Here is my entry for the CP/M&P soap challenge:
This is only my second attempt at using M&P soap base – the first being 2 or 3 days earlier to make embeds for my mosaic soap, which I decided not to submit as my entry for the challenge …….
I started out making HP soap about 6 or 7 years ago, and quickly moved on to CP because I wanted to try some of the beautiful swirls that I saw being created by some amazing soap-makers from all around the world. And I’ve never looked back, or felt tempted to try M&P soap – partly because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find palm-free soap base, and also because I love using the CP soap I’ve made. And I have a VERY long soaping to-do list, just sticking to CP!!
But when I found a palm-free soap base at Aroma Zone, I decided to enter the challenge for this month – and give it a try ….. It felt like the right time for a new challenge!
I first saw photos of “rain drop” soap on Fraulein Winter’s blog about a year ago, and have been wanting to try to make something like this ever since. I wasn’t sure that it would work with droplets of M&P, because I soap at room temperature – so I expected that the M&P would start hardening as soon as it came into contact with the cooler CP soap. But I decided to throw caution to the wind, and give it a shot!
To colour the M&P I used a little red ochre and a little yellow ochre (both from Provence) dispersed (separately) in some glycerine. I added a little of each colour until I achieved a suitably vibrant orange – a colour that I’ve found to be elusive (or almost impossible with the natural colourants I use!) in CP soap. I didn’t want to go any brighter or darker, because I wanted the M&P soap to remain still fairly transparent.
I poured a layer of the orange M&P as the base of the soap, because I was half afraid that my orange “drops” would turn into an uneven layer of orange on top of the soap. So I wanted to ensure that the colour in the bar was at least partially balanced between the upper and lower halves.
The white soap for this challenge is my usual slow-moving soap for swirling, which gives a good white even without kaolin. To complement the orange colour of the M&P soap, I used a blend of amyris and ginger essential oils to achieve a warm (but not too strong) ginger fragrance. I poured the white soap into the mold at a fairly thin trace, so that the thickness of the soap wouldn’t provide an additional barrier for the M&P to form drop shapes within the soap bar.
To pour the drops, I used a funnel which I pre-heated to around 60C in the oven to prevent the M&P starting to harden in the funnel. Then I blocked the bottom with a finger and part-filled with the orange M&P soap. I held the funnel pretty high above the mold, to have the best chance of getting the droplets to go deeper into the white soap. So I was pleased to see that most of the orange soap did “disappear” into the white soap ……
The hardest part was judging how full the funnel should be to have enough orange soap to form droplets down the entire length of the mold. The first time the funnel was a little too full, so I did a return pour down a part of the mold. But the second pour (using slightly less M&P soap than the first) was about right.
When I cut the bars I was delighted to see that I had created what I’ve decided to call “Ginger Drops” soap! The colour makes it difficult to associate the pattern with rain drops.
Here are some photos of the “Ginger Drops” soap bars taken shortly after cutting:
What I learned making this soap ….
I realized that the difference in the height of the pour had made little difference to how deep the M&P droplets were in the soap. Probably at leastly partly because the temperature difference caused the M&P to harden as soon as it came into contact with the CP soap. But the volume of soap in the funnel made a big difference to the size and even-ness of the droplets down the length of the mold.
And I learned that it’s a LOT easier to make orange-coloured M&P than orange-coloured CP soap with natural colourants! My best effort to date for my Cosmic Orange soap was definitely less orange than this …..
I really enjoyed experimenting with the M&P soap, but I’m not sure that this experience will give me cause to change tack and start making more CP/M&P soaps. I guess I’m just a sucker for CP soap. And my CP soaping to-do list is more than long enough to keep me busy for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for reading – and happy soaping!