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Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub

This post contains affiliate links. 

I have two faults that almost anyone would agree with.

Number one: Being unwaveringly frugal. . .  or as my mother would say CHEAP. But is that really a fault? To me, it’s not. I just like making sure that I get the best deal possible. 

And number two: As my grandmother would say, never leaving well enough alone. I can’t help it, I like improving things. I like adding my own twist to recipes or updating old tried and true ones. And I don’t discriminate. I have no problem updating my own recipes at all. Everything can always be improved upon. 
For example, the recipe I posted a couple of years ago for Sugar Cube Scrubs

My old recipe was simple and basic:

1 part melt and pour soap

1 part liquid oil (example: olive, apricot kernel, avocado, grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, etc oils)

3 parts granulated sugar

I’ve learned a little bit about scrub making in the past 2 years, and I wanted something packed with even more moisturizing ingredients. Enter the new recipe. . . .

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With mango butter (you could easily substitute shea or cocoa butters) for its wonderful ability to both moisturize and protect skin and safflower oil for its easy absorption, this is my new go-to recipe for making sugar cubes. 

Ingredients:

2.95 ounces melt and pour soap

1.1 oz olive oil

.4 oz safflower oil

2 vitamin E capsules**

.35 oz mango butter

7.5 oz granulated sugar

Colorant (about an 1/8 teaspoon of hydrated chromium oxide green powder mixed with just enough natural glycerin to make sure that all of the powder is incorporated)

Lime essential oil 1/4 tsp

Lemongrass essential oil 1/8 tsp

*The first 5 ingredients are measured by weight. 

**Just the cut or puncture the end of each capsule with scissors and squeeze out its contents to use.

Equipment I Use:
Microwave safe bowl

Whisk

Disposable Cup

Measuring Spoons

Digital Scale

Spoon

Silicon Mold similar to this one.

I start off by getting the colorant ready and mixing it with just a bit of vegetable glycerin until the powder is completely incorporated and there are no clumps. Most of the colorants that I use are natural or semi-natural, and most come from one of my favorite suppliers, TKBTrading.com. They have a huge selection of quality colorants. 

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Start off by weighing out the mango butter and melt and pour soap into a microwave safe bowl.

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Microwave in 30 second increments, making sure to check it after each time and to never leave it unattended until melted. 

Add in the liquid oils and whisk until completely incorporated. Add the essential oils and the colorant and whisk.

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Now, add in the granulated sugar and stir until it’s all completely incorporated. It will probably be fairly thick, so place back in the microwave and heat in 30 second increments until the mixture is thinner and a much more easily pourable consistency.

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 Remove from the microwave and whisk again to make sure all of the ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Then spoon or pour into your mold. 

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 Wait about an hour or until the cubes are completely hardened before unmolding. 

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The best thing about making sugar cube scrubs is that if they don’t turn out exactly how you’d like, simply pop them in a microwave safe bowl and remelt them. 

To use: In the shower, smash a cube (you can use a whole cube or break one into pieces) in your hand. Rub all over dry or rough skin (they’re also great for heels that need a little exfoliating) avoiding any sensitive areas. Rinse off. 

Or put them in a pretty box with mini cupcake liners, add a ribbon, and ta-da! Perfect for a Mother’s Day gift. 

Don’t want to make your own? The Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub is listed in the Etsy shop right now, along with Neapolitan, Lavender Mint, and Lemon Meringue Pie. Click here to visit the Scrub section of the shop. 
Lemongrass Lime Sugar Cube Scrub
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2.95 ounces melt and pour soap
  • 1.1 oz olive oil
  • .4 oz safflower oil
  • 2 vitamin E capsules
  • .35 oz mango butter
  • 7.5 oz granulated sugar
  • Colorant (about an ⅛ teaspoon of hydrated chromium oxide green powder mixed with just enough natural glycerin to make sure that all of the powder is incorporated)
  • Lime essential oil ¼ tsp
  • Lemongrass essential oil ⅛ tsp
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, weigh out the melt and pour soap and the mango butter. Heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, checking after each time and not leaving unattended, until melted.
  2. Whisk in the liquid oils. Then, add the colorant and essential oils, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the sugar and combine.
  4. If the mixture is too thick, heat in the microwave in 30 second increments, checking after each time and not leaving it unattended.
  5. When the mixture is a thinner and pourable consistency, remove from the microwave (being careful in case the bowl is hot). Whisk again to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  6. Spoon or pour into the mold.
  7. Wait for about an hour before unmolding.
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Shampoo Bars 101

There is one very frightening thing in my life. Something that has been consistently the greatest, most out of control, and detested bane in my life. My cross to bear, if you will.

