Dominoes soap


IMG_0536IMG_0556A variation of the same theme of the polka dots soaps, here’s the dominoes soaps.  Soaps are basic formulation with palm oil / babassu oil / olive oil / castor oil – 35/30/30/5, SF 5%, lye concentration of 30% and titanium dioxide (1% o/o) and bamboo charcoal (1.5% o/o) to give, respectively, the white and black.  Has been used for aroma essential oil of petitgrain / patchouli – 2/1, 3.5% o/o.  It is the complete set of domino game with 28 soaps approx. 100g (8 x 5 cm).

IMG_0451First are drawn every 28 domino game stones, sized for two molds, a 300 x 270 mm and one 300 x 180 mm, left a surplus in both molds. This generates a template for positioning on the modeling clay positioned at the bottom of the mold and marking.


The 8 mm straws are placed over the modeling clay according to the marking made with the template.


The total was 195 milkshake straws, 132 in the largest mold and the smallest 63.

IMG_0462The soap is prepared with light trace and poured in molds. Had a problem caused by the acceleration of the trace due to the essential oil of lemon and the sudden increase in viscosity at the time of placing in the mold, the mold straws thrown down lower. I had to redo the two soap mold and prepare the small mold again.

IMG_0466IMG_0467After 12 hours, the straws were removed.

IMG_0472IMG_0473The black soap bamboo charcoal is prepared and 195 cavities are filled with this soap.

IMG_0479IMG_0480After 12 hours, the soap is removed from the molds and cut following the drawing of the template.




The soap in the world of petit pois


In the fashion and trendy, polka dot patterning or petit pois, first appeared in 1894 in England, never out of fashion, and turns and moves appears in full force.

Particularly like these pattern and the strange thing is that until then had not seen the petit pois decorating a soap. I had seen a few attempts but not the original pattern polka dots.

I decided to try and chatting with soapmaker Monica Carvalho of Saponem Opera (, she gave me a precious tip on how to use a material to make the balls, without which it would move.

This material are the straws for beverage, made ​​of polystyrene or polypropylene. The most common diameters are 6mm (soft drinks and juices), 8 mm (milkshake) and 9mm (turbo milkshake).


First you will create a polka dot pattern that you like, creating a template using any design software, taking into account the size of the mold and the size of the bars. This mold is a 9 x 15 cm that would 4 bars 9 x 7.5 cm and thickness 2.5 cm – the bars are cuthorizontally.

Then you place a layer about 2 mm in molding mass around the bottom of the mold. You can use something plump to extend the mass and leave a flat surface. I used here the modeling clay Acrilex brand for professional use, but can serve the modeling dough for children, these masses are much easier to work with, are softer.

IMG_0254The modeling clay at the bottom of the mold, you position the template and with the aid of a needle stick you paper and marks the center of each ball

IMG_0258Place the straws in this case was used to 6 mm in diameter, in the center of the marks made, and press to be trapped by the mass. Let the straws and vertically and perpendicular


Now just prepare the soap mass with the background color you want for the pattern of polka dots and let the light trace in order to  even well into the mold. This is very important if the trace is thick, it is impossible leveling and work is compromised, it is not possible to use a spatula to flatten. Important work the mass at a low temperature and low soda concentration, something like 28 to 30%.


This silicone mold is not necessary to liner it. The amount of mass to be calculated considering the height of the bar plus 1 cm finish on both sides, the top and bottom.


After about 3 hours or if you have the gel formation and having dissipated the heat, carefully remove the straws of mass.


Is important not to remove the straws during the gel or the mass formed with heat, as this may collapse the cavity to remove the straws and even close the cavities.


Prepare the soaps that will make the colors of the polka dots. Here we used the black and green. To shed cavities is mandatory that the mass is very light trace otherwise it is impossible to completely fill the cavities. Tap the mold to accommodate the pasta well.


After 18 to 24 hours unmold the soap. This is the bottom of the soap block with the base of modeling clay removed.

