It's been a while since my last post about gel phase. The last I left you, I had not cut the soap yet. I am happy to report that I waited, and the cut turned out great! Instead of cutting the entire loaf of soap at once though, I cut it in two stages. I waited 24 hours to cut half the loaf of soap, to demonstrate how soap can change once it is cut.
So remember, our soap went through what is called gel phase, a process in which the soap heats during the saponification process, thereby changing the color of the soap from light to dark. Soap goes through a lot of phases before it gets to you, the customer. There is a lot of time that not only goes into making it, but you also have to consider the time it takes to cure and then let's not forget the marketing, packaging, shipping, etc.
Did you know that the recommended cure time for pure olive oil soap is one year?!!!! Wow, think of what happens in an entire year while your olive oil soap cures on the shelf. If those bars could talk...
Luckily though you don't have to wait a year for this soap, because it will be ready to suds up in 6 weeks. So let's recap our color phases. First, we started with our base soap that when poured into the mold it was a creamy caramel color.
Freshly poured beer soap!
Second, we insulated our soap with a wooden lid, and a towel, in addition to setting it on a heating pad.
Soap sleeping! Please do not touch!
We watched it change from light to dark.
And finally, after 24-48 hours, I cut the soap! Remember earlier I mentioned waiting 24 hours between cutting the entire loaf of soap? Well here is an image (I apologize for the poor quality, I made this cut in the evening so the lighting was poor) of two soap ends side by side. The darker soap was cut 24 hours before the light soap, which was cut at the time the photo was taken.
The bottom, darker bar was cut 24 hours prior to the lighter bar.
Another picture of freshly cut soap
As you can see, the soap that has been cut and exposed to the air for 24 hours, is considerably darker. If you concentrate on the outer edges of the top bar, you can see how dark it is, yet its insides are light, almost the same color of the soap batter before it went through gel phase. The squiggly lines inside the soap are kaolin clay, added to a portion of the soap batter. It should give the soap bar a nice "slip" which is beneficial when shaving. Over time the kaolin clay may be visually undetectable but the benefits will remain in the soap.
As soap cures it changes color from day to day, going from light to dark, to light. The essential oils and fragrance oil levels change as well. What might smell overpowering at the time of the cut, will round itself out to be a subtle or lighter scent through time. Some essential oils (mainly citrus essential oils) never survive the cut, because the saponification process is just too hot to render a scent afterwards.
Though this soap turned out to quite simple, with not a lot of visual pop, it is ultimately the ingredients that make the soap bar. Beer is loaded with amino acids and skin loving ingredients. Due to the sugar content in beer, it will result in some great bubbles and lather in this bar. I'm excited to try this one because of the kaolin clay. It also smells pretty nice too. I used a beer and coffee fragrance oil. It is a little strong on the coffee side but I certainly don't mind that!
Here is a photo of the final bar, stamped.
Nice dark chocolate color after two weeks.
Unfortunately my beer stamp is problematic and does not do the best job. An item to add to the to-do list...rework stamp! For now though, it gets the message across. This batch of soap will be ready on March 24th, so be sure to check back and grab one if you're so inclined. If you can't wait for this one, there are some other great beer soaps that have been curing for a while, making them a super bar of soap. Not into beer? There are a lot of other gorgeous soaps at www.ubusoapnbees.com
Thanks for stopping in, and I hope you enjoyed this post! If you liked it, leave a message or share it with a friend. Until next time, UBU...brewed, beautiful, caffeinated, naked, chocoholic.