I make it when I am all alone, the lights are low (in the living room they are low because I am in the kitchen. Of course they are not low in the kitchen I am working with highly caustic lye. Lets be reasonable shall we?) and the music is relaxing. George Winston or John Denver , maybe even Tracey Chapman if I am feeling really hopeless in a relaxing sort of way. I also do it late at night as I don't like to be interrupted when I am in my creative mode trying to decide if it is Babassu I am feeling or am I just in a plain old Coconut Oil mood?
But the point is, soap making is for me, and me alone and I enjoy it immensely. But I do run hot and cold when it comes to saponification methods. For instance I've been on a recent hot process kick. Sometimes I just like to see things boil over, besides me that is. I colored this batch of hot process soap with Spirulina powder found at the Naturally Yours grocery in Normal, Illinois. Spirulina is a free-floating filamentous cyanobacteria characterized by cylindrical, multicellular trichomes in an open left-hand helix. (As opposed to a right hand helix don't cha know)
They occur naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes with high pH and high concentrations of carbonate and bicarbonate. They occur in Africa, Asia and South America, then they hitch a ride to Central Illinois. Why anything would leave the warmth of Africa for the frosty heartland in December is beyond me.
It is a blue green algae and contains loads of protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. People even eat it. In the bag it is a very dark spinach green color .A hint of blue may be seen when the soap is first cut into bars, but that hint of blue quickly disappears. What you end up with is green soap, sometimes light sometimes dark. And the green color of the spirulina seems to last a very long time. This batch was extremely dense and hard and bubbles up nicely due to the Castor oil I am a fan of. Funny how before I was a partisan soap maker I never imagined Castor Oil had any pleasant uses.
Spirulina cost a little more than other herbs or plant material that produce a green in soap, but considering the color you can get from a very small amount, and the length of time the color lasts, it’s well worth the price. For this batch I only needed 1 teaspoon of the powder for the 36 ounces of oil in my recipe. At about $4 an ounce you can color quite a few bars without much pocket book pain. ("pocket book"? How old am I for Pete's sake? Oh about 100 since I said "Pete's Sake")