Matching Colors with Fragrances

I decided to use the last of my S.O.A.P. Panel freebies, Mandarin Oasis. I didn’t test this fragrance on the S.O.A.P. Panel—it was not one of my eight fragrances, but it was one of the fragrances tested by the second panel last year. Testers received two ounces of each of the fragrances that were ultimately selected for sale.

Bramble Berry describes the fragrance as follows:

This fragrance smells great for both kids and adults! Similar to Energy, one of our top selling fragrance oils, Mandarin Oasis has a sweet orange top note but with a sophisticated undertone. Mid-notes of papaya, ginger and thyme really hold this fragrance together giving it a sweet and sultry aroma. Crisp notes of cotton, teakwood, and neroli make this fragrance extremely versatile for projects ranging from personal perfume, laundry soap, or sugar scrubs. Take your senses on a mini-vacation!

I don’t smell the similarity to Energy myself, but I do smell the sweet notes in the fragrance. I’m not sure I pick out a mandarin orange scent. It doesn’t smell spicy to me at all. I think I do detect the neroli. My nose is not the most sophisticated in terms of making distinctions among all the layers in a fragrance. However, Mandarin Oasis does smell absolutely gorgeous. It’s very feminine.

I’ve written before about using the color wheel to create soap designs. But I don’t use the color wheel alone when thinking about which colors to use. I also think about what colors match the fragrance. When I think mandarin, the first color that comes to mind is orange. I toyed with the idea of an orange, black, and white color scheme for this fragrance, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t think it fit this particular fragrance. I think quite a lot about colors that match the fragrances I use. The image Bramble Berry attaches to this fragrance is black palm trees at sunset. It’s pretty, but it doesn’t quite evoke the fragrance for me either. It seems a little too dark. However, it did give me an idea. What about using sunset colors?

Sunset

Photo credit: Luis Medina

The beautiful oranges, pinks, purples and yellows could work well with this fragrance, and pops of white could help bring the whole look together.

The first thing I did was make an orange embed to represent the setting sun. I neglected to take a photo of it.

I put together my colorants: Rustic Escentuals’s Clementine Pop Mica, Nurture’s Purple Vibrance, Yellow Vibrance, and Pink Vibrance, and titanium dioxide.

Colorants

I mixed the colorants up and decided to use squeeze bottles to make a layered design. I would not do this again. The soap set up a little bit fast, perhaps because of the floral notes in this fragrance or perhaps because of my recipe, but it was very difficult to squeeze by the end.

Mixed Colorants

I attempted to create a video of the process, but it wound up being too long and difficult to capture. I took a picture of the top before I put the soap to bed, but the lighting was not too good by that time (it was after 10:00 PM).

Top of Mandarin Oasis

The next day, I cut the soap. Given how it set up, I was happy with how it turned out.

Mandarin Oasis

It doesn’t look precisely like a sunset. It reminds me more of an impressionist painting of a sunset. Perhaps you can see the glycerine rivers in the titanium dioxide. I think sometimes this look suits better than a solid white, and in this case, I’m happy they happened. They look a little bit more like wispy clouds than they might otherwise have done.

If I were to do this soap again, same colors and all, I might try to use a spoon to create the same effect, as the squeeze bottles proved difficult to use, especially by the end. Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of using squeeze bottles in soap designs because they are terribly difficult to clean. I thought they might be faster than using a spoon, but I’m not so sure. I took about two hours to make this soap from start to clean-up. It wouldn’t look exactly the same if I had used a spoon.

On a less complicated note, when a wholesale customer of mine asked for Green Tea & Cucumber, it seemed like a no-brainer to create a soap with a subtle green hue, much the same shade as cucumber flesh. How to get that hue, however? Chromium green oxide might have been a good choice, but it tends toward a moss hue. I wasn’t sure I wanted to use a mica either, as they tend to be more vibrant, and I needed something subtle. Hydrated chromium green oxide is not quite as dark as chromium green oxide, and it has a teal note to it that I thought might work well. The trick is to use just a scant amount. I think I may have used less than 1/8 teaspoon to color this whole batch.

