The use of wine in soap adds market appeal and some believe the sugar content adds a luxurious lather. Caution must be exercised when using alcoholic beverages in soap because this is an advanced soap making technique that if done improperly can lead to a soap volcano or seized soap. We took extra care in creating these lovely bars of soap made with Merlot. In this article, we will share tips and tricks for creating Wine Soap.
Boil Off The Alcohol
Alcohol and soap making do not mix well together. If alcohol is added straight to lye, it can overheat and in some cases cause a lye volcano, not the type of eruption we hope to ever see! To combat this issue, boil the wine and simmer for at least ten minutes. This burns off the alcohol in the wine, and makes it more suitable for soap making. Be sure to start with more wine than you need for your recipe. As the wine simmers, some of the liquid will evaporate.
Now that the wine is alcohol-free, we are left with dealing with the natural sugars in the beverage. Sugar can cause soap to overheat, and it can smell awful if scorched! To avoid the sugars in the wine from burning, chill the wine in the refrigerator for several hours. Once the wine is chilled, begin to soap. In our recipe, we used 50% water and 50% wine for our liquid. Slowly add the lye to the water and prepare your oils. When both are around 100ºF, add the oils to the lye/water and stick blend. Next add your chilled wine, and blend until you have reached trace. Wine soap smells pretty terrible when you are making it, but don't worry the odor will go away.
As much as we would hope for the fragrance and color of wine as we know it to stay, the saponification process has other ideas. Wine soaps are commonly scented with wine fragrance oils to really allure customers to your beautiful soap! Additionally, you may want to color the bar completely or add a touch of color to the top of your soap. We fragranced our soap with Crafter's Choice® Merlot Wine Fragrance Oil and added Crimson Red Wine Mica Powder to color the top.