Sunday, December 13, 2015

I have a question! Or 20.....

Anyone can make soap.  I love making soap!  And am happy to help others, but simply don't have time.  If you have contacted me, I am sending you this link as your answer is here!  

I am emailed many times a day asking for information.  Either asking for my formulas, or how to make soap. I usually respond with resources, answering questions as time allows, and helping any way I can.  However, often people are looking for step by step how to's, asking me to research their formulas, and answer detailed questions that are explained in the links I already provided.  I simply don't have time to answer the plethora of questions I receive.  Here are my thoughts to many of the daily comments and emails.  

How do you get started making soap?

Reserach.  Research.  And then research some more!  Soap making can be dangerous.  It is NOT a get rich quick scheme.  Most soap makers make soap because it is a passion.  I began making soap for my children and their horrific skin issues.  I was a mom on a mission.  But the decision wasn't a quick one.  I spent months and months reading everything I could get my hands on.  Watching YouTube videos, learning all I could about oil properties, soap qualities, how to formulate recipes, water discounts, DOS, lye, cure time, safety, just to name a few!  Then I began soaping with published recipes.  Until you have a good understanding of these things, the only soap you should be making is melt and pour.  

What resources would you suggest?


Soap Crafting
The Soapmakers Companion
The Everything Soapmaking Book 


Can I have your recipe?

No.  I spent years formulating my recipes.  They are of my own creation, developed with lots of expense, trial and error.  Think of it this way.  One would not simply walk into Starbucks and ask them for their lemon loaf recipe, and expect to get it.  Or email Johnson & Johnson and ask for their baby wash formula.  Recipes are usually proprietary.  You can try to duplicate it, but will never truly be able to.  Honestly, asking a person or a business for their recipe is rude.  

Why do you post YouTube videos if you aren't giving me your recipe?

Several reasons.  I love watching soap videos, and I am not the only one.  It is a way for me to give back to those who have shared their videos and talent with me!  And let's face it.  YouTube is social media, and a great way to get my business out there.  Someone once asked me if I actually thought people would buy after watching - well yes, that is the idea.  YouTube is a great marketing tool.  It's also a great way for me to store my videos to refer back to when remaking a soap, and not taking up valuable hard drive space.  And I have fun doing it.  So I post videos because I want to.  

Where did you get - Fragrance, Color, tools, etc.

All over.  There are many suppliers on the internet.  Google, join Facebook groups, and once again, research.  I have many suppliers I use.  Just because I like a certain supplier, doesn't mean someone else will.  A few of my favorites: Bramble Berry, Nutures, Mad Oils, Wholesale Supplies Plus, Natures Garden, Soapers Choice, BeScented.  But these are just a few.  The list goes on and on.

I want to start a soap making business but have never made soap.

SO many things I want to say about this.  In my opinion, you should not sell soap until you have been successfully been making it for at least a year.  You need to understand oil properties, lye calculators, and most importantly, what your soap does after lengthy cure.  Problems with soap do not always appear right away.  DOS can occur months after soap has been curing.  Don't know what DOS is?  You should not be selling soap.  It is my opinion that your soap should be of your own creation, and not someone else's.  This takes much time!  You also need to understand FDA labeling laws.  And follow them!  Soapers who don't follow the law make it more difficult for those that do.  

Can you tell me if this is a good soap recipe?  

No.  Unless I make it myself, or try it, I can't give you my opinion on it.  All recipes - even published ones - should be run through a lye calculator prior to making.  This is the one I suggest:  There is a ton of information on SoapCalc about oil and soap properties.  I can't stress enough the importance of reading through this and understanding the information.  I simply don't have time to do the work for you here.

I want to copy your design.

No thank you.  You may think this is flattering, but it is not.  Part of soap making is the artistic aspect.  The creative freedom.  Be inspired.  Try a technique.  But make it your own.  
I want to make cold process soap to sell next week.

Ummmm NO.  If you don't know cold process soap should cure for 4-6 weeks minimum, (recipe dependent - it could be longer!  Never shorter! This is only something you will know with time!), you should not be selling your soap!  Make hot process instead for faster cure time, but again, do your research.  Or better yet, make melt and pour.  

I hope you take advantage of the information I provided, and find it helpful in your soaping journey!  Most soapers start their journey on their own.  I did not have help when I began.  Everything I know I learned on my own.  And from that dedication, my passion grew.  In order to be passionate about what you do, you need to be your own expert!  The only way to make that happen is with you!  

