Naturally colored soap - The journey

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
Hello everyone. I'm finally back from LA!! No, not Los Angeles sillies, Lurkers Anonymous, of course.

If you don't mind, let me just get my sob story out of the way first. I signed up on SMF about 6 months ago and was super excited to start the testing phase of my journey. I had some olive oil/coconut oil in my pantry, picked up some sodium hydroxide from the hardware store, and made a couple of test batches. Bada bing bada boom, all went well, gel phase, demolding etc. All good in the hood.

THEN, I got a serious stomach virus, 12 hours dry heave every 15 minutes all night long. Fever 104, couldn't eat or drink water. So, I did what most men do, absolutely nothing. Just suffer and wait for it to magically go away. Anywho, on day 5 with no food and enough sips of ginger ale to not die of dehydration, I called a friend and asked her to drive me to the urgent care as I felt like I would die if I didn't do something. Mind you, I'm a single daddy of a beautiful little 7 year old girl (stupid daddy). Short story long, I had severe pneumonia, and a major virus/infection as well. I lost 12 pounds and foolishly nearly lost my life.

Fast forward a month. I finally started eating well again and felt somewhat human. THEN, while sitting at a red light, some selfish young man texting crashed into the back of my car going 50mph on a city street, in broad daylight, AND in a construction zone (speed limit 15mph). Completely messed up my back more than it already was. So, 3 months and 54 doctor's appts later, I was feeling well enough to start making my "real" soap. BUT, fast forward 2 weeks and.......... ( I know this is getting annoying huh)........

I took my daughter to get ice cream at Baskin and Robbins (because where else can you go to pay 12 bucks for a couple of scoops of ice cream). Anyways, when we were going home we pulled up to a 4 way stop just up the street from our house. In the 5 years since I bought this house, we have had a family of 4 boys (age 10-16) constantly racing up and down the street in modified mini cycles, go carts, etc. and have complained to the police and even approached the parents. There are 3 schools within a mile of my house, thin streets, cars parked on both sides, very dangerous and we all knew it was just a matter of time before someone got hurt. WELL, this was the night. It was about 7pm when we stopped at the 4 way stop sign. I looked left nothing, I looked right and there was a young woman ready to proceed thru the intersection. As it was her right away, I waited and just as I was about to take my turn, this young boy (14 years old) goes blowing right by my left side right thru the intersection on his mini cycle going 50mph plus. He hit the woman's car and flew 40-50 feet thru the air and landed on some brick landscaping pavers head first. I knew it was going to be bad. All I could do was tell my daughter to look away and stay in the car while daddy went to help. When I got to him I knew it was likely over for him. Faint pulse, no breathing. All I could do was try and provide oxygen to his brain until rescue arrived. I've seen much trauma in my life and knew it was over for him. The parents pulled the plug in the morning as he was braindead.

Anyways, my daughter has moved forward like the resilient little trooper that she has always been. We are beyond super close and have such an open and honest relationship. We talked and prayed a lot about that night. It was about a month or so ago. Now, when we do our neighborhood walk, we will always see the spot (5 houses down) where the memorial is set up. It will never the same but we are people of faith and look heavenwards for guidance. For me, I went through the usual stuff, but this time, a lot of anger because my daughter was witness to the event. Sorry to relate such a sad sob story but it is the reason I stopped posting on SMF. I was like a kid in a candy store until this happened.

A few weeks ago I finally got out of my funk and got back to my original plan:

To make soap with all organic ingredients using natural colorants. And I mean EVERY oil, butter, EO, seed, root, herb etc. No short cuts, if it's too expensive then I just won't buy it until it becomes a viable option. And plus, who doesn't want to pay a fortune for all organic ingredients and then not be able to label your product as organic?

I'll preface this by saying I think that the soap makers on this forum are simply amazing. I'm so impressed with the skill sets that our members exhibit and am grateful to have gleaned so much information from our generous members. Personally, I'm not a swirl type of guy but enjoy seeing all of the amazing creations that are posted on SMF. I grew up in an Italian family in New York and spent my entire life as a bruising and brutal hockey player. If my friends back home find out I'm making soap AND doing swirls. surely they will revoke my toxic masculinity membership ;)

And now, without further ado, drum roll please and a massive group yawn, here are my first 6 soaps.