Green Tea & Cucumber

The pureed cucumber in this recipe may also have contributed to the green shade, but it’s mostly the hydrated chromium green oxide because cucumber alone (unless you include the peel) will not result in even this much color. The leaves on top are Chinese green tea leaves—the green tea was a gift from one of my Chinese students. I didn’t think she’d mind if I sacrificed a little bit of the tea for soap. This one hasn’t gelled yet, so I’m not sure what the final color will be, but I don’t think it will stray much from this light, cool green. If anything, it might pick up some yellowish undertones, similar to the color of green tea. It’s exactly the shade of green I wanted, and it complements the fresh green scent of of the Green Tea & Cucumber fragrance oil I used:

This fragrance smells just like freshly steeped green tea with a hint of cucumber. It isn’t your typical sweet cucumber fragrance. The earthy green tea is the most upfront aroma in this fragrance oil giving cosmetic products a fresh and clean scent.

The beautiful thing about soap is that you can use whatever fragrances and scents you want, and you can match colors with fragrances, or you can use whatever colors you want with fragrances.

What do you do? Do you try to match colors with scents? If you have tips, feel free to share in the comments.

 

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Experimenting with Australian Washed Blue Clay

I have admired the way soaps made with Cambrian blue clay look for some time. Once when placing an order with one of my vendors, I decided on a whim to purchase some Australian washed blue clay, thinking it was the same thing as Cambrian blue.

As it turns out, it’s not. After doing some research, I discovered that Australian washed blue clay is actually a kind of bentonite clay. I have used bentonite clay before in shaving soaps because it adds slip, but I hadn’t tried it in a regular soap before. I know that it’s considered to be good for acne, but I decided it was probably fine since I have used a bentonite-clay based shaving soap on my legs and suffered no dryness as a result.

Australian Washed Blue Clay

I’m not sure if everyone sells Cambrian blue clay wet, but Bramble Berry does. Obviously, my Australian washed blue clay is dry. I thought it looked sort of green, but it’s hard to tell with clay until you get it wet, and even then, it doesn’t always look the same as it will in soap.

I decided I would experiment with it anyway because even if it turned out green, that would work just fine with my planned batch. I had decided to use the Lavender & Cedar fragrance oil that Bramble Berry sent me as a thank you for participating in the S.O.A.P. Panel last year. I haven’t seen too many people talking about this fragrance in soaping circles (or perhaps I’m not looking in the right places, which is entirely probable). Bramble Berry does warn that the fragrance loses some of its camphor notes in cold process, which suits me fine. I also thought that it would work well with either a green or a blue soap, so it would be perfect for my experiment with Australian washed blue clay.

I use kaolin clay in most of my soaps because it adds silkiness and creaminess and also helps anchor fragrances so they stick better. French green clay is a staple of my Provence soap. I have used pink rose clay (a form of kaolin) to color some soaps as well, and I have used rhassoul clay in my Guinness Beer soaps. I almost always just add my clay directly to my oils and stick blend before adding my lye. I have had the fewest number of problems with mixing when I have followed this method for using clay.

Another method includes adding clay to the lye water (which you would also only do if you were coloring the soap with the clay only). I have never tried adding it to my lye water.

A third method involves making a slurry with clay and water or clay and oils. I have sometimes had clumps in my clay when I have used this last method, especially if I make a slurry and then add it to a bit of the soap, and then add the colored soap to the rest of the batch and blended as David Fisher describes here. I have had the best luck with this method if I just treat the clay like any other colorant and add the oil or water and clay slurry directly to the soap and blend. If you are doing a swirl or using other colors, it’s the method to try.

Since my Lavender & Cedar soap was going to be one color, I decided to add the clay to the oils and blend. It definitely looked green, but the final test would be adding the lye water and blending. Sometimes the color of the soap lightens once the lye is blended well with the oils.Blending the SoapIn the early blending stages, it looked a lot like French green clay to me. Once I was done blending, sure enough, it was still green.