Happy Soaping!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Butterfly Swirl - A challenge!

Most soapers know about Amy Warden's soap challenge club.  For those who don't, it's a monthly challenge for soapers to learn new techniques, and enter their creations into a contest.  I have never participated, but this month the Butterfly swirl was a technique I haven't been able to achieve.  So I decided to give it a whirl!

I watched the instructions over and over, and even took notes.  I had 2 soaps planned to attempt the swirl, and a few other soaps to make at the same time.  I got all set up, and began soaping.  To warm up, I began with my non Butterfly swirls soaps.  Everything went smoothly.  Then I took a deep breath, and began soaping my Butterfly swirl soaps. 

I couldn't wait to cut into them!  Here are the results:


First attempt
(Maybe a butterfly if you squint?  I see an angel if I look at one bar alone)


Second attempt
(Yeah I don't see a butterfly no matter how much I squint!  Maybe if I turn them over?)


Second attempt
(Yeah I don't see a butterfly no matter how much I squint!  Maybe if I turn them over?)

Well what do you know?  It does look like a Butterfly!  I didn't see it until this moment.  HA!  

And here is where it gets funny.  The next soap I made before Virgo and Hydra.  I did swirl it, but it was random.  And low and behold what do I see?  A butterfly!  I don't believe I will ever be able to achieve this again, as I have no idea how I did it!  

Here are the YouTube videos!

Hydra (Soap I entered!)

Pleiades - Sweet Pea

Off to take more pictures now that the sun is out!  


Thursday, December 11, 2014

SOAP Panel with Bramble Berry

Recently I was chosen to participate in Bramble Berry's Winter SOAP Panel.  I never expected to be chosen, and about did a cartwheel when I got the email!  

Then my package came.  8 mystery fragrances to play with!  The girls and I all took turns secretly sniffing and sniffing, writing down our thoughts.  

First Impressions in the Bottle:

1 - Fruity
2 - Chocolate.  
3 - Citrus 
4 - Sweet Sour/Tart Candy
5 - Musk.  Masculine.  Cologne
6- Baby Powder
7 - Christmas Tree!  Maybe a hint of berry?  But without a doubt - Christmas tree in a bottle!
8 - Hard to put a finger on.  Masculine

Then it came time to make SOAP!  I made 8 one pound batches.  I left most of the soap batter uncolored to see what the fragrance would do.  I didn't stick blend unless I had to due to ricing.


1 - Started to get thick with hand stirring.  No ricing, discoloration to tan.
2 - Slow mover.  No ricing.  Discolored dark brown.
3 - Discolored tan
4 - No discoloration, easy to work with. 
5 - Moved quickly, slight darkening 
6 - Thickened quickly, ricing.  Discolored greenish brown
7 - Slow mover.  No ricing or discoloration
8 - Fast mover.  Discolored to a yellowish brown

Now it is soap.....

Amazing how much a fragrance can change after it is soap!  Only a few fragrances are similar to the out of bottle scent.  Several did a complete 180!  I am including photos - these are unedited and raw!  

1 - Pineapple!  This was a total surprise!  LOVE!

2 - Chocolate and perhaps raspberry?  

3 - Blood Orange.  LOVE!

4 - Tart, sweet candy.  Nice!

5 - Musk is gone.  Smells dirty.  

6 - Floral.  Where did that come from?  But not bad.

7 - Still a Christmas tree!  Lovely!

8 - Smells like dirty smoke.


In case you can't tell, I do not like 5 or 8 at ALL.  Blah.  That is sad because they were quite nice in the bottle.  I LOVE 1 & 3, really like 4 & 7, 2 & 6 are okay.  And the only one that resembles it's scent in the bottle is #7!  Crazy!

Now for some fun!  Want to know what the fragrances smell like first hand?  You can!  I will be running a giveaway until January 15th, 2015.  You can enter HERE, or if you are a member of my Facebook group you can enter there as well!  I will be giving away 2 sets of soaps.   Enter HERE!  (Sadly due to shipping costs this is only open to US residents)

I had SO much fun!  I would love to test scents for Bramble Berry's SOAP Panel again sometime.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Favorite Supplies

As soapers, we develop our own style.  We have our favorite tools and ingredients.  Today I am going to talk about my favorite tools!

