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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Black Raspberry Vanilla

My very first batch of cold process soap was made in a column mold, and to date it is still my favorite one! You never know how its going to turn out, but no matter what happens it always looks good! I haven’t done a column mold since my first batch of soap almost a year ago, but I decided to give it a go once again! This time, using Black Raspberry Vanilla Fragrance Oil. We love the smell and it is definitely one of our top ten here at Otion!

What You’ll Need:
3.7 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
4.8 oz Avocado Oil
1.9 oz Castor Oil
12.1 oz Coconut Oil
7.2 oz Palm Oil
6.3 oz Rice Bran Oil
5.1 oz Sodium Hydroxide (superfatted at 5%)
11 oz Distilled Water
Column Mold

2 oz Goats Milk Powder
3 oz Distilled Water
2 oz Black Raspberry Vanilla FO
1/2 tsp. Titanium Dioxide
1/2 tsp. Activated Charcoal
1/4 tsp. Electric Bubble Gum
1/4 tsp. Merlot Mica

First and foremost, safety is key! Make sure you always are wearing long sleeves, closed toed shoes, goggles, gloves and are in a well ventilated area. You also want to be sure that there are no kids or pets around when making soap; especially when working with lye.

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1. Weigh out your distilled water and your lye in separate containers. Then pour your lye into your water and stir with a stainless steel whisk. Be sure not to do it the other way around, as it can cause a volcano effect. Label your lye solution then set aside to cool.

2. As your lye solution is cooling, combine all of your oils together in a large Pyrex container. Be sure you have completely melted the coconut oil and palm oil before weighing out.

3. Now, in a separate dish, combine 2 oz of the goats milk powder and 3 oz of distilled water then thoroughly mix together with Bramble Berry’s mini mixer. Set aside.

4. When you are premixing your colorants, add Electric Bubble Gum and Merlot Mica together, as this is going to make a raspberry pink color. Add a small amount of a fixed oil (we used apricot kernel oil) and mix with Bramble Berry’s mini mixer. Repeat with Titanium Dioxide and Activated Charcoal. You will have 3 separate colors in the end.

5. Put your oils in the microwave and heat until they reach approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your oils and your lye solution are both around 100 degrees (10-15 degrees of each other) you can then combine them together. Be sure to burp your stick blender before you start blending them together.

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6. Once you have reached a very light trace, you can add your goats milk slurry and mix it in. Stick blend until its mixed in but you are still at a light trace.

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7. After the goats milk slurry is mixed in, divide your soap into 3 different containers. You can then add your color and your fragrance oil to the containers and mix with a fork.

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8. Now its time to pour! Decide what order you’d like to go in with your colors then you can start pouring into the mold. I counted to 3 every time I poured so there would be a consistent amount of each colored soap.

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9. Because there is goats milk in this recipe, we put the soap in the freezer overnight. This is because there is sugar content and it gets very hot, and if it gets too hot the milk can scorch which leads to dark spots.

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10. Let your soap sit in the mold for 5-6 days. If you try and unmold it too soon, the soap will be too soft and will stick to the sides of the mold. Once you are able to pull it out of the mold, let is sit on the table and let the liner pull away from the soap on its own. This will only take a couple hours and a much less chance of your soap getting stuck to the liner.

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11. Once you are able to completely unmold it, cut into your soap and let it cure for 4-6 weeks. Then, enjoy! :)

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Palm Free Waterlily Orange

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We’ve been so inspired by all of the mixed media soaps happening lately, that we decided to do yet another! We did Melt & Pour Soap in Cold Process for Valentine’s Day, and then we embedded Cold Process Soap in Melt & Pour Soap with a fun planet/galaxy theme!

This time we were determined to take it to the next level!

**If you have never done Cold Process Soap Making, please review safety procedures before starting. There is a great tutorial where you can get all the information you need on SoapQueen.**

What You Will Need:

12.5 oz Distilled Water
4.7 oz Sodium Hydroxide (superfatted at 6%)
4.5 oz Avocado Oil
2.5 oz Castor Oil
11 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Jojoba Oil
10 oz Olive Oil Pure
3.5 oz Shea Butter
1 tsp Sodium Lactate

1/2 tsp. Ultramarine Blue
1/4 tsp. Hydrated Chrome Green Oxide
1 tsp. Aqua Pearl Mica
2 oz Waterlily Orange Fragrance Oil
Straws (different sizes in diameter, cut into 2.5 inch segments)
Iridescent Glitter

2 oz Clear Melt & Pour
1 drop Liquid Orange
Dropper
12 Bar Square Silicone Mold

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1. First we mixed our lye solution by adding 4.7 oz of Sodium Hydroxide to 12.5 oz of Distilled Water and set aside to cool.
*Always remember to label your lye solution so nobody gets into it.*

2. Next, we measured out Waterlily Orange FO. Then premixed our colors in Sweet Almond Oil. To achieve the blue we wanted, we mixed the Ultramarine Blue with the Aqua Pearl Mica. It turned out perfect!

