Summer Workshop & Training Sessions

2015-03-28 09.17.07I am making a promise to myself to start posting to the Soapalooza blog more! Several of my webinar clients had no IDEA that most of my training programs are geared for individual instruction, that I am not a mass training farm. Not to brag, but I am an AMAZNG TEACHER, and a master at my subject material. AND, even more importantly, I LOVE training newcomers to our industry, or helping current members improve their craft. As the retail fragrance division sells down, I will have MORE time to TRAIN! (Most of our fragrances will remain available in the 5, 10, and 25 lb sizes as special order, and at the discounted wholesale size prices).
More & more I am hearing “What? I am the ONLY STUDENT during the session?!! You mean I am the ONLY student during Boot Camp?” Well, I actually prefer to train one on one….. I PREFER small workshop environments. I am a science teacher by profession, and I like making sure my students know what is happening in the soap pot, in their lotion pot, etc. If I have more than two students in a session, I feel it is very hard for me to give the highest quality education in my HANDS ON TRAINING facility. I remove the session dates after a second student signs up.
2015-03-28 09.16.58When you attend one of my studio sessions or one of my Soap or Bath & Body Boot Camps, you have my total attention while YOU are guided in my hands on training modules.You make a LOT of product in my studio, as if you were boot strapping your own business in my facility. You leave with about 35 + lbs of products from our 5 day Fast Track Soap / Bath & Body Boot Camp. You learn how to label, how to wholesale, how to formulate soap and cosmetics. You leave with the formulas we used in class, training manuals, and a committed mentor (me) to guide you along your way.  BONUS : EMAIL ME FOR A $150 coupon on our 5 Day Fast Track Boot Camp, or $50 off our 2 or 3 Day Boot Camps! Email me at bloomkj@msn.com   AND, don’t forget that you only need make the initial Installment Payment to LOCK IN your session date!
SO, I will be using the blog & newsletters to let you see more what is happening in the training sessions in our Hands On Soap Studio. ANd, if you are stil too far away to attend our workshops, boot camps, you can STILL take our Boot Camp by using the DIY Soapalooza Training PDF’s with some consulting time to get the lecture classes from me also.
Last but not least, I have over 25 years experience with independent small business soap making & bath & body formulation.. To include copywriting intellectual property, trademark & branding, wholesale product distribution. My undergraduate is Science Education, and my masters is a MBA. I was an Army wife that had to boot strap and suit case a small business for 18 years… giving me a unique perspective and business growth experience. You can not learn what I teach off the freebie Youtube videos or Blind following the Blind maker forums. What I teach is a hands on experience as if you are making my very own products.
I can help you with the same turn key business plan that I taught my own daughter and many other soap/bath & Body formulations. How to avoid some of the most common micro business building mistakes, to help you make soap like a 20 year veteran in 3 months, and how to work SMART and not just HARD. So, I AM going to toot my own horn a little. I have forgotten more about our business than many out there claiming to know actually do know. Here is your chance to learn from an industry expert on a very one on one, at most ever two on one training experience. I do NOT run boot camps with more than 2 students at a session, which gives YOU a more quality experience. I am told I am the ONLY facility in the USA that offers this low student teacher ratio.

 

Using Pigments & Dyes in Melt & Pour Soap Bases

Would anyonNEONSe here like my method of using DRY Pigments (ultramarines and oxides) and Mica’s with M&P soap? Well, I will share anyway…

Here is the deal… Dyes bleed in M&P soap bases. This is because dyes are water soluble, and “move” through out the hardened soap. Goes back to that old science concept that everything is actually fluid, in a sense. That molecules are just held together. Well, M&P base, when cooled is hard, but it is still considered a ‘liquid’ in the sense that it is a hardened solution.

Dyes (FD&C’s dyes and lakes, etc) are a powder. Most of you can buy them from Bramble Berry in the form of Lab Colors, or the glycerin based dyes at The Chemistry Store, or the liquid dyes at WSP (Whole Sale Supplies Plus). The liquid form in water is also preserved, so you have a long shelf life (so the preservative, as well as the BLEND of dyes used to make the color do get individually included on the soap label for M&P, not for CP, HP).

