Quite a few of my soaps have had a makeover recently. No matter that I have (more or less) a set range of fragrances & designs, there’s always room to improve and to flex those creative muscles.
One of the most popular essential oil soaps that I sell is Serenity. The fragrance is a blend of Bergamot, Patchouli, Orange and Ylang Ylang essential oils. The very first time I made a full batch of this one I carefully weighed out the appropriate amount of essential oil blend for the amount of soaping oils used, then put it to one side. I then split my batter into three, coloured one white and two different shades of blue, then poured the soap into the mold, creating what I fully expected to be an awesome drop swirl. Except I’d forgotten to the add the fragrance. Argghhhh! There was nothing to do but scoop it all out, thoroughly mix in the essential oils, and put the whole lot back into the mould. Of course I ended up with a very plain, pale blue bar of soap which smelled amazing but looked nothing like my original plan:
The next few times I made Serenity, I decided to go with a single colour drop in a paler background. Most of my drop swirls up to this point had been a white soap with coloured drops, but I wanted to try something a little different. Here I used Icelandic Blue mica for the base colour and Denim Blue mica for the drop:
I used that design for a while, and it sold well enough, but it didn’t wow me, and last year I decided it needed updating. The current Serenity has a base of Icelandic Blue mica, and drops coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Blue Dragon mica. I think it’s rather pretty and goes well with the name, so this design will be staying (for now anyway :-D)
I made this soap a couple of months ago and it’s been a surprisingly good seller, despite its rather ‘plain jane’ looks:
Ordinarily I love my colours and swirls, and in my head this one was going to be a beautiful drop swirl design in shades of blue, a bit like this green one I made not so long ago…
but it wasn’t to be…
I usually soap at room temperature. To that end I generally mix up my lye solution and melt my hard oils and butters during the baby’s midday nap, so that they’ve cooled down nicely by the time both kids are asleep in the evening. I also weigh out my liquid oils and add them to the melted oils as well – this starts the cooling process and also makes the ‘hard’ oils and butters less likely to re-solidify as they cool.
So on this occasion I prepped everything as normal, and once the bedtime routine was finished I eagerly set to work. I combined the oils with the lye, added the essential oils (a blend of Bergamot, Patchouli, Orange and Ylang Ylang) then portioned out the batter and mixed in the colours (titanium dioxide, denim blue mica and ultramarine blue pigment). It was only after I’d poured all of the white portion into the mould that I realised that, even when I dropped in the two blues, I wouldn’t have anywhere near enough soap to fill the mould.
It only took a second or two for the penny to drop. For some reason I had skipped a step at lunchtime, and hadn’t added the liquid oils to the melted oils. My measured out liquid oils were still in a jug, put away safely to one side. Arrrgghhhhh! I couldn’t bear to waste a 3lb batch of soap, so did the only thing I could think of. All the mixed batter went back into a big bowl (oh the colours looked so pretty as I poured them in!) along with the liquid oils and I stick blended like crazy. The batter had originally behaved very well and traced beautifully (I’d had no indication that anything was amiss) so I had no idea whether it would work or not. I fully expected ricing, seizing or something equally frustrating but no, it all combined really well and I was able to pour my (by this stage) very plain, unicolour soap.
Despite everything, I’ve called it Serenity. The colour is very calming, and the fragrance blend is soothing and comforting. It’s funny how things turn out.
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