SOAPing with a Friend

My friend Summer came to visit me over the weekend. We first met in 2005 when she was living in Olathe, and she came to my booth at the farmer’s market to buy soap. It wasn’t long after we decided that we were going to be really good friends that she and her family had to move away. We try to get together at least once a year, but a full 18 months passed since the last time we saw each other. Her one request was to be able to go to the farmer’s market with me while she was in town.

Me and Summer at the Olathe Farmer's Market

We did some other fun stuff too – including making soap! Summer has been buying soap from me for six years and had never watched me make soap before, so I decided to take full advantage of the situation and made her my official assistant as a SOAP Panel member.

First, we got out the bottles of fragrance and I had her tell me her impressions of the scents. Her comment was “this is harder than I thought!” – to which I fully agreed.

SOAP Panel Fragrances

Here are her comments: (you can see my comments here)
#1 – Buttercream with a hint of citrus – orange julius type (she likes)
#2 – Lemon cleaner
#3 – Sweet… (likes)
#4 – Berry – maybe blueberry? (dislikes)
#5 – Wassail-like…some floral notes?
#6 – Juicy Fruit; chewing gum
#7 – Alcohol (dislikes)
#8 – Warm, winter-type scent

I showed her how I make soap:

Mixing the soap with my stick blender

Pouring out one cup of soap for each fragrance

Then I let Summer give it a try:

Mixing in the lye water on the second batch
Adding 0.25 ounces of fragrance to one cup of soap

Summer took photos of each cup of soap right after we mixed in the fragrance:

Reactions of each fragrance in the soap

Here is what we observed:
#1 – Turned bright yellow initially, then mellowed to tan. Still smells like orange julius, but the butter note has disappeared.
#2 – No discoloration or acceleration – Still smells like lemon cleaner!
#3 – Turned lemon yellow – Still smells really good – tropical fruity
#4 – No discoloration or acceleration – Mellowed nicely in the soap. Still a tart berry fragrance, but not so in-your-face.
#5 – Turned very light yellow – Smells citrus-y and a little bit floral. (Summer takes back her comment about the wassail-type smell.)
#6 – Turned golden yellow – Still reminds Summer of chewing gum. Maybe that’s what I smell too, but I still can’t put my finger on it.
#7 – Accelerated and heated up, but no discoloration!! (Summer loves this one now – she says it smells like a warm, cinnamon twist, and I would have to agree! It’s a very nice bakery scent.)

Fragrance #7 set up fast, then immediately started to gel.

#8 – No discoloration or acceleration – this one smells like tart green apple to me. We compared it to a Green Apple fragrance that I had in my stash, and Summer liked that one better than this one. However, I say if this truly is an apple fragrance, it was a breeze to work with! I’ve never had an apple fragrance that didn’t want to seize and that didn’t morph.

Here are all the soaps after they were poured and set up:

SOAP Panel soaps (#7 is still in gel phase)

I’m really loving all of them, but I’d have to say my favorite scents are #1, 3, and 7. Just wish #7 would have behaved! I was expecting it to turn color, but it really has stayed a nice creamy white. If I had to pick, I’d say my least favorite would probably be #2.

Thank you, Brambleberry! We had fun!

For my next experiment, I’ll have to go it alone. I had to take Summer back to the airport this morning. Very sad. But I’m planning to add the fragrances to my Hand & Body Lotion base and see how they smell on the skin. Gotta love the experiments!

Page with Comments

  1. It sounds like you had such a good time. I would love to do this as well, if I had time!

  2. @Ishbel – When I signed up, I felt like I was caught up on soapmaking. Well, for some reason I’m running out of soap now! I suppose that is a good problem. Sounds like you are keeping busy as well!

    @Michele – It was great fun! And you aren’t the first to say we look alike, so I guess it must be true!

    @Patti – Coming from a “scientist” such as yourself, that’s pretty high praise! Thank you!

  3. I’m jealous…all I get to do is wrap! I’m kidding and I’m so glad you had fun with her while she was here!

  4. Summer’s husband David grew up at our church and we love that family!
    The soaping looked like fun (work too). Do you do “parties”. I think if ladies came in and made soap under your instruction it would be fun and maybe profitable!
    Do you sell your soaps online? If so, I’d be interested in ordering some.
    Glad you girls had fun – loved the pics and documentation.

  5. @Misty – Yes, we did!! I can see already I’m going to have to post an update on discoloring issues…

    @Kathy – I’m making more soap today – perhaps you’d like to come help? 🙂

    @Mary – Thank you for visiting my blog! I have not done parties before, but perhaps I should! I do sell my soaps online at http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com.

  6. Way to go girls, you sure did have fun, didn’t you?! Great job testing the fragrances. It’s so interesting to hear different panel members’ reactions to the oils. I can’t wait to hear how you like them in your lotion!

  7. Hi Amy,

    It’s great when you can share something meaningful with a close friend. We can relate as we had a good friend of ours, Maria, help Leslie make soap, and Maria loved it! She also had that realization of how involved it is. Part artist-part scientist. But, as you no doubt found with Summer, your friendship deepens and you have a lot of wonderful memories. You both looked like you had a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing that special time with us!

  8. @Anne-Marie – Great fun, for sure! Lotion results coming soon!

    @Jessica – Thanks – they were actually a gift from Summer!

    @Dennise – Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy them!

    @Michael – Yep, I think Summer had the exact same realizations. Time involved, as well as the comment, “I didn’t realize how much you have to use chemistry to make soap!”

  9. Amy,

    Looks like you and Summer had a great time together. I think that would be so fun to soap with a fellow soaper outside of where I live.

    Michelle

  10. Sounds like such a great time. Would love to learn how to make soap! I love your gloves 🙂 So nice that you all get together! My good friend is moving cross country at the end of the summer and I hope to get together once a year as well.
    courtney´s last blog post ..Little Miss Little L

  11. @Michelle – She had never made soap before! She is, however, a good friend who buys my soap. 🙂

    @courtney – It’s so worth it to keep in touch with good friends!

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