You may be wondering what could possibly inspire such negativity? One word. Hair.

You read that right. And I’m not alone. There are plenty of us out there who have more bad hair days than good. And I have been a firm member of the Bad Hair Club for years. Let me set the scene for you a little bit.

My hair is super thick. Emphasis on the super. I could literally donate some to three other people and it would still be too thick . You wouldn’t happen to want some, would you?

Add to that, it’s wavy, naturally frizzy, and damaged. The damage is all my fault, a result of too much experimentation and too often.

My mother went back to school when I was growing up, taking up cosmetology and due to some fairly relaxed instructors who didn’t mind well-behaved children, I tagged along to most of her classes. Somehow during all of that, I turned into a living mannequin head that had more haircuts, fingerwaves, pin curls, wash and sets (picture little old lady hair), facials, and manicures that I could ever count. It was a ton of fun, and I have so many fond memories from back then. The downside? It inspired a devil-may-care attitude towards hair experimentation. And when those pesky teen years hit a few years later, the game was on.

If it can be done to hair, it’s probably been done to mine. Permed, highlighted, bleached, curled, crimped, chemically straightened, coloring removal,and thinned. It’s been every length from mid-ear to mid-back. And every color from platinum (Which may have looked good on Marilyn, but not me.), jet black, auburn, every shade of brown, pink, carrot orange, green, and burgundy. Those last four? Thanks to some bad dye jobs, I swear. All in the same week, too. Two words. . . . Hat. Week.

All of that left me with hair that on occasion resembled a cross between Bozo the Clown’s and Carrot Top’s. And with a routine that consisted of regular keratin treatments, hot oil, anti-frizz serum, hairspray, and a lot of time spent with a flat iron.

Until I found a secret weapon. Shampoo bars.

It’s been over a year since I started using them, and my hair has never looked better. It’s less frizzy, shinier, and has grown unbelievably fast. Shocker of shockers, I’ve even received the first ever compliments on it. You could have bowled me over the first time it happened.

 

Before Shampoo Bar

After Selfie

You can’t tell me that’s not 100% better. Am I right?

And my routine? On a day to day basis, nothing other than a thorough brushing and a DIY coconut oil mask every few weeks. On special occasions, a few minutes in hot rollers and I’m done.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post: Shampoo Bars 101.

What exactly are shampoo bars?
They’re exactly what they sound like, shampoo in a bar form with most of the ingredients in them chosen specifically for the benefits they’ll impart to hair. Also, unlike liquid shampoos, most shampoo bars are sodium laurel sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate free.

What are the benefits?
Most people (including yours truly) experience less frizzy, shinier, and faster growing hair. Other benefits can include less dandruff and more volume. Plus, most bars are made to be completely natural and even better, you might be able to go a day or two longer between washes.

What are the cons?
Shampoo bars don’t lather up quite as much as regular shampoo, especially if you have hard water. And some people report slightly drier hair, commonly on the ends. Lastly, when switching to a shampoo bar, there may be a transitional period during which your hair is adjusting to the lack of chemicals that are in regular shampoo. During this time it might become frizzier, dryer, easier to tangle, or oilier. Or a combination of all of the above. This transitional period can last from a few days to a few weeks. For me, it lasted two weeks.

How long do the bars last?
Months. I made the switch in August 2013, and I’ve since gone through two bars and only started on the third tonight. By the way, they make great travel soaps, and if bentonite clay is one of the ingredients (like with our Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars), they can also be used as a shaving soap (bentonite clay allows razor blades to glide smoothly across skin).

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo with text

Can you use regular conditioner afterwards?
You totally can. I don’t. I use an apple cider vinegar rinse (recipe at the bottom) to help restore my scalp’s pH level and close the cuticles.

What about other products?
You can continue to use those, too. But I’ve found that I don’t really need them anymore.

How do you use them?
1) Wet hair thoroughly.
2) Either rub the bar directly on your head to create lather or rub it between your hands and apply the lather to your head.
3) Rinse very well, allowing the water and suds to flow through the length of your hair.
4) Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse. You can either rinse it out after a couple of minutes or leave it in.