All of the base recipes are the same:

18% HOSF
18% PALM OIL (insert Kurt the evil monster for using palm oil here)
18% PALM KERNEL OIL
15% EVOO
10% CASTOR BEAN OIL
7% COCONUT OIL
7% COCO BUTTER
7% BABASSU OIL

Soap calc gives high cleansing number of 21 ( I know most seem to make their soap down around 14 or so) but I haven't found these soaps to be too harsh on the skin and I live in the Nevadan desert) My neighbors and friends also said it was luxurious and that their skin felt fine. This soap is hard, creamy, bubbly, super lather, just wonderful in my opinion.

I know this is quite boring for most but from left to right:

1) Added coffee ground at trace.
2) HOSF and EVOO infused with parsley
3) same as 2 but added some black walnut powder to the infusion
4) HOSF infused with Annatto seed
5) HOSF infused with Alkanet root
6) HOSF infused with Madder root

I took this picture at early dusk as I think the lighting captured the true color of the soaps.

Thanks for looking and wading your way through my endless sob story

soap.jpg

And my inspiration and best friend, and not so little girl anymore, Bianca.
b.jpg
 
Last edited:

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,612
Reaction score
11,671
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Wow, you've had quite the eventful year so far! Bianca is gorgeous. I am so glad she wasn't hurt and that yours was not the car that unfortunate boy crashed into.

Your soaps are gorgeous, too.

One question: Which HO oil did you use? Sunflower or Safflower? I use both & if I were to use that abbreviation I'd really be in trouble tracking my inventory. LOL As it is, I have to be very careful to pick up the right bottle when I am reading off my recipe to make soap!

Welcome back, and take good care of yourself and your little one.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,086
Reaction score
9,683
Location
Virginia
Wow Kurt, you’ve been through so much and still sound so centered. You must be a very strong soul, which is good because you have a special girl to take care of. Your soaps are beautifully simple (and I mean that as a compliment). I love all of the colors. I’m not all that far along on my soaping journey and still have a lot to learn about using natural colorants. If you get a chance, and feel like sharing more about your methods, please post more details about how you made and used the colorants. I have had good luck using annatto and matcha in oil, but my madder in oil doesn’t seem to have released any color.

P.S. I grew up in NY and was always surrounded by Italians :) even though my parents were of German and Irish descent. Both of my parents grew up in predominantly Italian neighborhoods and when they divorced they married Italians. My stepmom makes the best rice balls ever!
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
Wow, you've had quite the eventful year so far! Bianca is gorgeous. I am so glad she wasn't hurt and that yours was not the car that unfortunate boy crashed into.

Your soaps are gorgeous, too.

One question: Which HO oil did you use? Sunflower or Safflower? I use both & if I were to use that abbreviation I'd really be in trouble tracking my inventory. LOL As it is, I have to be very careful to pick up the right bottle when I am reading off my recipe to make soap!

Welcome back, and take good care of yourself and your little one.

Thank you Earlene. I use Sunflower oil.

I felt bad for the woman in the car. She did nothing wrong. She was absolutely hysterical. She was screaming and thankfully never got out of the car until the first responders showed up so she didn't have to see this young boys head. I contacted her the next day to try and offer a consoling word and to let her know unequivocally that she did absolutely nothing wrong and that I would stand by her if there was the typical frivolous witch hunt lawsuit.

PS. When I first was doing my soap research all the acronyms were driving me bonkers. I was like, don't these people realize I'm over 50 and can barely get my socks on the right feet let alone figure out all of these cryptic letter codes?

Wow Kurt, you’ve been through so much and still sound so centered. You must be a very strong soul, which is good because you have a special girl to take care of. Your soaps are beautifully simple (and I mean that as a compliment). I love all of the colors. I’m not all that far along on my soaping journey and still have a lot to learn about using natural colorants. If you get a chance, and feel like sharing more about your methods, please post more details about how you made and used the colorants. I have had good luck using annatto and matcha in oil, but my madder in oil doesn’t seem to have released any color.

P.S. I grew up in NY and was always surrounded by Italians :) even though my parents were of German and Irish descent. Both of my parents grew up in predominantly Italian neighborhoods and when they divorced they married Italians. My stepmom makes the best rice balls ever!
Thank you MB.

I am weak in the flesh but strong in the Lord.

Wow, you were surrounded by Italians and maintained your sanity? Well done!!

I basically just ground up whatever I was using for the infusion with my coffee grinder and then added it to the Sunflower oil and put the canning jar with the mixture into a small pot with water and let it infuse for a couple of hours (sometimes longer) over very low heat, shaking occasionally and also turning off the heat every 15 or so minutes so it didn't get too hot. Then I just strained it thru cheesecloth (folded a few times over) into another canning jar.