3. Then we measured out the oils and butters and had them heated up to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s when we checked on our lye, which was at 107 degrees. Generally you want to soap between 10-15 degrees of each other. collage 1 4. Once our lye was cool, we added 1 tsp of Sodium Lactate. This helps produce a harder bar of soap.

5. Next, we combined our lye and oils and used the stick blender to bring the soap batter to a light trace. collage 2 6. We separated out approximately 8 oz of the batch into a squeeze bottle. We added our premixed green color to the squeeze bottle and added our premixed blue color along with our fragrance oil to the large batch. collage 3collage 6 7. Now we were ready to pour our blue layer into the silicone mold. It started to thicken up a bit, but actually made a really nice water effect. Then we got a little fancy and added glitter to the top by lightly blowing it over the soap. collage 4collage 5 8. Now we grabbed the squeeze bottle of green and made circles on top of each square of soap. Next, we took a skewer and drug it down the circle to shape it like a leaf. collage 7collage 8 This is a long process! But bare with us!

9. Next, we strategically and randomly pushed the straws of different sizes into the blue areas of the soap. We sprayed the top with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol and let it cure for 48 hours.

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photo110. After 2 days, the straws were ready to get pulled out, and they left empty holes in their place.

11.We took 2 oz of clear m&p, melted it down and added 1 drop of liquid orange. We then took a dropper and filled those holes. This was slightly tricky, but once all of the holes had orange in them, we sprayed it down with alcohol again.

collage 1012. We let the soap sit for another 5 days before we popped them completely out to sit and cure on our shelf.

We LOVE these! And are so exited how they turned out. Come into Otion to take a look at them yourself and you can even purchase one to take home with you. :)

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Fun with the Girls

A few months back we had the pleasure of having Lindsey and Crystal come in for some private soaping fun! They were a blast to say the least, and the best part was they were able to make some fantastic soaps and bath bombs!

*Both girls had made Cold Process Soap before, but they wanted some help with color and designs.**

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Here the girls helped pour and swirl soap in a dream catcher design. It turned out beautiful and smelled heavenly with Lemongrass Essential Oil.

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After soap making, they dove into making bath bombs. They were not afraid of getting their hands dirty!

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Thank you Lindsey and Crystal for making the trip up to Bellingham and playing in the soap with us! Hope you two had wonderful Birthdays!

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Interested in taking a private class here at Otion? Check out our website for some basic information or give us a call and we would be happy to help answer your questions.

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Clay Cold Process

 I was trying to find a recipe for cold process soap using more natural ingredients.  I found the perfect recipe (Clay Spoon-Plop) out of Anne-Marie’s Soap Crafting book. A recipe using clay’s is exactly what I was looking for! It was the perfect soap to make for my Step Dad Mark,  since he helped us with the remodel of the store (Crafter’s Corner is Finally Here!). Of course it has to cure for 4-6 weeks before he can use it, but I loved how it looked and wanted to share it!

What You’ll Need:

5 oz Sodium Hydroxide
11.6 oz Distilled Water

11.2 oz Palm Oil
11.2 oz Coconut Oil
1.4 oz Castor Oil
11.2 oz Olive Oil
2 oz Sensuous Sandalwood Fragrance Oil

2 tsp Sea Clay mixed with 1.5 tbsp water
2 tsp Green Zeolite Clay mixed with 1 tbsp water
2 tsp Yellow Slit Clay mixed with 1.5 tbsp water
1.5 tsp Rose Clay mixed with 1 tbsp water
2 tsp Kaolin Clay mixed with 1 tbsp water
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold

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Goats Milk Class is BACK!

We’re so very excited to announce that the Goats Milk Class is coming back to Otion!

This Goat’s Milk Soaping Demo is open to soap makers of all experience levels. Here at Otion we will go over three different approaches to work with goat’s milk in your soaps, as well as address some of the common issues with milk soap.

