Bamboo Charcoal and Clay Drop Swirl

Just got this drop swirl done in time for this month’s soap challenge!

Bamboo Charcoal & Clay Drop Swirl

Bamboo Charcoal & Clay Drop Swirl

The base was made with coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and mango butter. I used bamboo charcoal and red and yellow clays for the swirls. The soap was scented with a blend of grapefruit and patchouli essential oils.

The bamboo charcoal was a special gift from the talented Maya of Infusions. I am so excited about how charcoal came out; I didn’t use very much and still had a beautiful design!

This was the first time I have done the drop swirl and I am hooked! The technique is easy but looks great. I am looking forward to seeing all the other drop swirl designs.

I tried a mica oil swirl for the first time on the top of the soap. I used Ruth’s tips for this technique. I love mica swirls too!

Mica Oil Swirls

Mica Oil Swirls

I have also been busy making a lot of plain soap over the past month. I have to do a project for one of my graduate statistics classes this semester, so I was somehow trying to work in soapmaking just to make it fun for me. I was so happy when my project on dreaded orange spots (DOS) was approved by my professor! He really liked the idea and even suggested more factors to study.

I am using Kevin Dunn’s DOS study as a starting point and was also fascinated by the results of Anne-Marie Faiola’s study.

So far, I have made 24 batches of 100% olive oil soap. I am studying how various factors affect the onset of DOS in soap. DOS is typically very frustrating for me but now I carefully inspect each of my Castile soaps, hoping to see an orange spot in some of them. Crazy isn’t it? 😀

100% Olive Oil Soaps

100% Olive Oil Soaps

I will reveal more details in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

30 thoughts on “Bamboo Charcoal and Clay Drop Swirl

  1. J, your swirl looks great! So you used the bamboo charcoal? The result is beautiful and I love your top swirls too. I am very much looking forward to the follow up on your study. It is funny how things can change. Who ever thought that a soaper would hope to see orange spots in their soap? 🙂

    • Thanks Maya! And thank you for the bamboo charcoal! I usually premix my colorants but I did as you suggested and added it directly into the soap batter. It blended beautifully. I made another drop swirl with it but it didn’t make the challenge deadline. 😦 And yes, looking for orange spots is fun now. I think I may have seen my first couple of spots – the DOS developed after a week with one lot of olive oil and is currently a faint dark yellow spot. I think that it will get darker over time and become orange.

    • Thanks Ruth! And thanks for your mica swirl tips! Your suggestions made it so easy to do this swirl. I am also excited about the DOS project. I am starting to see DOS with one particular olive oil lot so it will be interesting to see if they develop with the other lots. This will probably be a year long project but I need some DOS data for the class in reliability statistics so I am hoping some DOS will appear within a couple months. I have some lots that I expect will be worse case (tap water, older olive oil lots, no additives) so we will see if my hypothesis is correct.

  2. Isn’t charcoal awesome to use? It provides good contrast and it’s a skin detoxifier too. Your mica swirls came out beautiful!
    I found Scientific Soapmaking very informative. Now I can’t wait to find out the results of your experiment. 🙂

    • Thanks Silvia! Love using the charcoal- it’s really nice and easy to use. Scientific Soapmaking is great! Kevin Dunn has written a great reference on soapmaking. His DOS experiment was based on accelerated aging of soaps at 60C (140F) but it would be interesting to see how the results compare to standard room temp. curing of soap. And unlike his study where he changed only one thing at a time, it is possible to change multiple things at the same time and get useful results if you set up the variables mathematically in a statistically designed experiment. I tried to pack in the factors so I can get the most bang for my buck. I just need to see some orange spots now!

  3. Beautiful drop swirl and mica oil swirl…such fun techniques! Did you find that the charcoal and clay thickened up your soap at all? Usually it does for me, but your droplets look like they stayed nice and fluid! That is so cool that you get to study DOS…please keep us posted!!!

    • Thanks Cee! The charcoal stayed very fluid but the clays started to thicken a bit. My soap mixture stayed fluid mainly because my olive oil content was fairly high (over 40%) and I started with soap barely at trace. I think if I waited a bit longer, I would be smacking thick soap globs in the mold. Will do on the DOS project! In fact, I am off to check my soaps right now! 😉

    • Thanks Amy! Thanks also for hosting another fun challenge! I learn so much from these and it’s fun to see others doing so too. DOS project is plodding along- I need to turn in my first data analysis for class tomorrow so off to look at some soaps. 😉

  4. Hello there,
    My name is Maja (Maya sounds perfect, 🙂 ) and I have a question. What are various factors included in your study? I realized all batches were Castille, but didn’t catch the factors which were supposed to vary. Sorry if you had told this before.
    I’m so eager to know what results you will get.
    Your soap looks mysterious and the top is very beautiful!

    • Hi Maja, I didn’t get into the details in this post because it was mainly for the challenge contest. I will get into more specifics in a future post but I am studying use of multiple olive oil manufacturers (8 so far). I also am looking at the the following factors: tap vs. distilled water, addition of ROE, addition of EDTA, open vs. covered (store in a canvas bag), use of sea salt, superfatting and temperature conditions. Whew! So far, it is early in the study so I am only seeing a few orange spots for one particular lot of olive oil. We’ll see what happens over time! 😀

  5. This bars are so beautiful to me! I particularly like the shape of the bar and the smokiness obtained from the blend of clay and activated charcoal. I’ve been coming across all these posts about soaps colored naturally while I’m trolling blogs; I really want to try coloring things with some clay, too!

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