May 17, 2016

Violet Green Tea Soap along with my notes on soaping

Violet Green Tea Soap

8-12 oz of violet leaf and green tea water (I used 9.4 oz)
Lye 4.5 oz
The oils:
17 oz violet infused olive oil
8 oz coconut oil
4 oz sunflower oil
2 oz castor oil
2 oz wheat germ oil
At trace:
1 tsp green tea powder

I love the idea of alchemy.
The thought of one thing magically, or not, turning into something else always seems to amaze me.

Maybe it's because I'd like to think that one thing can completely change and morph into another.  Maybe it is the hope that I have for myself and humanity.

If nothing else, it's just really cool.
Just like bread.  You take flour, a yeast, some water and it changes.

With soap you take oil, water and lye.  Combine them and give them time then they become soap.
I've made soap for several years, but still consider myself a novice and new observer to the process.
I've never blogged about soaping because I feel that there is a danger there that is not present with herbs and I wish to be respectful of it.

I'm not giving a tutorial, but more a recipe I created and liked.  There are many people way more experienced who have guides to teach the process.  I learned from my friend, Lynne, who is a great and patient teacher.  I also learn best by example so finding a teacher was important to me.
Just educate yourself on the process and be safe.

Make sure you and those at home with you are safe.  Soaping isn't a nice and easy family craft in the kitchen for a rainy day.
I mix my lye and water outside so that my house isn't filled with fumes.  I make sure to keep this away from kids and animals.
Wear gloves and consider glasses/goggles and a mask.

This soap has an infused oil of violet flowers and leaves as a base and, instead of water, I made a tea of violet leaf and green tea to mix with the lye.  Violet leaf is very toning and moisturizing to the skin with green tea having antioxidant properties.

Use a reliable Lye Calculator.  I personally run the recipes of others as well as my own through one as I don't want to rely on what someone else says.
Use a scale.  It is too difficult to make  soap otherwise.

Experiment with oils.  Remember they all have different characteristics and can lead to different outcomes.  I added wheat germ oil as part of the oil base as I've really fallen in love with it lately.  It has a high vitamin E content and is very nourishing to the skin.  I also add castor oil to all of my batches as it makes the bar a bit harder.
Monitor the temperature of your oils.  I like my oils to be about the same temperature as the lye.  If the lye feels warm, not hot, to the touch through the container, then I look for the oils to be around 110-120 degrees F.
I like to incorporate healing into soap.  The day before, take time to infuse the oil with the energy of the plant.

Have everything out and ready to go.  Some days you'll be waiting forever for the lye to cool, and some times you'll reach trace right away.  There are many variables so being prepared is very important.

Always start with the oils in your bucket and slowly pour the lye water/tea into it.  Every time I make soap I hear my high school Chemistry teacher, Mrs Roderick, saying "Do as you ought to, pour acid into water"  (It rhymes when said Southern and also works for a strong base such as lye).
My oil is green due to the infusion of the violet leaves and flowers.

Matcha green tea is added at trace.  You could probably powder another green tea, but I had this available and used it instead.

I like to use the pringles potato chip cylinders as my soap mold.  I like having a smaller, round bar, and can just rip the container to remove the soap. Feel free to make your own mold.  Just oil it well before use and make sure it is appropriate to hold the soap.
This particular recipe filled one whole can and part of a second.  I probably would've done better to have used the small sizes, but it all turns out the same.

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