Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alkanet and eggshell

I love that little dish. It's not silver, I don't even know if it's
silver plated, but the design is just lovely. It's another one
dollar find at the Good S...
I used Alkenet in a soap the other day.  I have used it before with no great results.  It has turned beautifully blue as I add the lye to the oils, but during curing it has all but disappeared.  I now know that I need to use more of it than I have been doing.  I think I have only been putting a tablespoon or two into a batch of 5-800 g. / 17-28 oz which is my usual batch size, but I am not quite sure.  So this time I was careful to measure everything.

This time I figured that if I used yoghurt I should get a nice colour, since it is acid.  But just to make sure I had some lemon on hand to add to the soap as well.  The experience was really strange and I thought I was losing it when the whole thing turned a greeny-yellow with a blue frame around it.  I didn't take photo's of that because:
  1. I thought it looked really, really ugly  - and 
  2. I  was convinced that the soap would stay that way and I would get a chance to snap a photo should I develop a desire to do so.  
But instead it changed colour and first turned gray and then it started to turn lavender.  Not a strong purply lavender, but a soft shadowy kind.  So I haven't cracked the Alkanet mystery yet althought I like this soap.

The colour isn't perfect, in fact it looks better in the photo than it really is.  The white flecks in it are egg shell.  I read about that and had to try it.  I amassed a large quality of egg shells when I was baking for the wedding.  As I used the eggs I washed the shells out and let them dry.  Then I put them into a mortal and pounded with a pestle.  It was quite hard work to get them to be very small, but I got there in the end.  Now the thing that I read said that the egg shells would sink to the bottom and make a layer on the bottom, which I thought was quite a good idea.  But in this soap it didn't do that but is dispersed throughout the soap.  I think I will try this again and add the egg shell to a very thin soap to see if I can get it to sink to the bottom.  I think that is quite cool.

The recipe is for 500 g. of oils / 17.6 oz (the oz are approximate):

Olive oil            30% 150g / 5.3 oz
Coconut oil       25% 125g / 4.4 oz
Lard                  25% 125g / 4.4 oz
Sunflower oil    15%  75g /  0.9 oz  (60 g of this was Alkanet infused oil - I didn't have any more)
Cocoa butter      5%   25g / 2.4 oz

Yoghurt            38%  190g / 6.7 oz
Lye                              71g / 2.5 oz
5% SF.

I used frozen yoghurt for the water.  I dissolved the lye VERY slowly since I didn't want to burn the milk proteins in the heat.  The liquid turned a pretty yellow once I had dissolved the lye.  When I had added the liquid to the oils the whole thing turned a gray colour with blue around the edges and as I stirred the thing it turned this greeny-yellow.  At that point I added 2 tbs. of crushed egg shells and some lavender and bergamot EO.  I also added 1 tbsp. corn starch to see if I can get the scent to stay a little longer than usual.  I have just tried out the off cuts, a bit early, but it produced a nice lather and the egg shells were great for exfoliation.  But then again I can never find bath brushes that are scratchy enough, but it may not be to everyones liking.


  1. Ambra te quedaron muy lindos los jabones. Yo uso el alkanet infundido en el aceite y bien cargado, pero con la luz solar desaparece el color con el tiempo.
    Un abrazo

  2. I adore this one... wow. I love the colour that came out and the whole idea of egg shells too! I may try yoghurt one day... Thanks for sharing your Alkanet experience and your recipe, which I just may try... xo Jen

  3. Very pretty color! The soap sounds fantastic with yogurt and eggshells -lovely and unique!

  4. Thanks for your nice comments Texia, Jen and Becky.

  5. Beautiful colour, so soft and pretty! I think the acid idea sounds great, makes sense. The same as hydrangea flowers, acid for blue and alkaline for pink, I think?

  6. I just used way too much alkanet infused olive oil in my soap and it turned black! I used a half ounce of the same infusion and got a perfect purple color.

    How was the egg shell? Was it too scratchy? I want to try that soon with some home-raised eggs and can't wait.

  7. Wow, only half an ounce! I've always used way more than that. I need to try to use less next time. But, yes the eggshell was scratchy. In this soap I could use it on my body, but I made another one with eggshell and that time I didn't crush it small enough. That one tore my skin to shreds, blood and all! So I think that you need to very careful about the size, maybe even use a pestle and mortar.

  8. Alkanet is the most fancyful lady I know.

    Your lavender-grey is very sweet.
    Yogurts become more acid when they grow old. Perhaps to try again with an older yogurt?


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