Monday, April 30, 2012

My Latest Fail

With all my new hair care products, I wanted to go completely natural and handmade with my hair routine and decided to make another shampoo bar.  Making anything new, especially with a specific purpose, takes several days of mental planning and formulating, rearranging on the recipe spreadsheet, and researching ingredients specific to the product's overall purpose.  It's always disheartening when all that work results in a complete flop.

The recipe is something beautiful:  coconut milk, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, castor oil, lye, unrefined and wildcrafted neem oil, olive oil infused with young hyson green tea and calendula petals, unrefined and wildcrafted shea butter, unrefined hemp seed oil, avocado oil, and essential oils of rosemary, lavender, organic tea tree, and lemongrass.

Great, yes?  Well, first I found out that the canned coconut milk I used had water and guar gum added to it.  Not a big deal, but...shucks.  The real mess happened when I put it in the oven.  It overheated.  After 2 hours of cooking at 170°F and 8 hours of sitting there, I decided to take a peek.  That is when I took it out of the oven and took this picture.

The creamy tan color transformed into this slimy, rotten green.  No evidence of the beautiful tops, oil puddles were everywhere, and it was mushy and smelled terrible.  It slid on its slime into the crockpot for a rebatch where it continued to stink up my house.  I didn't add a liquid to rebatch since it was already so wet.

It cooked for a long time and was stick blended often.  I did many taste tests wondering why it tasted weird.  I decided it wasn't the usual "zap" but a weird tang from the EOs instead, let it cook some more, added more EOs, and molded it.  I really didn't want the rustic tops from a log mold since the color of this soap was so ugly to begin with and found my tube mold.  My tube mold has had a batch of lavender stuck in it since February.  With not much effort, the lavender finally came out and I was able to line it for my latest fail.

I cut the pucks the next day.

Not so bad, huh?  The soap near the top of the mold has a few huge bubbles and those slices will definitely be kept for my own use.  I've been using it for a few days now.  My hair is currently going through the icks, but that is expected.  For readers who are not familiar with the icks, this is a period of time that usually lasts for 2 weeks after switching to natural bar soap where your hair will feel slightly to moderately "icky" while your hair is adjusting to the change.  I've heard that the feeling is caused by the surfactants found in commercial shampoos and conditioners being dissolved and removed from your hair.  Once they are all washed away, your hair will be transformed to the healthiest hair you've ever had, and the best part - it is all natural. 

I do have evidence of the soap before it turned to the color of muck.  I poured a bit into my silicone square mold, the one I use for sample sizes.

The color it would have been if it didn't overheat.

I don't believe the change in appearance has had a change in performance.  The quick lather is a thick foam the consistency of shaving cream.  Next time I'll use 100% coconut milk, soap at cooler temps, keep it cool while it sets, and probably add more rosemary EO.  Next time, it'll be much prettier.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Currently Curing

I just updated my Curin' page and man, there's a lot on there (for me).  I'll be adding another one tomorrow, too.

Thanks to the discovery of CPOP (cold process oven process) I can now make cold process soap with a far less cure time.  Usually when I make CP and allow it to gel, I wait 4 weeks before selling and using.  If I do not allow it to gel, I wait a full 6 weeks.  Salt bars have their own category.  They cure at least 6 weeks, but maybe even longer.  With the oven method, cure time is reduced to 10 days to two weeks and that makes me pretty happy.  There's been a lot of soap being made because of it.  There is a really exciting shampoo bar in the oven as we speak.

CPOP is a lot like hot process in that heat is applied to speed up the saponification reaction and to evaporate water content.  There is no characteristic rustic look, like what comes with HP.  I also get to cut sooner, and I'm down with that.

A friend of mine requested lavender soap for Mother's Day.  The lavender on the Curin' page is my first CPOP soap.  I did not put a lid on the mold, thinking that the lid would not help with water loss, and I got those bubbly tops.  I've since learned that using a lid eliminates the frothy look and the soap will still be hard.

Calm is an olive oil based soap that I mostly made for my mom.  I made a baby soap for my cousin's baby shower that was only olive oil and 10% coconut oil.  My mom loved it for her face, so I decided to make it again, this time with more oomph.  I used olive oil infused with young hyson green tea and calendula petals (I sometimes use this oil on my skin.  I love it.) and 10% coconut oil with avocado oil at trace.  I chose lavender, orange, and lemongrass essential oils.  It's quite the nice combo.  I made a small design on top with lavender buds.  I used tweezers to get them in place.  What was nice was that I could take all the time I needed to decorate because I knew it was going in the oven anyway.  So nice.  Also, the bars are already hard because of the cook.  The bars I made for my cousin's shower are leaking something now.  Hopefully that won't happen this time.

So, go clickly clickly on my Curin' page and have a looksy at my new, CPOP soaps.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hair Peace is listed!

