Fragrances that contain vanillin can turn soap brown over time. The whites might start out white, but eventually they will darken.
When you have a fragrance with a lot of vanillin in it, the best thing to do is just embrace the “brownness” and work it into the soap design. One way to do this is to put fragrance only in the part of the soap batter that will be colored brown.
This is a free cold process soap recipe for making ” Creamy Latte In-The-Pot Swirl” Soap.
Sorry that I don’t have a better picture. The colors are a bit off due to the bad lighting in the room, but I think there is enough detail there to get the idea. The soap is medium brown and white colored. It looks like fresh coffee swirled with cream and it smells just as good.
It is a simple recipe, suitable even for soap making beginners. So let’s suit up and get started.
Creamy Latte In-the-Pot Swirl Soap
- 5% Superfat
- Weight of Oils: 14.5 ounces (411.1 g)
- Total Volume: 22.3 ounces (633.2 g)
- Recommended Soap Mold: 4 inch / 1 pound loaf mold (small batch)
- Coconut Oil – 2.9 ounces (82.2 g) 20%
- Cocoa Butter – 1.5 ounces (41.1 g) 10%
- Olive Oil – 2.5 ounces (69.9 g) 17%
- Palm Oil – 4.1 ounces (115.1 g) 28%
- Safflower Oil (High Oleic) – 2.2 ounces (61.7 g) 15%
- Castor Oil – 1.5 ounces (41.1 g) 10%
- Distilled Water – 5.4 ounces (152.1 g) 37%
- Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) – 2.0 ounces (57.2 g)
- Sodium Lactate (Optional) – 1 Teaspoon
- Brambleberry Espresso Fragrance Oil – 0.4 ounces (11.3 g)
- Brambleberry Vanilla Select Fragrance Oil – 0.1 ounce (2.8 g)
- Cappuccino Mica (or any brown colorant) – 1/4 teaspoon
- Titanium Dioxide – 1/4 teaspoon
- Super Pearly White Mica – 1/4 teaspoon
Before making the soap, please review the lye safety guidelines to ensure that you have these fresh in your mind.
- Clear the area of any children or pets, or anyone who won’t be wearing safety gear. Keep it free of them for the entire duration of your soap making session.
- Gather the supplies and place them to your left side. As you add each one to the mixing bowl, move the supply to your right side. That way if you get interrupted during the process, you will know which ones have already been added.
- Gather the equipment including the mixing bowls, cups, stick blender, stirring tools and safety gear. You will be wearing the safety gear from steps three to seven.
Step One: Prepare the oils:
- Individually weigh each oil and place it into the mixing bowl. Make sure to fully melt and mix the palm oil before weighing it and to chop the cocoa butter up into small chunks to help facilitate faster melting.
- Place the mixing bowl full of oils into the microwave oven and heat it in 30 second increments on the high setting. If after 30 seconds, it is not melting, repeat this step as often as you need to in order to melt the hard oils. They don’t have to be fully melted, as long as they are mostly melted.
Step Two: Prepare the colorants and fragrances:
- Measure the brown colorant into a small measuring cup (1 cup size works well). Add 1 tablespoon of oil from the melted oils mixture. Mix well and set aside.
- Measure the white colorants into a small measuring cup (1 cup size works well). Add 1 tablespoon of oil from the melted oils mixture. Mix well and set aside.
- Weigh both the fragrances into a shot glass or small mixing cup. Add 1 tablespoon of oil from the melted oils mixture. Mix well and set aside.
Step Three: Prepare the lye solution:
- Put on your safety gear (goggles, gloves, long sleeves, shoes, pants) and open a window near your work area.
- Weigh the water into a 2 cup measuring cup. Optionally, you can include a few ice cubes as part of your water weight. This will help cut down on the time you have to wait for the lye solution to cool before you can make the soap.
- Place the water measuring cup into the sink.
- Weigh the lye into a small bowl or pudding cup.
- Add the lye into the water and stir well until all the lye chunks are fully dissolved.
- Add the sodium lactate and stir it in (optional). If not using sodium lactate, leave the soap in the mold for an additional 24 hours before unmolding it.
- Take the temperature of the lye and the oils with a digital infrared thermometer or other food thermometer such as candy thermometer. Ideally, you will proceed to the next step when the oils and lye are within 10 degrees of each other and both are under 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 Celsius).
Step Four: Mix the oils and lye solution together:
- When the temperature is right as per the previous step, slowly pour the lye solution into the mixing bowl containing the melted oils.
- Stir the mixture for a minute with the spatula. Then place the stick blender into the bowl, while in the off position, and burp it (tilt it slightly to the side and tap it against the bottom of the bowl to release any air bubbles).
- Alternate blending the mixture with the stick blender on and then off (using it as a manual stirring tool). When the batter gets to thin trace, proceed to the next step.
- Note: thin trace is when the oils and lye solution are fully mixed together. There are no floating oils, and you can drizzle some batter on the top. The drizzled batter will stay there for a moment before sinking back in.
Step Five: Add the colorants and fragrances:
- Divide the batter in two. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the cup containing the brown colorant. Add the white colorant into the main mixing bowl.
- Blend both pots of batter until the colorants are evenly mixed in.
- Add the fragrance oil only to the brown batter. Stir it in with a spatula.
Step Six: Swirl the soap and pour it into the mold:
- From about 6 to 8 inches above the bowl, pour all the brown batter into the white batter in the main mixing bowl into 4 spots (if it were a clock, it would be Noon, 3 PM, 6 PM and 9 PM).
- Take a wooden dowel or the handle of a spoon and swirl one time around the pot, breaking through the brown spots. Only mix once around.
- Pour the batter into the mold, scraping the bowl to remove all the batter.
- Tap the mold on the table a couple of times to release any air bubbles.
- If desired, take the wooden dowel and make a swirl design on the top of the soap (very top 1/4″ of the batter only, not all the way down into the mold).
Step Seven: Finishing and cleanup:
- Put the mold somewhere it won’t be disturbed for 24 hours.
- Cover the mold with a tented piece of cardboard or anything that will hold the insulation material away from contacting the soap batter.
- Cover the mold cover with towels or a blanket to insulate it.
- Wipe out the soap making dishes with paper towels to remove as much of the wet batter as possible (washing too much of it down the drain can clog the plumbing).
- Dispose of the paper towels in a plastic bag.
- Wash the dishes using very warm water and a strong, grease cutting dish detergent.
- Wipe up the countertops and any place where you may have spilled soap batter.
- Remove your safety gear and close the window.
Step Eight: Unmolding, cutting and curing the soap:
- After 24 hours, remove the insulation and mold cover.
- Check if the soap is ready to be unmolded by pulling this side of the mold away from the soap. If it is not sticking and the soap is pretty firm, you can proceed to unmold it by gently pushing it out from the bottom of the mold.
- If the soap is still sticky or too soft, wait another 24 hours and try again. You do not have to reinsulate the mold as it has already completed the gel phase.
- Once you have unmolded the soap, cut it into bars using a cheese slicer, kitchen knife, or soap cutter. You should get 3 to 4 bars depending on how thick you cut them. If you cut them 1 inch thick, for example, you will get 4 bars.
- Place the soap bars somewhere that gets freely circulating air and leave them to cure for 6 weeks. Turn them every now and again to ensure even drying. Technically, you can use them after 4 weeks, but the longer you wait, the gentler and harder the soap will be.
- After 6 weeks, enjoy the soap!