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3.3.17

How Much Fragrance for My Soap, Ice Trick and Other Cold Process Soapmaking Tips

Let's dive into some questions I recently received via email regarding cold process soap making. I hope that you'll find them helpful. Do you have other questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I may choose yours as my next blog post!


Q: Do carrier oils and butters lend any fragrance to the soap?

A: Not enough to notice. The only exception that I've experienced is cocoa butter added at 15-20 percent. It results in a light cocoa scent. I find that most of my clients and students want to add essential oils to create a beautifully scented soap. (I no longer use synthetic, fragrance oils. I stopped using them five years ago when I began to have breathing issues around them.)


Q: Is it true that sodium lactate will speed up the saponification process? What's the cure time when using sodium lactate? Is the cure time based on the weight of the soap?

A: Sodium lactate won't speed up saponification. However, it will result in a harder bar. I recommend that you try sodium lactate at 1% of your oil weight. If you've never seen it, it's clear and looks similar to glycerin.

To use, simply stir into cooled lye water (under 130F). However, you may not want to use sodium lactate if you are reducing the water content in your soap. It can cause overheating and cracking, which is a complete bummer.

Also, if you plan to use any liquid with a high sugar content (juices, milk, etc.), I suggest that you try a small batch first to see if the sodium lactate will behave in the batch. It can cause overheating in milk and juice soaps.

Cure time for the soap will be standard, which is around four weeks depending on your formula. For example, if you make a castille soap (100% olive oil), then your bars may take six to eight weeks to cure.

Try using ice in your lye water to keep fumes at a minimum
and to help cool your lye water temperature quickly.

Q: We used ice in our water during the soap making class with you in New York City. Can you remind me of the ratio of ice to water? Does it matter how much? Should I assume the weight of the ice and water should equal the water liquids needed for that particular batch?

A: Great question! And I'm sure many soapmakers will appreciate this tip. Let me first explain that I use ice for two reasons: 1.) to help the lye water temperature drop faster and 2.) to keep the sodium fumes at a minimum, which your lungs will thank you for years down the road.

The maximum amount of ice I recommend is 70% of your required liquid. You'll just replace 70% of your liquid weight with ice, then add the rest in water. Sometimes students ask if ice weighs the same as water, and the answer is yes. And yes, you're right in the assumption that you're going for the total amount of water liquids needed for the batch. The higher the ice amount, the stronger the probability that some of your lye may not dissolve completely. So start with a 50:50 ice to water ratio and you won't run into any problems with the lye not dissolving.


Q: How do I determine how much fragrance to add to my soap batch? When do I add it?

A: You can either add your fragrance to your oils before you begin soaping or you can add them at trace (thickening of the soap batter). I recommend adding them at trace, especially if you aren't sure how they are going to behave once added. Add a small amount at a time. If you see your soap thickening quickly or turning into tiny chunks, stop and quickly pour into your mold. This can happen with floral essential oils and especially fragrance oils, since the latter is made up of different chemical components. We never know how fragrance oils are going to behave. So if you are new to soap making, stick to essential oils like lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and rosemary in the beginning and you'll have very little chance of something going wrong because of them.

The usage rate for essential oils in cold process soap is 0.5 - 1 oz. per pound of oils used in your formula. This doesn't include water. Just your oil weight (olive, shea butter, coconut, etc.) Always weigh your fragrance and rest of ingredients for accuracy as opposed to using measuring cups.

To determine the amount of essential oils/fragrance, take the weight of your formula oils in pounds and multiple by .5 ounces. For example:

3 lb. oil
x .5 oz fragrance
1.5 oz.


Q: Do I have to line my molds?

A: If you are using wood or cardboard, yes. Line it with freezer paper or plastic wrap. If you are using plastic molds, I suggest you use plastic wrap inside the mold for an easy release. However, if you are using silicone molds, you can forgo the plastic wrap.


Q: Can you remind me what the temperature of the lye water and oils need to be before I combine them? Does it matter about the temperature of the essential oil?

Honestly, I don't even check temperatures anymore. I now teach my students to feel the sides of the lye/water and oil containers and get a feel for the temperature of under 120F or 130F. If you are new to soap making, you might want to use a thermometer in the beginning. Under 120F is ideal, but if you are at 130 or even higher your soap will be fine. My favorite temperature is room temp, which is right around 68 degrees in my house this winter.

Thanks for reading. If you're in the New York City area this month, be sure to check out my upcoming workshops!

