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Beautiful and good for health – what else can you wish for?

A couple of years ago I saw a picture of a beautiful rose-color soap which had been made with straight red cabbage juice.

Coloring soap with red cabbage juice has been on my to-do things since then and I eventually got around to trying it.

I did, however, quite a lot of research on the compounds of the juice and got to know that it owed its beautiful color to the great amount of polyphenols, and more specifically anthocyanins for its color. Having tried blueberry and red rose juice before, I thought that the color would not hold. Still, my research told me that depending on the last atom of the anthocyanin molecule, the color might hold even in a basic environment. I figured that since the blueberry juice contained fructose and therefore a lot of the blueberry anthocyanin molecules had a sugar “atom” attached to them (I am sorry for the dilettante explanation), it was the reason for the discoloration to beige in basic environment. Cabbage, being a vegetable, does not contain so much sugar, I thought, and therefore it might be a better coloring agent for cold process soap.

Several sources told me that anthocyanins are weak organic acids and have different colors that depend upon the numbers of removable protons that remain attached to the molecule.

To make a long story short, depending on the acidity of the environment, the correlation between acidity and color goes as follows.

pH Color
2 red
4 purple
6 violet
8 blue
10 blue-green
12 greenish-yellow

This table basically means that the higher the pH, the more significant the change of color is when the cabbage juice or more accurately the anthocyanins in it are treated with NaOH.

Despite all scientific evidence found on the web, I hoped against hope that my soap would turn a beautiful rose color thanks to, of course, all the miraculously un-touched, un-damaged anthocyanin molecules from the red cabbage juice. I cut the cabbage, squeezed out the juice and got ready to use it.

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Fresh red cabbage juice – it looks almost unnatural

The first step was using a few drops of it onto the NaOH flakes. The color turned from that supreme purple into dark blue-green and then, in less than a second, into yellow.

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A drop of straight red cabbage juice onto NaOH flakes

I figured that after I get a nice heavy trace, the pH would be somewhat lower so it would be a better timing to add the anthocyanin-loaded straight juice.

I discounted the juice-water mix and added the remaining juice after the batter got almost as thick as bread dough.

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And guess what? It never ever got even close to blue let alone to purple or even red! It immediately went from purple to very deep green and then to yellow. In less than a second. A beautiful silky pale yellow color.

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Soap made with red cabbage juice

The finished soap is still pale yellow.

As a result of this experiment, I have decided to neither use red cabbage juice as a soap colorant nor for label appeal. The reason? The chemical reaction actually breaks the anthocyanin molecules into compounds which seem to have properties different from those of the anthocyanins and have not been researched well yet. As much as I would love to say that my red-cabbage-juice soap contains antioxidants I have no proof to show that any anthocyanins would be still present in my cold process soap.

And this is where the story ends. My advice: eat your red cabbage and get all the goodness through your digestive system. This way you will get a lot of fiber and vitamins in addition to a lot of whole-body polyphenols 🙂

Clyde Slide Soap Challenge

Another month has passed like a breath. I did take some pictures of a few Japanese gardens which I still intend to share soon but before doing that, there is the post about this month’s soap challenge: the Clyde Slide technique.

As September is the busiest month for me at work, I doubted I would have time for any soaping this month but, as they say, when you really want to do something you can find a way to do it.

The Clyde Slide technique is relatively new and I believe it will be getting more and more popular as it can produce amazing patterns, and many of them, in just one batch of soap.

For this challenge I revisited one of my favourite color combinations, enhanced with the EO blend of tea tree, orange and Japanese mint.

I will begin with a picture of the wet soap.

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge – wet soap in the mold

I was not sure what to expect before I took the soap out of the mold and was pleasantly surprised with the pattern on the sides of the soap.

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge – out of the mold

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge – out of the mold

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge – out of the mold

 

And here are the patterns which I got along the batch. Needless to say, my surprise grew with every next bar of soap!

Clyde Slyde Soap Challenge

Clyde Slyde Soap Challenge

 

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge

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Clyde Slide Soap Challenge

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??Clyde Slide Soap Challenge

It is amazing how different each too bars look! It all depends on how fast you pour the soap into the mold and which side of the bowl you choose to pour from first and then turn the bowl a little and continue pouring. This technique is one of the techniques I have enjoyed using the most as it is not “labour intensive” 🙂 and you get beautiful results. It also allows for many variations depending on how many faux funnel pours you make in before getting the soap into the mold, whetehr you pour from one side of the bowl only or you turn it a little on the way to you get a “twist.” You need a certain degree of patience while using it though – you need to wait for the soap to reach nice medium to heavy trace (not too heavy though) before you pour the soap into the mold. This gives you well-defined lines and beautiful patterns.

Many thanks, Amy, for this challenge, for your hard work and the inspiration you always give us by choosing the techniques!

I am looking forward to seeing all the beautiful works this month!

Maya

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