Hair Peace has been posted on the Etsy and the Briny Bath & Body Pinterest board(Might be shortening the name to that soon.  Briny Bar Soap Handmade Bath & Body is so wordy.)  Here is the description of the ingredients currently posted on the Etsy listing, but I think it needs some help.  I always think I can write awesome descriptions until I actually sit down to do it.

Rose hydrosol benefits both oily and dry hair by balancing sebum production. This fragrant floral water is especially calming to the scalp by restoring pH, helping to sooth itchiness, dandruff, and sun burn. Adding rose hydrosol to hair after showering will also increase shine and moisture.

Hydrolyzed wheat protein contains wheat oligosaccharides that moisturize and build a protective layer to strengthen, condition, and give better overall body control.

Organic chamomile extract repairs hair while anti-inflammatory properties sooth scalp irritation.

Organic calendula extract is ideal for scalp conditions including delicate or dry skin. The natural moisturizing properties of the saponin and mucilage content restore health and peace.

Organic green tea extract is an intense anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory while promoting strength and gloss to hair.

I like descriptions that give a good, to the point, run-down of the product that is not too wordy.  This post definitely suggests I have a disliking for wordiness.  I also like facts, not fluff.  When I click on a product and there is a long description, or claims that are not proven, I don't read it.  I take this into account when I'm writing my own descriptions--short and sweet.

I've been in contact with Jennifer from Naturalmente Mediterraneo (she also writes the Jenora Soaps blog).  I asked about purchasing some of her shampoo soap and we decided on a swap.  In exchange for a few samples of her wonderful shampoo bars (which may not work as well in the US because of differences in water on performance) she will be receiving a bottle of Hair Peace and a few of my soaps.  Hope you like it, Jen!  Can't wait to hear what you think and add your soap to the collection on my shower shelf.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Pictures of Old Soap

I have so many pictures that I have never shared and thought it would be fun to post a few.  This will make up for my last very pictureless post.  Enjoy.

I loved this burlap packaging and the smell and design of this soap.  Too bad it wasn't a good seller.

My Orange Patchouli lounging on the iron bridge.
Fort Laramie, WY

half sized bars for a big event

Green Tea & Lemongrass
my first soap after a long time away from home

Orange Patchouli on the bridge again
I think I need to revisit this soap :)
My one and only loofah soap "Hawaiian Loofah" with a citrusy essential oil blend (that did not stick) and rolled in mineral salt.
Camo in the mold
I have since gotten better at picture taking.
The side swirls of Peppermint & Clay

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Natural Hair Care

I am enjoying making my own hair care products from research to formulating, especially using the products and evaluating the results.  My overall goal has been to make two products, an oil based serum and a water soluble spray to increase shine, smooth out frizziness, restore the scalp, and to strengthen the hair shaft.  With blow drying and straightening with a flat iron, my hair is exposed to intense heat and therefore prone to dead ends and splitting.  It's pretty gnarly by the time I get it cut.  (The hair dresser's words, not mine.)

Tame that Mane has been added to my daily post shower routine.  I concentrate my application on areas of weakness: the ends and an area of fine hair near my face.  It's only been a few weeks so I cannot share any long term benefits, but I can tell you what I've notice so far.  Immediately my hair was styling the way I wanted it to and straightening didn't take as long.  My hair is shinier with use, but that is a no brainer.  Evaluating the difference in strength is a challenge, but I can say that when I pull off a dead end I can now hear and audible "snap".  The oil is already reducing the amount of time my hair is exposed to heat and I hope it will strengthen my hair with resumed use for overall healthier hair.
Ingredients:  fractionated coconut oil, hemp seed oil, avocado oil, and essential oils of rosemary, clary sage and Hungarian lavender

I made a small test batch of the water soluble spray.  I chose ingredients that were beneficial to both hair and scalp.  Here's what I came up with:  distilled water, rose hydrosol, hydrolyzed wheat protein, organic calendula extract, organic chamomile extract, and organic green tea extract.  To use, I part my hair and spray onto scalp all around my head, then spray onto hair and brush through.  (I use this before the hair oil.)  My only complaint was the intense aroma of the rose hydrosol while spraying (I used 50/50 water to rose hydrosol), but the scent vanishes after drying.  I would prefer a lighter rose scent, one that doesn't punch me in the face, so I'll see if I get the same results with a slighly lower water to rose hyrdosol ratio.

There will be more to come on the water soluble spray like ingredient descriptions and performance.  I have been out for about a week and can already tell my hair is not as soft.  I guess I'll go make more.

OH!  And I thought of a name...

Hair Peace


Monday, April 9, 2012

Three New Soaps

I have three new soaps I'd like to share.  No, I didn't steal everything out of SoapTravel.  I've been making soap again after a few weeks of not really feeling like it and have plans for future soaps as well.  But not today, I'm very sick and in bed.  That doesn't mean I can't think about it.  Or blog about it.

