I used palm kernel oil (PKO) this time instead of coconut oil, because I wanted to make soap for some friends who are allergic to coconuts. PKO and coconut are the two oils that produce the most lather. So if coconut oil is out, PKO is in!
The Vanilla Hazelnut fragrance oil is a very well behaved oil: no acceleration, no seizing, no ricing. So I normally have plenty of time to do decorative techniques. In fact, I usually have to wait for the soap to set up enough to do them! But this time was different.
PKO sets up much faster than coconut oil. At least, it did for me today. Things thickened up really fast.
Like most vanilla fragrance oils, Vanilla Hazelnut turns soap brown. I like to use this to my advantage, and leave some soap un-scented--and therefore un-brown. Then I can swirl the white and brown together, or do layers, or whatever.
Today I decided to do a layer of brown (darkened still more with a bit of cocoa), a cocoa line*, a layer of white (whitened still more with a bit if titanium dioxide), another layer of brown, and a swirled white top with a bit of cocoa and glitter sprinkled on top. I did all that, but it was really getting thick. The final layer of white looked like whipped shortening--it was that thick. But I got it on there, and swirled it in, and sprinkled the cocoa and glitter on top. The cocoa and glitter actually look good together.
The soap in now in a warm oven, saponifying its heart out.
I'll have pictures of cut soap later. But for now, there's just a picture of the soap in the mold before it went into the oven. Too bad you can't see the glitter in the picture.
*A cocoa line is made using a thin layer of cocoa in the soap. Pour a layer of soap, sprinkle some cocoa over it, then pour soap over the cocoa. When you cut the bars, you can see a thin dark line across them.
If you use too much cocoa the two layers of soap don't adhere to each other and the soap can break there. If you don't use enough, it's hard to see the line.
A cocoa line is a form of pencil line, which can be made with pretty much any powdered colorant: colored clay, mica, ultramarine.