Pigments are natural occurring mineral substances. The ones we use in soap and cosmetics however are laboratory produced (including Bare Minerals, and yes they are lying about them being “natural”). It is against the US cosmetic safety laws (FD&C Act) to use things we just dig up out of the ground to put into our cosmetics. Black Oxide is easy to find … But it has to be “cosmetic grade” because Black Oxide just dug out of the ground also has Arsenic, Lead, Mercury, etc.. So, it is created in a lab to be safe, or as in the case of Titanium Dioxide, refined.

PigmenAtom-RedSoapts are NOT water soluable… HERe is a fun test.. Make a bath bomb using Dyes and a bath bomb using Red Oxide. Take separate baths, and you will see the dye turn the water the color of the dye and nothing on the tub floor or oil ring on the tub. Do the same with the Red Oxide bath bomb, and you will see all the red oxide either settle on the tub floor or stick to the tub ring.

So, You can buy EXPENSIVE glycerine mixed Pigments (Oxides and ultramarines) from soap and cosmetic suppliers (TKB Trading is the BEST www.TKBtrading.com) or you can purchase the 1/4 – 1 lb containers of the dry pigments for a fraction of the cost.

Mixing them with glycerine and then coloring your soap alters the soap though. Too much glycerine softens the base, and water will will do the same. Makes for soap that weeps too easy, melts too easy at the craft shows in the summer, and attatracts more moisture from the air. That is because Glycerine is a humicident (attracts moisture, and why natural soap IS so good for us. . it puts a shear sheath on the skin that draws moisture from the air and keeps our skin from drying out or getting the ‘itchies” in the winter).

So, what IS the solution? Well, you need something that will EVAPORATE> So using small pill cups (the little disposable ones that are used for food samples… they are PERFECT)…. Put in about 1/8 of a teaspoon of say Blue Ultramarine. Then add about 1 – 2 teaspoons of simple rubbing alcohol. Then using a pippette dropper, add the amount of color to your melted soap mixture, stirring well.

The alcohol will quickly evaporate from the heat, leaving you no added gGelledPeacockTealSoaplycerine or water in your soaps!

Consequently… that same Blue Ultramarine can be used to take the “yellow” out of the clear SFIC bases. I used to distribute this product, and the clear bases tend to run a pale tint of amber to a distinct light yellow. By adding a drop or two of BLue Ultramarine to them, you will have a perfectly water clear base!

Now about the color migration I mentioned earlier…. Dyes will migrate or bleed. Pigments and SOME mica’s will not. Lets talk about Pigments first. Non water soluble as I mentioned already. Make a cookie sheet of soap colored with blue UM. Cut the sheet into stars using a cookie cutter. Melt white soap and do an embed with the blue stars. 1 week later, only the stars will be blue… No movement of color.

melt-n-pourwhitesDo the same thing with a blue dye… make the sheet, cut it into stars, embed in white soap. 1 week later the white soap will be having blue haze around the area where the blue stars touch the white soap. 1 month later the white is all pale blue. 3 months later, the entire soap is all blue with no distinct blue stars. This is called “Bleeding”.

Mica’s are a subtrate that have various dye’s sprayed on them. Just like pigments we can not use naturally occuring mica in soap and cosmetic. Most, not all, but most dyes will bleed. The Lakes are the category of FD&C that will not bleed. TKB trading gives the ingredient list for each colorant, so you can determine if you mica will bleed or not. Also, as M&P soap makers, you will not have to worry about Dye or Mica “morphing” which is the chemical craziness that occurs when some dye come into contact with Alkali (Lye, sodium hydroxide). Some dyes react due to the very base pH of sodium hydroxide, and you get a Moon Man Puke color instead of what you planned, surprise surprise,

More questions… give me a shout out. I’ve a lot of experience!

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

KellyJan2014Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20+ year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.

PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

Recycling Your Amber Glass Bottles

Amber-Glass-BottleIf you make soap, than chances are you have a stash of fragrant, but empty amber glass bottles. Here is a way to clean and deodorize them so that you can use them for fragrance oils that arrive in HDPE plastic bottles.

