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      CommentAuthorLori
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
      2 points
    I recently came across some articles on activated charcoal. I've become intrigued, and have a few questions about using it in soap. (I tell you, I see life though soap colored glasses now. it has bubbled over into every other part of my consciousness. Anything and everything has become a potential additive, mold, colorant, or utensil for my new addiction.)

    So anyways, I like the idea for naturally achieving a black bar, and I wonder, do its adsorbent qualities carry through into the finished soap? If so, can it be effectively used in poison ivy relief soaps or the like? Any comments or suggestions would be great, as I have no experience with the stuff.

    I have read that direct application to the skin can have a tattooing affect. is this an issue?

    What is the standard usage PPO and method of incorporation?

    On a side note, is there a national Soapaholic's Anonymous hotline? This craft has really gotten out of hand. Its threatening to take over my life and my kitchen.
  1.   0 points
    Great questions! I was wondering about activated charcoal just the other day. I love the dark grey color of some of the bars I've seen. I would love to try making some. Does anyone know where to buy activated charcoal?
    • CommentAuthorKinky Witch
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
      1 point
    I love using activated charcoal in some of my soaps! I've used a few teaspoons to a couple of tablespoons in my batches of soap for different effects. My batches are typically 3.5 oz of oils/butters. I know it's absorbant qualities carry through to the finished soap, but I have no idea if it's good for poison ivy relief or anything like that.

    My Twilight soap is a swirl of activated charcoal and alkanet root powder for a wonderful look. Since activated charcoal sucks up moisture and is known to remove toxins from the body, I mix it with a little bit of water first to get a watery paste-like consistency, then swirl that into the soap at trace. I love seeing the wispy black swirls in the cut soap.

    Another one I made was a limited edition Halloween-themed soap. I achieved a very dark gray color with by using a few tablespoons dumped into the soap at trace. I didn't pre-mix it with water that time since I was incorporating it into the entire batch.

    Yet another one I made was colored mostly with French green clay. Then I swirled the watery paste-like consistency on the top for yet another beautiful look. Though you have to make sure the soap isn't too thick to achieve that look.

    Yes, activated charcoal will stain your hands and be quite messy if it gets out of control.

    And yes, my hubby and I look at everything now as a possible soap tool/colorant/mold, whatever! Welcome to the soapaholics club, Fruitleather.

    I hope some of my ramblings help!

    Edited to add: My hubby picked up a bottle of activated charcoal tablets from the local herb store when we wanted to test it in our soap. A little seems to go a long way, so we haven't had to purchase more yet. I'm sure it can be found online.

    ~Robin
  2.   0 points
    Thanks Robin! I can't wait to try it. Does it add any "grit" or scratchiness to the soap?
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      CommentAuthorEsther
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
      0 points
    Thanks Robin--- I'm curious about using it too (and yes, soaping is as addictive as drugs, just not as cheap ;) )
  3.   1 point
    Forgive my ignorance, but is activated charcoal the same thing that's used in fish tanks as part of the filter system??

    Also, I need Soapaholics too - my whole basement has now been redone into my office area, kitchen workshop and storage. Plus I get to use the nice fireplace that was down there :-) I painted it a wonderful "Athenian Green" and I love it!

    Kathy
  4.   0 points
    brittanylane - I haven't noticed a grittiness or scratchiness in any of the soaps I've used activated charcoal.

    Kathy - I believe it is the same thing that's used in fish tanks for the filter system. The hubby and I checked the aquarium sections of a couple of stores, without any luck, before finding the tablets at the local herb store. What I wouldn't give for a dedicated basement for my soaping! You're a lucky gal.

    ~Robin
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      CommentAuthorSimona
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
      0 points
    I am just wondering.... I am not sure how things are over the Atlantic Ocean, but here we use some medicinal charcoal, especially for intestinal issues (e.g. after my c-section it helped me to restore the bowl/gas movement). I am not sure what other external uses this charcoal has, but I would use this one in my soap, not other charcoal... I would never put anything in my soap that I would not use on my skin otherwise (ok, we can exclude the lye from that list :))) )


    *** later edit ***
    I just checked with my Google friend and yes, this charcoal that I am talking about can be used also for treating eczema, skin rash, wounds or insects bites. So this is what I would put in my soap. Is this the same charcoal you are talking about?
  5.   0 points
    Robin,

    My basement transformation came about because of a couple of things: 1, my home office where I do all my garden design business was upstairs along with all my lotion making stuff. Each time I needed to make lotions, I had to drag it down to the main level where our kitchen is, clean everything, make my stuff then drag it all back up again. 2, My hubby's office was in the basement, as was a kitchenette area that we hardly ever used. So, we switched places, painted, moved stuff and added some re-claimed cabinets and a few shelves. I figure the whole thing cost (other than time of course) about $300.00. Not bad considering I have a whole new space and much more efficient business(es) operation!