IMG_0285The base of modeling clay can be reused if removed carefully.


Then just cut the size of the individual bars. Here, in the foreground what’s left of the finish and four bars.

IMG_0292IMG_0294IMG_0295IMG_0317This is a template for most 20 bar 9 x 6 cm lined with the modeling clay.


The template is positioned for marking the centers of straws. In this case a tube 9mm in diameter.


The markings made ​​with a needle.

IMG_0325Here 90 straws of 9 mm diameter trapped in the modeling clay


It is important to go in that lining is putting the straws.

IMG_0331The soap is molded.


The straw removed and ready to receive the colors that form the balls of polka dots.

IMG_0342The straw can be reused by simply washing and drying.

IMG_0344Was used several colors and also vegetable glycerin transparent base with cosmetics glitters.


The withdrawal of modeling clay, a little more difficult due to the low layer and the larger size.

IMG_0353Cut the block to the formation of loafs, all following the initial drawing of the arrangement of the bars. We used a vertical cutter – a cutting wire is positioned vertically, perpendicular to the base of the cutter.

IMG_0355IMG_0359The finishing cut on the faces of loafs,

IMG_0363IMG_0367The amount of mass must be calculated with some precision to avoid wastage of material in the finish cut.

IMG_0372The three loafs of soap petit pois.

IMG_0379The individual bars.


IMG_0402revIMG_0410IMG_0416This is straws with 8mm in diameter, a total of 120 straws.

IMG_0418A bamboo charcoal soap, soap widely used in Japan as a skin detox.  This soap had trouble anticipating the removal of straws still with the gel phase in making progress there was a collapse of the cavity and lost half the mass of soap.

IMG_0423revIMG_0432That is, the possibilities are almost endless to combine colors and materials to get the polka dots, explore other innovations in filling cavities.


Used cooking oil soap – why not be a first class soap?

Normally one soap that we make using used cooking oil, reusing oil and preserving nature, is always classified as a “second class” soap, that relegated the general cleaning soap, laundry soap, for washing clothes and kitchen. It is the unsightly soap, colorless and odorless, unless the smell of frying, the one that makes little foam, small bubbles and literally melts in water. Why not make a used oil soap “first class” that had pleasant aroma, color, abundant foam and great hardness and firmness, to be worthy of being a soap not only cleaning but eventually bathroom also, why not ?

For almost a year we collect the used oil here at home, before we gave to a lady who made soap, a mixture of approximately 60/40 canola and soybeans. The oil after dare was immediately placed in a container fitted with a sieve that retained the solids and then passed to plastics bottles where the fine particles was decanted for months. When accumulated about 20 liters was filtered on synthetic paper and separate decanted to yield an clean oil, clear and free of insoluble particulate materials and fluids.

Six batches of 5 kg soap were prepared by cold process using 70/20/10 – used oil / palm kernel oil / palm oil, SF of 5%. One batch has been left to natural, no colorants and no fragrance. The others each received a clay colored – green, yellow, red, pink and blue, and the following fragrances oils compatible with cold process – lemon grass, vanilla, lavender, bergamot and floral.



Superfatting in the trace

A practice that some soapmakers do is to add the oil of superfat in the trace thinking mistakenly that oil is what will remain unaffected unsaponified in the finished soap, i.e. without reacting with lye. This is one of the myths that populate the world of handmade soapmaking, is so rooted that even in books you can find this practice.

Nothing like a theory and a scientific trial to overturn myths.  Was what made Kevin Dunn in his work: Superfatting and the Lye Discount. This chemistry teacher is the only chemical that has been dedicated to making a scientific and systematic way has it, contributed objectively to explain the phenomena of handmade soap manufacture.

Here is the article of Prof. K. Dunn:

Superfatting and the lye discount.pdf


My Way to Santiago

Between May 22 and June 19, 2013 did the Camino de Santiago, the French way on foot. Starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees, totaling 782 km, to Santiago de Compostela.