What you will need:

Dawn Dish Detergent, coarse salt (kosher, sea salt, even regular table salt will work in a pinch), hot water, a regular household dishwasher.

  1. Fill empty amber glass bottles 1/4 full with hot water.
  2. Add several tablespoons of coarse salt to each bottle .
  3. Add approximately 1 teaspoon of Dawn Dish detergent to each bottle.
  4. Cap and shake well for about 15 seconds.
  5. Uncap, finish filling each bottle with hot tap water, leaving 1″ head space. Recap.
  6. Shake well and let these bottles sit overnight.
  7. Rinse well next day. Rinse until water runs clear from each bottle. Set upside down in top rack of dishwasher.
  8. Separate the clear cones from the black caps. Place cap portions in separate sections of the silverware holder in your dishwasher.
  9. Run dishwasher on the hottest setting with the hot dry cycle. This heat will burn off any residual odors and fully sanitize your bottles.
  10. Set cooled bottles right side up to cool and allow any remaining moisture to evaporate. Do not use for several days to ensure any remaining moisture has evaporated.
  11. Set caps and cones on paper towels on a paper plate and allow any residual moisture to also evaporate before putting cones back into caps.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

KellyJan2014Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20 year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.

PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

Great Essential Oil Blends!

BloomWorks Soap Company

Years ago, long before I purchased my first ounce of fragrance oil (it just was not available to soap makers back then!), I started using essential oils with my herbal soaps. Originally, ALL my soap was JUST herbal based. I was a spice vendor, so adding herbs and spices was as natural as breathing at the time, I learned to color all my soaps with spice or herb infusions. None of my soap was scented, just pretty. Gradually, I started noticing that there were some essential oils available, and started experimenting with them for scent. This was still back when finding essential oils in more than 1/2 or 1 oz bottles was very hard, and often much more expensive than they are today.

Below are some of my favorite Essential Oil blends that I developed for my BloomWorks Soap Company product line:

Cedarwood & Lime: 2 parts Cedar, 3 parts Lime

Tangerine Lemongrass: 3 Tangerine, 2 Lemongrass

Sandalwood Tangerine 3 Tangerine, 1 Sandalwood

Bay Rose; 2 Geranium Rose, 1 Palmarosa, 1 Bay Laurel

Patchouli Rose: 1 Patchouli, 2 Geranium Rose

Fairy Garden: 1 Lavandin, 1 Ylang Ylang, 1 Rosewood, ½ sweet orange

Cedar Mint: 1 Peppermint, 2 Spearmint, 2 Cedar

Desert Flowers: 3 Rosewood, 1 Ylang, 1 Lavandin, 1 Geranium Rose, 1 Patchouli

Cleopatra: 4 rosewood, 2 ylang ylang, 1 sandalwood

 

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

KellyValentines14Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20+ year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.

PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

My 5 Most Important Business Tips

SoapaloozaWORD-LogoThis article is something that I originally wrote for my old Southern Soapers forum in response to customers asking how I built BloomWorks Soap Company. These five things are what I felt were the most important elements of growing my, or any Soap or Bath & Body business.

I have updated this 2003 article to include not only Google page ranking aspects, but also social media that has since exploded, as well as some of the new marketing tools that potential customers with Smart Phones have at their fingertips.

Real paper and honest face to face time (even via Skype or Youtube videos!) are still the core to creating authenticity for gaining and sustaining customer trust though, and this is still a key component for these 5 most important business tips.

My five key tips for any business, regardless of what you might be selling are:

1. Pay a professional to do your website. It is an investment, the “E-retail” image you will convey. It is also easier to hurt the feelings of a designer you are paying, than hurt the feelings of a relative you still have to live with. It is easier to be demanding and exacting so that you get what you really want as your company image. You can get a quality website from many designers, as little as $300 to as much as $3500, depending on level of design, features, complexity, and shopping cart functionality suited for your needs.

2. Invest in Quality Labeling/Packaging. Get a good color laser printer and get nice clear, glossy, or matte waterproof labels. Your label and packaging will not only be your first impression made to a buyer, but also your foot in the door to many opportunities. Invest in the most professional presentation of your product that you can afford. Each labeled product is your company ambassador in bathrooms and homes all over, hopefully flung far and wide!

