Lime Chamomile: Onion Killer

April 9th, 2012  |  No Comments

Citrus oils are an effective way to remove unwanted cooking smells, such as onion or that wonderful salmon you’d rather eat than smell on your skin. We’ve just peeled back the paper liner from a new batch of Lime Chamomile, a customer favorite for the kitchen sink.

lime chamomile

Lime Chamomile Fresh From The Mold

Filed Under: Available Soaps, Soap Making | Posted By Butter Vine

Cutting And Curing

March 23rd, 2010  |  No Comments

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

Making Butter Vine Soaps

March 19th, 2010  |  No Comments

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

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