Thursday, August 26, 2010

Liquid soap is a success - sort of

So after two failed attempts I have successfully made liquid soap! Horray! Customers have been asking for it and I can finally add it to the line! Bottles are on their way - no going back now! I used a recipe from The Liquid Soap Making ebook that I bought by Anne-Marie Faiola of Brambleberry for just $7.95!
 Me making the soap. I had to use a plug for the crock pot and to get better leverage I was standing on a stool. It looks a little silly - my room mate came out into the kitchen and snapped this shot after saying something like "you never know what you are going to see when you walk out into the kitchen".

To make liquid soap you use potassium hydroxide which allows to soap to stay in a semi liquid state, rather than sodium hydroxide which makes hard bar soap. It is a hot process method so you have to cook the soap until it is completely saponified, but the bonus is you don't have to cure it for 4-6 weeks - it is ready to use after it is fully cooked! The cooking process makes a paste that is then diluted with distilled water then thickened. I made a Castor/Olive oil soap and with the soft oils it took quite a lot of time - 9 hours to cook the paste plus 1 hour to trace the soap!
 Cooked Soap Paste

Here are the dilution tests. As you can see, the last test is clear (you can see by counter top through the bottom)

The next step it to test fragrance. Not all Fragrance oils and essential oils mix well into liquid soap so testing before scenting a whole batch is absolutely key! I tested 24 in all! These are tests of 2 oz of thickened soap with 1.5 ml of fragrance or EO.

The big winners - these stayed clear and did not break down or separate the soap. The Almond stayed clear but made the soap a darker shade:
• Cybilla Almond FO from Bramble Berry
• Sweetgrass FO from Bramble Berry
• Peppermint Essential Oil

Runners up - These are almost clear - so close - more translucent
• Bamboo Sugarcane type FO by Crafters Choice
Gardenia FO by Bramble Berry
• Pineapple Cilantro FO by Bramble Berry

Other tests either Milky, broke down the soap so it was very liquid or separated:
Kumquat - separated soap
Brown Sugar & Fig - separated soap

Separated soap

Pumpkin Pie FO - turned soap dark/milky
Red Tea Lychee FO - soap is clear with some separation but soap broke down to very liquid
Tahitian Vanilla FO - turned soap dark/milky/broke soap down to very liquid
Mediterranean Fig type FO - milky
Passionfruit Pineapple FO - milky
Sun Ripened Raspberry FO - milky
Santa's Spruce FO - milky
Wassail FO - turned soap dark/milky
Peach FO - milky/some separation
Clean type FO - milky
Fresh Bamboo FO - milky
Wasabi FO - milky
Cranberry Fig FO - milky

French Lavender EO - milky
Lemongrass EO - milky
Tea Tree EO - milky
Rosemary EO - milky

It is possible that some of these will perform better with less fragrance - again this is 1.5 ml of fragrance in 2 oz of soap. Really devote a whole batch to testing. This batch made over a gallon of soap and all of it will be used to test fragrances.

If anyone tests other fragrances and would like to share - let me know so I can grow the list!

Off to do more testing! Happy Soaping!


  1. Yay! Congratulations on your success. I love the 3 photos of testing the paste to see if it's finished cooking, that's the best illustration I've seen. And thanks for posting your test results, what a great resource.

  2. Fantastic! Your soap samples look so sweet 'n' happy! I'm so glad that you were able to master liquid soap. Isn't it fun once you get the hang of it? =)

  3. Thanks Amber! I am glad that I took the pics for each test - you can actually see the difference each time. I would have gotten it right the first time rather than the third time if i just followed the directions in the ebook and tested my paste the first time. Really if I just followed the instructions would have gotten it right the first time!

    Thanks Anne-Marie! I am am totally addicted - I have made two more batches this week! Gearing up to sell it for the fall! Thank you so much for the fabulous e-book - not to mention the HSMG Conference class and SWI class!

  4. Thanks for sharing your results. That is so helpful. Liquid soap is on my list to do soon, especially since Anne-Marie made it look so easy at the Conference!

  5. Wow, how ironic. *JUST* this morning after showering with a bar of your French Lavender, I washed my hands before leaving the house with some B&BW soap and thought how I wished you carried liquid soap!

  6. Sironasprings - can't wait to hear how it turns out! Like I said, if you follow Anne-Marie's method it will be perfect!

    Renee - How cool! I plan to have some scents up in the next month. I have to make the labels and narrow down a scent offering. I am going to start small with my best selling scents (if they work in liquid soap). Suggestions are welcome!

  7. Really nice post. Thanks for sharing that. I'm waiting to try liquid soap as soon as I get my hand on "the other lye".

  8. oh Tammy - I think that one separates but I will try it at a smaller ratio.

    Thanks Ambra - you will love making liquid soap!

  9. Great testing job, thank you for sharing your experiments. Great job being perseverant with the liquid soap as well.

    And, HOLY COW, do you GET any cuter than that when you soap?! So darn cute. Funny, too.


  10. You're welcome Joanna!
    Glad you think the pic of me soaping is cute - It was a Saturday morning and I wasn't exactly "dressed" for work.

  11. Lookin' good! I love the little test bottles you used. I have yet to try liquid soap making. I can't quite get over the intimidation (translation: FEAR OF FAILURE) factor. I'll be watching your progress closely;)

  12. Sometimes when you add a fragrance it is milky but it clears...have you noticed any changes in your test letting them sit for a bit? Thanks for sharing!

  13. Loved your simply sugars class at The Nova Studio.

    Someone posted a question on my blog regarding the foaming bath butter:

    Very cool product, but the processing a bit confusing. I want to try the 1lb recipe you describe but the label that came with mine in red caps warned, "DO NOT PROCESS WITH LESS THAN 5 LBS." Everywhere else that I looked said 2LBS. I checked the website where I bought and it said 2.5 lbs. I was wondering what people do having to process so much at once. Do they whip it to say half possible state and then refrigerate and take out small portions to add color and fragrances? So confusing.

    Can you answer the question so I could reply with the correct info?

  14. Patrice - the bottles are little 2 oz lotion bottles. I failed twice before getting it right so just try - the eBook from Brambleberry is awesome and if you follow the directions (unlike me for the first two attempts) you should be ok!

    Amanda - unfortunately there was no change. The results I posted were after 24 hours and the only change was that some of the fragrances containing vanilla continued to brown. :(

    Lori - So glad you liked the class! I will go to your blog and look for the question on the bath butter. Concerning the bath butter, the reason it says not to use less than 2 lbs is because it doesn't aerate properly if you use less, though you will notice in the eClass/handout that I use 1.5 lbs and it is just fine because you add the sugar which increases the volume. When i make the batch recipe you received I color the whole thing with one color/fragrance but you can divide it up. Just note that if you add a lot of fragrance you may need to add more sugar as the added moisture can start to dissolve the sugar. if you have any more questions on the class I encourage you to start a discussion on my face book page:

  15. mmm, sriracha. (I see it in your photo)



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