Experience is the best teacher in the world. I've ventured into the wonderful (and obsessive) world of soapmaking as part of my bath and body product development and I am utterly and completely smitten. Once you go natural soap, you'll never go back!
But like all new love affairs, there have been "issues" that have popped up. In fact, the very first 2 batches of soap I made so far have been flops. This is due to part lesson-learning and me never doing anything halfway, even for the first time.
I first tried to make the Pure Honey soap from Soapqueen, but had to take it a step even further by incorporating a mica pencil line in the loaf. Yep, it split right down the middle when slicing because I added too much mica for the layers to bond.
Lesson #1 - Too Much Mica:
But, this soap smelled AH-MAZEBALLS at first and now I'm not so sure. It's been a 1-2 weeks curing and now the scent seems to be fading somewhat. I was going to make this again with no mica, but now...standby.
My second batch was a 100% Olive Oil Castile recipe where I used lavender and lemongrass essential oils in place of what was called for in the original recipe. They turned out nice initially, but imagine my disappointment a few days later to see this...
Lesson #2 - Dreaded Orange Spot (DOS):
Now, I'm not sure if this is DOS or not, but my gut is telling me it is. I feel kind of honored in a sense, as there are soapmakers out there who have made soap for 5, 10, 15 years or more and never encountered DOS!
Since then, I've learned there are several factors that contribute to DOS to include using Pomace Oilive Oil (yep, I used that) and even using lavender essential oil (yep, used that too). DOS can be caused by other factors such as rancid oil, soaping in a hot and humid environment, and gremlins.
But that humble bitch Experience can't tell me at this moment, so time will tell. If these spots get darker or if I get more of them, well then I'll know. This soap is still usable once it cures and it smells AH-MAZEBALLS too. I just won't be sharing these soaps with friends and family...not until I get it right.
All I know is I'm glad these things are happening to me now instead of in a 5 or 7 lb. loaf of soap. Until then, everyday I learn something new.