Brooke’s Top Ten Soaping Tips

It’s been awhile since we updated our blog.

Reason for that? There are a lot going on, but a lot of things were waiting on others. Like waiting for soaps to cure etc. And I really wouldn’t like to bore you guy silly with tales of how soda ash builds up on some of our soaps.

So what really happened to us these couple of weeks?

  1. We’ve decided on our logo. It’s nothing fancy, but we love it. And it’s so us.
  2. We roped in Andrew Goad who’s going to be our financial and web guy leaving us free to focus on R&D and production.
  3. As of 7th Feb 2014, we are officially registered as The Soap Engineers LLC. Milestone reached! High five!
  4. We have been invited to Spring Fling Vendor Blendor Vendor party on March 23rd. This is super exciting for us. Bless Sheri for making it happen.
  5. In preparation, we made 10 production batches. (By we, I really mean Brooke). So while I was away on a 3 weeks vacation back home to sunny Singapore, Brooke was making batches and batches of soap. And that’s why having a talented partner is sweet! :p

There are drastic differences between making test batches vs making experimental batches. And like everything we do in life, every time we (Brooke, really) made a soap, we end up with a  *facepalm* “what did I just do” moment .

And if you follow us on Twitter, you would see random tweets from Brooke with hashtag #tipoftheday

So here’s a compilation of the top ten #tipoftheday.

 Brooke’s Top Ten Tip of the Day:

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Tip #1: Some FO/EO speeds trace and some causes soap to seize. Then you will cry. And kick yourself for ruining the day’s work. But don’t fret, if you know about this property in advance, you may still be able to use this FO/EO in your creation by

  • Adding more water to the mixture instead of the recommended amount. This increases cure time, but you will avoid soap on a stick situation.
  • Pre-mixing FO/EO with base oils at a 1:4 ratio. Set aside.
  • Blend your lye+oil mixture to a really thin watery trace. Nothing more.
  • Bring down temperature of lye+oil mixture to 50-60 deg F  (if your recipe contains solid butters, they do solidify at this temperature, you got to play around with the ideal temperature)
  • Add FO/EO/Oil mixture in.
  • Use a spoon to mix in FO/EO instead of using hand blender to control speed of trace.
  • And if all fails. Try adding more water to your next batch. Or ditch that FO/EO. Breakups are part and parcels of life.
  • Question: “How do I know this information in advance?” We’ve chanced upon a mighty google document powered by fellow soapers like you and us. It’s a wealth of information. All you have to do is to update it with what you are using, and how it’s treating you and we’ll be able to share the info as well. Whoever the creator is – Hugs and kisses!

Tip #2: Lining your soap mold may take 5 mins, but it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, especially when making soft, sticky milk soaps. Here’s two slightly different, but effective methods from BrambleBerry and Angle Craft Soap on how to line a mold.

Tip #3: Soap stuck in mold? It simply won’t come out? Stick it in the freezer for 30 mins and then place it in a warm water bath for a couple of minutes. Your soap should come right out.

Tip #4: Do not be alarmed when your beautiful soap is covered with soda ash. It’s not harmful. But if it really bugs you, then here’s a link from BrambleBerry on how to remove soda ash from your soap. I personally like the handheld steamer method. Fast and effective.

Tip #5: When deciding between if your soap should go through gel phase or not, what we’ve found is that soaps that did not gel typically needs to be cured a couple of weeks longer.

Tip #6: Be extremely cautious when adding exfoliants to your soap. Sure, oatmeal feels velvety soft between your fingers. But wait till you are soaping over sensitive parts of your body. It hurts. Trust me. And Brooke. And Andrew.

Tip #7: Watch out when using honey in your CP soap and trying to force it to go through gel phase. If overheated in an oven, it caramelizes and you are left with a bar of soap that oozes honey. But it sure smells good.

Tip #8: If adding glycerin to soap, adding it to the oil mixture initially works better than adding at trace. If you add glycerin at trace, you would end up with glycerin sweat beads in your bar. We learned this the hard way too.

Tip #9: IMPORTANT! ALWAYS use distilled water when making soap. If you have no distilled water, you can get away with using filtered water from your fridge. But never ever, ever, EVER, use tap water. It just turns your soap lumpy and cuddly looking because of reactions with all sorts of minerals existing in tap water. Imagine the texture of bleu cheese. Or cottage cheese. Or cauliflower.  Urgh…

And my personal favorite of all of her tips:

Tip #10: At the end of the day, even if your soap doesn’t turn out the way you envisioned it to be (color, pattern, texture etc). Don’t stress. Someone will love your soap!

And it’s true. I truly love all of hers from the bottom of my heart! Even the one that looks like bleu cheese 😀

Have a great day soaping!

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5 thoughts on “Brooke’s Top Ten Soaping Tips

    1. Thanks for the tip! I will try that soon. I’ve also read that spraying alcohol over the top of CP soap will prevent soda ash build up too. I just tried this today. Will see how that goes. But I’ll definitely try laying a plastic over a non-textured top next! 😀

  1. Hi there! I understand this is kind of off-topic however I
    had to ask. Does running a well-established website like yours require a large amount of work?
    I am completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal on a daily basis.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my experience
    and views online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring
    blog owners. Thankyou!

    1. I have been really neglecting my blog. I guess one of the key thing is to really set a schedule and keep at it. Write a series of blogs and keep them as draft till you are ready to post them. That’s a lesson i am just learning. Other than that, follow others who are doing the same thing as you are, you will find that there is a community out there, and this journey doesn’t have to be lonely. The more people that you share with, the more fun and motivating it will get. You’ll be fine! Let me know when you publish your first post! It’ll be exciting.

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