Blended Soap

It’s pretty, but it’s sure not blue. I poured the soap into the mold.

Blue Clay Soap in the Mold

I decided to sculpt the tops a bit and add some pretty safflower petals.

Blue Clay Soap in the Mold

Here is a close-up:

Close-Up of Blue Clay Soap

In the close-up, you can see the soap has tiny flecks in it. Neither bentonite or French green clay does that (at least in my experience), and I really like the look of it. It’s not quite the same shade as French green clay, but it’s not far off. The safflower petals set it off nicely, but they would also have looked nice with a blue soap.

I would just have to wait for the unmolding and cutting to see what the soap would ultimately look like. So what happened in the end?

Lavender & Cedar Soap

A lovely shade of green. Definitely nothing remotely close to a blue. For the record, I gelled these soaps, too, so if it were likely to morph or change color at all, it would have done so.

Lavender & Cedar Soap

The real shame here is that you can’t smell them, looking at them on your computer screen. Oh my, do they smell good. A nice scent of cedar underlaid with the floral lavender and some other more complex woodsy notes I can’t quite pick out. Ultimately, I think the color is perfect for the fragrance.

Lavender & Cedar Soap

It doesn’t quite look like French green clay, either. The flecks in the soap are quite pretty, and the color does look nice with the safflower petals. The soaps have a nice, silky feel.

Even though the results of my experiment were not what I had anticipated (a blue soap along the shades of a Cambrian blue clay), I’m still quite happy with them. I love the fragrance, and really hope my customers enjoy the soaps.

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Soaping on the Color Wheel

Some time back, I blogged about color theory as it related to selecting colors for soapmaking. In that post, I discussed that one way to create an appealing color combination is to use complementary colors, or colors that oppose each other on the color wheel.

Color Wheel

Color Wheel via Wikipedia

You can see that purple and yellow directly oppose each other on the color wheel. However, orange and green also oppose purple on the color wheel and form a triangulation of complementary colors. In between purple and green (the darker green), there are three colors, and in between purple and orange (the lighter orange), there are likewise three colors. There are again three colors between orange and green. These sorts of triangulations are also worth considering when you are thinking about color combinations.

Color Wheel TriangulationThis sounds interesting in theory, but in practice, how do these colors look together in soap?

I recently made a batch of Autumn Fig Harvest, with a new fragrance from Bramble Berry (which I tested as part of the S.O.A.P. Panel). One of the first things I do if I am not sure what kind of color combination I might want to try is look for images using Google Image Search. I simply Googled the fragrance oil name, and this is the set of images that I could see (screen-captured because of the changing nature of the Internet):

Screen Shot of Google Image SearchThe images in the top and middle rows caught my eye. The first two images in row one are straight from Bramble Berry’s site. The third image, however, comes from a cooking blog called Figs, Bay & Wine. Notice the green and purple in the plums. As I said in my earlier post about color theory, turning to nature for color combinations is often a good idea because nature understands color theory. Finding that picture was a lucky accident because I was not searching for plums at all. Skipping over the fourth picture, notice the third image is a pumpkin in a fall setting. My eye was drawn to how these colors looked next to each other: purple, green, and orange. Even though those colors (with the exception perhaps of purple) have little to do with figs, I knew I had found the color combination I wanted to use.

Celine Blacow has said in her soapmaking videos that using white is often what brings a color combination together. I have noticed the difference white makes in pulling together the look of a soap. It’s not always necessary, but it often does make a huge difference in the soap’s design. So, a field of white would be important in pulling together a design with purple, orange, and green. I thought the three colors would have an autumnal look as well.

Purple can be tricky in soap if you just use oxides, but I had recently purchased a set of Vibrance Micas from Nurture Soap Supplies. I used the Vibrance Purple and Green micas, and I probably could have used the Vibrance Orange from this set as well, but elected to use Clementine Pop Mica from Rustic Escentuals. I had used it before, and I knew it would make a nice pumpkin shade in the soap.

