Sunday, August 28, 2011

The wonders of a failed experiment

You just can't win them all... to date I have yet had an unsuccessful batch- unsuccessful meaning something went terribly wrong with my soap experiment... so today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my first very unsuccessful batch! Lucky you!

So, I tried my first Mariner's Soap. What is that, you ask? Simply put, it's a salt bar with 100% coconut oil superfatted at around 20% so that it is less drying to your skin and it's supposed to be a very bubbly exfoliating bar that works even under hard water. Everything was going pretty well, I was able to soap at around 104 degrees since that's how hot it was outside yesterday... very simple- I stuck my lye solution and my coconut oil outside and let the temperatures regulate to the outside temp! Woo, this heat is good for something! Mixed my soap up, added the coloring and fragrance (a very piney fragrance called Mistletoe from WSP), mixed in my Epsom salts at a 1.5:1 ratio (I've seen recipes that added up to 2:1 salts!), and poured it all into my silicon soap mold that got bent out of shape during shipping, grr! I even tried doing a pencil line that my friend Emily over at ShiehDesigns is so good at!

I then covered my lovely soap and left it alone for many many hours. I had heard that salt bar soaps need to be watched and cut at the exact correct time or else they become too hard to cut... Finally, after many checking ins, my soap felt hard enough to cut. So I uncovered the soap and to my dismay I found pools of water sitting on top of it! No- literally, I could have gone swimming in it! O.O!! See?

Well, unfortunately I do not have pH strips here at home with which to test the pH levels of the clear liquid (bad me, I know) to see if my batch had separated underneath the pretty green color. So what else was a girl to do but take the soap next to the sink turn on the water and then stick her finger into the offending substance? It tingled a bit when I left it on my finger, but didn't burn and felt a little slippery. (I should probably put in a disclaimer about not trying this at home or yadda yadda, but if you're already making or thinking about making soap you already know the dangers entailed and are old enough to make your own decision on whether you choose the possibility of maiming yourself!)
Anyway, I let the soap log sit for a while to see if the water would seep back into the soap while I did a quick search on the internet to find out what happened or if I should be worried... I found some information that I will divulge shortly.

I went back over to my soap and was very happy to see that the liquid had dissipated (woo! yay! hooray!) and proceeded to unmold it. Ummm... it sorta fell apart on the bottom in some places...
And this happened when I cut into it...

Looks interesting... but doesn't look or feel like any soap I've ever seen o.O!
So erm...
A couple things went wrong here:
#1- I used Epsom salts. Apparently salt bars don't do so well when Epsom or Dead Sea Salts are used... I just found that out here (hint: look at the very last post that was made)
2) I used waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much salt!

I don't mind that it turned into a failed batch technically 'cause colorwise, it looks more like a watermelon than a sprig of mistletoe... my color ratios were completely off!

My lessons are learned. I now know what not to do... so hopefully my next try at a Mariner's bar will be more... try-umphant! (and yes, I went there... I'm in a silly mood today!)

I am going to save today's experiment and throw a bit under some bath water in a couple of weeks to see if it will make a bubbly salt bath (sounds nice, doesn't it?). I will let you know how that goes! And thanks for reading ^_^

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