating the wide world of scrubby possibilities, as well as how to choose the best exfoliants for your bars. Scrub up! — A.M.
Here’s what I saw when I walked into this session:
Oh . . . my . . . soapiness!!! I was quite proud of myself for not immediately diving into the soaps to touch, smell, and rub each and every one! Confession? I may have touched one. Or two. But I didn’t take any. At least not yet.
Charlene Simon, the session’s speaker and owner of Bathhouse Soapery, graciously granted me a photo of her and a bowl of layered soap slices. I may have been drooling over the soaps a bit when I took the photo.
(A-M Note: I spy Bramble Berry Easy Pour Containers. They are my go-to tool too!)
Here’s Charlene’s work table before the session began. There are so many super mixing and measuring containers on that table. And guess what? Every conference attendee got one of these wonderful Easy Pour Mixing and Measuring Containers in the conference goody bag! Thank you, Bramble Berry!
This is the lineup of exfoliants that Charlene planned to use in her soap. Left to right in the little bowls we have:
1. Half Purple Brazilian Clay and half Finely Shredded Coconut.
2. Rosehip Powder
3. Vanilla Bean Powder/Specks
4. Half Red Clay and half Bora Bora Sand
5. Adzuki Bean Powder
6. Almond Flour
Here is Charlene’s torso, perfectly suited up in her safety gear, adding the lye/water mixture to Bramble Berry’s Quick Mix Oils.
Next it was time to blend the oils and lye to make soap. It was so fun to see Charlene get excited about this part. Watching the liquids change consistency and texture as the mixture comes to emulsion never gets old. It was fun to see her get a kick out of it too.
Charlene divided the base equally into six separated containers. That’s one for each of the lovely pre-measured exfoliants. Since she started with 54 ounces of the Quick Mix Oil Blend, each container ended up with approximately 9 ounces of base. Each group of exfoliants was added at a rate of 2% of the base oils.
The first exfoliant to be added was an equal mix of Shredded Coconut and Purple Brazilian Clay. Since there were two exfoliants in this mixture, she used each at a rate of 1% of the base oils.
A quick pour and a few tamps of the mold on the table, and we were ready to prepare the second layer.
After carefully incorporating the Rosehip Powder into the base, it was time to pour the second layer carefully over the first. Using a spatula helps keep the second layer from breaking through the first layer. This leads to a more defined separation between the layers.
The third layer to be incorporated was the Vanilla Bean Specks. They smelled wonderful! Char carefully poured the mixture over the second layer to keep a nice definition between layers.
The fourth exfoliant was a mixture of half Red Clay and half Bora Bora Sand. She carefully poured the fourth layer, using her cute polka-dot spatula to keep the fourth layer from breaking into the third layer.
The next to last exfoliant was Adzuki Bean Powder. It lends a lovely tan/brown color to the soap. The last exfoliant was Almond Flour. It doesn’t add much for color. The exfoliation is a mild and silky kind of one. It was finally time to pour the final layer!
After answering a few questions, Charlene invited us to take a sample of as many of the exfoliant laden soaps on the table as we wanted. Here’s what it looks like when you tell 100 soap makers to help themselves to some soap! Charlene had plenty of samples for everyone. Some of the exfoliants included Coconut Shell, Walnut Shell, blueberry seeds, poppy seeds, and corn meal.
Each square inch sample was labeled with the exfoliant. Here’s my haul. The soaps are still looking great after traveling home in my checked luggage. I see there are a couple of labels missing, but I think those are cranberry seeds and blueberry seeds as each of those experienced a little bleeding.
See the loofah one? Charlene said that Bramble Berry’s Shredded Loofah is the best. I was surprised when she said it lends a rather gentle exfoliation. I expected it to be on the vigorous side of scrubby. Guess what? There’s some in my cart as I type and soon it will be mine!
Here’s a look at the table of samples after we got our goodies. While we were frantically grabbing patiently collecting our samples, there were people refilling the dishes for us so the samples never ran out. Charlene thought of everything!
Charlene had a finished bar of the soap on each table so we could touch it and smell it. When creating her design, Charlene chose exfoliants that would give the soap a Southwestern feel to go along with being in Tucson. I didn’t get to keep one of those, but here’s a picture of it
The Quick Mix Oil Blend worked splendidly for this project. It took about a half hour from mixing the base to pouring the last layer. The soap base stayed pourable while also being thick enough to layer. All in all, I’d call that the perfect kind of mix for this project.
I’m so glad I attended this session. Not only was it great fun, it gave me so many ideas for designs and colors using exfoliants.
Want even more information on exfoliants? Here you go!