Sunday, May 29, 2011

Breaking the Rules- Going Rogue and Making Soaping Fun Again

If you've read my blog at all, you know by now that I don't do anything haphazardly. I research whatever topic has caught my interest until I feel confident that I can make a responsible, well reasoned decision, whether it is about which oils to use or which additives to avoid. So, as you can probably imagine, I was equally attentive to the soapmaking process when I first began... doing my best to follow each recipe to a T and panicking if even one extra gram of EVOO found its way into the batch. But honestly, that didn't last long!

In a lot ways, I find traditional methods a bit... well... a bit asinine. There. I said it! And its true.

As you read through the established rules of soapmaking, you see that conventional wisdom requires adding fragrance, colors and any other special ingredients at trace and mixing well. This all sounds fine, but then you read a little more and come to learn that once you reach trace, the soap will thicken quickly and you don't have much time to work... not only that, but some additives will clump; others will further accelerate trace and hasten the whole frantic process even more. Soon, it becomes a race against time and science to incorporate scent, color, and clump-free oatmeal in the few brief moments before the soap thickens.  Excuse my language... but what a freakin' nightmare!

I  know it goes against everything we've learned as soapers, but close your eyes, hold on to your hats and get ready for an earth shattering revelation: I don't add anything at trace... ever! I used to. And every time I did, I buckled under the pressure. It usually ended with me throwing my half mixed, thick and clumpy mess of a batch into the mold in a final hail Mary attempt to salvage the pitiful remains of my once grand vision.

Then I read about someone who adds their scent to their oils before adding their lye. And something clicked. If you can do this with scent... why not other things? Soon, I began adding everything to my oils before the lye, and you know what? It works!

I've never found any research to suggest that I should or shouldn't do it this way, but I suppose, in the absence of knowledge, I can let common sense prevail.

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes! I do this often w/clays, superfatting oils at times, and I've found that floral fragrances don't accelerate nearly as much....but the scent seems weaker to me. Have you found that too? If so, do you add extra to make up for that? :) ~Becky