After seeing all the different varieties of whipped soap out there, I longed to make my own with my favorite scents, colors and designs. But my first attempt was an absolute disaster. As any soaper can tell you, experimenting to try and perfect a recipe can quickly become a disheartening money pit. And after all that trouble, nobody wants to give away their recipe that they worked tirelessly (and expensively) to correct! Will I share my recipe? No sorry, I'm not that generous. But maybe I can help save you a little bit of money and prevent you from making the same mistakes!
Whipped soap was one of my first loves when I entered the world of online handmade soaps. I first purchased from a soaper on Etsy, because they offered a few food-scented items, including a chocolate whipped soap that was phenomenal. I toyed with the idea of making it myself, but then looked at the ingredient list and was immediately intimidated by the complicated names. "Nah."
But that's also how I felt when I began soaping. I would watch tutorials on Youtube and think, "I have to do ALL THAT? Ugh. Nevermind."
Eventually, my curiosity caught up with me and I thought to myself: Just make one batch. See how it turns out. I did. It was far from perfect, but also NOT a disaster. Later on, I saw that my soap ingredient supplier was offering a whipped soap base. That thought had never occured to me. That you could use a pre-made base and still end up with a handmade product. It makes sense though!
I had previously watched Soaping101 's tutorial, "How to Make Cream Soap (foaming bath whip)," and was so disheartened by the work involved. I really admire Soaping101 and their dedication to the craft and education that goes into soaping.
You can view Soaping101's foaming bath whip tutorial here:
Unfortunately, I just didn't have the guts. So I ordered the base and tried a simple recipe that the supplier had written specifically for their product.
IT WAS AWFUL! Terrible, horrible, and not good. I had followed their recipe to a T, but it looked nothing like the picture. It was goopy, unstable, and deflated quickly upon putting into jars. Luckily, I was only making these to give as gifts and not to sell - but they were SO BAD that I felt bad even giving them away. I wanted to throw them into the trash. Fortunately for me, the recipients didn't even really know what the finished product was supposed to be, so they loved it anyhow.
I shied away from whipped soap for a while, but could never get it off my mind. Eventually, I stumbled upon a video from Yellow Cottage Soapery and it gave me new inspiration! You can view her fluffy whipped soap tutorial here: https://youtu.be/o1-4RyIHlho
She is the only soaper I have found so far who gives away her recipe and uses it in front of the camera exactly as written. I suspect a lot of soap makers have had similar flops to mine, because they are tight lipped about their precious recipes once they find one that works! The other possibility is that they are using a recipe they paid for, and of course you would not give that away. A popular recipe that many soap makers mention in their tutorials is DIY From Scratch's recipe for Foaming Bath Butter, which you can find here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/244109572/diy-from-scratch-foaming-bath-butter
I don't know what is in it, but lots of people do swear by the recipe.
If you choose to use a foaming bath butter / whip base for your product, each base is different, but have very similar properties. They contain products for foamy lathery qualities, as well as built-in preservatives - since they contain water, they must have preservatives. This is important to note, especially if you choose to incorporate sugar (for scrubs) or clay (for foaming masks), pigment, or any other medium on which baceria and yucky molds love to thrive. The bases do have a preservative built in, but depending on the amount of additives you'll be including, you may need to include an extra broad spectrum preservative.
My first batch after trying again was OKAY. Just okay. I added the sugar again as my supplier had initially suggested, but also added some extra ingredients for stability and to make the whip strong enough to pipe. It was pipe-able, but still very sticky, stringy and not pleasant to work with out of the jar. I also worried about how long the initial preservatives would treat the sugars in the "bath frosting."
Here are some tips that might have helped me the first go around:
1. PICK YOUR BASE WISELY
Research the ingredients in your base and make sure they will work for your purposes! Make sure they are all approved for cosmetic use including face, especially if you plan on making scrubs or masks.
2. JUST BUY THE BIG ONE!
Most soap ingredient suppliers offer very competitive prices on bath whip, but it's the shipping that's a killer! Nobody wants to decide between paying $13 to ship a one pound tub, or otherwise wait until your next order to try the bath whip again (that was my mistake). If you research thoroughly and read reviews, you will most likely be safe! READ the reviews! READ READ READ! And then take them with a grain of salt, because many of them are written by disheartened artisans like me, who ended up with a lousy batch after the first go. All "bath whip" base descriptions offer a versatile, endless base for effortless products. Once you find your own happy place - they are!
3. WEIGHT COUNTS!
If you are already a soap crafter, you know this. In the event that whipped soap is your first DIY bath adventure, please take note of exact weights and buy a food scale that measures in grams if you need to. Even large mixers can only handle so much whip base because it expands greatly. A very small excess of oil can turn your gorgeous, fluffy cloud whip into a gummy mess that's sometimes impossible to bounce back from. You can always add more! But you can't take it out.
4. MAKE IT PRETTY!
I have seen soap makers at craft shows who are selling sad, deflated, flat soap and calling it whipped. I dunno about you, but the thing about whipped soap that makes me want to buy it is because it looks delicious. It LOOKS like it will make your skin delectable. If you have a flop batch, save it for your friends, because people can get blah soap from the dollar store.
5. DON'T OVER WHIP!
It's tempting because we want to make as much product as possible and have it fill every crevice of our very expensive PET jars. But too much air before will equal too much air after. Even the best bases and the most stable ingredients will eventually collapse, especially if you ship your product. The slightest tap will send it crashing like a souffle and all your whipping will be for nothing. I usually whip my initial base until it has doubled in size, then decrease speed to a 2 while incorporating the rest of the ingredients, before giving it a final 10 second blast of full whipping speed at the end, mostly to clean off the whisk.
6. GET A STAND MIXER!
And don't use the same one you use for food! Trust us! Unless you plan on making only one batch a year, you're going to want a stand mixer just for soaping. It will make your life easier, saving your sanity AND your back.
Which whippy issues have you come across? Leave a comment below!
I am almost out of my last big tub of NG foaming bath whip base, and am excited to try Stephenson's. Here's hoping it's great, because I bought 8 lbs of it! It was sold out for quite some time, so I'm hoping that's a good thing - but I had a not-so-great experience with their melt and pour base recently. So... we'll see!
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