The walk was not easy, was suffering only by adverse weather conditions. For three weeks it rained almost every day and the temperature was on average around 7°C. Commented that ever since 1930 the winter was so long and in 20 years never rained so much this time of year. My bad luck, I paid all sins and Santiago became owe me!

This is the Compostela, the document issued by the Office de la pilgrimage – Santiago Cathedral, which certifies that the pilgrim has completed at least the final 100 km (Sarria) to Santiago de Compostela.


This is the pilgrim’s credential that is required for the issue of Compostela that by Certification Paso (stamps) proves he has visited the pilgrim along the way, in my case, the French way.

My Way to Santiago: reflection and reminiscences

Now talk is easy, then it’s all over and ended well!

But actually, many times I thought about quitting, forget the way go to Portugal … especially when lying in crude bed in a simples pension in Pamplona, one day and night immobilized to heal the muscle side of the left knee on the descent suffered stretched and sore from the Roncesvalle to Zubiri, a decline of more than 15 km, steep, with stones, plump and slippery, that heavy rain without respite and the cold 5 degrees.

When I was in ACACS – SP (Association of Brethren and Friends of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela – São Paulo) in August last year to watch paletras one on the way, what I heard, the speaker friendly, it was only the good things of walking to Santiago. Searching the net, the same thing, only good and positive.

It turns out that the path has bad things that can happen or not, to a greater or lesser degree. Are things that can happen to you, with your body and things that can happen with the path with the trail. Happened to me, with the way, mainly boosted by lousy time did. It rained just three of the four weeks, almost every day and almost all day, one unexpected cold 5 degrees and when was improved in 10 degrees.

I remember the first day that it was difficult to climb to Saint Jean to Roncesvalle are 20 km of ascent, leaving 170 m to 1100 m by way Valcarlos (the other path, the route of Napoleon was driven workshop Saint Jean not be done due to snow). Simply just a quagmire, I think I fell down three times with his boot mired in the mud and it was so cold that the raindrops froze, turned to ice system falls on its cover. When I arrived after 8 hours Roncesvalle my hands were almost frozen, could not fill out the form to the hostel.

As it was raining and cold right before I start my walk, trails and paths in Navarra and La Rioja, the regions most rugged and topographically varied, were almost impassable so the situation of clay and mud that took the entire trail.

Me, with my body, thankfully nothing too serious happened. I had nothing to foot blisters, nothing unbearable pain in the shoulders to carry the whole time the 10 kg backpack. Only a stretch in the lateral muscle of the left knee that after three days he was healed, but I did stay one more day in Pamplona, immobilized.But one thing, with all happens, you just do not feel more pain in the feet and legs after about 15 days. During this time the pain will always bother you, every day is a place of feet / legs, a muscle here another there.

Met experienced people, the third time was the way, and even with these, pains for a long time until and your body gets used to the repetitive stress. Once you make your daily commute, I was an average of 25 km per day, took 5 hours or so, and most of the time was non-stop, when he took a bath and stretched out on the bunk, was to raise such a stepping on tiptoe, not to prop up falling a pity only.

The hostels of large cities such as Burgos and Leon, and also to Roncesvalle are great, comfortable, with a support structure, kitchens, eating, etc.. Now the vast majority of hostels in villages and small towns are precarious, without much comfort with the minimum for an overnight stay.

Foods is no problem, for 10 euros (expensive) you has the pilgrim menu consists of  first dish (salad or soup or pasta) and a second main meat or fish can be a dessert and wine or water. An alternative was to buy in grocery, deli meats, bread or even something that could be done in the kitchen of the hostel, when he had this structure.

The people you meet along the way is what we used to say, are actually and disagreements, because people come and go, you come across them and uncrosses with them. How did the way alone, I was alone most of the time, but I had the joy of knowing Silvia, italian and Nathalie, spanish, who were together for the third time the way, this time from Burgos (they made their way north but the rain and cold did change course and make the French way) and also because the final step, acknowledge Humberto, a Brazilian, a great traveling companion.

