I haven’t posted in over a month, though I wanted you all to know that I am certainly still creating new (and exciting) products! In the past week, I’ve made three NEW soap/shampoo bar concoctions and plan on making a fourth one tonight. The reason for the lack of posts: experimentation leaves no time for picture-taking! Not for me, at least. I am testing new techniques, new molds, and new scents for my customers and I think they’re going to love what I have curing 🙂 I like to always add pictures of my steps and I simply had to concentrate too much on getting everything correct to worry about camera angle. The good news is I think I’m getting the hang of it and will be able to multitask during the process very soon.
On another, perhaps similar, note. I’ve been trying to perfect a new swirl technique– nothing too fancy, just a basic “in the mold” swirl with two colors. Haha, welllllll…. The end product is still very much usable, but did not turn out how I had intended IN THE LEAST. I attempted a cherry (red) mango (orange) swirl and played with the actual color formation too long that it reached a thick trace before getting to the combining/swirling. When I saw the thick trace, I poured the mango (orange) batter into the rectangle loaf mold and topped it with cherry (red). I assumed (hoped) a swirl would have naturally developed during my several plops of batter. When I cut the loaf into bars the next day, I saw 1) that the orange and red did not swirl AND 2) just so happened to look like a slab of salami (red) on top of cheddar cheese (orange). D’oh! My product looks more like a Lunchable than it does a beautiful bar of soap. Nevertheless, the bars smell wonderful and they are beginning to change in color as they cure. I’m not sure *everyone* will automatically think of a 3rd grader’s lunch when they see the bars, but I certainly will! Gah!
This week has certainly been a crazy week– I haven’t actually gotten to any creations, though I’m gearing up to do some this weekend. Lotion bars are a must; and perhaps some small batches of soaps are in order. I’ve found that I have a lot of half-empty FO bottles lying around…. it’s about time I use what I’ve got because I just ordered a ridiculous amount of FOs from Bramble Berry a few minutes ago. I need to make some room on the shelves!
Now, to the EXCITING news!!!! My customer base is expanding (aaaand that’s why I just went wild buying more products). Friends of friends have been searching for handcrafted soap and my name happened to come up. This is EXACTLY where the business name, Six Degrees of Soap, comes from. I feel incredibly lucky, honored, and fortunate to be able to supply some new, great, people with my products. It’s a great feeling.
Expect an update with how well (cross your fingers) my experimentation goes this weekend!
Let’s recap. First attempt at cold process soapmaking: forgot some of the castor oil. Second attempt at cold process soapmaking: didn’t blend to trace. Third attempt at cold process soapmaking: here we go!
The previous day, Chris made me a wooden loaf soap mold and we had our first disaster. We had to throw out our entire batch. A day later: our mold is dry, our ingredients are weighed, goggles are on, and it’s time to TRY AGAIN! (At this point, I was really, really, getting tired of trying again.)
We watched several YouTube videos about how to successfully line a wooden mold with freezer paper, so that part was covered. Now I just had to compose myself and not jump the gun when it came to pouring the batter before it reached trace. Deep breaths, Holly, deep breaths. All in all, the batch turned out to be my best so far (it’s still curing, so I haven’t gotten to use it in the shower yet). I carefully monitored the mold to make sure oils were not seeping out and occasionally peeked under the lid to look at the batch (which is exactly what I told my husband not to do. Do as I say, not as I do, right?). Twenty-four hours later, I took the loaf out of the mold and crossed my fingers that a pool of oil wouldn’t come flowing out when I cut it (Google it!). I was preparing for the worst. Thankfully, no oil came spewing in my general direction! The day-old loaf was the consistency of hard cheese (woohoo!) and I cut it into approximately one inch pieces. It is now curing on a rack in the spare bedroom. The final test will be using it in the shower. Until then, I’ll say I made my first decent batch!
Hi. My name is Holly. I’ve been hand crafting soap and shampoo bars with a friend for about three years now. In December of 2013, I decided to make this hobby into a small business— but before I could actually create a business, I needed to make sure I could craft quality (read: sell-able) products consistently. Turns out that’s hard to do. …and that’s where this Blog comes in. I’ve attempted to make four different body products in January alone and half of them have been near failures or products that I just don’t like (dammit!). I’ve decided to chronicle the good, the bad, and the ugly on here mainly because I need a way to keep track of what I do right and what I do that causes kitchen explosions. Also, I figure readers can learn from my mistakes, get inspired from the products that actually make it, and giggle at my misfortunes. Enjoy!
It all started when I lived in Idaho and began using shampoo bars from a local soap maker. I was unsatisfied with store-bought shampoos and my husband was getting ready to spend 3 months at the geographic center of Greenland. He was limited in space and needed compact toiletries that would last him the whole time. We decided shampoo bars would be good to try. Fast forward four years later and shampoo bars are the only kind of shampoo we use!
Around the same time that I began using shampoo bars, a friend of mine mentioned that she was interested in making cold process soap for fun. On weekends, we would goggle up and create caustic concoctions (I love alliteration) in her kitchen and we got sort of good at it. I’ll be honest and say that she was the main soaper and I was just the assistant most of the time. She even found a shampoo bar recipe that we still use to this day. In case you were wondering, the shampoo recipe is simply a cold process soap recipe with a lot of castor oil in it. Some people have a hard time coping with this. Anyways, moving on..
In August of 2013, my husband and I moved to Colorado because he graduated and got a big person job. And there I was, taking online classes in a new state, gearing up for a medical program, and needing to make more shampoo bars because we were running low. Since I like to make bigger soap batches, I always have extra bars lying around. What better to do with the extra bars than to sell them? I thought. Well, making the soap by yourself is a lot harder when you don’t have your friend’s second set of hands to help. Nevertheless, here I am, attempting to make soap by myself and not burn down my kitchen. Does renter’s insurance cover that? Alas, now I can begin telling you all about my creations.
Thanks for reading,