Here is what the soap looked like in the mold.

Autumn Fig Harvest in the moldFirst I poured in a layer of white, then I did a drop swirl with each of the other three colors. I decided to try the spatter-top technique (a sort of Jackson Pollock effect). Just like using white, I have found that a bit of glitter also adds something extra special to soap.

Here is what the soap looks like cut:

Autumn Fig HarvestYou will notice I have a bit of titanium dioxide crackle, also known as glycerine rivers, in the soap in the white parts. There are many intriguing theories about what causes them—the most recent interesting one I came across is the amount of water used in the lye solution—but frankly, I haven’t been able to figure out why they happen sometimes and don’t other times. I believe them to be the result of heat because when I do not gel my soaps, I never have them. However, gelling soaps produces more vibrant colors and allows soaps to be cut and eventually used earlier than non-gelled soaps, and when I can, I try to gel them. Actually, the TD crackle is an interesting look. I’m sure other soapmakers see these soaps and think of them as mistakes, but the sort of antique look of TD crackle can lend interest (of course, that’s also just my opinion, and I’ve stopped trying to fight it).

The colors do look nice together. They make a bold statement, perhaps because they are triangulating colors. Try moving the triangle around the color wheel to come up with other bold combinations: red, yellow, and blue; violet-red (cranberry), orange-yellow, and light blue. In each case, the combination is a striking mix of complementary colors.

Another combination of colors to try is the square.

Square PaletteAgain, a striking combination of colors. In the example above, orange, yellow-green (lime), blue, and violet-red (cranberry). Each of the colors is two apart, which sets them off a little more than analogous colors (think red, yellow, and orange as analogous) would do. Try moving the square around the wheel to create other combinations.

Playing with color combinations using the color wheel can help you create appealing soap color combinations. Have you used the color wheel in your soaping creations? What were the results? How do you decide what colors to use? Chime in the comments!

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Thank You, Bramble Berry!

I returned home from a CVS shopping run to find a package from Bramble Berry on my porch. That’s funny, I thought. I didn’t order anything recently [insert little sad little sob over the fact that I haven’t ordered anything recently].

I opened it up, and I found these inside.

S. O. A. P. Panel Fragrances

Two ounces each of five fragrances from the S. O. A. P. Panel!

Also enclosed was a very nice (and pretty) handwritten thank you card for my participation on the S. O. A. P. Panel. It was so nice and unexpected. I didn’t realize Bramble Berry would be sending these along, and perhaps it’s spoilery, but I thought I’d let you see this sneak peek at some of the new offerings.

My nose is apparently not so good, so I am not 100% sure I’ve identified these all correctly, but I’m certain that Heavenly Honeysuckle is fragrance #3 that I tested and was actually able to identify as honeysuckle at the time. After living in Georgia for nearly twenty years, I can’t miss that scent. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I am so glad it made the cut.

I think that Mahogany is fragrance #8 that I said smelled like a sexy man. It does smell good, but I have no idea what mahogany is supposed to smell like. I think it will be a nice addition to Bramble Berry’s masculine line, though.

I’m totally not sure about this one, but I think Autumn Fig Harvest is fragrance #1, which I also liked a lot but totally did not identify with figs. Like I even know what figs are supposed to smell like, I suppose, but I digress. I thought I smelled some sort of juniper or a pine or fir scent, which might be the “harvest” and “autumn” notes. Anyway, even if I’m wrong, Autumn Fig Harvest smells great.

Those were my top three selections from the S. O. A. P. Panel fragrances, so (if my nose is right), I’m thrilled they made it through the process.

