January 29, 2012

Experiment with Lard #2: Tour Guide Soap

Really deep cleans your skin,
but the shea butter keeps it soft. .

If you're a tour guide in NYC (especially if you're on a double-decker bus), you have special skin needs, so I made this soap with myself and other tour guides in mind.

The yellow embed is made with shea butter (good moisturizer, loaded with vitamins and believed to be good for dozens of skin ailments) bought in Harlem and infused with lemon thyme (said to have antibacterial properties). I used a hot process on this and once the soap batter was cool enough, kneaded in vetiver, tea tree, pine and lemon essential oils (a blend designed to make you feel cheerful and energetic) and made a big, happy yellow log.

Next day I made the charcoal surrounding. Read a lot of stuff about how great activated charcoal is for the skin. How it takes out impurities. When you spend 8 hours a day riding around NYC, you get a lot of gunk in your pores. It's actually pretty disgusting.

I infused charcoal in water, added the lye and then let it cool overnight. I wanted everything at a low temperature to keep the lard from getting piggy.  I melted all the oils except the lard in a crock pot then turned it off and added the lard in very tiny slivers so it would melt quickly.

It worked perfectly—except I didn't make enough to cover the embed the way I wanted. I blame my mold for a lot of this. It's a silicon loaf pan and it buckles and makes the bars curved on the side. I always end up cutting the ends off. I'll reuse the ends eventually, but it's a waste.

So, anyway, these soaps have kind of a whacky shape. But that's good for tour guides as well.

Yellow Circle Embed
Olive Oil (infused with marigolds and annatto seeds)
Palm Kernel Oil
Shea Butter (infused with lemon thyme)

Charcoal Surrounding
Olive Oil (infused with Russian sage)
Palm Kernel Oil
Castor Oil
Distilled water infused with activated charcoal.