If I could only make one type of soap you might be surprised that it wouldn’t be chalk full of fancy designs and impressive tricks. My favorite soaps for personal use are always similar. So it should be no surprise when you are out on a Sunday afternoon selling at your market table and shoppers come to you and are relatively your age and fit into your demographic they will have similar tastes. So, you know when you really love one of the recipes that you make there are others out there who will love it too, making it a popular recipe to stock on your shelves. .
Today I’m going to make my recipe for river pebble, one of my favorite products. This is a hot process, fairly easy for an intermediate method in soap making. If you are already one of our many members over at ThermalMermaid .com you can find the full recipe and printable instructions right here. Also remember, if you need a little more help, the members version of this video is slightly different with added information on my methods to really get the recipe to work for you, so its not a copy of what you see here on you tube.
OK, so let’s talk about what goes into the River Pebble. With the oils melted I’ll add the lye water solution. Both are still pretty hot and since this is going to be cooked down there’s no need to let the lye cool to room temperature. I’l; get this completely emulsified so the oils and lye will bond together as quickly as possible. Once this is done I’ll really just spend the next hour and a half supervising the soap to make sure it stays combined and doesn’t cook out of control. Once its in the cooker its very little work and nearly all supervision.
Now I’ll let this cook down for 20-30 minutes and when I come back on the first pass you’re going to see what it looks most common for the first stage of hot process soap making. You can see there’s a little separation where the water has pooled at the edges. I’m going to mix that back together, and make sure that everything is moved around, because the slow cooker wont cook everything evenly all the way through. To keep the entire batch smooth, you’ll have to mix it up a bit, and then leave it alone to cook some more.
While we wait I’m going to bring you over here and make some safflower powder. I don’t have any powder today, only these dried petals. So I need enough of these soft dried petals to make about 3 spoons of powder. This will then become a light natural orange pebble looking colorant, and a bit more for a contrast design. Now when you buy this in the powdered form you can bet it will be a pretty pure even powder, but here Im going to dust it down but also leave some pieces for a bit of orange speckles.
Now if you aren’t used to putting safflower powder into your cosmetics. It is known for aiding in eczema and psoriasis, and its high in vitamin E. Often used as an oil, safflower powder itself is mostly just used as a colorant and it typically not featured for its skin care properties but it provides a variety of exquisite shades of color. It can be consumed and there is a ton of information out there for its holistic medicinal properties as a food.
On the second pass you can see some texture change that’s happened here. Its become a rich honey color and its moving quickly through the second stage. In fact, the second stage is a bit light and lose, but this has already passed that and we’re already at the end of that stage and moving into the third. You don’t always need to check in and identify every stage when you’re cooking. Just make sure there’s nothing expanding out of the pot and let it do ts own thing.
Now, I’ll prepare the colorant. Here I’ve brought 4 oz. of water to a simmer in my tea pot and I’m going to put in one table spoon of powder and mix this down until its completely blended. The color is a deep saffron orange, but this amount will give me a light orange yellow soap, and this way you’ll be able to see my other natural additives.
The soap has been cooking for about an hour and a half and the gel stage has now set in. If I show you what it looks like up close you may be able to see that it is starting to get a bit of a translucent tone to it. I could go further with this but I want it to start cooling so I can move along, the gelling will continue as the temp is being brought down, so as I mix this up one final time in the pot I’ve also removed the heat.
Separating this out into two parts to create the design, Im going to add the saffron water to one part. You don’t have to worry about adding so much water, this will evaporate over the cure time. You can probably see that buy blending down the saffron powder in water first will now give me a smooth color, where if we just put the powder in there would have been nearly no chance that it would have blended through the soap at this texture.
Next I’m going to add a full tablespoon of dried aloe powder. I have hand dried and ground this so that I can get these bigger pieces of skin into my bars. If you do this at home about 7 large aloe leaves will give you just 6 oz. Of dried material. Its cheaper to buy the aloe already in powdered form, but if you do you wont get these bigger dark pieces, and this is what I want in my design, but you will still get that beautiful aloe feel and quality to your bar if you use packaged aloe powder
For the next several minutes as I work along I want this to cool so we can get the fragrance into the soap under its flash point., and the only really helpful way is to disperse the heat my mixing and mixing. This will also give you a view of how the texture is holding up. When this starts to set it happens quickly and you want to be able to incorporate all your ingredients
In the second half of my bath Ive added 1 tbsp of white kaolin clay. This will act as a lighter colorant and give me a contrast to the orange and the clay will contribute to the luxury quality of a bar that already smells like heaven. So ill mix this in well and keep an eye on the texture.
Im going to start watching the temperature to see when it has dropped to below 125 degrees and help the cooling by dispersing the heat. I can smell the aloe powder, and If I didn’t add a fragrance oil at all this bar would have a light pleasant sweet aroma of the aloe. This does carry into the fragrance that we’re about to add and give it a deeper dimension.
The river pebble fragrance is a bright men’s fragrance that Ive created combining popular fragrance oils. It has fresh lemongrass with under tones of spruce and juniper and other outdoor aromas, and of course that aloe is embedded in there. It is a complete men’s fragrance that women also love to use because of the fresh lightness to it.
Once we’ve gotten this mixed completely its time to transfer it into the mold. Take a peek at the clay side of this bar. The clay is more drying and we didn’t add extra water so its beginning to become firm and I have to keep moving along before this becomes to thick
The light orange river pebble is the first side to be molded. The texture is perfect, and its just as simple as transferring the entire amount into the bottom of the mold.
Now you might remember that I still have 2/3 of my saffron powder. This is going to be dusted over the top to make a pencil line and give me an effect of a crystal granite fissure in the bar that will separate the two parts. You can see im using a sturdy coffee filter, which works beautiful to dust a pencil line over a large area, but unfortunately I didnt let my coffee filter dry well enough and the powder is becoming damp. Ill have to dust it free hand this time.
Once this is finished add the second half of the soap. The texture here is still sticky enough to mold together beautifully but I was cutting it close. If your soap feels like it might be drying to much and wont stick through the powder below it, then just spritz the saffron powder with rubbing alcohol until it is damp and the two halfs of soap will be fine. I didn’t feel that this was necessary for mine so you can see that the soap can be on the brink of setting up and it will mold just fine.
Now I’m down to the last few minutes of this being workable so im literally going to sculpt this in with my hands, and there’s nothing left to do but allow this to set up for a day and then come back and slice it into pieces.
After 24 hours we’re ready to cut and you can quickly see how beautiful, natural, but still subtle this bar has turned out. No over the top designs, but a very deliberate natural effect that smells like a fresh summer morning on the edge of a wild river. This is absolutely one of my favorite recipes, and there is always a bar of this in my shower.
I hope you enjoyed the river pebble hot process soap demonstration, you can go grab your downloads if you are ready to make this at home. If you have any additional questions or need help with this hop on over to the Facebook group where there are plenty of others who are familiar with this method and always ready to offer help. Dont forget to like and hit the subscribe button for the next product, and Ill see you over in the forums at ThermalMermaid