The only difference was in trying to make green as I had to infuse the olive oil as well as the sunflower oil (so 33% of the recipe) because as most know green is just a pain in the butt to make naturally.

Also, I did a very quick stick blend with the lye water and the other oils/butter first, then added the infused oil and stick blended a bit more and then added the EOs before blending to a light trace.

Poured into a silicon mold, covered with a box then piled a bunch of old towels on top of the box (cranked up the heat in the room to 75 degrees for the first 2 hours). Popped out of the mold in 18 hours or so and voila, boring plain naturally colored soap!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
8,140
Reaction score
10,901
Location
Minnesota
What a difficult time you have had. I'm glad life is sorting itself out for you and it's nice to have you back. The soaps you made are stunning - really well done. And thanks for sharing the picture of the center of your universe - she's adorable.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
What a difficult time you have had. I'm glad life is sorting itself out for you and it's nice to have you back. The soaps you made are stunning - really well done. And thanks for sharing the picture of the center of your universe - she's adorable.
Thank you for your kind words.

Indeed, Bianca is the center of my universe. She's so into making soap too. She loves to weigh the soap to check on the weight loss, catalog the results, keep the tags, etc etc. She is truly a light in a sometimes very dark world. We hike, birdwatch, garden, sing, play guitar, paint, do wood carvings, and on and on. As long as we do it together, she is full of joy.

I vowed from the day she was born to never even go on a single date because I didn't want her to ever feel like she had to compete for my love and honestly didn't feel like I had any energy left to love a woman again they way a woman deserves to be loved anyway. And I'm ok with that, but this little girl has compassion and wisdom beyond her years. Just last week she said to me, "daddy, it's ok if you want to try and find a wife". Of course, I burst into tears. She sees the struggle and is so selfless and compassionate. A lifetime of failures disappears when I see her character in action.

Sorry, once I get started, it's like an endless a soap opera on the lifetime channel. :p
 

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
8,140
Reaction score
10,901
Location
Minnesota
Thank you for your kind words.

Indeed, Bianca is the center of my universe. She's so into making soap too. She loves to weigh the soap to check on the weight loss, catalog the results, keep the tags, etc etc. She is truly a light in a sometimes very dark world. We hike, birdwatch, garden, sing, play guitar, paint, do wood carvings, and on and on. As long as we do it together, she is full of joy.

I vowed from the day she was born to never even go on a single date because I didn't want her to ever feel like she had to compete for my love and honestly didn't feel like I had any energy left to love a woman again they way a woman deserves to be loved anyway. And I'm ok with that, but this little girl has compassion and wisdom beyond her years. Just last week she said to me, "daddy, it's ok if you want to try and find a wife". Of course, I burst into tears. She sees the struggle and is so selfless and compassionate. A lifetime of failures disappears when I see her character in action.

Sorry, once I get started, it's like an endless a soap opera on the lifetime channel. :p
That's very sweet. You are lucky to have each other.
 

szaza

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2018
Messages
1,383
Reaction score
2,546
Location
Belgium
Oh my what a story[emoji32] I hope you'll be able to get a lot of comfort out of soapmaking with your daughter!
Welcome on the plant colorant experimentation train[emoji6] great idea to add walnut hull to darken the green of parsley. And what an amazing dark purple you got from alkanet!
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
Oh my what a story[emoji32] I hope you'll be able to get a lot of comfort out of soapmaking with your daughter!
Welcome on the plant colorant experimentation train[emoji6] great idea to add walnut hull to darken the green of parsley. And what an amazing dark purple you got from alkanet!
Thank you.

We love watching the alkanet infused soap go through so many changes once it's cut and exposed to air. It's really quite fascinating!
 

Jono Hislop

Member
Joined
May 23, 2019
Messages
8
Reaction score
5
Location
New Zealand
Thank you for sharing, and I am sorry to hear your story. May your daughter carry throughout her life a higher awareness of risk without the worry is what I hope for her.
I love that green in #2. Could you tell me what HOSF and EVOO stand for?

Wishing you both well.
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
9,612
Reaction score
11,671
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Thank you for sharing, and I am sorry to hear your story. May your daughter carry throughout her life a higher awareness of risk without the worry is what I hope for her.
I love that green in #2. Could you tell me what HOSF and EVOO stand for?

Wishing you both well.

