Friday, 28 February 2014

Catching up

It's been too long again.
No posts since Xmas last year I believe.
So, what's been going down?
We kicked off the year at FuturePrim with a Valentines release, which I don't usually make too much of a deal out of but this year my customers asked that I make a few scents, which go against the grain.  Scents for the single people out there who don't have love from a sexual partner in their lives.
Ok...I can go with that.  If there's one thing I don't like very much it's the typical Valentines thing.  I don't really do flowers and pretty, pretty things but it's not to say I don't like it.  I do, I just don't like the whole Valentines flowers, hearts, chocolates thing.
So, this year I invented a few scents based on a darker theme.
The number one bestseller out of the bunch was Jilted & Crushed.  A blend of dark and resinous notes such as Tonka, Vetiver, Vanilla, Incense, Dragonsblood and several different aromachemicals.
Here's a pic of the freshly-poured soap I made in that scent:

For colours I used some TD, some Cocoa, Activated charcoal & Aussie Red clay (just a smidge as that stuff goes such a long way).
It was a great scent but as is the case at times with my own scents, I go off them almost as quickly as I swoon over them when I dream them up. I don't know why that happens.
Matt loved it and used up the whole bar I took home for him within a few days.

Other scents I did for Valentines included Quite the Gentleman - a very green, masculine and fresh blend of several fo's and eo's, including Bergamot, Lavender & Geranium.  Strangely a lot of our female customers loved it!

Our next release is coming shortly and will include some favourites from last year along with a few extras.
The Spring release I love, not only because it helps me to restock bulk ingredients but also because it kicks off the best time of the year in my opinion.  There is no better time to me than spring.  Being on the cusp of that great warmth that comes in summertime is what keeps me trudging through the winter months.
This year we are bringing back Ethereal Seas, Gossamer Ghost, Green Room, Clotted Peach Cream and Penny Black will be making an appearance again (this time in all products, not just soap).
The soaps are still curing on the racks but here's some pics of freshly poured and peaked loveliness!

↑ Ethereal Seas ↑
A blend of 4 different essential oils to mimic British seaside flora.

↑ Gossamer Ghost ↑
A blend of essential oils, which include a beautiful Neroli accord, a bit of Coriander
 and Grapefruit.  Yep....I did the pretty, pretty thing. Shut up.

And here's both of them after the un-moulding a few hours after making them.
I used some mica in the Ethereal Seas soap to get that beautiful, clearwater blue along with some Lapis powder and TD for some white contrast.
For Gossamer Ghost I used the Aussie pink clay I used last year mixed with a bit of TD to get that pastel pink.  Isn't it ultra pretty?! 
Something about these two sends my mind into over-drive.
I used a different pouring technique with these as I did with the Valentines soaps.
I did a drop swirl, then swirled that around with a chop stick a little bit, waited a short while and peaked the tops with the back of a teaspoon.  I love the way they turned out.
When working with my slab moulds I'm always a bit miffed that when cut into logs I don't have that 'middle peak' if that makes sense.  So, by doing the teaspoon texture I was able to make some faux logs so to speak.  My bars are around 8.5cm wide so I just made a mark on my mould where I wanted the log to start and end and peaked accordingly.

More news about our Whipped soap formula:
Ok, so I've been making our whipped soap base from scratch for a few years now and have had many trials and errors when making it to my preferred consistency.
After many failed attempts to get it just right I now have what I consider to be the best base for all over body use.  I wanted it to be suitable for hair, for body and for shaving and have chosen ingredients to suit all three purposes.
I start off with a hefty dose of Vegetable glycerine combined with the amazing stuff that is Sodium coco sulphate.  SCS is so gentle on the skin and hair and is found in eco branded shampoo's, body washes etc.
There is a trick to get this stuff to perform well for you but it did take me a lot of hard work to get it right.
It comes as little spheres these days, whereas when I first started using it, it came as little noodles, which I preferred as the spheres are somewhat harder to dissolve.
I mix these two ingredients with several others, one of which is Plantapon.  Again, another mild, Coconut derived secondary surfactant, which does not leave the skin dry or tight in any way. Combined with a little bit of Sodium Lactate powder and we were well on our way to perfecting this multi-purpose product.
Sodium Lactate is used by soapers mainly (I believe) to give their soap bars hardness.  I do not use it in my soap as my bars are made with a substantial amount of solid oils and butters, which leaves them so hard you can knock on 'em and it sounds like wood!
I use Sodium Lactate for it's amazing humectant properties.  It gives a velvety feel to the skin, it moisturises and is a great supplement to the skin's own naturally occurring SL.
I add a couple more ingredients, stir it all up & when I'm finished making it and it has cooled down I am left with a white coloured, solid mass of bubbly goodness, which when whipped makes for the most amazing product.
This is it after being whipped with some pink clay and fragrance:

and here are some pics of some of them jarred up and labelled: 


Over the past few weeks I have been trialing this stuff on my head!  With the 1st wash I was just blown away.  So blown away that I posted about it on our FB page immediately after drying my hair and having the most fantastic, bouncy locks.  I was a bit dubious about posting about it so fast because sometimes when a product works so well to begin with, it can also very quickly become a product, which doesn't live up to your first experience.  Not this.  This has been my go to product for my hair since the end of January and I haven't looked back.  My head no longer itches incessantly like it does when I use any other type of shampoo.  It doesn't go greasy overnight, nor does it feel dry and in need of repair.
I do pair this with my usual conditioner as I have colour damaged hair and it needs something after shampooing to enable me to get a comb through it.
After posting about this I asked that some of the customers who had some in their possession to try it on their hair and have had nothing but fabulous feedback ever since.  Check out the posts by others on the Facebook page here to read and see how it's performing for them.

Here are the results after using it on my hair:

This is me today - I just took this pic in the workshop.  It is filtered a little via Instagram but not a lot.
See the shine?! Those caramel tones are the golden lights I have in my dyed hair, whilst the base is coloured with Blueberry Chestnut hair dye.

So what I intend to do is re-market this stuff as a 3 in 1 product, which won't be long to come to fruition.
I have a few varieties left in stock but aim to make this available in all General Catalogue scents shortly.
I'm liking the idea of 'Festival' scented hair for summer and 'Shadow Show' for those sexy, dark days!

Thanks for reading.  I'll be the not too distant future I hope!