I wonder if it was worth making the path, I can only say that, now that it’s over, but wonder if you would again say with much certainty that no, not again and also would not advise anyone to do in the circumstance I made

Swirl series soap – spoon swirl

What is the swirl

Soap with swirl refers to a technique for decorating a soap using two or more colors to color a soap bar made by cold process. The effect obtained is very varied according to the type of technique used swirl, being the most common pattern is what resembles marbled

White and black spoon swirl

Black and yellow spoon swirl

White and blue spoon swirl

White and blue spoon swirl

Types of swirl

There are numerous ways to make the swirl sometimes involving the use of two or more techniques simultaneously, eg. swab and hanger. We can mention:

Spoon – as the name implies, are used spoons to get the effect
Pot – color mixing is done in the preparation of the soap container
Hanger – is a device used with a wire like to an hanger
Funnel – a funnel is used to obtain a concentric pattern
Column – uses a column profile square, round or triangular
Rainbow  – the colors are deposited in colored layers
Swap – the mold is divided into two parts for each color and then mixed
Peacock – is drawn figures reminiscent of peacock feathers
In the mold – the swirl is made in the mold in various ways

Conditions for making a swirl

It is essential to have a control on the trace. In all technical swirl is necessary that the soap mass has fluidity, the viscosity of the trace is low to medium to allow the flow, the mixing and settling of the colored masses. If the trace is too viscous, impossible to get the swirl patterns.

To have control over the trace is necessary to manage its formulation so that it is free of components that accelerate trace. The proportion of saturated fatty acids with oils / unsaturated should be kept as low as possible, should be avoided additives that can accelerate the trace as beeswax and know the behavior of essential oils, avoiding those which accelerate teh trace.

In terms of process, work in conditions that minimize the acceleration of the trace. Working with low concentration of lye, i.e. the more water, the better. The concentrations of 25% to 30% of the limits, ideal 28%. Maintain the temperature of the oils and lye low, below 30 ° C.The use of the mixer should be made with caution, must have experience and field of use.

Colorants to use in the swirl

Preferably use colorants that are especially formulated for this purpose. They are normally liquid and easily soluble in water and dispersed into the soap mass and permanent, do not fade or change color in lye and has resistance to light. The colorants are not found here, need to be imported.

An alternative would be the use of pigments and clays. Most are difficult to disperse pigments, one must first pre-mix with a little oil to break down with the risk of points and form lumps in the soap mass.
See more to soap colorants in this post:

Swirl techniques – Spoon swirl

Maybe this technique is the simplest and easy to make a swirl. Is typically used in two-color swirl and the steps are:

1 – preparing the soap leaving the trace light, add the fragrance and additives, if appropriate,

2 – divide the soap mass into two parts proportional or not depending on the desired effect.

3 – mix in each part the chosen coloring and mix well. If necessary use the mixer, but with caution.

4 – Use a samall tablespoon for each color and go alternately adding the previously prepared mold. Deposit every spoonful of a color leaving a space, not overlapping, and leave traces between deposition and another. Follow with another color, forming layers up to complete the mold.

5 – Tap the mold to settle the batter and eliminate voids and bubbles.

Better than reading, is to see. There are dozens of videos showing techniques swirl, just search and watch.

The formulation of the soap is very basic, only three oils that give the properties of a normal balanced soap. In the case of soap yellow and black was used crude palm oil in place of the palm to give the yellow color.


Beldi Black Soap handcrafted

What is the Beldi soap

Beldi black soap is a typical Moroccan soap used in baths (hammam) in the east, the Turkish bath or steam bath, especially in the beach town of Essaouria in the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where this soap was created.