3. Front Load your profit margin. Buy fixed oils, essential oils, and other raw ingredients and supplies in bulk. 50% of your profit margin is tied to the buying side of your business. Money not spent is money in the bank.

4. Cost in your Time, and Work Smart. The opportunity cost of what you would be doing otherwise, in conjunction to what you would have to pay in wages for another to do it when you can no longer do everything on your own, is a good rule of thumb. Set your processes up so that you are using your time at maximum efficiency. Stop and review your highest expenses each month. Evaluate and streamline your time. That is where you will also find a large hidden profit center: Use of one’s time… Less time used means less cost per bar, in turn resulting in higher profit margin.

5. Market Yourself and Your Product. Start with products you love, believe in, and can get ‘Religiously Fanatical’ about. Beware of spreading yourself too thin, do what you do best! I advise new business owners to select a maximum of 5 products to sell (example: soap, scrub, bath bombs, lotion, lip balms). Push for the highest price per ounce that the market will bear on those products, so that when you do offer discounts, the ‘discount’ is really the initial price you might have been willing to settle for! Remember, you can never compete on price alone, there will always be someone willing to undercut you. Promote your products with a price that reflects their exclusive nature.

Build attractive Marketing materials. Even if you do not have an artistic bone in your body, you can find polished templates at places like Vista Print. Decide if you are going to be strictly Retail, Wholesale, or a combination of both. Choose a cohesive color scheme, logo, and “theme” for your business and marketing materials. This should reflect well what your products and business are trying to project. Create a business card. Develop a series of branded collateral (marketing) materials that include possibly a glossy, two sided company presentation, or showcase sheet, a tri fold brochure on your products, a post card that can be sent to special loyal customers on their birthday, and a sell sheet (if you are wholesale).

Use QR codes on your business cards and flyers so that the Smart Phone Savvy will use this function to immediately use them to “like” you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter, and/or access a Coupon you might be promoting.

Use good search engine optimization practices; join the Handmade Soap & Cosmetics Guild and/or the Indie Business Network professional trade associations. Connect with the Social Media channels. Be sure to create links from higher Goggle page ranking sites that will market your product to prospective buyers, not just industry peers. The Handmade Soap & Cosmetics Guild, The Indie Business Network, the Real Handmade Soap Index, all have ‘authoritative’ Goggle Page Ranks of 5 or greater.

Generally the average soap website falls at 1, 2 or 3… on a scale of 1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest. Etsy has a 9. Seek to link with websites that have higher page ranks than your own. Keep in mind that forwards and redirects from your main index.html page to a /cart or /store landing will show a deduction of one full rank point from your page ranking of the /cart or /store website level, but that your website will still benefit from the overall network effect in Google Search returns from the higher index.html page rank score. You just will not get to see it due to the redirect. Don’t try to figure Google out, they change too frequently. Just concentrate on a quality presence in a variety of advertising venues.

You can go to Google.com and download the page rank tool and install it on your toolbar, it will show you PR on every website you visit, if they have a PR.

Last, I would recommend using customer testimonials, Blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, Etsy, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and other social networking tools to build and extend your web of network and social media links. Each link to your business in the blogosphere and internet creates a new interstitial connection to your business website. All auction listings, blog entries, and many public forum postings are indexed by Google and contribute to your website ranking. Create and Repeat ‘Talking Points’ in your signature files, blog posts, emails, and any blogosphere dialogues. Build your own news releases, press release, and online dialogue, even if no one else is ‘listening’ yet.

Gradually, you will increase in mass like a snowball rolling down a mountain, effectively creating your own true “Network Effect”.

Good luck and safe soap making from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, an Adventure, and a Passion!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

KellyValentines14Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20 year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.

PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

Soap Calc for your Iphone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PASDkhzbg5s
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/I just found a lye calculator that I am having fun with on my Iphone. Thought I would share it with you. There is currently a FREE version of Soap Calc to use, then if you like it you can upgrade to the Soap Calc Pro version. That gets rid of all the ads as well as gives more functionality, including the ability to email the recipe to any address you want. I’m still playing with it, so have just touched what it can or can not do. I do need to MUTE that music though…. just sayin’.
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/It seems to operate very much like the online SoapCalc at SoapCalc.net, only I am not sure if there is any affiliation of not yet. I have to email Ken Bowers and ask him later today. You can adjust your superfat/lye discount, your water, and all the oils are in this Iphone/Ipad app version.
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/Here are a few screen shots of the SoapCalc Pro in work:
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/SoapCalcPro1
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/SoapCalcPro2
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/The apps work in both my Iphone and my Ipad also, which is nice! Of course, my go to online calculator still remains Ken Bower’s famous Soap Calc at SoapCalc.net
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/Kelly Bloom is the owner and Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, located in Williamsburg, VA. She is a former Science Education teacher, and the founder of Southern Soapers. Soapalooza sells Kelly’s formerly Southern Soapers branded fragrance oils now under the Soapalooza brand. Kelly is a 20 year veteran soapmaker and soap business owner, supplying wholesale soap for private label as well as back bar products for local boutique spas.
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/Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking from Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, where soapmaking is an Art, a Passion, and an Addiction!
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/Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!
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/PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page
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/We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

To Gel or Not to Gel

tallanimeBORDER-240x120The Effect of Starting Temps when Soapmaking
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/By Kelly Bloom
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/Why Make Ungelled Soap?
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/Less heat build up in your soap mold means that the more fragile, or volatile elements of your expensive essential oils, do not get lost to the intense heat that gel stage creates. Did you know the internal temperature of a batch of soap in full gel stage can exceed 240 degrees? This heat can not only burn off the lighter components of essential oil and fragrance oil, but also scorch the proteins in milk. By keeping temps lower, you have lighter colored milk soaps. You don’t have to overcompensate with scent materials, and can save money using less essential oil or fragrance oil. Esthetically, ungelled soap has a very fine, smooth texture. This is because the molecules are moving so S L O W L Y during saponification that they line up ‘dress right dress’ like little soldiers.
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/Try the following experiment:
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/Rub your hands together in a hurried fashion. Feel that warmth? Now rub your hands together very slowly. No heat, right? This is the same principle occurring when you start making Cold Process soap with warm lye and warm oil mixtures. The friction of fast moving molecules builds up to a mass in the center of the mold, resulting in the batch going into ‘gel stage’. If your batch gets too hot, it will result in something we refer to as a soap volcano! By using lower starting lye and oil temps, you constrain the speed the molecules are moving at, thereby limiting the build up of excess heat, and avoid gel stage.
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This is what Gel does. Heats from Center to Edge. Avoid this in Milk Soaps.

This is what Gel does. Heats from Center to Edge. Avoid this in Milk Soaps.


