I’ve always wanted to play with Foaming Bath Butter, but I could never find it. Then Voyageur Soap & Candle brought it in, and it was time to play! (You can get this at various suppliers. Check the frequently asked questions section of the blog to find a supplier near you!)
So what we have is a paste that is made with surfactants – the sodium cocoyl isethionate and disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate – with some humectants – sorbitol and glycerin – with water, salt, preservative, and a chelating ingredient. It is less solid that the most refined shea butter I’ve ever used, and was easy to get out of the container with a spoon. You can add up to 5% oils by weight to the product.
As a note, it might be easy to remove from the container because it’s really hot in my workshop right now – over 30˚C some days. (Darn you, summer! You are my nemesis!) I say this as I’ve seen some sites saying that you should “cut chunks” of the FBB before using, so it might not be as easy to remove from the container during the colder months. (Source: Stephenson, the creators of the base. Look at this video where they are cutting chunks of the product.)
The glycerin and sorbitol are humectants, but they are also plasticizers, which means they can make things more pliable. In this product, they are used to keep the products whipped instead of solid, because otherwise, you’d just have melt & pour soap that comes in blocks. As well, these ingredients mean the product is milder than a product without the humectants, which is what we call increasing mildness in our surfactant mixes.
Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) is considered a very mild surfactant that leaves behind what is called an elegant skin feel, meaning your skin should feel conditioned rather than feeling dry or tight. Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate (DLS) is also considered very mild, and is recommended for oily skin as it will remove sebum gently.
What can we use it for? Because it is a surfactant paste, you can use it anywhere you might use surfactants. But it’s mainly used to make scrubs or whips – for instance, a shaving soap or a sugar scrub – or to make whipped toppings for bath bombs because it’ll melt in the tub when you throw in that lovely bath cupcake! (I did make up my own version of the whipped topping, which you can find in this post!)
SCI and DLS are two very lovely surfactants that can be used in any cleansing product you might like to make from body scrubs to body wash pastes to facial cleansers and even shampoos! (I use this combination in my conditioning shampoo bars for oily hair!) My pH meter registered it as just slightly under 6, which is the perfect pH for hair! (This pH is confirmed by the company, Stephenson, which lists it as 5.5 to 7.)
This product can grow up to double in size if you whip it with a whisk. This should take 3 to 5 minutes or so. Make sure you have enough in the container! I originally used 30 grams because I don’t have a lot of it, and it didn’t whip at all. 100 grams was a good amount in a tall container. I keep seeing recipes calling for 1 pound or 2 pounds (454 grams to 980 grams), which will make a heck of a lot of product if it’ll double in size. I’m going to suggest that you start with smaller amounts – I made 2 – 4 ounce (120 ml) containers with 90 grams foaming bath butter.