The Beldi soap is a soap in paste form that makes few lather, dark brown, rich in vitamin E, which has many beneficial properties for the skin, which highlights its exfoliating action plus moisturize and soften the skin. It is used to prepare the skin for manual exfoliation, purifying the skin to thicken dead cells for subsequent removal.

 How used soap Beldi

With the skin being hot and humid environment in the sauna steam is passed over the entire body and Beldi black soap is left to act for 10 minutes as a mask treatment. Elapsed time is completely removed and then with a sponge appropriate uses up the sponge in Morocco Kassa suitable for Hamman, proceeds to hard exfoliation where dead skin cells are easily removed.This environment vapors and heat may be reproduced, stored in due proportion, in the home environment to form vapors leave the shower running in the bathroom stall.

Beldì Soap Formulation

There are several types of Beldi soap being the traditional dark color and fragrance of eucalyptus. The soap is made from olive oil and black olive paste saponificated with potassium hydroxide (KOH). Until the beginning of this month of April, I knew nothing about the black soap from North Africa and the Middle East and specifically this Beldi black soap. Was placed a post in the group Saboaria, Portugal, where I took the first contact. I was very concerned with the composition and apparent simplicity. A comment on my blog the soaper Luis Carlos Gulias made me a chance to make this handmade soap hot process by the process liquid soap, simply leave in paste form and not to dilute the liquid soap.

Analyzing the components of this soap you arrive at the conclusion that the key component is olive paste. It is an empirical reasoning by exclusion, because without the olive paste, this would be a simple soap, an olive soap in paste. The olive is approximately, varies according to the species type climate, and other variables, 52% water, 19% oil, 1.5% protein, 19% sugar, 7% cellulose  and 1.5% ash. For these components is that they should impart the characteristic properties of Beldì.

The formula was well prepared:
click here to formula download

Making Beldi black soap

I bought the black olives to prepare paste and I chose Lebanon black olives, despite the color is not very uniform, ranging from dark to some clearer. The advantage is that they were in brine and stoned.

These Lebanese olives were left in hot water for 5 minutes to remove the surface oil and then ground to turn a pate olives using a food processor.

Used an extra virgin olive oil Spanish I bought in a promotion. I usually do not waste extra virgin soap, but this was a good price.


It followed the normal hot for liquid soap that is on the website:, but with a few caveats:

– As a soap is 100% olive oil, the trace is very time consuming thing 15 minutes with the intensive mixer.

– This intensive mixer incorporates too much air into the batter and the first 2 hours of cooking is necessary to pay attention to avoid the eruption of mass moving with the spatula.

– There is a convection motion in the mass but not enough to free the air occluded in mixing

– As the mass becomes dark from the second hour, it is difficult to observe the phases characteristic of KOH hot process – applesauce, mashed potatoes, etc..- After 3 hours the pH was 9, indicating complete reaction of saponification.

– Let a further 1 hour, totaling 4 hours to evaporate some water and leave the more viscous paste.

The olive paste is mixing with hot olive oil

The trace takes times to happen, you need to use the mixer intensively

As the mixer was used extensively there are so much occluded air e therei s danger of eruption.

Almost 3 hours of cooking

This is the aspect after 4 hours of cooking at final of process

After overnight this is the final aspect of Beldi soap

The Beldi black soap



Vegetable oils for soap – refined or unrefined … Myth!

The most common vegetable oils that are used to make soap and handmade soaps are the same that are used in your kitchen or in the kitchens of the food industries. They are used in cooking and frying. The soybean, canola, sunflower and olive oils are most commonly used in homes, coconut in the regional cuisine and palm and palm kernel oil and in confectionery, sweets and in industrial frying.

All these oils are edible high consumption, used in domestic kitchen, are found in supermarkets. For marketing reasons must meet rigid standards of product presentation. Are standardized to be completely non-toxic and edible and shown as transparent and clear liquids, free from particles, without odor and high shelf life.

