Creativity and Good Manufacturing Processes in Soap Making
November 24, 2015
Over the last year, I’ve tried to be diligent in following good manufacturing practices (GMP) when making our soaps and lotions. A lot of time that means more documentation.
When supplies come in, I log it – supplier, lot numbers and expiration dates…
When I make it, I log it. My master recipe sheet is complex and flexible. It allows me to make a single batch or a triple batch. It captures the what and how of the additives, colors, swirl techniques etc were used with the goal of being able to recreate “the look” from batch to batch.
Someone asked me, “Doesn’t GMP and all its documentation stifle your creativity?”
I'd be lost without it! If I want to recreate a color, I can! I've found that I like the soaps better if the colors make up less than 30% of the batch. But even then, I still need my documentation that says 3% Black/10% red, fragrance doesn't accelerate but does discolor to a light brown, raise one side of mold a pencil height when pouring in colors.
For colors, I mostly use ultramarines, iron oxides and clays. The good thing is they are close to natural – no dyes or other additives. The bad thing is - there are not 101 colors. I mix most of my colors from blue, red, yellow, green, brown, white, and black. That's it! Basically primary colors with tints, tones with a couple of extras! GMP lets me know how much blue and red is needed to color 1000 g of soap to my desired purple shade. Now I have the ability to know how much I need to color 150 or 3200 grams of soap and get the same color. And I have the starting point to make a variation – lavender or a plum color.
But back to GMP (good manufacturing practices) and standard practices/recipes - I have this crazy idea of creating my own swatch book – full of paint chips and color recipes. Can you imagine?! A soap maker’s paradise … taking an idea for a design, flipping thru the swatch book, and creating! You can see how stifling this GMP is! LOL! But it is truly hard. The experimentation and just the fact of what you see is not what you get when you add the color to the soap, makes color matching in soap a challenge. And challenge = fun!