This class is NOT intended to be a complete soap making class, but is offered as a supplement to our Basic Cold Process Class. Students will go home with a thorough packet of information as well as some previously made soap from the recipes demonstrated in class.  The goat’s milk soaping demo is limited to 8 people per class to ensure maximum one-on-one time with the instructor.

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Cost: $25 - includes all materials.

What to bring: For this class you need to bring safety goggles and a pen for note taking.

If you wish to sign up for the Goats Milk Class, head on over to Otions website and register online!

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Happy Easter

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Happy Easter! We hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends! We’d love to hear and see what fun Easter projects everyone has going on. We decided on a cold process soap project. Now available to see and purchase at our store!
Reminder: Otion will be closed April 20th & 21st for Easter! We will be open for regular business hours on Tuesday the 22nd.

What You’ll Need:

6.8 oz Sweet Almond Oil
4.1 oz Avocado Oil
4.9 oz Castor Oil
15.6 oz Coconut Oil
2.7 Hemp Seed Oil (Refined)
10.2 oz Palm Oil
13.8 oz Rice Bran Oil
8.13 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Superfatted at a 6%)
20 oz Distilled Water
2.1 oz Grass Stain Fragrance Oil
0.3 oz Pink Grapefruit Fragrance Oil
1.1 oz Lime Fragrance Oil

Ultramarine Pink
Cellini Blue
Neon Blue Raspberry
Fizzy Lemonade
Hydrated Chrome Green
Activated Charcoal

Squeeze Bottles
5 lb Wood Loaf Mold
5 lb Silicone Liner

1. Our first step was to make our lye solution so it had time to cool down. We measured out 20 oz Distilled Water and 8.13 oz Sodium Hydroxide and set to the side to cool down.
**Always remember to make sure you label your lye solution so nobody gets into it!**

2. Next, we measured out our Fragrance Oils and our colorants. We premixed our colors with Avocado Oil.

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3. While our lye solution was cooling, we measured out our oils in a large Pyrex bowl. Our oils were a little cool, so we stuck them in the microwave on 20 second bursts. Once our lye solution and our oils were around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees of each other), we combined them together.

24. Once we came to a light trace, we measured out 8 oz of our soap into 5 different squeeze bottles. Then we mixed our premixed Fizzy Lemonade in our batch of soap. With our squeeze bottles, we poured each of our colors in and shook it up until completely mixed. When all our colors were mixed thoroughly in our squeeze bottles, we did an in the pot swirl. We alternated squeezing each color back into the Pyrex. You will have soap left over in your squeeze bottles, just set it aside as you will use it later!

35. We then took a skewer and pulled it through each color, going around twice. Now its time to pour! We poured our soap in a 5 lb wood loaf mold until it was completely full.

46. Now its time to grab those squeeze bottles again! Alternate between each color and do a zig-zag pattern on the top of the loaf. Keep switching between colors until all your soap is gone!

57. Time for the fun swirling! We first did a linear swirl, then finished with doing figure-eights. You can  do any kind of swirling technique you’d like, or even make up your own!

68. Put a box over top your soap to help reduce soda ash. Then wait 3-4 days to unmold and cut your soap!

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Tye Dye Cranberry Pomegranate

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What You’ll Need:

5 oz Avocado Oil
3 oz Castor Oil
9 oz Coconut Oil
12 oz Olive Oil
6 oz Palm Oil
3 oz Shea Butter
12 oz Distilled Water
5.24 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
2 oz Cranberry Pomegranate Fragrance Oil
Activated Charcoal
Electric Bubble Gum
Ultraviolet Blue
3 lb Loaf Mold

1. First we mixed our lye and distilled water together. We set that aside while we got the rest of our oils and butters together and melted down. Once the oils and lye water was between 10-20 degrees of each other (preferably around 115 degrees) we mixed the two together.

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2. Once we came to trace, we poured our soap in 3 separate containers. We then colored them with Electric Bubble Gum, Ultraviolet Blue and Activated Charcoal. Along with adding in our 2 oz of fragrance oil.

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3. When all our colors were mixed and our fragrance oil was added, we started pouring our soap into our loaf mold.
4. For the tye dye effect, we poured one color to start with, then the next color we poured in the middle of the loaf from top to bottom. Repeat this while switching colors until the loaf is full.

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5. After all the soap was poured into our loaf mold, we took a skewer and did a fun swirl effect on top.

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6. As you can see from the picture above, as our soap starting curing, the colors kept changing! The Electric Bubble Gum turned to a peachy-orange color and Ultraviolet Blue turned green. We let the soap sit under a box over night and the colors were still different. But after a week they seemed to go back to normal.
We love the end result and it smells AMAZING!

