Soap Challenge Club: Dandelion Zebra Swirl

This month’s Soap Challenge Club challenge soap is the Dandelion Zebra Swirl created by Vinvela Ebony and described on her blog Dandelion Seifee. Here is my contribution to the challenge:

Dandelion Zebra Swirl

The recipe I used to create the soap is a slow-moving recipe modified from one recommended by Amy Warden of Great Cake Soapworks:

  • 60% olive oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 10% sunflower oil
  • 5% castor oil

The resulting soap should be extremely conditioning and great for sensitive skin. I used a Bramble Berry fragrance called Kumquat to scent the soap, and it smells absolutely divine—very fruity and fresh.

I left my soap base uncolored. The sunflower oil does contribute some sort of lightening effect to the soap base. I have noticed when I’ve used it before that the resulting soap has a lighter color than if I didn’t use it at all. However, because sunflower oil makes for a softer soap, it is best not to use too much in a recipe—perhaps no more than 20-25%. Sunflower oil also contributes to a nice, creamy lather.

Typically, I use kaolin clay in my soap, but I am not sure what effect clay might have on speeding up trace, and because I wanted a nice fluid soap for this technique, I left it out.

I mixed my oils and lye at a low temperature—below 90°F. I pulsed my stick blender a few times, mixing just until my oils and lye were emulsified. The colorants I used were neon pigments rather than oxides, as I just recently learned oxides can also speed up trace. I used two pigments from Brambleberry: Tangerine Wow and Fizzy Lemonade. The other two pigments were from TKB: Reformulated Neon Green and Reformulated Neon Blue.

As you can see, the colors are nice and bold, and though the soap base isn’t white, it’s a very pretty light natural shade.

Dandelion Zebra Swirl

Because of the high amount of soft oils, the soap is definitely softer than my typical soaps; however, I know from experience that high olive oil soaps can become quite hard with a longer cure time.

It’s such an interesting technique. I think I would do it again with some different colors.

Trying this technique gave me some ideas should I decide I want to try the Peacock Swirl again, too. I was able to maintain soap of the consistency I think might be required for the Peacock Swirl when I made this Dandelion Zebra Swirl soap. I think the trick might be to avoid oxides (if I can) for the Peacock Swirl, as it seemed to work great for this soap. Thanks to Amy Warden for teaching me something I didn’t know about oxides!

Here is a last look at the soap from a different angle. I am happy with the swirl on the top, too!

Dandelion Zebra Swirl

26 thoughts on “Soap Challenge Club: Dandelion Zebra Swirl

    1. Thank you! I am guessing it’s the high amount of soft oils that is making the base so translucent. I liked doing this swirl!

    1. Thank you, Odette! I know the videos are not everyone’s cup of tea. Someone on Pinterest (I pin the videos to a board as one way to share them) comments that there was too much chatter in the background. It wasn’t the same video, but my family gets in on most of my videos.

  1. I love the colours and you have achieved the technique so well, I didnt know that oxides traced faster, i have so much to learn about colour and thanks for teaching me something about sunflower oil. I need to get some more neon colours I think. well done!

    1. Thank you! I only recently learned that about oxides from Amy, so I give her credit. The sunflower oil I figured out through experimentation, and I guess it’s because the oil is so light, though my soaps are not quite as light when I use sweet almond oil, and it’s really the same color.

    1. It will be cured on November 10, so just about three weeks, as long as it firms up. I gelled it, but it has a lot of soft oils, and I want to make sure the bars are nice and hard. The Kumquat FO is amazing!

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