ACV Rinse
The following is a recipe for a 1:1 ratio of rinse (1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to every 1 cup of water). I mainly use a 2:1 ratio (2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of water).

Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water. If you have shorter or thinner hair, you can try halving the recipe.

*You can also try steeping the rinse in a pot on top of the stove with certain herbs for 15 – 30 minutes. My favorites are fresh rosemary and calendula petals. Rosemary encourages hair growth and adds shine, while calendula conditions, soothes sensitive scalps, adds shine and warm highlights.

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Other herbs you can try are chamomile (great for adding highlights to lighter colored hair), nettle (excellent for dandruff), lemon balm (acts as a mild astringent, so perfect for oily hair), rose petals (perfect for brightening red hair), etc.

And the last question you might have. . . .

Where can I purchase your Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Bars?

From our Etsy shop, here.

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Soap Pencil Lines.

I love trolling the net looking at pictures of hand crafted soaps. In fact, it’s become an extension of my soap obsession. But I guess it’s time well spent as I do use it for research for designing upcoming soaps. Or at least, that’s the story I’m going with 😉

 
One of the things I’ve noticed a lot of soapers doing is pencil lines. What is a pencil line? Notice in the pictures below, the dark line running through each bar. It’s such a simplistic and modern look, and while I don’t usually like simple (or modern), I love the look of pencil lines. I’ve done it three times, now, and each time has presented its own challenges. And while all three times, the soap hasn’t turned out exactly as I’d hoped, they’re still nice looking. And I’ve learned with soap making that the soaps that don’t turn out perfectly like I want them to are usually the first ones to sell out 😉

These are the most recent two soaps made this past weekend:

Japanese Cherry Blossom (the pink was colored with Cosmetic Fluorescent Strong Pink, the white with Titanium Dioxide, and the pencil line was made with Activated Charcoal).

Bay Rum (uncolored – this fragrance oil has a .3% vanilla content, so it should darken somewhat- and the pencil line was made with Black Walnut Hulls Powder).

Pencil lines are essentially a thin layer of powder (such as micas, activated charcoal, cocoa powder, ground coffee, etc) sandwiched between two layers of soap. To achieve this effect, you can use a tea infuser or a small mesh sifter (which is what I used).

Once the first layer of soap is poured into the mold, simply dust a small spoonful of your chosen powder on top of it. The fun part is that you can make the pencil line straight or jagged just by smoothing out the first layer soap or leaving it more texturized. After you’ve added the pencil line carefully wipe the sides of the mold to clean up the excess powder. Now, it’s time to add the second layer of soap. So that the second layer of soap doesn’t break through and disrupt the line, pour it over a spoon or spatula.

Tip: When you cut the soap, turn the whole loaf on it’s side. This keeps the pencil line from being dragged through the whole bar of soap. This also works great when you slice soap that is topped with oatmeal, jojoba beads, calendula, chamomile, etc. Also, wipe the blade of your cutter clean after each time. 

My soap cutter is unfortunately not tall enough to cut soap on its side, so I had to use a knife. And I am horrible at cutting straight, even bars using a knife. So, before I do any more pencil line soaps, I’m going to have to purchase a different cutter – maybe a good cheese slicer like this one here.


 

Updated on February 14, 2015:

Two years later, and this is still one of my favorite soap making techniques. In fact, browse our Etsy shop and you’ll almost always see at least one pencil line soap (check out our shop here).

 A couple of recent pencil line soaps:

Japanese Cherry Blossom. . . . same scent and same design from above.

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Indian Sandalwood with a very thin line of gold mica (brown swirls were colored using cocoa powder). . . .

Fallen Leaves with a thin line of gold mica (colored with titanium dioxide, red oxide, and Moroccan Clay).

Tips I’ve learned over the last couple of years. . . . 

A cheese slicer is a fantastic cutter for pencil line soaps.

Always turn the soap loaf on its side while cutting to avoid smearing the pencil line.

Use the smallest sifter possible to avoid getting your pencil line colorant on the sides of the soap mold. I now use one even smaller than the one pictured above.

It’s a fine balance between too much and too little. . . . Too little and the pencil line doesn’t show up as well. Too much and the soap might split in half right at the pencil line.

Use a vegetable peeler to clean up the sides of the bars and make them neater.