Charcoal Beer Soap Projecthttps://www.brambleberry.com/in-the-studio/projects/cold-process/charcoal-beer-soap-project/PS000289.html
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The natural sugar in beer boosts lather in cold process soap, and it's also great from a marketing perspective. This soap is colored with activated charcoal and titanium dioxide to create a dramatic contrasting swirl. Because Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil does discolor, it's added to the charcoal portion only. Over time, the discoloration will migrate slightly into the lighter portion - but will still look great! The lather does have a slight color, due to the charcoal and fragrance.
Working with alternative liquids takes a little extra prep work. In this case, that means boiling the beer to remove the alcohol and letting it sit uncovered for 1-2 days to get rid of carbonation. You can also freeze the beer to prevent further discoloration. Because this soap features a darker color palette, we were not concerned and added the lye directly to the boiled and chilled beer. Because of the extra prep work, we recommend this recipe for more advanced soap makers.
- Skill Level: Advanced
- Time to Complete: 2 hours
- Kit Yields: About 3 pounds of soap
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Beer and Charcoal Soap Project
This recipe features a contrasting swirl and sweet fragrance.
9 Bar Birchwood Mold
Silicone Liner for 9 Bar Mold
23.4 oz. Olive Oil (65%)
1.8 oz. Cocoa Butter (5%)
9 oz. Coconut Oil (25%)
1.8 oz. Coffee Butter (5%)
5 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
11.3 oz. Beer (boiled and cooled)
2 tsp. Sodium Lactate
1.5 oz. Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil
BEER PREP: The beer needs to be boiled to remove alcohol and carbonation, otherwise it can react badly with the lye and cause a bubbly volcano effect. We used an IPA with a medium color. If you prefer a different type, keep in mind a darker beer will affect the final color of your batch.
We recommend prepping slightly more beer than you need for your recipe to account for the amount that will evaporate as it's boiled. In this recipe, we weighed out 24 ounces of beer when we needed 11.3 ounces. Transfer it to a stove top and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the beer to boil for 15 minutes. Do not leave unattended. Stir occasionally.
Transfer to a heat-safe container. Place uncovered in the fridge for 24-48 hours to get rid of the carbonation. Note: We didn't freeze the beer because we're not concerned with the color of the lye water.
FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 1.5 ounces of Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil into a small glass container and set aside.
COLORANT PREP: Disperse 1 teaspoon of titanium dioxide into 1 tablespoon of sunflower or sweet almond oil (or any other liquid oil). In a separate container, disperse 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal into 3 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get rid of any clumps. Optional: To ensure the titanium dioxide blends smoothly into the soap, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. Use a coffee grinder to break up any clumps of color and prevent streaks of white from showing in the final soap. We like to use a coffee grinder that has a removable stainless steel mixing area for easy cleaning.
SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your space. Always make soap in a well-ventilated area.
Slowly and carefully add 5 ounces of lye to 11.3 ounces of beer and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved. Set aside to cool. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate and stir throughly.
Melt and combine 1.8 ounces of cocoa butter, 1.8 ounces of coffee butter, 9 ounces of coconut oil, and 23.4 ounces of olive oil. Once the oils and beer have cooled to 100-110° F, add the lye solution to the oils and whisk together to combine. Use the stick blender to pulse the soap and bring to a very light trace.
Split off 400 mL into a separate container and add all the dispersed titanium dioxide. Whisk thoroughly.
To the remaining soap, add all the dispersed activated charcoal and 1.5 ounces of Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil. Whisk thoroughly.
Pulse the white soap with the stick blender quickly - be careful to not over-mix. Then pulse the black soap with the stick blender quickly. You're looking for a light to medium trace.
Pour about 90% of the black soap into the mold. Pour about 70% of the white soap into the mold back and forth. Hold the container higher up so the white soap breaks through the black soap.
Continue to pour the white, taking care to pour thinner lines of soap that lay on top of the black. Try to differentiate the colors to make a more distinct pattern when you swirl. Use the remaining black soap to pour thin lines as well. Note: If the soap gets too thick to pour, use a spoon to drizzle it in the mold.
Tap the mold firmly on the counter to settle the soap. Insert a chopstick or dowel into the very top of the soap and drag the tool so that it crosses the lines you created. Continue to swirl until you're happy with the look.
Insert the dividers into the soap until they reach the bottom of the mold in every section. Note: If you prefer to cut your bars, you can skip this step.
Spritz the top of the soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol to prevent soda ash. Cover the mold and place on a heating pad for 1-2 hours to promote gel phase. That helps the bars release from the dividers faster and more easily.
Allow the soap to stay in the mold for at least 3 days. Because this is a soft recipe and the soap was poured at a thin trace, it may take a little longer to unmold.
After 3 days, check to see if the silicone liner pulls away easily. If it does, remove the soap. If not, give it another day or 2 to harden. Gently remove the soap from the dividers. To prevent tearing, do not pull the dividers. Push the soap down, or slide the dividers up or down to remove the bars without tearing. Allow the soap to cure for 4-6 weeks, and enjoy!
Photographer: Amanda Kerzman
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