The first soap is a neem oil soap.  This year is predicted to be a very bad year for ticks because of the low acorn production.  You heard it.  Acorns.  Acorns are the main food source for a certain wood mouse which is the primary host for deer ticks.  The mouse population is decreasing due to food availability and ticks are finding new hosts to munch on, like my dog.  Nom nom.

Joey, AKA J-Dog

Neem oil is a natural tick and flea repellant.  The first batch is mostly for my own use while I'm in Maine working for Acadia National Park.  I don't know what the tick situation will be there, but I sure will be prepared.  I call it "In the Field" and has essential oils of lemongrass, eucalyptus, and niaouli which are all natural bug repellants as well.  I will do a few tweeks before the dog shampoo is made.  More superfat and the addition of lavender EO, for instance.

In the Field
water, neem oil, olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, lye, castor oil, palm kernel oil, avocado oil
essential oils of lemongrass, eucalyptus, naiouli

I have a few two ounce bottles of fragrances from Bramble Berry sent a thank you after participating in their SOAP panel.  I have decided to finally use them.  Here's freshly cut Orange Grove.

Orange Grove
water, coconut oil, olive oil, sustainable palm oil, lye, shea butter, castor oil, avocado oil, fragrance, titanium dioxide, orange mica, cilantro flakes

I took the ingredients with me to Indiana, PA and realized that I had forgot the parsley powder for the green swirls.  I looked at the spices I had available and found bright green cilantro flakes.  Experimentation ensued.  I added cilantro to a bit of soap and attempted a swirl, but it kind of just looks like it went everywhere.  Oh well.  Think tiny leaves blowing in the wind through a grove of giant oranges.

You'd think with a name like Briny I'd have more salt bars.  I'm workin' on it.  I attempted a new recipe with a 20% superfat (whoa), slight water discount from the calculator (33% lye solution), and added aloe vera (included in water phase) and superfatted it with sunflower seed oil.  Oh yeah, I also added 80% of the total oils in salt.  I found that I added too much salt before, making for a really hard, not so bubbly bar.  I wanted a salt bar that was fresh and citrusy with a beachy name.  Here's what I came up with.  Swirls provided by activated charcoal powder.

Bathing Beauty
coconut oil, salt, water, castor oil, lye, aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, charcoal powder
essential oils of orange, grapefruit, lime, lemongrass, litsea cubena, patchouli

I opened up my box of sea salt and found that I had purchased coarse sea salt.  The box was printed in a different language.  I used the coffee grinder.  The next batch of coffee might be a bit salty.  These bars are really, really, super soft.  They wanted to almost fall apart.  The loaf actually split while I was trying to remove the bottom liner and decided to cut with it still on.  I can't tell where it split now.  I'm giving these guys a minimum 6 week cure, but will probably cure them for longer.  There are a lot of cool swirls that I didn't get pictures of.  I didn't want to touch it too much.  The scent is sweet, citrusy, bright, and happy.  I'm loving it.

Now, time to go shower and open up my sinuses.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

SoapTravel is in Pittsburgh!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this package for weeks and Julia was worried that it had been lost, but it has finally arrived safe and sound.

Inside, Drech Wech by Seifen Zweg, Lavender Love by bbee's, and Green Dew by SenMi Soap Design.

My choice was more of a process of elimination than picking a favorite.  My skin had just been scratched up by salt (no exfoliation, thank you) and I had been working with a ton a lavender lately, so my nose was in the mood for something new.  That left this green beauty by SenMi.

Xenia's ingredients are a lot like mine and the scent is very fresh, outdoorsy, and clean smelling.  Green Dew is a perfect name to sum up this fragrance.  Added to some warm water, it didn't take long for bubbles to appear- fresh, dewy, happy bubbles.

Thanks Xenia and Julia for providing me with this lovely soap!  I think I'll add one of my favorites, Black Magic Banana to the trio.

Now, SoapTravel is off to Germany.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

New! Briny Hair Products: Tame that Mane Hair Oil

Briny Bar Soap Handmade Bath & Body presents a future in hair care products!

I hate buying hair products.  They are expensive and have a lot of ingredients that I don't want to release into the water system just to have pretty hair.  Not worth it.  Here's a post from way back when guilt sat in after buying salon hair products.  I looked into making my own and so far have had great results.  This one has made it to my Etsy shop.

Fractionated coconut oil makes up the bulk of the product, a very light oil that absorbs quickly into both hair and skin.  It strengthens areas that have been weakened by heat and harsh chemicals while preventing future damage.  Hemp seed oil, another quick absorber, and avocado oil were added for intense moisture and to boost nutrients for strong, shiny, soft hair.  I chose the essential oil blend based on the beneficial properties to hair, and thankfully it smells good too.