As to the other two fragrances, I can’t identify them with the ones I tried, and I wondered if they were perhaps part of the second round of S. O. A. P. Panel fragrances, in which I didn’t participate. Lavender and Cedar is a pretty accurate description of what that fragrance smells like. More cedar, for sure, but with a floral note behind it. It’s quite nice. Mandarin Oasis smells fruity and awesome, but I can’t identify it with the fruity scents I had on my panel, so I’m not really sure.

Thanks again for the nice treat, Bramble Berry!

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S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrances: Final Ranks and Recommendations

Participating in the S.O.A.P. Panel was a lot of fun for me. It was interesting also to have a glimpse at some fragrances Bramble Berry is considering for their product line. The opportunity to have some influence over those decisions or at least report my experiences with the fragrances was also powerful, and I took it very seriously. I tested using a recipe that I didn’t expect would accelerate trace on its own. I used no colors so I could judge each fragrance’s effect on the soap’s color. I soaped at temperatures close to 100 degrees. I didn’t discount water. I gelled each soap so that I could see whether the fragrance would come through saponification, even if exposed to the higher temperatures of gelling. In short, I tried, as much as possible, to use testing conditions that would ensure the soaps I made were all the same, with the exception of the fragrance.

In the table below, I have listed the fragrances by number and linked them to their individual test blog posts. Then, I have ranked them from 1-8 in order of my own preferences (1 was my favorite, 8 was my least favorite). Finally, I have some thoughts and some recommendations for Bramble Berry, as well as any other soapers who might one day use the fragrances, should Bramble Berry sell them.

Fragrance Number My Rank Recommendations
Scent 1 2 I didn’t care for this one out of the bottle as much as I liked it after soaping with it. It is nice and strong after a cure, too. I really like its fresh scent. I can’t figure out what the scent is, but it smells great, and I would totally buy this one. It smells green or blue to me, and I think it would be nice with a green, blue, and white swirl of some kind. I really hope BB decides to carry this one.
Scent 2 6 The only reason this fragrance ranks so low is that it completely disappeared in my CP soap. It might be great in other products, such as candles or lotion. I sort of hope that some of the other testers decided to use it in one of those types of products to see how it performs. It smelled great and behaved well, too. It’s just gone. Notice it’s not ranked #8 though! Even with no scent left!
Scent 3 1 This was my favorite mainly because I identified it as honeysuckle, which is one of my all-time favorite scents. I love the way honeysuckle smells in bloom, and I have used many honeysuckle fragrances in the past. This fragrance smells true and is strong, even after a cure. It would be beautiful with a white, cream, and yellow swirl to mimic the honeysuckle blooms. For a floral, it behaves well, too. I would most definitely buy this one, and I hope BB decides to carry it.
Scent 4 4 This one smells really good, and I would buy it. It is strong after a cure. I think it would go well with greens, yellows, and whites, as I think I detect a tart pear fragrance. It smells really good on its own, and I think it might blend well with other fragrances, too. I hope BB also carries this one. It was close between this one and the ones I ranked #2 and 3. I did like all of them.
Scent 5 7 This one smells like dirt or grass. It might be fun for a novelty soap for golfers or gardeners, but otherwise, I wouldn’t want to use it. Of course, I have never romanticized the smell of fresh cut grass the way some other folks do, so that is something to bear in mind. It would be great with a green colorant (I’m thinking a swirl of mostly chromium green oxide with a little bit of brown oxide and titanium dioxide woven through). It might be fun for some people, but I wouldn’t buy it unless a customer especially requested a grass fragrance.
Scent 6 8 I liked this one the least. It misbehaved a bit in soaping, and it doesn’t smell good to me, even after mellowing a bit in a cure. I can’t identify the scent, and I have no real recommendations for colorants to use as a result. I would recommend that BB not sell this one. I don’t think it would be terribly successful.
Scent 7 5 This one didn’t stand out in any strong way to me. It didn’t smell bad, but it didn’t wow me either. It’s a sort of fruity floral. My husband thinks he smells rose, but it smells more like carnation to me. I am not sure if I would buy it or not. I think it would go well with pinks, creams, or whites. I am on the fence about my recommendation. I hope to peek in and see what the other panelists think of this one. It smells pretty, but I liked many of the other fragrances better. However, I should note I am a sort of “fruity” fragrance person. My husband likes florals (for women) much better, and is more disposed to those scents. I think if you like florals, you’d probably like this one, and BB may find there is a good market for it.
Scent 8 3 This one smells great. I would totally recommend that BB carry it. I would definitely buy it. It does discolor, but not badly. I would recommend trying colors like blue, white, and a light brown together to create a sort of manly looking soap, as this fragrance smells masculine to me. I really liked this one almost as much as #1 and 2. It was a close contest.

