Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saponicationnday:The Algae in my Shower

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I am not talking about the stuff on your shower walls, I am instead referring to the algae in your soap. At least if you buy soap from me there might be some algae in it, you never know. Wait, actually, you WILL know, as I label each of my soaps with all the ingredients just to be fair.

My Soap colored with varying concentrations
of powdered Spirulina

But if you saw one of these soaps ( and please forgive the photo quality , again, as my new Nikon Camera is still languishing in some photo repair shop in Farmington, NY. and I had to use some older photos from the ancient Kodak camera. So if you live in that lovely berg could you do me a favor and knock on their door and ask how the repairs are coming? There's a ten spot in it for you if you can get them to mail the camera back to me before my GK's graduate high school. Patience, by the way has never been my virtue.They said it would take 2-3 weeks and it has been 17 days!!!) now, where in Farmington's name was I?

Ah yes, soap with algae would be that colored with Spirulina, which oddly enough is not the name of Pasta Loving Princess, but rather a type of blue-green algae that grows in the warm alkaline, oceans of Africa, South America and Australia and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. It is thought to be very nutritious and is often consumed as a powder in pills, capsules and smoothies.

Spirulina Powder. Price Varies Widely

Since I am only about 1.5  generations away from my own green teeth family members I prefer to use Spirulina only in my soaps. Some sources suggest just 1/2 teaspoon per pound will make a very dark green soap and it will, but Spirulina is not well known for its commitment value.

Those are not big air bubbles.
It's just my old camera I tell ya.

It can leave overnight. Not unlike a certain pony-tailed-bell-bottomed-Mad Dog 20-20 swirlin'-in-the-jelly-glass-like- he-was-someone-special-guitar-player who swore he'd be around long enough for next months rent payment but...(did I just write that out loud?)

One minute a beautiful green, the next camo green and the next a green brown. The soap, not the guitar player. I have found it stays a  brighter green longer when my soap recipe is at least 25% lard. Perhaps the hardness in a lard soap bar makes it harder for Spirulina to escape. I favor using 1 full teaspoon to each pound of oil.

Water imbued Spirulina

Some other sources think the powdered algae can smell a bit 'oceany." I have smelled no such thing but then again I think the smell of Galway Bay water wafting through mounds of seaweed is nothing sort of heaven.

Spirulina Hill as in "I found my thrill on..."
The cost varies widely,  from $4 an ounce from Brambleberry to 35 cents an oz in the bulk bins at Naturally Yours Grocery in Bloomington, Il. I have not tested the quality of one against the other and have no idea if one Spirulina would outlast the other. I do know I am a distance from Australia and the oceans who grow the algae naturally but HEY I know some international soapers in those areas so tell much does this beautiful, healthy powder cost in your neck of the oceans?


  1. I've been to the land down under and can't help you so...I guess that makes me worthless about finding...I assume dead once living algae for this post, but I do love lard!

  2. Lard and seaweed? Sounds like a sandwich topping.

  3. I have thought about adding spirulina to my soap, as well. The green is supposed to be more vibrant that using Comfrey root powder, which is what I currently use.

    The soap is beautiful!

  4. Umm, Donna? Your first photo nearly scared the breakfast out of me.

  5. I pay about $1.20US per oz (plus shipping) Donna. I have only used it to boost the soft green of green clay in soap, as well as give a more avocado green to my avocado soap. It works well in both these recipes at .5 tsp in 2lb of oils.

    I haven't noticed a fishy smell at this low rate at all. Maybe some people have more sensitive noses?

  6. I've never tried spirulina before - I worried that it might have an odd smell. Glad to hear that that isn't necessarily the case. Your spirulina swirl soap turned out lovely!

  7. I find your posts about making soap absolutely fascinating -- I am in awe! I'm also looking forward to being able to buy some ...

  8. Today, I take to respond to comments!

    Doug, you know I share your love of lard but still no excuse for not bringing me authentic Spirulina!

    Cro, yes, many of my soaps can be safely consumed but perhaps best not to, so take that straw OUT of your CroBar!

    Amanda, I know. I cannot beleive someone thought that pic would actually promote the nutritive benefits of Spirulina

    Tanya, I have never used it with green clay but what agreat idea, Thanks

    Lindsey. Thanks so much. I really do love your natural soaps. So pretty

    Jenny, thank you. And still no ocean smell as it cured,

    Dear Broad, No need for awe, just a simple farmwife using up excess energy to keep me off the streets of Chatworth,Il.

  9. I always assumed it was smelly, but I must have been thinking of another kind of algae I guess. I will have to give this a try. Can't have too much green soap!

  10. I bought Spirulina powder from BB when I first started making soap. It was NOT blue-green, but more olive. And it stunk. I'm sorry, but I couldn't take it! I'm glad to hear that yours doesn't seem to!

  11. I take it that Spirulina is for the artistical touch it lend, not for any health benefit you would derive from putting it in your soap, correct?

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