I was chosen recently by Bramble Berry to test some fragrance oils that they would like to see join their line. I had to sniff them as soon as they arrived, but it took me a little longer to actually use them in soap.
While Bramble Berry wanted their mystery fragrances to be tested in whatever we wanted (soap, lotion, perfume…), I stuck with what I’m most comfortable with: cold process bar soap.
I made little 1 pound batches and then added 0.7 ounces of each fragrance oil (FO). Specifically, I was looking for several characteristics for each FO:
- Did the FO cause the soap process to speed up, causing the soap to get thick before I was able to pour it? Frankly, I was expecting that they would (floral fragrances are notorious for this), so I kept the temperatures of the oils and lye on the cool side to try to minimize it.
- Did the FO cause the soap to curdle or “rice”, resulting in a chunky appearance? Again, this is common for this type of fragrance, so I was ready to blend a little extra if I had to.
- Did the FO alter the color of the soap? This can be unexpected. So for each batch, I always left some of it uncolored so see if the color changed because of the FO.
- Did the scent of the FO change? Unfortunately, cold process soapmaking can be really hard on FOs. The high pH of the process can chemically alter the scent to something unexpected or even unpleasant. That’s why I made notes on how each one smells both in the bottle and in the soap.
And here, in slideshow form, are my results!
(You may notice that some of the embossed soaps look a little orange. That’s the color of the rubber stamp that stained the soap. The unstained soaps were embosssed with clear acrylic stamps. Those look great. I’ll have to get more of those!)
This was a lot of fun! It felt so good to just do whatever I wanted with each batch. No expectations. That can feel so liberating! I really appreciate the opportunity.
Be sure to see the list of all the other panelists and check out what they decided to do with their opportunity.