Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ratan Jot Blue?

After making soap with Ratan Jot we realized that it behaves the same way that Alkanet does. It smells the same and they’re the same color before soaping and after. Wonder why that is? Well, Ratan Jot and Alkanet are the exact same thing! And here we thought we were being smart, comparing the way they react in soap and remarking on how similar they are.

Minor intelligence lapse aside,

Many soapers online talk about using alkanet for blue but the only color we’ve ever been able to get is purple. So, we decided to do an experiment to see where this blue is coming from.  In the beginning, with our limited soap knowledge, we thought that the heat produced by the soap might be affecting the resulting color. Now we know better; it’s the PH that affects the colors.
Before we get to the experiment, here is some background about soap PH. When making soap, we mix lye with oil. Lye and oil react to create soap. If you have less lye than is required for your recipe, you will have extra un-saponified oils in your soap. This makes it mild and conditioning. If you have more lye than is needed in your recipe, you will have extra lye hanging around which makes for a very harsh soap. For the purpose of this experiment, we made one batch with more lye than required (-5%), one with 5% more oil than required and one with 15% more oil.
Our predictions:
The lye heavy batch will be blue, the 5% batch will be light purple, and the 15% batch will be purple.
We had a newbie soaper for this round, take a look at her excellent soapy work:
Here are the oils before mixing, they are clear purple:

This picture shows one of the batches while it was being mixed. All three batches were the same color during mixing. The only difference was that the lye heavy batch traced much faster than the others.

This is a picture of the soap right after it was cut. The top layer is the -5%, the middle is the 5% and the bottom is the 15%. If you look closely, you can see that the center of the top layer is creamy dark yellow but the outside is blue.  
Here is the soap the day after cutting. The top layer started to turn fully blue a few minutes  after hitting the air. This picture shows the completely blue layer. (There is parchment paper between each layer)
Our conclusions:
If you get blue from using Alkanet or Ratan Jot, it is because the soap is lye heavy. Likely, soap coloured blue with Ratan Jot is going to be very harsh on your skin.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old post but I had to comment ... I have read a few times recently that ratanjot and alkanet are the same thing, and apparently even some suppliers confuse them and supply the same thing under 2 different names. Apparently they are botanically different though - alkanet is Alkanna tinctoria, ratanjot is Onosma echioides. I'm going to have an opportunity to check out the way they work in my soap as I have some ratanjot coming from a co-op order and already have alkanet infused in olive oil (and have also ordered powdered alkanet to try as well). But I thought I'd share the info with you now :)