Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thickening Liquid Soap with Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC)

Thickening liquid soap created from Potassium Hydroxide or a combination of Potassium and Sodium Hydroxides is a challenge that many soapmakers face.  There are a lot of thickening products out there for surfactant systems but many are not suitable for high ph soap products. There are two cellulose products that do effectively work to thicken these liquid soaps.  Hyroxyethel Cellulose (HEC) and Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC).  Both of these products are readily available at Lotioncrafters and The Herbarie.  I had previously shown how to effectively use HEC to thicken liquid soaps and here I will show one way to thicken using HPMC.  Please note:  HPMC works very, very well at thickening dual lye (those using both potassium and sodium hydroxides) soaps at very small percentages.  I use about .5% of HPMC on my dual lye soaps.

Some people have success just heating up their soap, sprinkling the HPMC into it, whisking well and allowing it to cool down, whisking it every so often.  I tried this method and had difficulty getting the thickness I wanted and found that using it at greater than 1% caused my soap to cloud.  I went back to the vendors instructions and had more success with that method at much lower percentages of product - plus it is not necessary to heat the entire batch of diluted soap this way - just a portion of it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thickening Liquid Soap with PEG 150 Distearate

I came across another liquid soap thickener that I thought I would give a try to see how it works.  PEG 150 Distearate is available as Conditioning Thickener at The Herbarie and as labeled at Making Cosmetics.  Both suppliers indicate different usage amounts, one from .2 - 2% and the other from .5 - 5%.  Temperatures to incorporate it vary slightly too.  Since I purchased mine from the Herbarie, I will use their temperature guidelines.  It is very, very easy to incorporate into your liquid soap and gives an increase in viscosity at 2% and 3%.  It also does not cloud your soap allowing it to remain clear. The resulting thickness will also depend on how thick your soap is to start with. These amounts did not create a gel soap, but one that was slightly thicker than the diluted soap that I started with.  Here is how to use this thickener in your liquid soap.  I am using my liquid goats milk soap that I scent with 3 different essential oils.  I have used this thickener on soaps with 25% - 60% coconut oil content successfully.  Always try a small amount of your soap to see what percentage gives you the thickness you are looking for.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mississippi Mud Bars - Recipe

These chocolate bars are not only absolutely delicious but oh so easy to prepare - and I am all about easy to prepare treats.  Everyday ingredients are used to make this indulgent chocolate treat.  Great for yourself or a housewarming gift, potluck - you name it.


1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows

Chocolate Frosting
1 16oz package confectioners sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup hot milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

15" x 10" jelly roll pan
Grease and flour pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1.  Whisk together the first 6 ingredients (butter through salt).
2.  Stir in flour and 1 cup chopped pecans
3.  Pour and spread batter into the 15" x 10" greased and floured pan
4.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 - 25 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
5.  Remove from oven and spread marshmallows and the remaining 1/2 cup pecans evenly across the top
6.  Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.

7.  Beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth.
8.  Drizzle and spread the frosting across the top of the warm bars.  The frosting will firm up and solidify as it cools.
9.  Cool completely and cut.


~ Faith