Fragrance Testing in CP Soap

I learned a trick from one of my soapmaking friends on how to test a whole bunch of fragrances in cold-processed soap. What a great way to try out those samples you keep acquiring. That’s not just me, is it? The main purpose is to discover how they are going to behave. Lye does some pretty crazy things to fragrances sometimes.

First, you need to acquire some paper Dixie cups, disposable pipettes, and a plastic spoon. Then make a small batch of soap – today’s batch was made with 22 ounces of oils. Label your cups first with a sharpie, and have a pad of paper and a pen handy with the list of fragrances already written down. Then pour soap into the cups until they are about half full. Add about 2 to 2.5 ml of fragrance to each cup one at a time, stir with the plastic spoon, make quick notes, and rinse the spoon in between. I tested 13 fragrances with this method:

All 13 cups of soap

You can tell if the soap is going to discolor, accelerate trace, heat up, lose fragrance, or any other problems such as ricing, oil separating, etc. A couple of the scents I tested today had slight acceleration, and a couple of them are definitely discoloring already – which is what I would expect from spicy scents. The spicy scents were also the only ones that wanted to gel:

Mulled Cider and Cinnamon Apple Peach fragrances

I had some soap left over, so I added some yellow coloring and more of the Hello Sweet Thang fragrance from Brambleberry (my new fave!). I may or may not have added a bit too much fragrance. Mmmm.

Hello Sweet Thang Heart Shaped Soaps

My only disappointment was with the Caramel Apple fragrance (NOT a Brambleberry scent). I wanted to test this scent specifically since I was hoping to add it to my fall line of soaps. The bottle smells absolutely divine! The soap – not so much. The caramel is pretty well destroyed. However, the apple comes through better in the soap than out of the bottle. I’m not giving up though. I ordered a full pound of this stuff, so I’m going to try it in hot process soap next…

I’m hoping this might qualify me to be a part of the S.O.A.P. panel for Brambleberry. Please, Anne-Marie?

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  1. Oh great idea! Such a shame when FOs don’t hold up in CP though … caramel apple sounds divine!

  2. I just came across this blog and I have to say I love the picture at the top of your site! The soaps look great! Do you make them all yourself?

  3. @Harriet – Thanks! Yes, I make all the soaps myself. Although, I haven’t made the ones that look like cakes in quite awhile. 🙂 Probably ought to update my photo at some point!

  4. what a great technique Amy! I am notoriously impatient when it comes to testing FOs–I have been know to “wing it”, lol. This sounds like a fabulous way to make it quick and painless;D

  5. @Elaine – Oh, me too! I can’t believe I actually thought to do it before making an entire batch of the Caramel Apple soap!
    @Becky – I hope so! If it doesn’t, I know someone who will take it off my hands for me. 🙂

  6. great idea! Much better then wasting an entire batch to find out a scent is no good in cp soap! Can’t tell you how many not good ones I have had over the years!

  7. Wow Amy – what an awesome and thorough method of testing and minimizing waste! It would be great even instead of dixie cups to get a silicone mini muffin tray – then you would have usable soap sample pucks. 🙂

  8. Great idea! that takes all the guess work out so you know exactly what to expect and so much easier than having to do it one at a time.

  9. Oh Amy! You are such a smart cookie! I always make a bit of a bigger batch, only to find out it’s a FLOP! :'(
    I am going to borrow this idea if you don’t mind for my future scent exploration and I need to check out that Sweet Thang FO from Brambleberry 🙂
    Keep up the awesome work! XOXO

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