I hope this helps Bramble Berry and the soaping community. Please look for an update in a couple of weeks on how these soaps perform after a good cure (the last two were made too recently for me to tell). I will also include photos of each so you can see whether the soap has discolored or ashed. I did forget to spray #5 with alcohol, so it may have a disadvantage there.

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S.O.A.P. Pane Fragrances: Fragrance #8

Fragrance #8Initially, I thought this fragrance smelled like a “sexy man,” and for once, I didn’t change my mind. It still smelled like a sexy man out of the bottle and in the soap. I liked this one. As you can see, it’s a little yellow out of the bottle.

As I did with the other seven fragrances, I used a recipe of 45% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, 25% sustainable palm oil, and 5% castor oil in this recipe. I soaped with full water (38%) and a 6% lye discount. The oils and lye water were 95 degrees when I combined them. I blended to a light trace. This picture is a little dark.

Soap Before FragranceAfter I added the fragrance, I stirred a bit with the spatula, but I saw no signs of ricing. I stick blended a bit. No acceleration or immediate discoloration, as you can see in this picture I took after the fragrance was blended.

Soap After FragranceI actually blended it a bit past light trace—maybe to a medium trace. Then I poured it into the mold and drew curly designs on the top.

Soap in Mold

I unmolded and cut the soap the next day. As you may be able to see from the photo, this fragrance does discolor slightly. There is a faint brownish frame around the edges of the soap. I expect the rest of the soap to turn the same shade. It is not the deep brown you get from fragrances with a lot of vanillin, but I am wondering if this fragrance has a little bit of vanillin in it, which might explain both the discoloration and the pattern of discoloration—in my experience, fragrances with vanillin take some time to completely change the color of the soap, and what you often have is this “frame.”

Cut SoapThis one smells great. After saponification, the fragrance is still strong, and I’m detecting a fruity note (maybe apple). I would totally buy this one. Two thumbs up!

In an upcoming post, I will recap my reviews, ranking the fragrance in order of my own preference along with any recommendations I can think of. In a few weeks’ time, I will update everyone on how these soaps performed after a good cure.

Thanks again to Bramble Berry for the opportunity to be on the S.O.A.P. Panel. It was a lot of fun!

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S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrances: Fragrance #7

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to test the S.O.A.P. Panel fragrances. Work has kept me busy. Now that I’m on spring break, I can make a bunch of soap!

Fragrance #7Fragrance #7 has a floral note. My husband Steve remarked that it smelled a bit like rose. It might also be carnation. There is another note I can’t identify, and there is a vaguely fruity note as well.

As you can see, it is fairly clear out of the bottle. I used 24 grams in my recipe, which was the entire contents of the bottle. My recipe, as before, was 45% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, 25% sustainable palm oil, and 5% castor oil. I used full water (38%) and a lye discount of 6%. The oils were about 105 degrees and the lye mixture was about 95 degrees when I combined the two. I blended to a very light trace before adding the fragrance.

Blended SoapRight after I added the fragrance, it riced a little bit and separated. I would not have been able to incorporate it without blending, as just stirring with the spatula wasn’t working. This separation could be a problem with some recipes or complicated swirls, especially if you don’t want to stick blend after adding the fragrance. I stick blended a little bit more, but there was no acceleration, so I went ahead and gave it a good blend. After that, the fragrance incorporated well and caused no more problems. It didn’t discolor the soap batter at all, though initially I thought it might turn the batter yellowish, as right after I poured it, the fragrance looked yellow in the soap.