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/Nag Champa soap in Gel Stage
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/You are looking at a photo of a batch of my swirled Nag Champa soap, poured about 2 hours before this photo was taken. Right now, this batch is in gel stage, but not quite spread to the outermost edges. The mass of soap is having an exothermic reaction, heat is building up as oil and lye molecules are moving about creating friction and transforming into soap. Gel stage starts in the center of the mold, and moves in an outward manner. Eventually, if full gel stage is reached, the entire batch will change to the slightly darker shade that you see almost to the edges of this batch. Sometimes a batch will stay at this point, not enough heat gets generated to extend the exothermic reaction all the way to the mold edges and corners. If you see your batch stopping in a “partial” gel, you can push it the rest of the way by setting your mold in a 170 degree oven for a few hours. External heat will allow the edges, or ‘rind’ of ungelled soap to move toward the rest of the gelled mass.
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/Tropical-Fruit-SlicesUngelled Tropical Fruit Slices
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/Next, we have a photo of a batch of yellow & orange swirled Tropical Fruit Slices soap, which was made with lower starting temps. The Tropical Fruit Slices fragrance oil has a high ratio of Grapefruit essential oil in it, which has some very volatile, or fragile top notes. Lower temps and avoiding gel stage allow this fragrance to remain true and strong in the finished soap. I love to use this technique for all my citrus essential oils also. In this second batch using lower temperatures, the base oils were about 75 – 78 degrees, previously mixed, melted, and then cooled. You will need to have at least 40% loose oils to have a cool base oils formula that is still a mixable slurry when 75 – 80 degrees. The lye solution was cooled to 50 – 60 degrees. This batch was mixed very cool, and experienced a temporary “False Trace” where the cold lye solution hits the cool base oils and thickens up initially. The soap mixture quickly loosens up again though as the lye and oils start to react and create friction and heat. Continue mixing as usual, moving right through that false trace. Pour into mold, set into your freezer or refrigerator with no insulation around the mold. (yes, your soap will still saponify, albeit a slower rate, even in the freezer).
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/ gelled-and-ungelled-moondanceherbalUngelled Moondance & Gelled Moondance
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/The pink bar of Moondance herbal soap on the Left below shows where only partial gel occurred in the mold. The upper edge and the rounded right upper corner is more opaque than the lower portion of the soap. The pink bar of Moondance herbal soap on the Right below shows the same formula, same essential oils, duplicate batch made in similar mold. Full gel was achieved by soaping with higher oil and lye solution temps. No “rind effect” like seen on the bar to the Left. Notice that ungelled soap is more opaque than fully gelled soap. (the lower corners of our batches were rounded because this photo is from when we still used shower curtains cut to fit the mold as our liner, we did not get the perfect corners that the silicon lined molds in the photos give us now. The rounded corners were the lower portion of the mold where the liner did not get flush into the mold corners).
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/gelled-and-ungelled-eucalyptusherbalUngelled Eucalyptus & Gelled Eucalyptus
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/This Eucalyptus herbal soap was made in two batches. Batch on the left did not go through gel stage. Batch on the Right went through full gel stage. Notice how you can use gel stage, or lack of gel stage, to obtain different soap effects. I like soaps with herbs in them to go through full gel stage. That way, I can see “deeper” into the bar all the lovely herbs that were added to the batch.
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/GM&PumpkinseedBoth of these batches, Unscented Goat Milk on the Left and Unscented Pumpkin Illipe on the Right are both made with the Low Temp or ungelled soap method. We have beautifully white soap in both instances by making a very concentrated.
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/There is a copy of this training PDF in our Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio Facebook forum. Request membership if you are not already a member, and then navigate HERE to the files tab. Click on the “to-gel-or-not-to-gel PDF link.
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Indigo Blue and Australian Red Reef Clay Natural Colorants in CP

Indigo Blue and Australian Red Reef Clay Natural Colorants in CP


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/Use full Gel when doing CP Overpours
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/This is because the contrasting older soap that you have cut into shapes or chunks has lost some of its moisture. You need that full gel processing stage to ‘bond’ the old and the new soap masses together in the mold. If it is extremely cured, soap it in water for about 5 to 10 minutes so that it develops a re hydrated surface. Using gel stage in this circumstance allows you to make amazing designs in your Cold Process soap, and at the same time ensure that the bars do not fall apart during usage or even during slicing.
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/Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking!
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/Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!
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/Where soapmaking is an Adventure, an Art, and an Addiction!
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/PS: We would LOVE to connect with you at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page
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/We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!
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/© 2001 Kelly Bloom, BloomWorks Holdings, LLC & Soapalooza at
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/http://www.soapalooza.com. All text, photos, graphics, artwork and other material in this work are copyrighted and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
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/without permission.

How to handle a lye spill

redcrownlyeA few months ago some soapmakers were discussing how they spilled some lye in their workspace. They talked about how they doused the area with a jug of vinegar to clean up the chemical spill (lye is a chemical).

Not many soapmakers were chemists in their former lives, or even are accustomed to handling chemicals prior to learning to make cold process or hot process soap. Because of this, there is a gap of education on handling some of the chemicals we use in our manufacturing process.
Lye is also known as NaOH, or Sodium hydroxide. It is very base, or alkaline. Vinegar is also known as Acetic Acid. Remember that grade school science project you used to do to create a volcano? Adding vinegar to the paper mache cone that was primed with baking soda? You got the most awesome foam pouring up and out of your paper mache volcano! That is because baking soda is a mild base, an alkaline. And again, your vinegar is a weak acid. But you still get a pretty violent exothermic reaction with your self contained, homemade volcano action!

