- Jan 14, 2021
- Reaction score
Time to declare this little pet project a success! It has taken long enough … I started it on February 1 with the initial CP brew. A few undissolved soap paste chunks are still floating around (you can guess from the turbidity in the upper third of the liquid), and that's after waiting for over two weeks to dissolve … however, as long as they disperse at a rate that isn't slower than the draining of the soap as a whole, everything will be fine.
Now what exactly is decadent about this soap?
- It is a cold-process liquid soap without frills, yet far from simple and artless.
- Recipe: 45% extra virgin poppy seed oil, 33% babaçu oil, 22% castor oil. 112 g oil, about 250 mL final volume. Saponification took place with 25% KOH, and initially with the castor and poppy, and a third of the babaçu oil. When the reaction was mostly over (clarity test passed, yet of course extremely lye-heavy), I added the remaining babaçu oil, so that potential superfat will be mostly lauric, rather than linoleic. Careful dilution in small steps allowed me to avoid extra steps to adjust consistency (Na, thickening agents…).
- Additives: potassium citrate, ascorbic acid and ROE (poppy seed oil is decadently high in linoleic acid, about 70%, and the whole recipe carries some 33% polyunsaturates). I hope that this will be sufficient against rancidity.
- The colour comes from yerba mate: I macerated the fine leaf powder of unaged Brazilian erva-mate chimarrão in babaçu oil for two weeks. The concentrate is originally dark green (like fir); at minor additions like the 5%ppo here (5 g leaf powder per 100 g oil, prior to filtering off), it looks confusingly similar to good olive oil (it even passes the red-fluorescence trick with a green laser pointer). If you ever should be in need to forge olive oil, remember this (but better don't mention that it was me who told you so!). I fear that the colour, like so many natural colourants, will fade over time, lose its brilliance and freshness, and turn into a more mature, aged brownish olive. So what.
- It is a needless, decadent luxury to use babaçu oil as a lauric oil instead of everyone's darling, coconut oil. For some reason I have accustomed myself to call Attalea speciosa by its native Portuguese spelling, instead of internationally more common “babassu”. Why? Why not? In the end, it comes from Brazil.
- That poppy seed oil! I ordered it from a small artisanal oil mill (with a decadent price tag), and oh, it is so much beyond anything you could buy in a shop! The poppy smell and taste is overwhelming, nearly obtrusive. The best thing: it transfers to the soap! My hands smell like poppy after washing with that soap. It is not very intense, but definitely noticeable, and adds a decadent twist to the washing experience – without adding fragrances.
- Castor and babaçu make it lather heavenly, yet it is not harsh or stripping; the decadent amount of (poly)unsaturates leaves a soft and fresh skin feel. I feel clean, but no skin strain, cold, or irritant sensation.
- How to stylistically label the dispenser flask? To make things as difficult as possible for myself, I decided to go for my ageing reserves of Letraset letters! Alas, I have nearly forgotten what fun (both actually and ironically) this is. Curved, glossy surface, no reference lines, and if you rub at the wrong places, you'll get unsightly whitish streaks … not to mention finger prints …
- And all that effort for a unique private item, that (besides you, SMF fellows) few people will ever see in real life.