Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saponification Sunday...Silky Suds

As promised last week I'm going to give you my opinion on adding cruelty free Tussah Silk to your handcrafted cold process soaps following some extremely professional, evidence based, non-grant supported Midlife Farmwife exclusive research.  And the verdict is...

 
 I'm still not sure.

Mostly leaning towards it, yes, yes I am definitely going  to continue using it and in fact now plan to make it a staple in every single batch (except salt bars) but it is obvious that more  research needs to be done. (From "not sure to definitely " in less than a seconds time, how's that for manic?) For clarification, I used the same amount of silk fibers, .10 oz for every two pounds of oil. This equates to approximately one teaspoon size pinch, maybe twice what the seller recommends.




The silk was dissolved the same way in each experiment. I cut the fibers up into small pieces and then put them into my lye water just after the granules had dissolved completely and while the lye water was very hot.

 



Silk added to very hot lye water


Silk completely dissolved in lye water


So for the experiment I made six batches of CP soap. Each set of two were exactly alike with the exception that one had Tussah Silk fibers added while the other did not. The first batch was very simple. Pure castle (100% pomace olive oil) and lye, unscented, uncolored. Cured for 4 months.

My castile soap


The results: lather was less in both than in my main recipe which includes Castor oil for bubbles. But that is to be expected with castile soap. Lather is often less and can be a bit slimy at times. But my castile soaps lathered moderately well and I could not tell any difference in the one made with silk. Five minutes after lathering and rinsing. My hands felt the same with both bars. Nice, soft but no more softer with the silk soap.  I tested several days in a row. Still no difference at all. I'll let them cure longer and try again.

The second batch of two was slightly more complicated. Used my basic recipe of Coconut, Olive, Castor and Sweet Almond oil colored with a small amount of Maddor Root powder and scented with geranium rose, lavender and lemongrass EO's. In the second soap batter I did  the same along with the addition of the silk. After letting it cure all of just 6 days (I could not wait) I was surprised to find that the bar with silk did glide better in my hand as if making up for the slightly scratchy feel Maddor Root powder (when used straight) can add.


Soap with Maddor Root powder/ no silk added


In health care when we added a non-narcotic drug to a narcotic drug for pain control we called it an "adjuvant" med. So perhaps the silk is acting as an adjuvant ingredient in soap, making the other ingredients work better? Just a theory.

And again after rinsing no real difference five minutes later in how my hands felt.

The third batch of two was the most complicated. I used my basic soap recipe again but wanted to push the envelope and added both witch hazel powder and comfrey powder. Scented it with eucalyptus, grapefruit, orange and peppermint EO's. And as in the other batches, the second pitcher of lye water got the silk.

As with the second set of soaps I did notice a better "slip" of the soap while working up the lather. Both lathered very well but the bar with the silk just felt more luxurious. I even had my granddaughter had me the bars of soap without me knowing which was which and after 4 rounds I correctly identified the bar with the silk.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I had a 50/50 chance but still...

So there you have it. I like silk in my soaps and I plan to keep on using it. While in the lathering act, it appears to just FEEL better. Afterwards, I cannot say that my hands felt any softer with the silk bar usage. But since so many folks judge their soap in part in how they feel while sudsing up I am for now going to stay with the silk fibers. I find the benefit well worth it and the price very reasonable. About $7.50 for one ounce which will last through about 100 , 2 pound soap batches. Or about 8 cents per two pound batch.

Last week several of you  gave me your opinion on this crucially important world news topic. Would love to hear from more of you this week. Silk or no silk?

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post, Donna! I've never used silk before but it's good to know about it. I'm curious too what other's experiences are.

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    1. Soapjam, as easy and cheap as it is to use silk in your soaps I encourage you to give it a try. If you email me your address at opies99@gmail.com I'd be happy to send you a bit for free. Enough for a couple batches.

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  3. I think silk in soap is not only great label appeal, but also adds a bit "extra" to the lather.

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    1. Andee, thanks for your input. Me too. The lather. really better except for my castile soap. I wonder if the high olive oil content "weighs down" the silk fiber action. ? Also THANK YOU for your lye calculator. That is you yes? It's the one I use all the time. Fabulous.

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  4. Cool experiment! You are making me think I gotta use up that tuft of tussah still cooling it's heals in my soap room. I never could tell a difference, but didn't test side by side like this....

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    1. "Tuft of Tussah" another great title for a book or no wait, a metal rock band...anyway yeah, do it. Life is short :)

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  5. Donna, do you sell your soap? I just cannot find any kind of link to that effect on your blog.... Your product page seems to be geared only to hoofed variety. Can you clue me in? Thanks.

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    1. Yes Kris, I do but can never get enough inventory built up to open a web store. So email me at opies99@gmail.com and I'll give you prices etc..THANKS!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your experience with silk, Donna! I have not used it myself, but I have been meaning to experiment with it. Great tip about cutting up the silk before adding it to the lye water!

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