If you read your MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on your sodium hydroxide, in one of the sections there are written instructions on how to manage any type of sodium hydroxide spill. What to do if the spill is dry flakes or beads, and what to do if it is a liquid solution spill.

The number one method of clean up is using simply H2O, also known as WATER. Water dilutes the strength of the lye solution or spill. Water prevents a chemical reaction of acid and alkali, and the resulting exothermic heat discharged during neutralization. You do not want any heat when cleaning up or neutralizing, especially if there is any sodium hydroxide on your skin! The exothermic reaction of lye and vinegar is much stronger than lye and water. Water weakens the lye spill so that it is safer to clean up.

If you spill lye in dry form, clear the area of people and pets. Carefully sweep the area up. Corrosive-Danger-Sign-S-0447Wet mop the area with plain, cold water. Later, you can spray a vinegar solution and then mop up again with water to make sure full neutralization has occurred.

Be sure to wear gloves and goggles. Remove your clothes afterward and wash them. If your spill is in liquid form, clear the area of pets and people again.

Wear gloves, protective boots, and goggles. If you have Tyvek coveralls, wear them also if this is more than your counter or a small floor spill. Use rags that can be discarded to absorb as much excess liquid as possible. When wet, toss in your kitchen sink with running water to dilute them. Wring them out and absorb as much of your liquid lye solution from your counter or floor as possible. Using plain water, mop up the area again until you have absorbed and rinsed the area.

You can use the vinegar spray to now neutralize any residual alkalinity now that you have diluted and absorbed the mass of sodium hydroxide solution. Continue to rinse out your rags you used to absorb the spill with, giving them a vinegar rinse before discarding them or washing them in your washer.

The number one reason you do not want to simply douse your Lye spill with vinegar is because of the massive exothermic heat that is discharged. This can cause extreme damage to skin! Trisha Magistro explained the process with a chemical equation for those of you than would like to see that:

“If it’s (the lye spill) a solid (and there is no moisture on your hand) it’s not a problem. However, when you add water (even the little bit of water from perspiration), it will dissolve the NaOH and dissociate it into Na+ ions and OH- ions. The former are harmless. The latter will cause caustic burns. Adding water will make more OH- ions.

Rinsing it with vinegar (acetic acid, CH3COO-H or H-Ac for short) will neutralize it, though this is also exothermic. The reaction is:

Na-OH + H-Ac –> H2O + Na-Ac

(actually, it’s Na+ + OH- + H+ + Ac- –>H2O + Na+ + Ac- )

This will happen very fast, and produce a lot of heat, which will cause burns. So the best way is to rinse as much of it off quickly with water and then neutralize the tiny bit that’s left with vinegar.”  (thank you Trisha Magistro for letting us reprint your chemical reaction equation here).

So, using Water (H2O) is what is recommended for cleaning up lye spills. Vinegar is not recommended on the MSDS.

Spraying a vinegar solution mist on your work area after you have cleaned up the lye spill will not harm anything, but vinegar is not your primary liquid to use to clean up a lye spill of any kind.

If you keep large quantities of Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) on your premises, you also need to retain a copy of your MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on your sodium hydroxide for the safety of any emergency responders. This MSDS link is a generic MSDS for dry sodium hydroxide, and one that you can print off to have in your records, regardless whom you purchase your NaOH from.

Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking!

Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!

