Spotlight on Ingredients: Kaolin Clay

Kaolin ClayI use kaolin clay in most of my soaps. Kaolin clay is a natural and gentle clay that is kind to sensitive skin but also adds slip and silkiness to soap and helps the soap’s fragrance “stick.” Some fragrances, especially citruses, don’t fare well in the harsh environment of the chemical process involved in soapmaking. Kaolin clay gives the fragrance something to “cling” to and helps the soap better retain the scent. Kaolin clay is such a fine powder that it adds the mildest exfoliation to the soap, and it’s one of the clays that works well with all skin types. Dry kaolin feels like a smooth, fine powder and is often used in cosmetics and face masks. Kaolin cleanses and detoxifies, so it really does add a little something special to soap.

I use a bit more than a teaspoon of kaolin per pound of oils in most of my recipes that don’t include other clays. For instance, in my Marseilles-style soap, which I call Provence, I use French green clay, and adding kaolin in addition would make the soap crumbly and chalky. Because the kaolin clay in my soaps is used throughout the bar and not as a colorant for a swirl, I simply add it directly to my oils before I add my lye water, and I stick blend it well to make sure the clay is dispersed and no clumps remain; however, I should add that I have not noticed that kaolin clumps a lot, unlike some other clays. You can use up to a tablespoon of clay per pound of oils, but my own experiments with clay in those amounts produced a chalky soap. Your own experiments may yield different results. My own experience is that soap with clays, including kaolin clay, feels smoother and silkier without any detrimental effects on the amount of lather.

Bonus: a picture I took just today of my Johnny Appleseed Soap, which like my other soaps, has a little over a teaspoon of kaolin per pound of oils.

Johnny Appleseed Soap

Maya of Infusions and Silvia of Soap Jam have also blogged about using kaolin in their soaps.

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Fall Soaps

New England Handmade Artisan Soaps has a fall seasonal line of soaps, including some returning favorites and some new soaps you’re sure to love.

Apple Butter Soap

Apple Butter is scented with a rich blend of applejack peel—cinnamon, cloves, and red apples—and buttery vanilla. A gorgeous fall treat perfect for apple-picking season! Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, shea butter, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk. Available now!

Autumn Fig HarvestAutumn Fig Harvest became one of my favorites as soon as I made it. I love the spatter tops of these bars, and the fragrance is one of my favorites—top notes of bright and crisp apple, lemon and ginger with middle notes of fig, caramel, and cinnamon that lead to more earthy base notes of coffee, twigs, and wet forest. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, fragrance, shea butter, sweet almond oil, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorants, tussah silk. Available September 13.

Carrot ButtermilkCarrot Buttermilk is a lovely facial soap. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A and have antioxidant and soothing properties. Buttermilk has alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps rejuvenate skin with gentle exfoliation. Ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, water, sodium hydroxide, carrot purée, apricot kernel oil, castor oil, buttermilk, kaolin clay, tussah silk. Available September 21.

Johnny AppleseedJohnny Appleseed, born John Chapman, was from nearby Leominster, MA, right here in Worcester County. This soap is named in honor of our native son, and it smells as delicious as the apples he helped spread across America—a crisp mix of red and green apples. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, shea butter, castor oil, cream, kaolin clay, colorants, cranberry seeds, tussah silk. Available today!

Oatmilk, Milk, & HoneyA great favorite, this soap is made with real raw local honey. I have a beekeeper friend who trades me her honey for soap! It’s also chock full of other great things for your skin, such as finely ground oatmeal and whole oats and goat milk. To top it off, it smells like grandma’s oatmeal cookies! This one will be a favorite with both men and women. Ingredients: olive oil, goat milk, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, fragrance, castor oil, finely ground oatmeal, honey, whole oats. Available now!

Coffee & CreamCoffee & Cream is made with a mix of invigorating coffee and rich cream and scented with a blend of coffee house coffee and Turkish mocha. Smooth and silky! Great for either men or women. Ingredients: olive oil, coffee, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, sweet almond oil, cream, fragrance, cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk, coffee grounds. Available now!

Pumpkin PiePumpkin Pie is a fall favorite. Made with genuine New England One Pie® pumpkin and scented with a heavenly pumpkin pie fragrance, you don’t want to miss this one. Just like pumpkin spice lattes, they only appear once a year. Ingredients: olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, One-Pie® Pumpkin, water, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, fragrance, castor oil, cream, sweet almond oil, colorant, pumpkin pie spice. Available September 14.

Vanilla Chai LatteVanilla Chai Latte is nice combination of warm vanilla and spices like cinnamon and clove. A wonderful fall treat! Another nice fragrance for either men or women. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, fragrance, cream, shea butter, castor oil, kaolin clay, colorant, tussah silk. Available September 28.

De-Stress

I’m so in love with this De-Stress Stress Relief creamy white soap! Made with a blend of spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils, believed to be uplifting, soothing, and calming. I certainly can’t stop sniffing them! Perfect for men or women. A note: This soap will be added to my year-round line if customers enjoy it. Ingredients: olive oil, water, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, sodium hydroxide, castor oil, cream, spearmint essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, kaolin clay, colorant, jojoba beads. Available October 3.

Keep your eyes peeled on the store so you don’t miss your favorites. I have to confess: fall is my favorite season, and the fall soaps are my favorites, too.

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