November Combing Soap Challenge (and a Surprise!)

I haven’t been around a whole lot lately. These five messy babies are really keeping me hopping! But our busy lives couldn’t keep me from this month’s Soap Challenge Club! Amy put together a great tutorial on making a simple comb to use in a slab mold, and she showed both a serpentine swirl and a peacock swirl. I couldn’t wait to break out my mold and get crackin’!

Here’s a preview of the soap (in the raw).

combing technique soap entry

November Soap Challenge Club: Combing Techniques

Combing techniques produce such beautiful swirls, so I wanted to make something very feminine. I settled on the Brambleberry fragrance Relaxation. It’s the perfect sophisticated feminine vanilla scent with lovely floral touches (that don’t sting my sensitive nose). Plus, I could personally use this sweet smell at the end of my very long days. Because….not only do I have FIVE girls running around my feet constantly……SURPRISE!

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My baby bump!

Baby girl #6 (YES…S.I.X... and YES…G.I.R.L.) is due to arrive in a few short months! So that’ll be six girls ages 6 and under in my house. This mama needs some Relaxation soap! 🙂 We’re thrilled about another unexpected gift, feel completely blessed beyond our wildest imagination, and we’re also a bit shocked that it’s yet another girl. (Well, I’m shocked. My hubby isn’t surprised at all. He wondered why we even needed to have a sonogram to find out!) So now you know why I’ve been a bit absent as of late. But, let’s get on with the soap making!

For colorants, I used about a half teaspoon each of electric bubblegum pink, sparkle gold mica, and blue green mica (all mixed with olive oil), as well as one teaspoon each of lavender oxide and titanium dioxide (in water) mixed into half a cup of soap. I also used my homemade slab mold which yields 21 bars that are 3″ x 2.5″ in size. Amy’s slow-moving recipe of 35% olive oil, 30% lard, 25% coconut oil, and 10% avocado oil worked absolutely beautifully! I had tons of time to work with this soap. I blended to emulsification, then poured 4 ounces of soap into each of the 5 colors.

Colors for Relaxation soap.

Colors for Relaxation soap

Amy used squeeze bottles in her examples, but honestly, I think squeeze bottles are my nemesis. I chose to use my long pour spout cups instead.

Next, I added the fragrance only to the remainder of my soap (since it will discolor due to its vanilla content), poured it into the mold, then began pouring each color in an S-shape down the length of the mold.

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First round of pouring colors

I made several passes with each color, and near the end, I tried to make sure the lines were distinct so they wouldn’t get muddy when I began swirling.

Making a soap comb was so simple! Why haven’t I done this before now? I simply cut off a piece of corrugated cardboard about an inch shorter than the width of my mold. Then, I shoved bamboo skewers spaced about an inch apart through the corrugated lines of the cardboard. SO EASY! I drug my simple comb down the length of the mold, moved it over half an inch and drug back in the opposite direction.

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First pass with my simple soap comb

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Second pass after moving half an inch and combing in the opposite direction

Then I took the comb out of the soap, turned it 90 degrees, and drug it through the mold and back again, creating an awesome Taiwan swirl.

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Third pass, combing across the first stripes

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Final pass with the comb!

I was tempted to leave the soap just like that because it was so beautiful! But I also wanted to try the serpentine swirl! What to do? Compromise! I settled on creating the serpentine for just a few strokes down the length of the mold: the best of both worlds!

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Taiwan swirl (AKA linear swirl) AND Serpentine swirl. See the 2 lines of S-shapes on the right side? Very pretty!

After spraying the top with alcohol, I put the soap into a slightly warmed oven and left it overnight. After about 24 hours, the soap was hard enough to unmold and cut.


Relaxation soap (Taiwan swirl side) fresh off the chopping block

I’ve found that it is still developing soda ash on top even several days later, so this one will need steaming after it’s fully cured. Totally worth it! The results are stunning.

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Relaxation soap with serpentine swirls

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Relaxation soap with Taiwan swirl pattern

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Relaxation soap, various patterns. The turquoise turned to a deeper forest green, and the lavender really turned purple, creating a lovely contrast of colors.

As always, I’m really looking forward to seeing the beautiful soaps created for this challenge. Thank you again, Amy, for such a great tutorial! Be sure to check out Great Cakes Soapworks for luxurious soaps, my all-time favorite lip butter, other lovely bath products, and all of the great tutorials she’s made for these challenges!