For me, my molds and liners allow me to be creative, and design soap I can be proud of.  My molds are from my favorite supply company, Bramble Berry.  My Mold & Liner are an important part of my soap making process.  They help me maintain uniform bars, and allow me to use many different techniques.  And when I don't pour soap down the sides, un-molding is a dream!

Truth in Labeling

I knew it had been a while since I wrote a blog post, but it's been longer than I realized!

I have been so busy with my family, markets and holiday shows that I am barely keeping up.  So sadly things like my blog had to be put on hold for a while.  

I had an interesting discussion with some other soapers today.  Actually it was scary.  These people were trying to convince me that it is okay to mislabel their products.  They label vegan when it is not, label organic when it has not been certified, make medical claims that are against FDA regulations, and omit ingredients.  One of the biggest reasons I started soaping was because of the ingredients big manufacturers hid in their labels.  I expect more from handmade soapers.

Rest assured that every product from Stargazer Soaps discloses 100% of ingredients on the labels.  Many of these ingredients you can find in your own kitchen!  You can pronounce them and understand them.  Now this does get tricky when we are talking about lotions - but know that all of the ingredients I use are chosen with care.  I do not use parabens, phalates, formaldehyde or dyes in any of my products.  And I never will.  Every product I make we use in my home with confidence.  And I truly hope you feel confident when using Stargazer Soaps for your family at home.

My promise to you: I will always disclose my ingredients and will be honest about my products!  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

YouTube Giveaway!

Yesterday I hit 1,000 subscribers on YouTube!  I am very excited about this!  SO it's time for a giveaway!  And since it is YouTube, there is a video!  

Watch my video & enter to win!

Good luck!  And thank you for your support!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New products and a bonus!

Once again, my poor blog has taken a back seat!  So what have I been doing?  Well, I had over 500 bars of soap to make, lotions, scrubs, lip balms & bath bombs to launch.  All while juggling family!  New products don't just happen.  I spend months researching, testing, reformulating, and testing again.  I will only launch products I am completely happy with, and will use on my own family.  This doesn't mean I won't change formulas - because I truly believe change is a good thing!  I am always looking for ways to make things even better.  

So let me introduce you to my new products!  

Sugar Scrub!  What's so great about sugar scrub?  Well.... this sugar scrub is AWESOME!  Massaging onto your wet skin turns it into a lotion type scrub.  It exfoliates, and rinses away leaving your skin soft and moisturized.  It isn't greasy, and is pretty thick.  I use loads of sugar.  I prefer it this way.  After all my tests, I felt a high sugar content left my skin softest.  I used a high about of Rice Bran oil, which is full of antioxidants.  It is supposed to do many things for your skin.... google it.  I can't make any claims ;)

  Lip Balm!  Available in several flavors!  I began adding Stevia to my balms, as most you find are sweetened. But what I found is it isn't necessary.  It can at times be a little gritty, (actually nice exfoliation!), and really isn't needed.  Our brains are pretty awesome.  Just the scent of the flavor makes us think we are tasting what we are smelling - even though there is no real flavor in the balm!  Crazy, isn't it?  So while I currently offer balms with Stevia, I will not be replacing them.  My balms are made with all natural oils, and don't have a heavy waxy feel.  Testers and I agree - the balm lasts for hours and doesn't need to be applied often!  Great for those of us who are addicted to lip products.... 

Solid lotion bars!  Yes, lotion can be solid!  What is great about solid lotion?  Glad you asked!  It is great for on the go!  When I fly, I don't check my luggage.  Now I have one less thing to cram into my tiny zipper bag!  I also love that I can rub onto my body and not have lotion all over my hands, or stuck in my rings.  My kids love them too, and I don't have to worry about the mess!  My 8 year old has severe Eczema, and the lotion bars are a lift saver for her.  They are made with high quality, skin loving oils & butters, and soften with just the heat of your skin.  Another great thing about solid lotion bars?  No water = no preservative! (More on that later)

Bath Bombs!  I didn't understand all the hype about bath bombs until I tried them myself.  They leave your skin so soft it's crazy!  And they are fun!  They fizz for a bit, sending the scent floating into the air.  I have had so much fun with these, I may start making Bath Bomb cupcakes..... which would also bubble.  That is several months away though.  But hmmmmm..... 

I hope you are as excited about my new products as I am!  In fact, I think it is time for a special!  Order $25 or more, and get a free bar of rustic luxury soap free!  (All orders must be placed through the website to qualify. I will include a bar in your order!)