Thought I'd jump in the deep end

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fatpigeon

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Oct 25, 2016
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Hi everyone,

I'm from South Australia and I got into soap making back in April. Initially it was an experiment - I'd found a soap I liked that cost $7 per bar, and I wanted to see if I could reproduce it. I definitely jumped straight in the deep end - my first batch of soap was a 2 kg batch of buttermilk honey and oat soap made using oils bought at the supermarket. Despite leaping in the deep end and starting out with a far more complex recipe than I'm sure most people would recommend, it was a raging success. And I got bitten by the soap bug. Big time. I've been playing with various additives and ideas at least once a month ever since.

I'm mucking around with recipes at the moment with the idea that I could sell soaps in my local health food store and garden shops, as well as selling them at markets.

So far I've made:

  • The first buttermilk honey oat soap batch - lovely feel on the skin, makes my eczema disappear, but too soft to last more than a week or so in the shower with 2 people using it.
  • A buttermilk "bastile" batch. Cured the better part of 4 months before trying it. It's a very slimy soap but feels lovely on my skin.
  • A couple of batches with tea tree and lavender essential oils. One was a colour test with alkanet-infused olive oil.
  • "Luxury" soap with rose clay and rose essential oil. The recipients loved it but I'm not happy with the result - it was far too soft and I think I'll save the rose eo for rebatching.
  • Small batches to test fragrance oil samplers. One for testing madder root and one for testing saffron added at trace.
  • Unscented test for using ground wattleseed as an exfoliant. Not happy with the result (wattleseed swelled and is less exfoliating/more massaging).
  • Tallow soap! My sister saved me the organ fat from 4 sheep she butchered, and I've been experimenting with recipes using up to 30% tallow. None have cured enough to test yet but I can't wait to try.
  • Soap with added avocado puree.
  • Last night's batch (which I will provide pictures of once I unmould and cut it) was a tweak of the buttermilk honey oat recipe including 5% beeswax for hardness.

I would love to bounce ideas off of other people who use tallow, especially if they render it at home. Mine's smelly, though it doesn't seem to show through in the final product at 20-30% usage. All my tallow soaps so far have included fragrances though.
 

Arimara

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Hi there and welcome. Your soaps certainly sound appealing to try. Perhaps you should give each of your soaps a full year's cure before thinking of selling them. It will give you more time to get to know them and how they can stand up to time. Sheep tallow sounds great too. Too bad I can't test that out myself (yet).
 

fatpigeon

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Oct 25, 2016
Messages
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Location
Australia
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone :)

Arimara, I would love to age some of my soaps for 12 months and give them another try. I need to set up some kind of storage for them so that I don't get too much scent transfer from my smelly batches to my unscented batches.

I'll admit I'm getting ahead of myself thinking about selling soap already. I definitely need to refine some recipes first. It's a long term plan, that's fore sure.
 
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