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20 February 2010

The Vanilla Files (part 2)

Well I finally soaped the last of my Vanilla samples from Big Tree Supplies last night, and an unscented loaf for colour comparison .. Each was done using the following formula:
80% Olive Oil
20% Coconut Oil
33% Lye Solution Strength
Fragrance: 3% of total oil amount (15ml FO to 500g oil)

It's a simple soap that used up what I had a lot of, but more to the point if left unscented gives me a nice light bar so we can see what the FO's really do colour wise .. Of course I'm just a kitchen hobby soaper, so this is no clinical trial under exact circumstances - there have been hot days and mild wet days, some where soaped at night and others during the morning, some gelled on their own while others didn't (all were left to saponify in the same location), and a couple were even put into the freezer (after fully setting & cooling) because they didn't want to release .. However I have done my best to keep things the same so the results would be valid ..

As far as my notes on each oil, I think I'm going to just summarise for now because there honestly wasn't much of a difference when it came to the actual soaping, other than slight colour variation .. That is until I did the unscented comparison loaf which took three times longer to reach trace! Oh I forgot to mention all were soaped with ROOM TEMP LYE & OILS .. With 80%OO & 33% LSS I really wasn't concerned about acceleration, this is how I like to soap .. OK then, here we go:

Very Vanilla - Bitter Creek North (soaped 8/2/10)
{cracking is my fault/impatience to unmould!}

Pink Sugar - The Candle Source (soaped 9/2/10)
Pink Sugar(2)

Sandalwood Vanilla - Elements Bath & Body (soaped 10/2/10)

Vanilla Bean Noel - Daystar Supplies (soaped 10/2/10)

Vanilla Bean - Daystar Supplies (soaped 11/2/10)
{shine is just condensation as I had to freeze to unmould}

*Buttercream Frosting - Daystar Supplies (soaped 11/2/10)
I accidentally wrote *Butterscotch on this bar
{again condensation}

Vanilla Abricot - Daystar Supplies (soaped 16/2/10)
{this one Ashed on me!}

Marshmellow Fluff
- Daystar Supplies (soaped 16/2/10)

Vanilla de Madagascar
- Daystar Supplies (17/2/10)

Warm Vanilla Sugar - The Candle Source (soaped 17/2/10)

Drizzled Honey Vanilla
- Daystar Supplies (soaped 18/2/10)

Musk Vanilla - Natures Garden (soaped 18/2/10)
{unmoulding issues big time!}

Black Raspberry Vanilla
- Natures Garden (soaped 19/2/10)

* UNSCENTED * (soaped 19/2/10)

Gosh if you've made it this far then thanks for viewing - and if you can appreciate the effort I'm putting into sharing all this then please do take the time to leave a comment :D

I will take new photo's (in better lighting) & update with notes on fragrance each Monday; lather trials will start in six weeks (5th April - Easter Monday) and I'll take pics of that too ..
{click for larger view}

And I just want to throw out the idea that if anyone wants to send 15ml samples of any Vanilla oils not mentioned here, I would love to soap them and add to this list!

I'd especially love to compare oils that go by the same name from different suppliers, so if you have any spare &/or are feeling generous, just leave a comment or email me: clear.marie[at] for a postal address ..
Never hurts to ask right?!

~ Wishing you all a wonderful week-end


  1. I REALLY appreciate the work you're putting into this!It's so amazing what vanilla will do to soap. I love the last stacked picture! It's not only pretty but it's also fantastic for comparison. WOW!

  2. I have a vanillin you have not done, I would love to send you some. I love this experiment and I too appreciate the time your putting into this. TY so much. I will be following this closely.

  3. Oh I cant wait to see the results! I really want to do a nice Vanilla Bean, and am hoping it doesnt change a lot. Thank you honey!!

  4. This is great. I love testings, thanks for taking the time for this so we can learn too.

  5. What I like about this test is that you did a great job documenting the results and even though you soaped on different days, I think it reflects the real life situation of soap makers. I try to make sure I make soap the same way every time, but we do have weather issues and unforeseen variables.

    I don't have any vanilla that I use because I hate dark brown soap. I'm drawn to the lighter ones first and then the caramel ones. Now the question is, do the light ones smell like vanilla? I like drizzled honey vanilla, musk vanilla, vanilla bean, warm vanilla sugar, and black raspberry vanilla.

    I also think it's interesting how some FOs ash, gel or don't gel, and unmold easily or with difficulty. I always thought it was the soap recipe or heating issues, but it could be the FO!

    One vanilla I really want to try is Bourbon De Vanille by Southern Soapers. Their notes say discolors to dark brown, lathers white. I could live with that if it was the vanilla of my dreams. I had a sniffy I used in a lotion and it was so yummy smelling. My husband said it looked and smelled like frosting!

    Thank you so much for documenting this. I can't imagine how many hours this took you!

  6. Wow! I love your pics, especially that last stacked one. If I read this correctly, although you have soaped on different days you are taking pics of each soap at similar intervals, so your comparisons will be definitely exact enough for all handmade soapers to use. Thank you Clear! :D

  7. Yes that's right Tanya :)

    Thanks Everyone for commenting, this really has taken a lot of time to put together and I hope we can all gain something from the shared results ..

    Billie, I'd love to take you up on that offer - I'll send you an email .. Thanks Heaps!

  8. Thanks for doing this awesome & well documented study. Just what I've been hunting for! Bravo!

  9. I love the last picture that shows all of the different shades. You've done a lot of testing!