Soap with FragranceI poured the soap at a light-medium trace and drew a bit of a feathery design on the top, as the soap had definitely started to thicken by the time all of it was in the mold. I put the soap away to gel over night.

Soap in MoldI cut the soap the next day. It does appear to have very slight yellowish discoloration, but certainly nothing bad and nothing that would cause problems with any colors you might want to use. I think reds, pinks, whites, and greens might go nicely with this scent. After this soap saponified, I could smell mainly the floral scent, but I really can’t decide if it’s more of a rose or a carnation. I don’t smell any fruity notes anymore, but there is something else there besides the floral that I can’t identify. It doesn’t smell like typical rose, if so. I find rose scents are sometimes cloying, but this smells nice. It doesn’t knock my socks off, but it’s nice. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to buy it, but I don’t dislike it, either.

Cut Bars

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S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrances: Fragrance #6

Fragrance #6My nose was so wrong on this one. Initially, I said this was citrusy with a floral note and smelled summery. Yeesh. I am detecting a vague fruity smell, but I can’t pinpoint what it is. Behind that is a sort of masculine, woodsy scent. It smells like it might be a dupe of some cologne, but I can’t be sure which one, since I am terrible about keeping up with that sort of thing. If you’d have asked me in the 1980’s, I would have known, but I had a cologne-obsessed boyfriend at the time, so I didn’t have to work at it. My husband says it smells like a melon soaked in industrial cleaning fluid. After he made that comment, I sniffed again, and I can smell some sort of melon in there. I initially thought I liked this one, but the more I smelled it, the less I liked it, and by the time I was done soaping with it, I really disliked it.

Soap BatterAs before, I used a recipe with full water, 45% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, 25% sustainable palm oil, and 5% castor oil. I soaped with oils that were about 93 degrees and a lye solution that was about 96 degrees. I used the full bottle of fragrance, which was 25 grams.

I stick blended to a light trace, and then I added the fragrance.

Fragranced BatchThe fragrance acted kind of funky in the soap. At first, it seemed to reverse trace, and it didn’t seem to want to incorporate well. Then, the soap didn’t rice exactly, but the consistency was strange. I stick blended it thoroughly, but it never seemed to get thicker than a thin trace.

So, I decided it pour it into the mold and put it away.

Soap in MoldIt looked fine. I sprayed it with alcohol about 30 minutes later, and it felt really hot and kind of squishy, but gelling a soap can sometimes resolve problems, so I left it alone for another 30 minutes. When I checked it again to spray it with alcohol one last time, it was in full gel, and the fragrance was weeping a bit from the sides of the mold.

Soap gellingIt also has a little bit of cracking on the top, but I think that was more from me squeezing the mold a bit when I handled it. Still, that is really fast for a full gel to be going on, and I didn’t like the look of that weeping fragrance oil.

That was nothing. I tested it, and it was pretty much ready to unmold only hours later. This fragrance must have some crazy catalytic ingredients! It gave the surface of the soap a sort of “brainy” appearance that I’ve seen before when soap overheats in the mold. Remember my process was the same for making this soap as it was all the others. When I did shimmy it out of the mold, this is what I found.

Weeping FragranceThe fragrance was weeping all around the parts of the soap that the mold touched. I wiped it off and let the soap dry a bit. Weeping fragrances are not necessarily terrible, and even essential oils will do it; however, it’s worth noting that I didn’t have this problem with fragrances #1-5.

Anyway, I cut it after a little while. It boggles my mind that the soap completely gelled and was ready cut in the spaces of less than 6 hours or so. Usually I have to wait at least 12 hours to cut.

Cut SoapAs you can see, the soap is discolored yellow. I will monitor it to see if it continues to discolor. For the sake of comparison, here is a photo of this soap next to one made with fragrance #5, which did not discolor.

