Nearly unheard of 5 years ago, you can’t pick up a bath and beauty product now without it touting the almost magical properties of Argan Oil. While usually I take outrageous beauty claims like that with a grain of salt, this is one oil that packs a serious punch.
Now that the SuperBowl is over, our Seahawks soaps made (congratulations to the Seahawks on your win!), it’s time to turn back to our DIY obsessions. Consider this a deluxe Sunday Night Spotlight — today we’re not only introducing you to the wonders of Pink Sea Salt, we’ve got a bonus foot scrub tutorial as part of Show Your Love. Read on to learn more about this versatile salt and how to make a nourishing scrub for yourself.
Pink Sea Salt comes in four different sizes: Coarse, Medium, Small and Extra Small. The coarse salt is great as a garnish on cold process soap or melt and pour, while the smaller sizes can be used in scrubs. Bramble Berry’s Pink Sea Salt is mined from salt beds in the Himalayan Mountains, and it is believed to be the purest form of salt available. You can find variety of tutorials using this wonderful salt on the Soap Queen blog. Some of our favorites include:
As every soaper knows, an intense soaping session requires intense tools, and this silicone tool set is up for the challenge. After years of soaping with lower quality tools that always seemed to break, I created these super durable and easy to clean silicone tools that can withstand temperatures between -40 to 446°F. They’re ideal for cold process or hot process soaping, as well as any other project you can throw at them.
Now that it’s winter time, there’s nothing better than cozying up in your favorite chair with a good book, a hot cup of tea and a richly scented candle with a softly flickering flame (and for me, that only happen during the kiddo’s nap time and I love that quiet time!). Bramble Berry offers a number of excellent waxes so you can make your own candles, and lately our favorite has been the EcoSoya Advanced Wax. It’s 100% vegetable based and sourced from soy beans grown exclusively by domestic farmers. Best of all, it has multiple uses: this wax is lip and skin safe, making it an potential replacement for beeswax in lip balm recipes.
As a quick and easy gift or for a crafty night in, homemade nail polish can’t be beat! I also have it on good authority that nail polish parties are the hot ticket at Otion. We have rigorously tested our Suspending Nail Polish Base to make sure it can suspend all sizes of glitters, and we’ve found the best usage rate is 5 – 7.5% (max) for the glitter. If you add more than that, it won’t matter how lovely and light the glitter is … it’ll still sink. Our nail polish base is also formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free.
If you’re a dark chocolate fanatic like I am, you know that it’s almost impossible to avoid it over the holidays (or for that matter, anytime). With our Dark Rich Chocolate Fragrance Oil, you can indulge as much as you want without any of the calories!
This sweet scent is as realistic as they come. In a review of the fragrance, one soaper’s teenage son thought she was actually baking a chocolate cake! Sugary top notes with deep mocha and cocoa bottom notes give this fragrance excellent staying power in cold process soap. Because it’s such a luscious fragrance, it does discolor to a deep ebony brown.
Edit: We asked for it and you delivered! You suggested so many blends with this wonderful fragrance that we’re listing them below. You can read through the original thread on Facebook here.
- 1 part Dark Rich Chocolate, 1 part Energy Fragrance Oil, 1/4 part Patchouli Essential Oil.
- 1 part Dark Chocolate 1 part Coconut Cybilla Fragrance Oil
- 1 part Dark Chocolate 1 part Sun Ripened Raspberry Fragrance Oil.
- 1 part Dark Chocolate 1 part Black Raspberry Vanilla Fragrance Oil
- 1 part Dark Rich Chocolate 1 part Creamsicle Cybilla Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Chai Tea Cybilla
- Dark Rich Chocolate, Plumeria Fragrance Oil and Coconut Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Morrocan Mint Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Oatmeal Milk and Honey Cybilla
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Peppermint 2nd Distilled
- Dark Rich Chocolate, Turkish Mocha Fragrance Oil and Black Amber & Lavender Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Baby Rose Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate, Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil and Fresh Snow Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Orange 10x Essential Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Amber Fragrance Oil
- Dark Rich Chocolate and Spearmint Essential Oil
I love to bake during the holidays, and one of my staple ingredients is cinnamon. Whether it’s cinnamon sugar cookies, cinnamon pinwheel rolls, or cinnamon bread pudding, there is nothing that says ‘holidays!’ to me like the warm, rich scent of this versatile spice (well, that and eggnog…).