To achieve this patterning, oils and fats of vegetable origin require a specific processing. The processing that gives the generic name of refining. Vegetable oils are extracted from a variety of seeds, fruits and nuts. The preparation of the raw material starts with the washing and cleaning, followed by peeling, grinding and conditioning.
The extraction is generally done by mechanical means, and for fruit, distillation and seeds and nuts, the pressing  with mechanical press. or the use of solvents such as hexane which is then distilled to separate the oil and is reused.

After extraction, to remove free fatty acids (FFA) that are responsible for the rapid deterioration of the oil and phospholipids (gum) which leaves the oil sticky,  you need the refining process itself. There are two types of refining, physical refining when is used distillation (p ex. Palm oil) and chemical refining (most oils) when is used an alkali, usually sodium hydroxide, to neutralize free fatty acid.

The traditional method of refining is where the chemical diluted alkali saponified free fatty acids and is eliminated as soapy water. Besides the FFA is also eliminated phospholipids, metals, oxidized products, etc. In the physical method is required a step of degumming with acid, phosphoric acid or citric (p ex. Palm) to remove phospholipids. Below is a very simplified diagram of the process of solvent extraction and chemical refining.

The refined oil, where applicable, undergoes a process of bleaching with absorbing material (clay or activated charcoal) and deodorization process with steam.
In the final process has been called RDB oil (refined, bleached and deodorized).

The whole refining process of oil does not change the triglyceride composition, i.e. the composition of fatty acids. Thus the properties of the oil remains the same and the soap made of refined oil is the same, if applicable, ex p. olive oil or unrefined. Refining removes contaminants from oils dirds as FFA and phospholipids and some unrefined vegetable oils is even impossible to make a soap case of canola and soybean and palm.

It’s one of the myths of handmade soap manufacture, no problems with the soap made from refined oil, there is no restriction on the quantity and type, does not affect the properties of soap. Another urban legend is, in which oil extraction solvent was used, this solvent will be present in the soap! Another, in chemical refining using chemicals (NaOH) the lye that will be in the oil and hence will ruin the soap! The absurdity is that after the lye is used to make soap!

Below a relationship with key oils and butters used in soap manufacture craft and the type of processing for their purification. The numbering refers to the process of the previous diagram.

As you can see, some oils have the option of virgin and extra virgin means that the oil is no refining suffers, especially is the olive, and other options are organic, which means it is not used chemical refining, for ex. organic palm. Obviously these special types are much more expensive and difficult to find.

I emphasize again, there is no reason to choose virgin oils, extra virgin and organic to make soap. There is no difference between soap made with these types of oils and common refined.



EU set to ban animal testing for cosmetics forever

This article was published on 01.31.13 in site of Cruelty-Free International: Here is the complete transcription of this subject:

Campaign pioneers The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International celebrate after 20 years of activism.

After over 20 years of campaigning, ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop and non-profit organisation Cruelty Free International are finally celebrating the end to animal testing for cosmetics in Europe with the anticipated announcement that the import and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients is to be banned in the EU on 11th March 2013.

This ground breaking victory means that from 11th March onwards, anyone who wishes to sell new cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU must not test them on animals anywhere in the world. The ban affects all cosmetics including toiletries and beauty products from soap to toothpaste. The Body Shop is one of the few beauty brands who will not be affected by the ban, having always been Against Animal Testing.

The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International are launching a range of special commemorative activities in the countdown to 11th March, sparked by personal confirmation from Commissioner Tonio Borg that the ban is due to go ahead as proposed.  Mr Borg wrote in a recent letter to the animal testing campaigners, “I believe that the ban should enter into force in March 2013 as Parliament and Council have already decided. I am therefore not planning to propose a postponement or derogation to the ban.”

The proposed ban sends a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty and in particular to countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals.

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive, Michelle Thew said: “This is truly an historic event and the culmination of over 20 years of campaigning. Now we will apply our determination and vision on a global stage to ensure that the rest of the world follows this lead.”