DiscolorationI can imagine that if this fragrance was used with a faster tracing recipe (butters, less olive, more palm), it might cause some real problems. The fragrance mellowed a bit after saponification, but I still cannot say I like the scent. It reminds me of something, but I can’t think of what. It isn’t pleasant, however, and I wouldn’t want to use it. Sorry, Bramble Berry, this one gets two big thumbs down—doesn’t smell good and is difficult to work with. I wouldn’t recommend it for your product line.

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S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrances: Fragrance #5

Fragrance #5Scent #5 was my least favorite of the S.O.A.P. Panel fragrances out of the bottle. My initial impression was that it smelled a bit like neem oil. Later, I thought I detected some grass notes and a sort of earthiness. After I poured the fragrance out and let it “breathe” for a few minutes, the strongest note I could detect was a grass note, followed by a sort of earthy dirt scent.

As I did with fragrances 1-4, I used a recipe of 45% olive, 25% coconut, 25% palm, and 5% castor oils. The oils were about 90 degrees and the lye mixture was about 100 degrees when I combined them. I used full water in the lye mixture. I used the full bottle of fragrance, which was 26 grams.

I blended to a very light trace.

Soap before FragranceThen I added the fragrance oil. There were no issues with acceleration, discoloration, or ricing. Indeed, I can’t tell the difference between the soap before and after the fragrance and had to double-check the time on the picture to be sure.

Soap after FragranceI expected this fragrance to misbehave, but it soaped beautifully. I poured it into the mold and put it away to gel. It actually took quite a long time to gel, so this fragrance should give anyone time to play.

Soap in MoldI unmolded it the next day (a little hastily, hence some bent corners that needed a quick bit of reshaping). As you can see, still no discoloration.

Unmolded and cut soapThere is a little bit of soda ash on the top, as I neglected to spray the tops with alcohol. The scent is still quite strong, but the earthy dirt notes have retreated a bit. It really smells exactly like grass after saponification, and it’s scent remains very true—no morphing at all. It would go well with a nice grass green color. It might be fun as a novelty soap, perhaps for a golfer, but I am just not loving it. I’m giving it a thumbs up for its behavior in the soap, but a big thumbs down on the scent. I think, however, that some folks who really love the scent of fresh cut grass would enjoy it.

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S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrances: Fragrance #4

My initial impression of fragrance #4 was that it smelled sort of masculine. My nose must have been off! It smells fruity and a bit floral to me now. I am detecting an apple note to it. It’s a bit sour, but it smells really good.

Fragrance in bottleThe fragrance is slightly yellow right out of the bottle. I used the entire contents, which was 25 g, in my one-pound recipe. As I did with the previous test fragrances, I used a recipe of 45% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, 25% sustainable palm oil, and 5% castor oil. I also used full water. As before, I soaped at about 100 degrees.

I let this soap trace a little further before I added the fragrance, mainly because I was trying to take pictures and not having an easy time of it, for some reason. Here is the soap before the fragrance was added.

Soap before fragranceI stirred and then stick blended the fragrance in. It did not appear to accelerate because of the fragrance. I think I may have blended a bit much. Keep in mind that I also have a recipe high in olive. It’s possible butters combined with this fragrance might cause acceleration. No issues with ricing or discoloration, either, though the batter did initially turn a little bit yellow.

Soap after fragranceHowever, by the time I poured it into the mold, it was a creamier color again.

Soap in moldI did a little swirl on the top since it was at a thick enough trace, but it isn’t terribly noticeable.

It came out of my mold easily the next day, and it does not appear to have any discoloration.

Cut soapIt’s quite pretty! It smells delicious. I think saponification actually brought out some of the fragrance’s floral notes. I like this fragrance. So far, it appears to be strong in the soap. I will keep an eye on how well the fragrance sticks after a cure, as I plan to do with all the fragrances. Two thumbs up on this one, though!

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