PS: We would LOVE to connect with your at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

Southern Soapers Soapmaking Training Materials returning

tallanimeBORDER-240x120I will be re publishing many of my former Southern Soapers soap training and soap making documents here on the Soapalooza blog. Many of them may still have my “Southern Soapers” copyright in the footer, but that is ok, as my parent LLC (BloomWorks Holdings, LLC), and my brand Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, as well as myself (Kelly Bloom) retain ownership of ALL copyrights pertaining to my previously branded Southern Soapers documents, web content, photos, fragrance descriptions, and forum contents. So, nothing fishy is going on, just simply releasing them on the new Soapalooza branded websites and blog.
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/Enjoy. Many will link you to the new Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio Facebook Forum.  or to either my personal or business Facebook pages. I hope you will stay in touch, feel free to join or ‘friend’ me! Email me if there is a document or tutorial you remember I published on my former Southern Soapers blog that you would like to see sooner than I might otherwise get to re publishing here.
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/Good Luck, and Safe Soapmaking!
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/Kelly, Chief Excitement Officer at Soapalooza!
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/Where soapmaking is an Adventure, an Art, and an Addiction!
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/PS: We would LOVE to connect with you at our Facebook Soapalooza Fan Page
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/We also have a Facebook Soapmaking Group called Soapalooza Soap Arts Studio, and we share lots of information there! We would love for you to join us!

How Much Fragrance Oil Should I Use?

tallanimeBORDER-240x120Fragrance Oil Usage Guidelines

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/Customers ask us frequently about fragrance usage levels. Each fragrance we sell is formulated to hold up well in Cold Process soap and has undergone a great deal of testing for this more rigorous soapmaking/manufacturing process. Fragrances sold by Soapalooza can be used for many other crafting purposes however, including melt & pour soap, lotion, scrubs, potpourri, incense, and both soy and paraffin candle waxes. Our testing processes focus on Cold Process soapmaking, because this is the most difficult process for fragrance oils to hold up in.
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/Below are some general usage guidelines for our fragrances. Each individual fragrance we sell has unique guidelines on its description page also. Be sure to read the fragrance specifications on each of the fragrance pages when shopping. This information provides flash point information, whether the fragrance can be used in gel candle, and whether the fragrance is non discoloring in cold process and melt & pour soap formulations. ALL our fragrances are skin safe, so you can safely use them in lotions and other bath and body product formulations. We do not sell any fragrances unless they are skin safe.
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/General Usage Guidelines for Fragrance Oils:
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  • Cold Process Soap: .5 oz to .8 oz per lb of base oils (3 – 5%). Remember to weigh ingredients, do not use kitchen volume measurements. Smaller batches will use the upper usage range, as the small batch can not compensate as well against the lye. Larger batches often can use the lower ranges of usage guidelines, as the mass of the batch allows more fragrance to survive. Each fragrance may vary slightly as to this upper and lower range due to personal preferences of intensity. Fragrance oils are an additive, they are not calculated in your SAP values for determining the required amount of lye to use with your ‘base oils’ (coconut, olive, palm, etc). Hot Process & Re-batch Soap: .2 – .3 oz (1 – 2%) per lb of soap.
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  • Melt & Pour Bases: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp per lb of soap base. Use less with strong fragrance, you can always add a few drops more if it is not strong enough. If using percentages, use the same measure as Hot Process or Re-batch above.
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  • Lotions & Body Wash bases: General rule of thumb is that pre-made bases can handle up to 1 to 1.25 oz (by weight) per gallon of pre-made base. This is based on fragrance at no more than 1% of the formula (128 oz = 1 gallon, so 1 – 1.25 oz is less than 1%). You should also check with the base manufacturer/distributor to find out for sure. It is a good idea to test the fragrance in a small amount of base first before adding to the entire gallon, as some fragrances thin bases, others cause thickening. This lets you prepare for surprises without loss of your supplies.
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  • Candles: Most waxes (soy, paraffin, parasoy) can usually accept 6% fragrance load per lb of wax. That equates to 1 oz per lb of wax. Some specialty waxes can accept up to 9% (1 1/2 oz per lb of wax), but you will need to test this with each fragrance, as this is not always a guarantee for every fragrance. Test for changes to burn pool, wick smoking, and any fragrance ‘weeping’ before selling candles that are maximum loaded with fragrance. Make sure to test each fragrance you use in your wax system.
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  • Toiletries items (Salts, Bath Bombs, etc): Generally 1/8 oz – 1/4 oz per lb of product base (salts, scrubs, bath bomb mixture). If using percentages, calculate .5 to no more than 1% if using percentages. 1% of 16 oz = 4.5 grams.
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