Paul McGreevy, International Values Director at The Body Shop paid tribute to customers who have supported the company’s campaign against animal testing in cosmetics for many years and said: “This great achievement in Europe is only the closure of one chapter. The future of beauty must be cruelty free.”

In 1991, the BUAV (founder of Cruelty Free International) established a European coalition of leading animal protection organisations across Europe (ECEAE) with the objective to end the use of animal testing for cosmetics. This set in motion a high-profile public and political campaign across Europe spanning over 20 years.  In 1993, The Body Shop, the first beauty company to take action on animal testing for cosmetics, supported   the campaign by enlisting the support of its consumers across Europe. Three years later in 1996, Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, joined members of the ECEAE and MEPs in presenting a petition containing 4 million signatures to the European Commission.

In 2012, the BUAV established Cruelty Free International, the first global organisation dedicated to ending cosmetics animal testing worldwide. The Body Shop together with Cruelty Free International launched a new international campaign which has so far resulted in customers from 55 countries signing a global pledge supporting an end to animal testing for cosmetics forever.

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive Michelle Thew is meeting with Commissioner Tonio Borg on Wednesday 30th January on behalf of the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) to discuss the implementation of the ban.


Photosensitive essential oils

Some essential oils, especially citrus fruits, are photosensitive or phototoxic. The essential oils in contact with the UV light from the sun can cause skin damage in the form of burn whose consequences may become difficult to remove. The component responsible for the photochemical action are compounds derived from furan.

 There is a classification for potential of photosensitivity  that is measured by time after application which may be exposed to sunlight without photo-reactivity. For example, the Lime has to wait 72 hours while the Tangerine 24 hours. Anyway I do not think this type of information is safety, it is best to avoid using. It also has another nuance, when some citrus distillates of peel are not photosensitive, and when extracted by cold press are. It is best to be conservative and try not to use these essential oils in products in contact with skin and they are directly exposed to the sun.

In this picture is a severe burn caused by lemon juice. Certainly was preparing a lemonade or … a caipirinha! Did not wash hands and exposed to the sun!



Understanding the trace

What is the trace?

Many people have questions about what is the trace that moment when the mixing oils and lye solution with stirring, the mixture begins to acquire a consistency due to the viscosity increase and reaches a point where it is ideal need to stop stirring and pour into molds.

The name comes from the observation feature wherein the viscosity is such that when placing and removing a spatula into the mass, the drained leaves a “trace”, a mark visible on the surface of the mass of soap.

The trace can be light, medium and heavy, and the choice depends on the formulation and what you want to work with the soap. For example, if you do the swirl – technique of mixing colors forming patterns in the soap, the trace has to be lightweight to allow time to make the swirl. In the case of making soap in layers, whether of the different colors or different compositions, it is best to work with trace medium to heavy. If the formulation has components that accelerate the trace, like shea butter (high in stearic acid) or some essential oils, it is preferable to stop the unrest in the light trace.

The time required to obtain the trace is a function of the formulation components, the process temperature, the concentration of lye and the mechanical work applied to the stirring – with a kitchen mixer is a matter of minutes, if manual, with a whisk wireframe, a little longer.

If the formulation contains oils with saturated fatty acids, such as shea butter and cocoa butter, the trace is faster. Those with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, such as olive oil and sunflower the time is greater. If temperature is bigger, faster is the reaction and tracing is faster and also to the lye concentration.

What is the physical-chemical phenomenon that happens in the trace?

All have already observed that the oil mixed with water or vice versa, the rest water and oil separate, distinct layers forming the oil from above (lower specific gravity) and water beneath.

What does it take for the oil and water to mix stable?

The simplest way is to use products called surfactants, tensoactivities or emulsifiers. Are molecules that have an amphiphilic character, i.e. a structure polar part and and one nonpolar hydrophilic and hydrophobic.
Soap is an anionic surfactant type, ionizes in aqueous releasing anions

Above stereochemistry representation of a molecule of soap, with the hydrophilic head of the sodium or potassium salt and a hydrophobic or lipophilic tail from fatty acid of the oil. The head binds to hydrophobic water and the tail part of the hydrocarbon of fatty acid from oil. This affinity creates emulsion a stable structure compatibilizing oil and water. 