Shorter days and longer nights don’t have to be a bad thing — hopefully that means more time to spend with family and maybe even more time to soap! If you’re looking for some stunning natural colorants that can be used in both cold process and melt & pour recipes, you will be interested in these new colorants that have been added to the Bramble Berry line: Brazilian Clays. Our Brazilian Clays are versatile, natural, beautiful and non-bleeding.
These clays are naturally colored and do not contain any artificial dyes or pigments. The various shades are actually achieved by variations in the minerals found in the soil in the different regions of Brazil. Bramble Berry carries five different natural clays — Natural Brazilian, Purple, Yellow, Pink and Dark Red.You can buy each color individually, or buy all five at once in our Brazilian Clay Sampler.
The clays are stable in cold process soaps and make a great addition to any clay mask or cream. Clays can be a bit tricky if you haven’t used them before, and you’ll need some additional preparation before using them in your cold-process soaps. Clays are incredibly absorbent and tend to accelerate trace when added dry. They can also cause cracking if they aren’t dispersed first. To prevent this, disperse your clays in distilled water using a mini-mixer. You can use a ratio of 1 teaspoon of clay to 1 tablespoon of water per color. Make sure that the clay is completely saturated with water before mixing or you might end up with a messy cloud of clay.
If you are making melt & pour and want to add any of Bramble Berry’s clays without clumping or settling, we suggest dispersing the clay in a small amount of rubbing alcohol before adding it to your batch. We recommend a dispersion ratio of 2 teaspoons of clay to 1 tablespoon of alcohol. To learn more about natural colorants in melt & pour, check out this blog post.
Below are some fun tutorials that include our Brazilian Clays. If you get a chance to try out the different colors (Natural, Purple, Yellow, Pink, & Dark Red), we’d love for you to leave us a review on the product’s page or share a picture with us on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page. Happy soaping!
Every month we make dozens of batches of cold process soap with various fixed oils, colorants and fragrances. With such array of ingredients to choose from, some tend to get lost in the crowd. Tonight we’d like to showcase an oil that is perhaps the best kept secret in soapmaking — Hemp Seed Oil. This oil can be used in everything from cold process soap to lotions & cremes. It has fabulous skin-loving properties and creates an excellent lather, and it’s a great addition to any soapy creation. This is one oil that will set your products apart from the crowd!
Bramble Berry carries two different kinds of Hemp Seed Oil: natural (or unrefined) and refined. Both oils work fabulously in cold process recipes. The main difference between the two is the color and the smell. The natural Hemp Seed Oil is more viscous and has a much darker color as well as a distinct, nutty smell. The refined Hemp Oil, on the other hand, is an excellent vehicle for providing essential fatty acids to your skin. Since it’s such a light colored oil, it’s also a good choice if you want to preserve your colors and avoid any unexpected discoloration.
In addition to creating ample suds, Hemp Oil contains high levels of unsaturated fats, which give it great moisturizing properties. We suggest using both types of Hemp Oil in cold process recipes at 20% or less. If you are adding it to a body butter or lotion, you can go as high as 50%. Hemp Oil has a shelf life of about 9 months (longer if frozen), so it’s best to use it soon after purchasing.
Check out the following tutorials to see how we’ve used Hemp Seed Oil:
As an added bonus, Refined Hemp Seed Oil is 20% off this month! What will you make with your Hemp Seed Oil?
It’s time for another Sunday Night Spotlight, and this week’s ingredient is an all-natural wonder. You can use it in lotions, cremes, soaps and even lip balms. Have you guessed what it might be yet? It’s Beeswax! It is a popular ingredient in natural and handmade bath and body products, and there is no shortage of it in Soap Queen blog tutorials. Read on to learn more about this versatile product.