Jono, EVOO is commonly used to mean Extra Virgin Olive Oil
HO means High Oleic. SF usually means Super Fat in the soap making community, but in this context, in combination with HO, it stands for an oil. Unfortunately it will be a confusing acronym, because there are two HO Sxx Flower oils that are used by soapmakers. Safflower Oil and Sunflower oil both are available in the High Oleic version. (Not to be confused with the non-high-oleic, or regualr Saffower and regular Sunflower oils.) In any case, to Kurt HOSF means High Oleic Sunflower oil because that's what he said when I asked the same question.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,086
Reaction score
9,683
Location
Virginia
Wow, you were surrounded by Italians and maintained your sanity?
. I always found my adopted Italian aunts and uncles to be warm and loving. Most of them have passed on, but I have good memories of times we spent together. I’m kind of a foodie, too, and the food was always amazing. Most of them were from southernmost Italy and cooked with a lot of tomatoes. My step mom’s family is from a little further north and they make dishes I never had when I was a child, like the rice balls.

I basically just ground up whatever I was using for the infusion with my coffee grinder and then added it to the Sunflower oil and put the canning jar with the mixture into a small pot with water and let it infuse for a couple of hours (sometimes longer) over very low heat, shaking occasionally and also turning off the heat every 15 or so minutes so it didn't get too hot. Then I just strained it thru cheesecloth (folded a few times over) into another canning jar.

I just put my madder in OO back on the stove to see if I can coax more color into the oil. It hasn’t picked up much color since Saturday. I’m also working on two different kinds of water infusions over here.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
Thank you for sharing, and I am sorry to hear your story. May your daughter carry throughout her life a higher awareness of risk without the worry is what I hope for her.
I love that green in #2. Could you tell me what HOSF and EVOO stand for?

Wishing you both well.
Thank you Jono.

Ironically (or sadly) the accident she witnessed validated everything I have taught her about the dangers of the road. Even at her young age, I have tried to instill in here the concept of defensive driving. When we witness someone doing something foolish on the road (which is every single day), I would always point out to her that it only takes a moment for your life to change.

Even though texting and talking on the phone are illegal in our state, it doesn't matter, people drive around without any regard for others safety.

By the way, my mother has visited New Zealand twice during her retirement and absolutely raves about the beauty of her experience. I wanted to go too but then I looked in my bank account, and it turns out, there's nothing there:eek:
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
I just put my madder in OO back on the stove to see if I can coax more color into the oil. It hasn’t picked up much color since Saturday. I’m also working on two different kinds of water infusions over here.
Hi MB.

The first time I tried the madder root it didn't pick up much color either because I didn't grind it up enough. Also, for me, the lighter color sun flower oil seems to work best for the infusions.
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
4,086
Reaction score
9,683
Location
Virginia
Hi MB.

The first time I tried the madder root it didn't pick up much color either because I didn't grind it up enough. Also, for me, the lighter color sun flower oil seems to work best for the infusions.

I’m using powder so I doubt the grinding is the problem although it’s very possible that ground root changes over time and may not produce the same effect as freshly ground root. My OO is fairly light, but I will try a different oil the next time. I wonder if the fatty acid profile in the oil makes any difference when making infusions. I also found a report of oil that looked yellow from an infusion of rhubarb turning pink in soap, so maybe my not very red madder infused oil will produce pink in the end.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
4,734
Reaction score
11,729
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Just caught up with all this Kurt. My goodness, it sounds like you have been through a lot, and that's just in the last 6 months! ( See my signature - my favourite quote)
And to think we might be bored with your colour experiments! o_O We LIVE for that kind of stuff!
Looking forward to seeing more of your non-swirly creations on here.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Messages
49
Reaction score
103
Location
Reno, Nevada
Just caught up with all this Kurt. My goodness, it sounds like you have been through a lot, and that's just in the last 6 months! ( See my signature - my favourite quote)
And to think we might be bored with your colour experiments! o_O We LIVE for that kind of stuff!
Looking forward to seeing more of your non-swirly creations on here.
Confession: I tried a quasi-swirly thingy ma jigger experiment last week. I just couldn't resist.

PS. I found a perfectly smooth rock shaped like a heart today at the river. Now I will be dreaming of dots all night.

Late here, glad you waded thru my sob story and Amen to your signature.
 

mommycarlson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Messages
739
Reaction score
1,086
Location
East Central Iowa
Confession: I tried a quasi-swirly thingy ma jigger experiment last week. I just couldn't resist.

PS. I found a perfectly smooth rock shaped like a heart today at the river. Now I will be dreaming of dots all night.

Late here, glad you waded thru my sob story and Amen to your signature.
Kurt, I can't say anything that everyone else hasn't already said. I read your post with horror and fascination. God bless you for teaching your daughter all the things and best wishes with soaping.
 
Top