Glycerin rivers are bad except when their not – Tuscan Villa Cold Process Soap

Virtually everyone gets them at some point and inevitably you will either embrace the glycerin river or thrash against it. Googling the topic of ‘glycerin rivers’ and you will find lots of stories of soapers who are confounded by the phenomena, but there are times that the effect can be a contributor to the overall design.

My experience has been that glycerin rivers form when a few factors are present:

  1. Titanium dioxide has been used; especially when combined with other colorants.
  2. The water/lye ratio has not been discounted or only discounted slightly.
  3. The soap was allowed to gel.

In the case of Tuscan Villa, this is exactly the outcome that I wanted. The crackling reminded me of the layering of paints and the crackling that can occur over time or when paints are layered. The colors inspired by classic paints and meadow flowers. The look reminded me of a Mediterranean villa I once stayed in years ago while vacationing on the coast of Italy. While not perfect, the soap definitely captured the image I had in my mind for it.

A few may be shaking their head’s thinking, glycerin rivers are always bad; but they aren’t. They can add both to the character and even sometimes the performance of the soap. By embracing the rivers, you can open a whole new realm of design possibilities to give new depths to your soaps.

Tuscan Villa Cold Process Soap close up
Tuscan Villa cold process soap close up

Colorants: TKB Honey Yellow, Wholesale Supplies Plus Adobe Orange, Nurture Soaps Brandeis Blue, and Titanium Dioxide. All of the colors with the exception of the orange were mixed with titanium dioxide to achieve the desired color.

Fragrance: A custom fragrance blend I created utilizing a mixture of ‘rain’, ‘floral’, ‘citrus’, and ‘herbs/spice’ type scents. It is described as exotic and inviting; relaxing and invigorating. The scent and soap combination works in large part because of the glycerin rivers. The finish reminds people of an old world villa with its layers of history and love intermingled with the clean and crisp of contemporary style. This is one that friends and family request often.

Pour technique: A very basic in the mold pour. Base color and then blue, yellow, orange; more base followed by orange, yellow, blue. Then finished with remainder of the base white color. The swirling was achieved utilizing a squiggly straw that was pulled and turned in the soap to create the pattern.

Curing: Soap was allowed to cure on countertop covered with and wrapped in a towel.

Post Author: Digital Fairy