In January, Simon and I spent time testing new ingredients so that we could develop a new soap. The result is our latest release – Bloom Soap. In this blog post, we want to tell you how we developed this new soap.
We think that a beautiful soap is pleasant on the skin, pleasant to the eyes, pleasant to the nose.
Pleasant on the skin…
We use the same combination of olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter in our Shea Butter Body Bar Soap. By having a base recipe, Simon and I can focus on producing a consistent product that we know feels great on the skin.
Pleasant to the eyes…
We are proud of the unique contrast swirl in our bar soap (our #SwirlsBySimon). When we use we clays and charcoal to our soap, we only add these to one portion of the mixture after the lye and oils have been mixed. Then, Simon starts swirling.
In January we made four test batches and we added new ingredients to discover how they would work in our base recipe. Because we were experimenting with small batch sizes, we didn’t divide the batch before adding in our new addition and so our experiments don’t have Simon’s signature swirl.
Here is a photo of four of our test bars and what we learned!
Top left: Spirulina, which is derived from algae, is supposed to yield a beautiful green soap. However, our batch turned out quite light and speckled. We were hoping for something darker and more even. We would likely achieve a richer colour if we added the spirulina to the lye water before it is added to the oils, but this would mean the spirulina would be in the whole soap mixture. If we wanted to get a contrast swirl, we could consider dividing the batch and adding charcoal to one portion. We’ll save that for our next round of experiments.
Top right: Ground Rosemary. The visual result is a little disappointing because the rosemary came out a yellow/brown colour. One tester reported that the rosemary was a really nice exfoliant. We’ll add this to the ‘develop further’ pile. This could be the start of a gardener’s scrubby soap.
Bottom right: French Pink Clay. What a pretty blush pink! (our favourite of the test round)
Bottom left: Coffee grounds! Like the rosemary this added a really nice exfoliating quality to the soap. Unfortunately, the colour looks a bit mottled and so, like the spirulina powder we will experiment adding it at the lye water stage in the future.
Pleasant to the nose…
Testing an essential oil blend in a small batch helps us learn how it interacts with our soap formula. Some essential oils will discolour the soap and some will cause the soap to set at a faster rate which means we need to be ready to work quicker than usual to allow Simon to create the unique swirls.
Ah, the never ending quest for great scents. Using a blend of top, middle, and base notes we blend at least three different essential oils in our search for unique and special scents. Creating our own blends opens a whole world of possibilities and subtleties.
In our four tests we tried a blends such as palmarosa and lavender, a woodsy herbal blend with pine spruce, a blend that included cinnamon and clove (thinking ahead to fall/Christmas), and blend of sweet fennel, anise, and rosemary.
How a blend smells when added to the soap mixture may change after the 4 week cure as individual essential oils may smell more faint and adjust the over scent of the blend. Here is a photo of Simon and I doing that crucial smell test after the 4 week cure is complete.
The result of all these experiments is our latest soap – Bloom - A fresh floral scent (lavender, palmarosa, bergamont, patchouli, and ylang ylang) with a pink clay contrast swirl. We love it and we hope you do to.