Then when mixing the solution of soda oil, an initial hypothetical situation to better explain the phenomenon physical-chemical where it is assumed that form a water-oil interface, this interface will the beginning of the formation of soap by saponification reaction. If maintained this position of rest, the reaction is stopped by the barrier and lack of physical contact between the solution of lye and oil.

If we apply a mechanical stirring this early saponification, then a break in the barrier and and physical contact between the soda solution and the oil will be enhanced by increasing the surface area of contact – breaking into micro-particles. Will start the emulsion and then our known phenomenon of trace.

That would be the representation of the emulsion formed between water and oil through the action of soap surfactant begins to form.

The emulsion formed by the initial surfactant, the soap, and the mechanical action by the aid of a stirrer, exposes the intimate contact of lye with oil which is reflected in increased viscosity, and consistency of the dough by the saponification reaction. Unlike what is read too, the trace saponification no more than 10%, i.e. in the trace saponification reaction is well initial and has a lot of free lye, which will be processed in the mold and over the next three or four days.


Can palm oil be sustainable?

Much has been said of the conditions and bad consequences of the palm oil industry worldwide. Also hear about the many actions undertaken to minimize these negative effects and make this industry a sustainable industry. The hard part is sifting through these abundant information in the media and have a clear vision and without partisanship. This article was originally published in 2011 in 2degreesnetwork and reprinted in 2012  in makingitmagazine: 

Natural antioxidants and preservatives

The typical natural products such as handmade soaps, creams, body oils, balms, can deteriorate over time. This impairment may be caused by oxidation of oils and / or by the formation of bacteria and fungus. The products which inhibit or retard these defects are antioxidants and preservatives.


Many have probably heard of or even seen a defect that occurs with the oils in general, oils for cooking. This defect is the rancidity of oil along the storage time, denoted by the characteristic smell of rancid oil spoils. This defect can occur even with soap crafted, it is rare but can occur with soap made with certain oils, such as grape seed oil and which have in their formulation a high value of superfatting above 8%. The rancidity is an oxidation process where the free radicals formed by the light and air attack the unsaturations present in polyunsaturated oils, such as grape oil.


In products with a reasonable amount of water, and in water based creams is very common the formation and growth of microorganisms which eventually spoil the product. In these cases it is always necessary to use some type of preservative. In anhydrous or products with very little water is usually not necessary this precaution.

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Tubes amplifiers – schematic

As I had committed, I posted the first schematic diagram of tube amplifiers. This is the WE91, an original design of Western Electric from 1930 that was used to sound the movie theaters at the time. Despite only 10W of power this was enough to sound the rooms with the use of super-efficient speakers system with horns. In 1992 an article by Joe Roberts for the Sound Practice magazine catalysed the revival of WE91A, to the delight of audiophiles.

See more at page WE91A



Vegetable liquid soap – help

I’ve been trying to develop a more productive and easier process to make liquid vegetable soap. Even using a slow-cooker, hot process is laborious, time consuming and not very productive. Viewing the video from Vermont Soap showing their process to make olive liquid soap, thought it would be possible to do a similar process for small-scale craft.

I did a lot of experience and could not make a process that had good repeatability and reproducibility. That is, each time you do, you get a result, even a perfect score. The main defect and which more occurs is this supernatant of white color in a surface of the soap. Analyzing this defect can be seen that is unreacted oil surrounded by a layer of emulsified oil. I used this improvise equipment, a container for the reaction, a mechanical stirrer with digital controlled rpm, a feeder KOH solution, thermometers, and a hot plate. If anyone knows of a similar process to make liquid vegetable soap and want to share, thank you in advance.

Roberto Akira