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St. Patty’s Day Gold Peppermint CP

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What you will need:

5.4 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
2.7 oz Castor Oil
10.6 oz Coconut Oil
9.4 oz Palm Oil
8.3 oz Rice Bran Oil
12.6 oz Aloe Vera Liquid
5.15 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
*Superfatted at a 6%*
1.4 oz Peppermint 1st Essential Oil
1.4 oz Wintergreen Essential Oil
(discontinued at Bramble Berry as well as over a year old)
Titanium Dioxide
Chrome Green Oxide
Heavy Gold Mica
1 Squirt Bottle
3 lb Loaf Mold

*If you are using Aloe Vera Liquid in place of distilled water, be aware that your lye solution will turn yellow. Don’t be alarmed!*

  • Once our lye solution and oils were both around 110 degrees (within 15-20 degrees of each other) we started mixing the two together. Once we got to trace, we filled one squirt bottle with the soap and colored with chrome green oxide. We then colored the rest of the batch with titanium dioxide.

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  • After we added the titanium dioxide, we added our Peppermint 1st and our Wintergreen Essential Oils. Unfortunately, the Wintergreen EO made our soap into a ‘mashed potato’ consistency and we needed to work rather quickly. (*Please note: The Wintergreen EO has been discontinued from Bramble Berry & it was also over a year old, which could be the reason for the change in our consistency*)2
  • We then took our squirt bottle that was colored with chrome green oxide and did an in the pot swirl.
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  • After we swirled our chrome green soap into the batch, we poured it halfway full into our 3lb loaf mold. We then dusted heavy gold mica on top of it, then finished pouring the rest of the soap on top. We then dusted more heavy gold mica on the top of the loaf.
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  • After insulating our soap with a box and blankets, we unmolded our soap 2 days later and cut into it. Unfortunately the heavy metal gold mica does bleed into the soap, but we think it gives it a unique look. :)

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This is not what we were planning on happening with our soap project, but we definitely like how it turned out!

Rancid Oil Loaf

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You may be asking yourself “why would I ever use rancid oil? Yuck!” Most soapers avoid rancid oils due to the icky smell and dreaded orange spots. But as you well know we love to test fate ;)

Normally oils should not have a smell. When they start to have a sour smell, that’s when you know they are rancid. We had quite a few different oils that had that sour smell to them, but didn’t want to throw them out. We decided to make a batch of cold process soap with a couple rancid oils to see how they worked out. We made one batch unscented and uncolored, whereas we made another batch colored and scented.

What We Used:

23.9 oz Sweet Almond Oil (Rancid)
18.2 oz Apricot Kernel Oil (Rancid)
31.6 oz Sesame Oil (Rancid)
5 oz Castor Oil
28 oz Distilled Water
10.01 oz Sodium Hydroxide
(Super fat @ 1%)
4 tsp Sodium Lactate
1.5 tsp Neon Blue Raspberry Colorant
2 tbsp Jojoba Oil (pre-mix with colorant)
2 oz Pepperberry Fragrance Oil
Two 3 lb Silicone Molds

(Usage Rate for Sodium Lactate: 1 tsp per 1 lb of oils)

1) Mix all 3 rancid oils together. (Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Sesame Oil)

2) After we poured what rancid oils we had, we then made the recipe using a lye calculator.

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3) Once you have your lye water measured out and combined, you can then add your sodium lactate to the cooled lye water.

4) Once your lye water and oils are around 120 degrees, you can mix your lye water with your rancid oils. Stick blend until you come to a light trace.

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5) Once you’ve hit light trace, go ahead and add in your castor oil and blend. The castor oil will bring the 1% superfat that we started with to a 6%. 1% is too harsh for the skin..

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6) Pour your unscented and uncolored soap into a 3 lb silicone mold.

7) Spray with 99% rubbing alcohol.

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9) With your remaining soap, add in the Neon Blue Raspberry Colorant and Pepperberry Fragrance Oil.

10) Mix together then pour into the other 3 lb silicone mold.

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11) Spray with 99% rubbing alcohol and insulate.

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Once we pulled these out of the loafs, we cut them and let them cure. Never once did we notice the soap smelling rancid or ‘bad’. Even when we started using them in the shower they still smelled yummy and had a great lather. The only issue we saw was the Neon Blue Raspberry colorant discolored when we added the Pepperberry Fragrance Oil.

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