Sam’s Avocado Fiasco

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As Otion’s newest employee, I sure have some big shoes to fill. Learning all about the different products we carry and their many uses has been a wonderful and sometimes overwhelming journey. After a couple of months of learning the ropes, I decided to dive in and make some Cold Process Soap. As a thank-you to my Dad for painting our lovely store for us (free of charge!), I decided to flip through Anne-Marie’s book, Soap Crafting, to find a recipe just for him. I found  a wonderful recipe for Avocado Moisturizing Bars, and then  tweaked it to be more specific for my Dad, who prefers more natural ingredients. I therefore switched the colorants from oxides to natural colorants, and the fragrance oil to an essential oil blend Karly and I made. I also eliminated Palm Kernel Flakes from the recipe and replaced them with Castor Oil, Hazelnut Oil and Shea Butter to make it even more moisturizing. Due to these changes, I of course entered my recipe into Bramble Berry’s lye calculator to ensure I had the correct water and lye amounts.

What You’ll Need:

5 oz Sodium Hydroxide
12 oz Distilled Water

11 oz Avocado Oil
2 oz Castor Oil
10.5 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hazelnut Oil
3.5 oz Olive Oil Pure
4 oz Shea Butter

4.2 oz Avocado Slurry (2 oz ripe Avocado, 2.2 oz Distilled Water)
1/2 tsp. Spirulina
1 tsp. Purple Brazilian Clay

0.4 oz Litsea E.O.
1 oz Clary Sage E.O.
0.6 oz Clove Leave E.O.

All right, time to make some soap! I got all of my ingredients ready to go: I even pre-separated out the essential oil blend into three containers to maximize efficiency. I weighed out all my oils precisely, heated them up to approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit, waited until my lye solution had cooled to 100 degrees, and then combined them. What a perfect soap consistency! I separated the soap into three containers, and added the Spirulina to one, the Purple Brazilian Clay to the second, and the Avocado Slurry to the third. The Spirulina colored soap was thickening up nicely, so I poured it into the mold. Looks beautiful! This is going to go wonderfully! But wait, why is my Avocado Slurry soap so thin? I figured it would thicken up after a while, so I went ahead and poured it on top of the first layer of soap. Apparently as I was trying to thicken up the Avocado Slurry, the Purple Brazilian Clay soap was thickening up all on its own! So when I went to pour the Purple Brazilian Clay Soap on the Avocado Slurry, it just plop, plop, plopped on down through it!

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So what went wrong? I forgot a crucial step from Anne-Marie’s book; I was supposed to add the Avocado Slurry to the entire soap batch, before even adding the Spirulina and Purple Brazilian Clay! So the Avocado Slurry layer had way too much water in it. Even now, a week after I made the soap, it has not hardened up at all. Luckily Karly helped me realize my mistake, and I was able to try again the next day with fantastic results.

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This time, I added the Avocado Slurry to the entire batch and THEN I separated it out into three different containers. It worked wonderfully! Once I made my layers in my 3 lb silicone mold, I was able to make the soap beautiful by spooning the soap towards the middle, and then making figure-eights down the middle with a skewer.

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It’s funny, but because my first attempt was such a colossal failure, it made the successful soap that much more satisfying. So for you first-time soap makers out there, or even soapers that have been doing it for years, know that even us ‘trained professionals’ sometimes make fantastic mistakes!

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4 thoughts on “Sam’s Avocado Fiasco

  1. I’m glad that you were able to figure out what went wrong with the first batch and gave it another try! The second attempt looks beautiful, and I love the swirling and texturing on the top. I wonder if you can rebatch or hot process the first soap?

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