Have you ever wanted to do a complicated swirl with an accelerating fragrance? Me too, all the time.
I’ve found the best way to do this is with an In-The-Pot (ITP) swirl, using a few nifty tricks I’ve picked up here and there.
Yes, okay, I’m probably an idiot, but I love swirls, and I love florals. So do my customers, and when I found myself running low on the ever popular Plumeria soap, I thought I would take photos and share how I do it with you.
Brilliant Plumeria Soap
This recipe has been resized to fit a 10 inch Bramble Berry silicone mould. I made a large batch (3 x 8 inch moulds, or 2.4kg of base oils), but I’ve resized this recipe down to fit a 10 inch silicone mould, which is 980g (34.5 oz) of base oils, or 1.4l (50 oz) of soap batter.
Silk is my favourite ingredient right now, but if you’re vegan, feel free to omit it as an ingredient. It does give a lovely slip to the soap lather, but you don’t need to rework the recipe if you’d rather skip it.
I also add a small amount of salt to the recipe, again, you don’t have to, but it helps with unmoulding, especially in a full water soap.
Soap Formula Used
Please remember, I’m Australian and I work solely in metric. I’ve done my best to convert the measurements for Americans, but I find thinking in ounces REALLY HARD.
- 340g (12 oz) Olive Oil
- 215g (7.5 oz) Rice Bran Oil
- 195g (6.8 oz) Coconut Oil
- 100g (3.5oz) Macadamia Oil
- 80g (2.8 oz) Shea Butter
- 50g (1.7 oz) Castor Oil
- 131g (4.62 oz) Sodium Hydroxide
- 350g (12.3 oz) Distilled Water
- 30g (1 oz) Plumeria FO (3% fragrance load, Plumeria is strong)
I used a Bramble Berry fragrance, and I was really happy with it. Feel free to adjust the fragrance up a little, or down a little to suit your own nose.
- 1/8 tsp Yellow Mica
- 1/8 tsp Blush Mica (or any pink)
- 1/8 Shiraz Mica (or any dark red)
- 1g Titanium Dioxide, water dispersible
My micas came from Australian supplier: My Mica Obsession, who does indeed fuel my colour obsession. Use whichever supplier suits your own needs, but make sure everything is high pH stable. There’s nothing worse than morphing colours.
- 8g (0.2oz) Salt
- small pinch of Tussah Silk, about the size of the top joint of your pinky finger
Make sure you’ve got everything you need. I do the bulk of my soap making in my laundry, which has a handy dandy laundry trough to work in. It’s also a really old house, so please don’t judge me.
Weigh out your water into your jug and add 8g of salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Chop your tussah silk finely and stir into your water, mixing well to separate and hydrate the strands. Silk dissolves in a lye solution, but it works best when added to the water first. Then add your lye to your water, stirring well and then set it aside to cool.
Weigh and melt your oils, then premix your colorants for easy incorporation.
Florals are prone to accelerating in cold process soap. Usually, I add my fragrance oils to my oils before my lye solution but this time, I won’t be doing that! Instead, I’ve weighed out my fragrance oil and diluted it with 30g of my soaping oils.
Breathe deep now, because once you add the lye to the oils, you’re working fast! When your lye and oils are close to room temperature, you can begin. My lye and oils were both at around 25 C (77 F) when I mixed them.
Carefully, add the lye solution to your soaping oils. Stick blend until emulsified, but NOT TRACING, and then switch to hand stirring, scraping down the sides of your jug to make sure all the oils are incorporated and emulsified.
SPLIT THE BATCH:
Working quickly, split your batch into four parts: One larger part, and three smaller parts.
Your main soaping jug will get Titanium Dioxide as a white base. You may need to stick blend this in to prevent flecking and to make sure it’s a nice even colour. Don’t stick blend the heck out of it, just a few short bursts to make sure the TD is well mixed in.
Stir each of your colours well, tapping the jugs lightly against your work surface to release any bubbles. My favourite soaping bucket doesn’t have a spout and it gives me so many air bubbles when I do split colours. Very annoying.
Now comes the speedy part. Carefully add 1/3 of your diluted fragrance oil to your main jug, and whisk gently but well. You’re on a time limit now, so work quickly, but carefully.
Next up, add fragrance to your yellow jug and whisk in well. Pour your newly fragranced yellow batter into your main soaping jug in four separate parts: imagine your jug as a clock face and pour at 12, 4, and 8 o’clock with a little in the centre.
Pink is next, and we do the same thing. Whisk in the fragrance oil and then pour immediately into your main jug, this time at 1, 5 and 9 o’clock, with a little in the centre.
Dark red is next. Whisk in the fragrance oil and then pour immediately into your main jug, this time at 2, 6 and 10 o’clock, with a little in the centre. Using your trusty spatula, give the pot one single stir. Just one! You want to swirl things, not mix them.
Now working steadily, pour your batter into your mould. I had a medium/thick trace by this point, and I was really happy with how workable the batter remained.
Tap your moulds down to release any extra air, and then you can scrape out your coloured jugs and swirl the coloured batter to give your tops some interest. I went for a fairly simple top to match how I make my Plumeria soap each time, but you could use a chopstick, or a skewer to drag the colours around.
Yes I’m sorry, I can’t work clean. I splatter batter all over my moulds and work surface. I’m quite good at not splattering myself however.
Put your moulds to bed, very lightly insulated – remember, florals are heaters and you don’t want overheating, so keep an eye on it over the next few hours. I use an upturned cardboard box over the moulds, just enough to keep the air warm around them.
You should be able to unmould after around 18-24 hours, but if it’s too soft, leave it a little longer. Mine unmoulded well at 24 hours.
The Brilliant Plumeria Soap recipe is an original formula created by Veronica Foale. It is palm-free, and uses a 6% superfat & 28% lye solution (full water!) To make this recipe vegan-friendly, omit the Tussah Silk. Adjust as needed!
Do you like working with florals? Do you have any tips for working with accelerating fragrances? Let me know in the comments!