March 23rd, 2010 |
After the soap has cooled for about 24 hours, the mold is unwrapped, turned upside down to rest on it’s top and shaken gently to release the soap. The paper lining is peeled away, and we get to see the pattern of the soap for the first time. Every batch is hand poured, and we never know quite how they’re going to look until the paper comes off! So there’s always a little suspense and excitement at this moment to see what the soap really looks like.
Our new Licorice soap, fresh from the mold before cutting
At this point, the bar is far from ready to use, but still warm and soft enough to hold a nice sharp edge when cut. Next the bloc is cut in strips depending on the size of the finished bars.
Warm soap that's just been turned out of the mold being cut into bars
Finally, after cutting the bars are moved to shelves where they’ll stand for eight weeks.
A new batch of Licorice is set out to cure for eight weeks
The length of time the soap is allowed to cure is extremely significant. Starting from about the time the soap reaches trace, the oils and lye are in process of a chemical reaction during which the lye and oil fat molecules break apart and rearrange themselves. Much of this reaction is said to take place during the first 24 – 48 hours after trace when the soap has been poured.
However, although the process of the chemical reaction slows, it does in fact take a full six to eight weeks to complete. Bars I’ve tested after five weeks of curing have still been drying to my skin, which otherwise become much milder after the remaining three weeks have passed. For this reason we leave our soap on the shelves to cure a full eight weeks.
During the curing process, exactly one quarter of the lye/oil mixture will be converted to glycerine, the rest will become soap.
For our recipes, we add an extra 5 to 7 percent of oils beyond the lye/oil mixture that will remain as moisturizing conditioners. This is known as superfatting, and together with the choice of oils in the bar and the time the soap is allowed to cure, it is the key to a mild but effective cleansing bar that offers superb skin conditioning.
If you’re excited to try this soap, look for bars to show up in our Etsy shop in mid to late April. Or email us
to order in advance. We’ll ship your order as soon as the soap has cured!
Filed Under: Soap Making | Posted By Butter Vine
March 19th, 2010 |
In addition to natural aromatic oils and botanical ingredients, each Butter Vine bar contains only plant oils such as palm, coconut, sunflower, rice bran, olive, castor, apricot and shea butter as well as plant extracts such as cucumber, oatmeal, corn flower and aloe vera juice to ensure the moisturizing quality of the bar. Plants oils also function as our soaps’ gentle but effective disinfectants, cleaning your skin with natural substances that refresh your senses, moisturize your skin and safely return to the earth’s environment.
Check the description of each bar in our Soap Selection to find out which moisturizers and exfoliants are present in each soap.
Pure Essential Oils
Our essential oils are distilled from plants without the addition of scent enhancing synthetic chemicals. We seek oils from meticulously conscientious distillers to ensure long lasting, refreshing aroma in every bar derived only from plants, trees and flowers.
In addition to their aromatheraputic benefits, the distillation process impacts the healing, disinfecting and antimicrobial properties of essential oils. If you don’t want to miss out on the important role natural scents can play in your health and happiness, include our soaps in your personal care for the best organic skin care!
Although the stems, leaves, seeds and flowers in our soaps add to their aesthetic beauty, we also use them for a little extra scrub traction. Many botanicals we use add color or contribute to the aromatherapeutic quality of the bar. Chamomile buds and rose petals are two favorites, as well as henna, lavender buds, cedar wood and calendula petals.
No Artificial Colorants Or Dyes
All the colors you see in Butter Vine soaps are derived from the essential oils used to scent the soap, the moisturizing oils, natural herb and spices, or the botanicals added to the soap for exfoliation.
Natural Preservatives and Fragrance
Rosemary oil extract is a natural preservative derived from the rosemary bush that keeps the oils in our soaps fresh, and also helps to keep natural and artificial light from fading the color of the bar. We also use Vitamin E Perservative Oil, which has all the benefits of Vitamin E, and none of the dangerous effects of synthetic perservatives. The color may yet fade if your soap is kept in direct sunlight.
The botanicals in your Butter Vine bars are protected from the air and by Rosemary Preservative Oil or Vitamin E Preservative Oil, but like all plants they wilt and discolor when soaking in water, so don’t abandon your Butter Vine soap to soak under a lilly pad! After you’ve basked, bubbled and recalibrated your senses, do drain the water from the soap dish to make your soap last!
What is Lokta? a word about our packaging
While searching for stationery in the China Town district of a major US city, I discovered a unique paper with a special texture and the emblem of the Buddha Eye. For years I kept the paper, using it only for special notes to friends, but when I searched for more I found it difficult to locate.
One day at a local art fair in St. Louis I was presented with a card, and immediately I recognized a heavier version of the same paper. In talking to the owner of the card, I learned the tree from which Lokta is produced grows in certain regions of the mountains of Nepal, and the bark is harvested without damaging the tree. As the tree sheds it’s bark during it’s normal growth season, the bark is collected and made into paper. The Lokta we use for our labels is imported from Nepal as a fair trade product.
Filed Under: Ingredients | Posted By Butter Vine
March 19th, 2010 |
We use the cold process method of soap making to produce our soaps. The base oils, which include olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and avocado oil, are heated and combined with a mixture of water and sodium hydroxide. The amount of these oils is balanced with the quantity of sodium hydroxide so that during the saponification process, all of the sodium hydroxide will be converted to soap. This insures the bar will be gentle on the skin and not harsh.
The natural chemicals of your skin form a protective barrier that is slightly acidic. Soap itself is a base, so to create a soap that doesn’t destroy the natural protective chemicals produced by your skin, we balance our ingredients, and then add extra oils to guarantee there will be moisturizing oils in the soap after its curing process has finished. This is also known as superfatting the soap.
Before the soap mixture is poured into molds, scent oils and botanicals are added to the mixture, as well as other plant derived conditioners for your skin such as aloe vera juice and cucumber. Natural rosemary preservative oil or vitamin e preservative oil are added at this stage also.
The Curing Process
After the soap has been poured into molds and has cooled enough to retain it’s shape, the mold is loosened, and the soap cut and moved to shelves to complete it’s curing process. This is an important period because it takes about four to six weeks for the oils and the sodium hydroxide to fully combine and produce the final bar of soap. Allowing the bar to cure sufficiently directly affects the chemical balance of the soap and will result in a gentle cleanser that disinfects your skin without drying.
Chemicals And Packaging
During this entire process of manufacturing the soap, there are no residual by products of which to discard or dispose. All the oils and ingredients used to make this exceptional product remain in the bar.
When the soap has reached it’s maximum curing period, we wrap each bar in a label that discloses all of its ingredients. We’re fortunate to have found a source for our label paper that is both a free trade product, and ecologically friendly. The paper is made in Nepal from the bark of a tree botanically known as Daphne Bhoula or Daphne Papyracea. After the bark is harvested as it is naturally shed from the tree, it grows back and the plant is not destroyed.
Filed Under: Soap Making | Posted By Butter Vine