Making Soap – Back to the basics

It has occurred to me that I may be over thinking this whole blogging business. After a little bit of healthy nagging from my husband and a firm “just do it” kind of talking from myself, I decided to start with a basic soap making overview of my process. This however, is not a soap making lesson; just a jumping off point for me to begin to share and “break the ice” so to speak.

Since I have started soaping “Energizing” has been one of my best-sellers. Over the years it has morphed into different colours and finishes but the end product, with sumptuous oils, creams and clays is always the same. So I will begin with the process of making Energizing Soap.

Although this is not a soap making lesson, I do find it extremely important to mention a few safety measures around soap making just in case I do inspire someone to jump in and give it a go. When making soap always, always wear safety goggles and rubber gloves. Sturdy close toed shoes, long sleeves and long pants are also recommended. Alway treat your lye with respect, lock the cat in the bathroom and put the dog in the garage (or whatever measures you need to take to keep the little fur balls safe) and keep the little munchkins out of the room as well. Ok, end of lecture. This part of soap making does merit more research but I will not lecture because this is not a soap making lesson (did I already say that?).

To start, gather all your tools. Over the years I have compiled quite a collection but I do always seem to reach for these favourites. My instant read thermometer (a gift from my Dad), my Escali Scale and stick blender are my favourites for sure. Oh wait, my silicone molds, log splitter and Tank cutter (gifts from my husband) are pretty high on the list as well, but I will cover that in another blog.

Formulating batches is one of my favourite things to do. Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Shea Butters and other butters are irresistible. Things taken into consideration are conditioning/moisturizing, lather and bar hardness. I usually spend one day weighing and measuring and another day actually making soap.

Melting all the butters and oils together. Now it feels like I am making soap. There is just something about everything coming together in the soap pot. I add my triple cream blend, clays and silk at this point and stick-blend it in to ensure everything is blended well then add the lye solution. After a little bit of stick blending and whisking my raw soap comes to a light trace (when you drizzle a little bit of soap back into the pot it leaves a line or mound).

This is when the magic happens, and it happens fast. I add my fragrance or Essential oil at a very light trace then split the batch according to my recipe. The split out batches are coloured then poured into molds. I work with silicone molds that hold 20 – 25 pound batches and absolutely love them. Once the batch has been poured I allow it to rest for about 5 minutes then texturize the top. Over the years I have tried different techniques and tools for texturizing but always seem to go back to a simple soup spoon. Once the texturizing is done it is time to “put the soap to bed, cover it and insulate with towels or sheets”, and leave it alone for about 18 – 24 hours.

And Voila, a batch of energizing soap on the racks. I know, I know… It is not that simple and I did skip the cutting part. I will share that process in another blog as it is a task in itself with a lot of amazing tools. All RavenSong Soaps “cure” for a minimum of 4 weeks before they are re-homed. this allows the bar to completely saponify (turn into soap), and harden into a long lasting bar. I actually prefer my bars to be older that that but due to high demand I cannot keep them on the shelf for much longer that that.

thank you for checking out my very basic introduction to my soap making process.

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