Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adam makes liquid soap

You can see how my blog is now filling up with talks of soaps and lotions and balms. Can you imagine all the soap talks, lipbalm talks and Mommy's Business talks going on in my house? Naturally the kids are very curious and interested and want to get involved. Soapmaking, unfortunately is an art that must be practised with supreme caution and without children. Oh yes. Imagine the frustration. Adam's frustration. He loves experiments and soapmaking sounds like the ultimate experiment for him (based on my description). 

So to let him in on some of the excitement, we made liquid soap together.

To make liquid soap, we used offcuts and soap slivers from the soap I made before. These soaps have fully saponified but are still soft and need drying time to harden before we can use them. But they'll be perfect for making into liquid soap.

To make liquid soap, we just chop up these soap and 'cook' it with some boiling water.

When it's all nice and melted down, we added some food coloring and essential oils for scent. I gave Adam full control of this 'experiment' and he chose his own colours and scents.

Tadaaaa!! Homemade liquid soap! From left - colored blue scented with sweet orange essential oil, original Milk Calendula Soap, colored pink scented with rose geranium essential oil (for Mia), and the last one colored purple but Adam didn;t like this one and decided not to scent it.

Someone's very proud of his soaps :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rosemary Lavender Shampoo Bar

You may remember a few entries back I have been switching to homemade shampoo. My hair feels nice and healthy, but I do kind of miss the lathery, bubbly feeling of shampoo. But I definitely do not want to switch back to regular shampoo. So I decided to make shampoo bars! what are shampoo bars? They're like natural soaps, but you use it on your hair. 

To make this shampoo first I infused my olive oil with dried rosemary and lavender. I made small lavender-bag style herb bags to infuse in my oil. You could just cover the herbs with oil but making these bags make it easy to remove the herb out later. Rosemary and lavender are great herbs to use for hair.

Here it is infusing using heat. I also used purple gromwell root powder to try to color my soap. It's purpose is mainly cosmetic. I was hoping for a pretty purple soap.

Got my kit ready.

This is the color of my oil before saponification. Lovely reddish purple.

This is the color after saponification, and after being in the oven for 20 mins! (I used hot-process soapmaking method this time) It turned from purple to sort of greenish...then later greyish.. and finally...

To settling on this stone gray colour. Shocking! The texture is different too from the cold process soap that i made before. Hot process soaps are cooked through until full saponification occurs, and by the time it is poured into the mold it is soap already and the texture is more solid than liquid. So the resulting soaps will have this rough, rustic look of handmade soap.

Although the colour is not what I wanted, I am very happy with these shampoo bars. Because of the hot process method, the soap can be used right away, and so I have been using these shampoo on my hair. It is heavenly! makes a lot of bubbles, it feels silky and lathery on my hair and the smell of rosemary and lavender is just lovely.

So now my hair care routine is this: Deep condition hair at night with virgin coconut oil (once a week), wash the next morning with this shampoo bar, then do a *vinegar rinse for a conditioner.

My hair feels well conditioned and silky smooth right after a wash. Before this right after shampooing with regular shampoo my hair feels a bit dry and a bit frizzy, then turns slightly better the next day. Loving this routine now and love these shampoo bars!

*To do a vinegar rinse: mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water, add in a few drops of tea tree essential oil, rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mia Amani - Natural Handmade Bodycare

All of my recent obsession with natural handmade products has finally come to this - the opening of my own online natural bodycare shop!

The products are basically the ones I have been making and enjoying with my family and friends. The recipes are true and tested and actually work. A lot of people have been expressing their interest in switching to natural products too, and I hope this shop will be a good source for that. I have a line of simple everyday products ready in the shop, and more to be introduced in time.

Please have a look at the shop, I hope you will enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Making soap from scratch

You know I like making things. For years I have studied and contemplated making my own soap from scratch. Not the simple melt and pour soap (that's not really making your own soap, is it. more like taking somebody else's soap and stamping your name on it), but the real, traditional way of making soap using oil, lye and water - saponification. Making soap the way it was made hundreds of years ago.  