7.2.17

Alchemy of Cold Process Soapmaking - An Online and New York City Experience


Photo credit: Marla Bosworth
These are the hands of alchemists blending their cold process soaps
with wildcrafted botanicals and healing essential oil blends.
Last month in New York City I shared with students what I have been doing for a lifetime as an alchemist - blending nature with healing modalities. It began when I was a child in central Illinois when I would create infusions with botanicals found walking in the woods, forgaging in fields or in my parents' garden. Later in life when I created my botanical beauty company I began creating soaps in Massachusetts and captured the energy of the Atlantic ocean and Cape Cod in my bodycare line. Then I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where shIe worked with the energy of wildlife, the Rocky Mountains and the plethora of botanicals growing throughout the Grand Tetons.

Customers would come into my Jackson Hole store and tell me how her products envoked memories of hiking on trails in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park. They would hold the soap - some knowing and others not - that the vibrational frequency in the soap brought memories and oftentimes emotional healing.

I've taken my knowledge of combining alchemy, higher consciousness and sacred geometry and created a new class for beginning and experienced soapmakers. This workshop is also intended for healers, lightworkers, massage therapists, yoga enthusiasts, and anyone interested in wildcrafting, alchemy, energy healing, sacred earth energies and cold process soapmaking.

Join me on March 24 in New York City for the next workshop. Check out the class here. Not able to travel to New York? Sign up for my new, upcoming online workshop here.


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22.11.16

Masterclass in Denver: Growing Your Indie Beauty Business in 2017

Ready to get proactive about launching and running your indie beauty business? Ready to stop taking all the opportunities that come your way, even if they might not be profitable or a good match for your company? Ready to scale and grow your business?





In this information-packed, full-day masterclass, Marla Bosworth will help bring clarity to your goals and what you wish to manifest for you and your indie beauty business in 2017. Whether you have an existing booming business or just getting ready to launch, this intimate workshop will help you put goals in place to take these next steps in your business. 



You'll learn from Marla, a bath and beauty expert and market research analyst, who launched Back Porch Soap Company nearly 20 years ago. She is known in the indie beauty industry for her sage personal and business coaching. In addition to teaching formulating and business workshops all over the U.S., she has successfully opened and run retail stores in both the Boston, Massachusetts area and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She brings 30 years experience as a market research analyst and retail sales expert to this workshop.


Among the topics Marla will cover in this full-day, intensive masterclass:
  • Beyond the Products - What Really Makes Consumers Buy
  • What to Expect for the Indie Beauty Business Market in 2017 
  • Avoiding Pitfalls: Why Indie Brands Go Out of Business
  • How to Be an Indie Beauty Trailblazer
  • Creative & Profitable Business Ideas
  • Product Packaging
  • How to Generate Excitement Around Your Brand
  • Social Media Hotspots - Finding the Buzz
  • Getting Media Attention
  • Pricing and Profit Margins
  • Protecting Your Business - The Truth About Insurance Coverage & Trademarks
  • The New Age of Wholesale (It's Changing and How to Adapt)
  • How To Master Retail Sales, Including Opening and Running a Retail Establishment
  • Hiring, Delegating and Outsourcing
  • Best Practices for Pitching Sales/Opportunities and Negotiating
  • Creating a Long-Term Plan to Scale Your Business

Attendees will receive a binder of valuable handouts. There will be plenty of time for Q&A's throughout the session. Link for more information visit our website

18.11.16

Introducing Our Custom Essential Oil Blending Services




If you're seeking custom essential oil blends for personal use, your practice or for your company and products, you'll love working with Marla Bosworth. She is known in the indie beauty industry for her professional essential oil blending and custom cosmetic formulation services. With 20 years of indie beauty business experience and 30 years as a market research and retail sales expert, she is at your service for contract blending. For an additional fee, Marla may travel to your location (please inquire for details). 
This is perfect for entrepreneurs developing their own line of products as well as beauty businesses who desire specialized blends. 
Together you will custom-tailor the project to fit your needs and application (perfume, soap, skincare products, haircare, candles and more). Marla has consulted with students from around the globe - from Ghana, South Africa, to Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Ireland, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Israel, Columbia, Ireland, Spain & from around the United States just to name a few. Marla is well-known in the indie beauty industry and has spoken numerous times at the Handcrafted Soapmakers and Cosmetics Guild Conference.
Blending service packages start at $498. We would love to work with you! Please inquire and determine whether we are a good fit with your project, please visit this our site here.

