I’ve been a Melt & Pour soaper for almost four years now and one of the things that has always challenged me is getting a deep color in a clear base using either color blocks or liquid pigments or dyes. You have to be careful not to use too much liquid dye because it migrates, and using too much pigment or color block can cause staining on washcloths and the bubbles are colored instead of being nice and clear.
Well, there is good news now! The soap in the picture above was made using M & P clear base, and to get that awesome, deep purple color, I used Purple Passion Mica Powder. Yep, powder’s not just for Cold Process anymore! Instead of mixing the mica powder with oil, you mix it with isopropyl alcohol. For the three heart shapes I made in this batch, I mixed 1/8 tsp. mica powder with 1/2 tablespoon alcohol, and mixed it with a mini mixer. The mini mixer does a great job of thoroughly mixing the powder so there are no little specks in the soap, and look at what a deep color is achieved.
I am so glad I found out they came out with a way to use mica powder in M & P soap making. I can get darker colored leaves surrounding delicate flowers now. Since leaves are usually very small, I was never able to get enough coloring in my soap to make the leaves a nice, dark green.
I belong to several discussion groups for soaping, and one thing I’ve discovered is that there is a huge bias against the melt-and-pour soaping industry, particularly by the cold press society. Have any of you other M&P soapers noticed this? The first group I signed up with actually told me to take my question about “fake” soap making to another group and leave them alone!
Now, I actually make soap using both methods, and I will admit cold process is a little more involved and carries the element of danger that melt-and-pour doesn’t. However, there’s a lot of detail work that goes into making decorative melt-and-pour soaps that require much practice to get right and can add hours to finishing the project. I feel both processes have their unique challenges and their special ways to shine; as in life, I don’t think one group should hold their heads higher than another as being better, but boost each other up to help our industry.
… you can rest assured I use it responsibly. I realize the easiest thing to do would be to just quit using palm oil altogether. Then I wouldn’t lose sales when someone sees palm oil in my list of ingredients and goes elsewhere, and I would certainly spend less time talking about it, but the thing is, it’s a good oil. It’s used to boost the soap’s lathering power and it helps make a harder bar of soap.
Recipes can be reworked to use different oils to replace the palm oil, true, but if we all quit using it, what’s going to happen to the legitimate growers of this crop? There are families counting on the palm oil industry for their livelihood the world round. I believe as long as I make sure my source of palm oil is reputable, and they buy from only sources who are members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, also known as the RSPO, I’m benefitting all the workers in the legitimate growing of this crop. I feel this is a better solution to the problem of tropical rain forests being destroyed than just refusing to use palm oil and putting impoverished people out of work.
This isn’t an easy issue with a simple answer, but I believe taking the time to make sure you’re doing business with people with a social conscience is important. There are two companies I order almost all of my supplies from. They both have excellent articles about the palm oil issue, and their ideals align closely with mine, so I feel very comfortable about using their ingredients to make my products, knowing I’m getting good quality, from someone I can trust.
The companies are:
Wholesale Supplies Plus, Inc.
Bramble Berry, Inc.