Why use natural soap? Well, did you know that your regular bar of soap contains little to no soap at all, and is full of harmfull chemical and is more likely a detergent? Most commercial soap companies strip the glycerin out of the soap and sell it to the cosmetic industry because it is more valuable than the soap itself. Glycerin is a product of saponification, and it what keeps our skin hydrated and moisturised. anyway, you can read online many other reasons why using natural soap is better. I'm just going to now describe how I made my soap.

This is by no means a tutorial on the cold-process soapmaking. It was just how I made my soap. If you do try it however, make sure you have done proper research especially on lye safety. 

Ok so I started by assembling my equipments and material on the kitchen counter. the lye is not in picture because it was still hidden in my storeroom, and I wasn't going to take it out until I absolutely have to (hello, lyephobia much???)

Next I weighted my oils and melted my solid oils.

Then I weighted my water, in this case I used full cream milk that has been frozen and then blended to a slush.

Then I weighted my lye. Gigil tu tangan, ok. You MUST wear gloves, goggles, apron, long sleeves clothes when handling lye. If splashed, God forbid, it can burn through your skin, your kitchen counter, your floor, etc. Do not make soap while tending to children or pets.

Next I added the lye to my milk slush. Slowly.

Stirring constantly. Notice the colour has turned bright yellow and the milk has melted.

Ooops it turned bright orange. Lye solution made with milk can turn any shade from bright yellow to orange. I was hoping for a bright yellow but it's ok this will do as well. I colled the solution down in cold water.

When the temperature of both the lye solution and melted oils reached 45C, I added the lye solution to the oils.

Then I whisked by hand alternately with this old mixer. And the guess what happened? This £4, 3 year old hand mixer decided to die on me. Yes. Right in the middle of the action. Oh kayy. Major disaster. I do not want to be whisking 2 hours straight.

In it goes into my food processor. I have read that you can make soap in a blender, but there was no way this batch could fit in my blender. So I gambled and dumped the whole thing in the food processor.

It worked! I reached trace. Trace is when the texture becomes the consistency of pudding. Or susu pekat. When you drip on top of the mixture the drips stays on top.

Next I added calendula extract, because I am making calendula baby milk soap. Gave it another whizz in the food processor.

Ok then I poured the soap into a soap mold.

Looks yummy like caramel. Oh come to think of it the texture was kinda caramel-ish, too.

I freeezed it. Was trying to prevent over heating because milk tends to heat up and burn during saponification.

After 48 hours, it was time to cut!

Done! Luscious handmade soap. My baby's going to be so spoiled.

Oh, a bit of an anti climax though - we need to wait one month at least for this soap to cure before it can be used! Curing allows full saponification to occur, so the lye will be completely neutralised and no longer caustic to the skin, and also the soap will dry and harden making it longer lasting. Oh man....

Coming up next - more soapmaking and also liquid soapmaking. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lavender Calendula Face Cream

My face is the dry type and I always need face moisturiser whatever the weather. I am on a mission to find the perfect face cream recipe with the right texture. Recently I made this face lotion - Lavender Calendula Face Cream, and I love it! This lotion is basically an emulsion of oil and water, so it hydrates and moisturise at the same time without feeling greasy. The combination of calendula and lavender smells heavenly! My skin feels great, and I even use it on my body too. I have to say it could be my favourite out of all the natural skincare concoctions I've made so far.

The only downside is that this lotion, because it uses only a natural emulsifier and none of the synthetic emulsifiers and stabilisers that exist in regular lotions, there is a chance it can be quick to separate back into water and oil. So far I've used it for a couple of weeks and it is holding its creamy texture well. Let's observe for a few more weeks or months to see how long it can last without separating. That is if I haven't used it all up by then...


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