    If you're interested in what it looks like, here is an album with a few pictures. I had a holiday sale last weekend which I held in the workshop.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/snowshoesw/WorkshopPhotos?authkey=Gv1sRgCMimlqLgsK6v9QE&feat=directlink

    Kathy
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      CommentAuthorLori
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
      0 points
    Robin,
    Thank you so much for your ideas!

    Once the soap is finished, does it lather white? do I need to worry about my towels & etc getting stained?

    Kathy,
    Wow. Some day I hope to have an area larger than two shelves in a closet dedicated to my craft.

    You ask, "is activated charcoal the same thing that's used in fish tanks as part of the filter system?" I think is theoretically the same stuff, but I would only use medicinal/food grade charcoal. I believe the other stuff is chemically treated.

    More questions. Are there any studies that actually show charcoal soap has more benefits than say, the same soap without the charcoal? I mean is there enough in the soap to make a noticeable difference in symptoms? I have read articles saying, "it does such and such." and others saying there's no hard evidence to support it.

    In your experience, ladies, what have you observed? I'd hate to be telling my friends that my soap has properties which it may not really have. :-/

    And finally, is there a preference between bamboo/coconut/hardwood, and what are differences besides the obvious what they're made form?

    I hope I'm making sense. I am just so curious all of a sudden.
    Thanks for all your help and patience!

    ~Lori
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      CommentAuthorchrima
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
      1 point
    hi, i'm christine, and i'm a soapaholic. it has been a 3 days since my last batch . . .
    • CommentAuthorcaren
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
      0 points
    Thanks for all the info on activated charcoal, I will go online and look for that along with Australian Black Clay, I was thinking of for my grandson's....It has been more than 1 month since my last batch, everything is packed up, half in Wisconsin and the other half in Tennessee where we are moving to. Withdrawls are very sad indeed!!! But in this case, I don't want a 12 step program.

    Caren
  6.   0 points
    Hi I am Crystal, and I am a soapaholic, it has been 5 weeks since my last batch, but in the meantime my addiction continues with bath bombs, lip balms, body butters, and sugar scrubs.
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      CommentAuthorEsther
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
      0 points
    Hello, I'm Esther.
    I too am a soapaholic. It first started with a once a month batch in my crock pot, now it owns 1/4 of my kitchen space, my crock pot is totally a soap pimp and all proceeds from soap sales go to buy.... more soap stuff.
  7.   0 points
    Simona - The activated charcoal I've used for soap was in capsule form that one would swallow to treat internal issues. My hubby broke up all the capsules to get the powdered activated charcoal out (messy process!).

    Kathy - You are indeed fortunate to be able to swap spaces with your husband. Your basement is very well organized and doesn't even look like a basement with that bright window! Thanks for sharing your photos.

    Lori - Once the activated charcoal is incorporated into your soap it will lather white. If you sprinkle some on top for added decoration, it will probably wash off as black in the first using, or if you pick it up and handle it your hand will be black. I honestly don't promote my soap as having "healing" or certain properties, though I do say that what I've used in the soap is known for treating whatever symptoms its good for. As for studies to back up the properties, I have no idea. There always seems to be people who swear by it and others who think it's bunk.

    ~Robin
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      CommentAuthorLori
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
      1 point
    Thanks everyone for all your help! Love this forum.

    I've decided to give Charcoal a try. I just ordered some from http://stores.ebay.com/Our-Fathers-Healing-Herbs.
    It looks like a good deal for a good product. We'll see when it arrives. I could have bought some locally from an herb store, but I didn't want to spend $11 for a little bottle of capsules that I'd have to un-capsulate anyway. From all my reading last night, it looks like a good thing to always have on hand in the herb cupboard, so even if it doesn't go into the soap it won't be wasted money. :)

    I'll let you know how my adventures go.

    Its been nearly a month since my last batch. :( I like to do it when my hubby is home so he can take care of the little ones. So glad he is so supportive of my growing hobby, especially since I'm a full time mom (no personal $ income) and he pays for my supplies. I'm thinking of getting more serious and starting a small business so it pays for itself.

    ~Lori
  8.   0 points
    Lori - Keep us updated on what you think of it! I'll definitely be ordering online next time I need some. I know my hubby wasn't thrilled with taking all the little capsules apart, but he's a trooper. Having a supportive husband is the best ^.^

    ~Robin