Make Loofah Edge Soap without the usual beginner mistakes.
It looks simple to make Loofah Edge soap bars, just make your soap and throw a loofah slice on top, right? WRONG. I use to think this too!! For a long time I really thought that was all I was doing! [This article assumes that you already know how to make soap and just covers the loofah edge part.]
I was enlightened when I got a huge loofah edge order and needed help from a good soaping friend. This lady is very smart, and is a seasoned soaper. She had been watching me make, using, and helping me sell my loofah edge soap for well over a year. I gave her a box of slices and no loofah edge instructions. Later that night she called me to say her loofah edge bars looked like CRAP compared to mine! How was I doing it???
Taking a look at her bars. I could see instantly things she did wrong to make loofah edge soap and realized I too had made all those same mistakes in the beginning. I had improved my technique with each batch and had long forgotten these all these beginner mistakes.
You can just slap the loofah edge slice on your soap and call it good, but I can guarantee that is exactly how it will look! If you want a GREAT looking functional loofah edge soap read on.
How to make Loofah Edge fit your mold.
Loofah edge are generously cut to fit any sized bar from 5 oz down to 3 oz bars and must be trimmed up with a sharp pair of scissors to fit YOUR soap mold. Fit is very IMPORTANT, and it is important to do this before you start soaping! As you may well know there is rarely any time after the soap starts tracing to be concerned about if the slice will fit into your mold properly!
- Take a second and hold each loofah slice up, look through it. You are checking for seeds and husk specks (usually black and tiny). Remove anything foreign with tweezers or poke it out with a wooden skewer.
- Loofah edge looks best when it is arched in the middle but it needs to be securely anchored also. Place the loofah edge in the palm of your hand exterior side against your skin and start to make a fist. [ I call this a roll.] This will help arch the loofah more so it does not lay flat on your soap and gives you that desired arch.
- Ideally when you make loofah edge soap you want the edge of the loofah to be a bit away from the side edges of the soap. It is not pretty when the side edges of the loofah is flapping and the middle is still hanging on to the soap halfway though use of the bar. Or even worse the middle is not even anchored and the sides are so close to the edge that the entire loofah falls off shortly after beginning to use soap! Both of these are LOOFAH EDGE SOAP FAILS !!
- Take out your soap mold and test each loofah for the length and trim off any excess, The ends need to be just enough away from the edge of the soap to allow you to cut between bars and NOT grab the loofah tips embedded in the soap. If you are using a cavity mold stay far enough away from the end so that no loofah tips poke out the soap bar ends. This usually ends up being under 1/8 inch ~ you can get really close on the ends.
- Next take the loofah in your palm, roll it to make it arch and place it inside your mold. Judge if the side edges will fall about 1/8 inch from the sides with the center or main part of the loofah still being anchored in soap. This measurement is important, stay away from these soap edges! If loofah does not fit, trim as little off the sides as possible, roll it and try again. Many times trimming is not even necessary at all if you do the roll first.
- One more preparation, run your finger along the back side of the loofah, the part that will be embedded into the soap. This is part that your customers will eventually hit as the bar becomes a sliver. Your goal is to make sure they do not scratch their skin before they realize the end is near. If there is a middle ridge on the slice and it is rough, mash it on a hard surface bending the tips over a bit but still retaining your arch.
- Lastly, remove all your loofah edge slices from your empty soap mold and place them in your soaping area. Turn your soap mold UPSIDE DOWN and shake, I can bet that some loofah pieces fell into there while you were trimming and those on the bottom of your soap is not a look you want.
Make the Loofah Edge Slice Placement Correct.
Except for re-batching I make loofah edge soap using cold process so that is what I will be talking about.
- Never push a loofah edge fully into your soap, it is meant ride on TOP, if you totally sink it then it becomes to similar to Grandma’s foot loofah soap and that is not what loofah edge was intended to be!
In a perfect soaping world you have enough time to do all the designing you want and yet still have the soap batter remain fluid enough to sink your slices in properly. If the batter is to thick when you place the loofah all that happens is a ridge forms between the loofah side and the mold side & the slice does not become securely embedded ! Thumping can help this somewhat but you may still end up with an ugly ridged loofah edge bar. [ LOOFAH EDGE FAIL ] To prevent this from happening you may have to limit your design time in order to be able to place the loofah slices into soap while the batter is still fluid enough to move and fill in around it.
- After your soap is molded and designing is done take your loofah, place on top of soap and very gently press so that it sinks only about 1/8 of an inch. It really doesn’t need to be in very far for it to hang on. The further in you push it the less of a soap bar you are giving your customers, and the more you are making it look like Grandma’s foot soap. Most people when hitting the back side of the loofah toss it out so give them all the soap you can.
- Even if soap batter is fluid thump your mold after each placement to help soap fill in tightly against the loofah bottom. DO take care to not get soap batter anywhere on top side of loofah…. it just looks bad. Should you get a drop or two on the topside wait until soap is hard and prick off with a wooden skewer.
**TIP Unless you know your recipe and FO very well the timing of the placement of your loofah edge slices is something you will have to judge EVERY TIME you make loofah edge soap. If the soap begins to move to fast you may need to drop your design idea & quickly get the loofah edges on. An OPTION to always keep in mind ~ Change your plan entirely about making this batch a loofah edge soap! If you can’t get the loofah to sink and end up with edge ridges and non embedded loofah this soap will probably end up a rebatch! Best to save yourself the trouble of that and just change direction when you see the soap not behaving!