Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Using Crisco in Soap

I had recently a phone call from one of our customers who had just bought some Crisco and noticed a different list of ingredients on the package. Crisco used to be a different formulation in Canada than the USA. I've been looking whenever I'm in grocery stores and sure enough, the packaging of the tubs has changed and the ingredients are not the same.

The ingredients used to say, partially hydrogenated soybean and palm oils, hydrogenated modified palm oil, mono- and diglycerides. Now the first ingredients are soybean and cottonseed oils. I don't have the package any more to put the exact ingredients.

The purpose of this post was to say that I've tried the new Crisco in soap using it in exactly the same proportions as the old formulation and it works just fine. When I melted the oils they didn't foam like the old Crisco, but beyond that I noticed no difference. The soap is curing right now, so I'll be interested to see if it's softer than when using the old stuff.

Why use Crisco at all? It's predictable. I use it all the time when I'm testing fragrances. When combined with coconut oil, you'll get a really hard, white bar, so it's obvious if a fragrance changes the colour or texture. It's readily available for people starting out and it's simple and reliable.

So if you're using the recipe from our catalogue, or one that I've told you about using Crisco, use the same amount of lye and water as before.

Happy Soaping.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Soapmaking Adventure

So today I decided to make some luxury soap and created a de-lovely recipe. I put in about 50% olive oil for conditioning, 40% coconut oil for a fluffy lather and a hard bar, 10% palm oil for moisturizing and a stable lather, and just a bit of castor oil to reduce the soda ash. I decided to add mango butter at the very end, so it acts as a moisturizer, mango fragrance and some paprika for a pretty orange speckled look.

One thing I didn't add into the equation was that I have made exactly the same recipe for hundreds of test batches of soap, and this is nothing like that simple, basic coconut oil and Crisco recipe. I stirred and stirred, but it looks different in the process than my usual test recipe ... panic sets in "Did I screw up the when I weighed the ingredients??"

As I approached the end, I thought, oh, okay the olive oil is making it look different, I didn't screw up. I added my paprika and fragrance and the grand finale was the mango butter. My soap was at the point where it must go in the mould NOW and I realized "Yikes ... I forgot to melt the mango butter!!". I quickly popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, trying not to let the batch go past the point of no return ... 30 second wasn't enough!! Another 60 seconds .... Finally I got it into the waiting soap pot and stirred it in.

My beautiful soap had gone from a lovely yoghurt texture to thick mashed potatoes. Instead of pouring it into the moulds, I scooped it in. It looked yucky and I couldn't get the top to a smooth flat surface.

So, got lemons, make lemonade, I swirled the heck out of the top surface and I guess I'll call it Mango Souffle Soap. The top is all poofy looking. I think it should be a really pretty bar of soap when all is done.