I had planned to begin the color studies series with red, but the storm came, knocking out the power, and burying us in white. What better time to explore white and glitter than in a blizzard? It was very cold, but also beautiful, and deserves commemoration in soapy form. This post will tend a bit technical, in the interest of exploring what the colors do when compared equally in a standard quantity. In this case, I wanted subtle coloration, in keeping with the theme. I will be making my color studies soaps fragrance free, though there are several fragrances that behave well enough in soap to be used in a very pale base, if your fragranced soaps sell better, but I wanted to keep this one all about the colors. It’s important to note that for this soap alone, I have used well under the recommended amount for these micas, intending to create a family of very pale snow related colors. Future color studies will be done with the recommended proportions of the micas.
If you’re interested in further education on the manufacture and labeling of micas in general, check this out for a quick slideshow, and there is more information here and here as well. It’s critical to understand FDA regulations (or your country’s regulatory body, outside the US) before you begin.
With a goat milk and coconut/lard oil blend, my base is usually pretty close to a true white. However, I wanted to be able to encourage gel phase. With the goat milk removed, it went a bit yellow. It took a heavy dose of Titanium Dioxide to reach a white base. In the spirit of the holidays, and the sparkle of the snow, I wanted to add a little glitter. So for each layer, I poured a six ounce layer of the colored soap, then made another six ounce layer of the same color, but added a teaspoon of glitter and poured that on top. The bottom layers are pure white, with Silver Holographic Biodegradable Glitter above. For each of the next two shades, I mixed a half teaspoon of mica in a teaspoon of olive oil to use as a colorant.
Celestial Silver Mica seemed the perfect shade to capture the snowy sky, so I added a half teaspoon of the mica and oil mix to twelve ounces of the soap, poured a layer, then added a teaspoon of the silver glitter, and poured that layer on top. For a little bit of shadow, I used Mocha Brown Mica in the same way for the top, except I used the Gold Holographic Biodegradable Glitter.
The result is still pale in the mold, and I sprinkled the Silver Holographic Glitter on top, for shine.
I ordinarily go out of my way to avoid gel phase, because I like milk soap. But this time, I wrapped the loaf up with a heating pad for half an hour, then turned the heating pad on for half an hour. I turned it off, and left it to sit, wrapped in a blanket and left it for two days. My usual method is 24 hours in the fridge, then 24 hours out before unmolding. So I may have gelled to excess.
I did. But I really like the effect, like ice crystals. The glitter is subtle, though you could use more to get more sparkles if you wanted them. The lavender shade of the Mocha Brown is not an effect of photography; it actually is that color. In heavier use, it has never taken on a purple cast, so it seems to be only in this situation with very light use and plenty of heat that it takes on a purple hue. It’s beautiful soap.
So pretty I had to take its picture in the snow before moving on with the project.
My neighbors don’t even ask questions anymore.
Since this soap went sailing down the glycerin river, presumably due to the heat and a large amount of titanium dioxide, I wanted to compare it to the same soap without gel phase. This time, I skipped the glitter, and went for individually molded bars with a simple pot swirl so that the colors could sit next to each other. I had hoped to play up the contrasts. It didn’t really work out.
In the pot, it was difficult to tell them apart. In the finished soap, you can barely see the colors. This is the most contrasted pair of bars I could put together for a photograph. (The snow had already melted away by this point.) Without gelling to brighten it, these colors were just too subtle to show.
Let me know what you think, and what inspires your soap excursions.