Rosemary essential oil stimulates hair follicles to promote hair growth and rejuvenates the scalp.  Rosemary oil is a potent antioxidant.  Caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid, the two main ingredients, as well as vitamin E protect against the damage caused by free radicals.  It has also been commonly used as a natural anti-dandruff remedy.  Soothing lavender essential oil balances oil production, helping to restore natural moisture to both your hair and scalp.  Lastly, clary sage is known to be especially beneficial to overall hair health.  Besides being rich in antioxidants, clary sage oil contains sclareol, a natural alcohol that resembles our own hormones and therefore promotes hormone production.  Hormone balance prevents thickening of the membrane tissue of the hair follicle which causes hair loss.  The estrogen increase also promotes healthy hair growth.

I'll admit, the first time I used this product I used too much.  I have since found an amount that leaves my hair shiny without looking greasy or feeling heavy.  The trick was to apply the oil (a very small amount of oil) to the bottom half of the hair, then from root to tip into towel dried hair.  I've also used this oil as a hot oil treatment applying to my scalp and pulling excess oil through to the ends.  I thoroughly massaged the oil into my scalp then wrapped it in a bun to soak for about 30 minutes before washing and styling as usual.  My hair was perfect.  It was shiny, so soft, and it felt strong and replenished.  I couldn't stop looking at it.  It's been about four days now and my hair is still looking great.

Another hair product I've been working on is a water soluble spray containing rose hydrosol, hydrolyzed wheat protein, calendula extract, chamomile extract, and green tea extract.  I've been using it after the shower before applying the hair oil and will do a bit of tweaking before creating the final product.  More on that to come.  Any ideas for the name?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

15% off Salt Scrubs!

Use coupon code "BRINEDSKIN15" for 15% off all salt scrubs now!

Those warm, sun filled months are approaching and I can't wait put on a tank top, roll up my jeans and feel the (warm) breeze.

My exfoliating Whipped Salt Scrubs are deeply conditioning and packed with nutrient rich oils, butters, and essential oils, the perfect way to awaken the skin after a long, cold winter.  The best part?  These scrubs are all natural, meaning they do not contain water or an emulsifier, just a pure blend of solid, semi-solid, and liquid oils that were whipped to obtain a fluffy, firm texture.  Scrub onto your entire body and leave the shower with soft, toned, and moisturized skin with a clean and fresh scent, absolutely perfect for summer.

Visit my Etsy shop here or click the links below to be directed to the scrub you wish to view.  Coupon expires April 10, but I can always be persuaded.

sea salt, olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, rice bran oil, rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, peppermint leaves, rosemary leaves, Dead Sea salt

sea salt, shea butter, olive oil, rice bran oil, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, activated charcoal, organic tea tree essential oil, Dead Sea salt
 Feedback on this item:  "Rich, soothing replenishment for hardworking feet!"

sea salt, olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, lavender essential oil, lavender buds

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Soap from Spain!

I've received my soap from the International Soap Swap! Maribel from Muchaespumita sent me three of her gorgeous soaps. She sent me an email when she had sent them with an attached letter with instructions not to read until I received the package. Yeah, I opened it, then immediately closed it. Really, I didn't read it at all. Anyway, they have just finished a photo shoot. Included are the ingredients and description as written by Maribel herself.

The package it arrived in.

How did Maribel know that I love leaves?

The soaps!  Down to Earth (front), Under the Sea (right), Jabon de Castilla (left)
Both sides of Down to Earth were pretty different, so I took a picture of each.
Down to Earth
60% oilve oil, sustainable palm and palm kernel oils.  Superfatted with hazelnut oil.  Black, white, red and yellow clays, lavender essential oil.

Down to Earth
"Four clays and lavender soap"

Under the Sea
Dead Sea Mud and Seaweeds to return mineral salts to the skin, added to the magical Argan Oil.
argan oil, virgin olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, estearine, sodium hydroxide, Dead Sea Mud, fucus, spiruline, aloe vera, blue ultramarine pigment and Litsea cubena essential oil.

Jabon de Castilla
Just 100% olive oil soap, handmade with bio virgin olive oil, infused with marigold and chamomile
No added fragrance or synthetic colorants.

Jabon de Castilla
Way cool "artisan" stamp.  Handmade by a friend of hers.
Since they all contain a lot of olive oil, I'm going to let them cure for another few weeks to get the full effect.  ;)  I'll post their performance as they happen.

Thank you, Maribel.  They smell wonderful and are all so beautiful.  I adore every one.
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briny bar soap, brinybarsoap, dennise, hand, home, made, handmade, homemade, tea tree, homestead, soynut, shampoo bar, salt bar, essential oils, cold process Briny Bar Soap Blog Sitemap. I am Dennise, soap maker and creator of Briny Bar Soap. My passion for soap making is a combination of personal creativity, chemistry education, and love for creating something wholesome and useful.