Beeswax has an indefinite shelf life and it’s usually added to bath and body recipes as a hardening agent. The difference between the waxes is slight: Yellow Beeswax is fully refined, while the White Beeswax is naturally bleached by exposing it in thin layers to air, sunlight and moisture. In cold process soap, Beeswax is a natural way to harden your soaps and can be used up to 8% in your recipes. When using it in a recipe, melt it first (make sure not to explode it in your microwave), and add it at thin trace when the batter has reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher (hint: this means you have to mix your lye-water and oils at 140 or above; hotter than most normal recipes). Otherwise, the beeswax will begin to harden in your soap. Be aware that beeswax can contribute to overheating your soap, and you could end up with a soap volcano or heat tunnels if your temperatures are too high. Because of this, I typically don’t insulate beeswax soap or only lightly insulate it for recipes containing 1-3% beeswax.
Beeswax makes cold process soap harder, but that’s not the case in melt & pour soaps. Adding beeswax to most melt & pour bases will actually make it softer. If you are finding that your particular base is too soft, take a look at your ingredients. If you want a harder base, try our LCP (Like Cold Process) Melt & Pour Bases, which are available in both White and Clear. Alternatively, you can let your soap sit out under a fan for up to a week to get a harder bar of melt and pour soap. If you’re still curious about beeswax and melt & pour, check this post from the beginning days (2007!) of the Soap Queen blog — the recipe didn’t work out as expected, that’s for sure!
You can also use beeswax in your lotions, lip balms, cremes, salves and soaps. Below are some examples of the wide range of products you can create with either yellow or white beeswax.
Tutorials using white beeswax, top left (clockwise):
Tutorials using yellow beeswax:
What are you favorite recipes that include Beeswax? Or, have any questions I can answer for you?
Over the years, we’ve amassed hundreds (if not thousands??) of soap molds. We’ve got 3D molds, wooden molds and countless fun patterned molds. Sometimes though, it’s nice to have a simple mold that allows the soap itself to shine. If you’re experimenting with new colors or techniques or just want a super cool shape that fits nicely in the palm of your hand, the 9 Cube Soap Silicone Mold is what you’re looking for.
The 9 Cube Soap Silicone Mold is great for small batch production work (go for the mondo 25 bar Cube Mold for larger batches) or making simple and elegant birthday or holiday gifts. This mold holds about 3 pounds of soap — 45 ounces to be exact. Each cavity holds approximately 5 oz. of soap. Best of all, you can use this mold in both cold process and melt & pour soapmaking.
Because silicone molds insulate soap so well, we’ve found that adding Sodium Lactate to cold process recipes allows you release soap faster from this mold. We recommend using Sodium Lactate at 1 tsp per pound of oils (add it to the lye water) and it’s great in combination with the 9 Cube mold’s larger counterpart, the 25 Cube Soap Silicone Mold. The 25 Cube Mold holds about 8 lbs of soap (125 oz., to be exact).
Need some ideas of what to use your silicone cube soap mold for? Take a look at these links to inspire your next creative soapmaking session: (clockwise from top) Goat Milk Soap Tutorial,Crazy for Cubes, Faux Swirl Melt and Pour Cubes and Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Freedom,
Have you used this mold before? I’d love to hear how it worked for you!
Skin-loving, luxurious and downright decadent, top product formulators can’t get enough of Shea Butter! Over the last few years Shea Butter has grown in popularity in the bath & beauty product scene. With its versatility in soap, lotion and lip balm, it’s easy to see why.
Bramble Berry Shea Butter is a soft solid with an off-white to ivory color, and has a faint odor. It contains 4 – 9% unsaponifiables (additional components in the fats and oils that can’t be fully converted into soap), which means it’s an excellent skin-loving ingredient in cold process soap. It’s a popular additive in salves and lotions given its emollient and moisturizing qualities. Shea butter may even provide some medical benefits too, as some of its components are reported to have anti-inflammatory properties.
In soap, Shea Butter does not contribute to lather or hardness (so it’s basically a super luxe additive), and the recommended usage rate is typically 10% or less. However, you can use up to 100% Shea Butter in balms and salves.
These are just a small snapshot of what you can do with shea butter. You can add it to nearly any recipe to give your products a little boost of skin-softening power!
What are your favorite products to make with this wonderful butter?