27.9.16

October 2016 Workshops: Learn to Make Indie Beauty Products in New York City

Fall is a beautiful time to visit New York City. Learn how to formulate natural and organic skincare products on the Upper West Side of Manhattan next month. Our event takes place October 24-28, 2016. Choose individual workshops or the entire week of Bath and Body University. Students from more than 100 countries have completed our courses to learn how to create products for personal use and business. Most of our students have no formal training in skincare formulation. 

Join cosmetic formulator Marla Bosworth for classes ranging from cold process soap making to an indie beauty business growth seminar. Our courses range from intermediate to advanced, but Marla's teaching style and comprehensive materials makes it easy for the novice to feel comfortable in class as well.




The full schedule is as follows:

October 24 - Cold Process Soapmaking
October 25 - Creating Colorful Designs in Cold Process Soap
October 26 - Formulating Moisturizing Body Creams
October 27 - How to Make Safe Soy Candles with Essential Oils
October 28 - Launch and Grow Your Indie Beauty Business

These workshops fill up quickly. We post number of spots left in each workshop on our website. Workshops are held on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with easy access from all parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Can't make this series of workshops? Join our Facebook page for upcoming announcements and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter.

Marla Bosworth is an award-winning entrepreneur, author of many ebooks and articles for the indie beauty industry. She is a world-renowned teacher of natural skincare formulation. Marla has been using social media and the internet to grow her online presence for 20 years (yes, back in the days of America Online). She teaches workshops throughout the U.S. and has had the pleasure of consulting and working with students from all over the world.
cosmetic course, hand-on cosmetic soap workshop, nyc soap making classes, indie beauty business, entrepreneur, green beauty, cosmetic formulation course, manhattan, how to launch soap business

27.2.16

March 2016 Workshops: Learn to Make Your Own Natural Skincare Formulations in New York City

Join me in New York City to learn how to formulate natural and organic skincare products. Our event takes place March 19-25, 2016. Choose individual workshops or the entire week of Bath and Body University. We have students join us from all over the world to learn how to create products for personal use and business. Most of our students have no formal training in skincare formulation.

Join cosmetic formulator Marla Bosworth for classes ranging from essential oil blending, herbal infusions, body butters, soap making, emulsified body scrubs to a skincare formulator's business seminar. Our courses range from intermediate to advanced, but Marla's teaching style and comprehensive materials makes it easy for the novice to feel comfortable in class as well.



The full schedule is as follows:

March 19 - Growing Your Beauty Brand with Social Media

March 20 - Creating Signature Essential Oil Blends and Blending Services

March 21-25 - Bath & Body University

March 21 - Organic Face and Body Creams

March 22 - Herbal Infusions in Body Butters and Balms

March 23 - Organic Luxurious Body Scrubs and Bath Soaks

March 24 - Organic Soapmaking

March 25 - Build and Grow a Successful Bath & Body Business Seminar

These workshops fill up quickly. We post number of spots left in each workshop on our website. Workshops are held on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with easy access from all parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Can't make this series of workshops? Join our Facebook page for upcoming announcements and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter.

Marla Bosworth is an award-winning entrepreneur, author of many ebooks and articles for the indie beauty industry. She is a world-renowned teacher of natural skincare formulation. Marla has been using social media and the internet to grow her online presence for 20 years (yes, back in the days of America Online). She teaches workshops throughout the U.S. and has had the pleasure of consulting and working with students from all over the world.

5.1.16

January 2016 Workshops: Learn to Make Your Own Natural Skincare Formulations in New York City

Winter in New York City is magical, and the perfect time to join us to learn about formulating natural and organic skincare products. Our event takes place January 25-29, 2016. Choose individual workshops or the entire week of Bath and Body University. We have students join us from all over the world to learn how to create products for personal use and business. Most of our students do not have any formal training in skincare formulation.

Join cosmetic formulator Marla Bosworth for classes ranging from herbal infusions and butters to a skincare formulator's business seminar. Our courses range from intermediate to advanced, but Marla's teaching style and comprehensive materials makes it easy for the novice to feel comfortable in class as well.

The full schedule is as follows:

Day 1 - January 25
Herbal Infusions in Body Butters and Balms

Day 2 – January 26

Soy Candles and Luxurious Massage Candles

Day 3 – January 27
Liquid Soaps and Shower Gels 

Day 4 – January 28
Organic Cold Process Soapmaking

Day 5 - January 29
How to Run a Successful Bath & Body Business Seminar



These workshops fill up quickly. We post number of spots left in each workshop on our website. Workshops are held on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with easy access from all parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Can't make this series of workshops? Join our Facebook page for upcoming announcements and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter.
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