Winners of the June 2019 Challenge

The challenge for this month was to incorporate both food and drink ingredients into our soaps. The drink ingredient was to replace up to 100% of the water in the lye solution, and the food ingredient could be added at a ratio of up to 1 part food to 8 parts of the oils. The only differences between the regular and advanced categories was the amount of food and drink added (advanced had to have 100% water replacement with a drink ingredient and at least 1:8 ratio of food to oils) and the types of scents and colorants used (advanced had to be all-natural). Many members enjoyed the challenge of creating all-natural soaps, whether they entered the regular or advanced category as this can be a challenge in and of itself!

We had 71 total entries this month with such a variety of food and drink ingredients! Usually, it is optional for members to include a link to a social media or blog post with more information about their soap. This month, all entries were required to include links with information about the soap ingredients and ratios of food and drink ingredients so that we could learn from everyone’s experiences (and make sure they fulfilled the requirements of the challenge).

Mountain Rose Herbs is our sponsor, with gift certificate prizes for the top three voted winners in each category. They are such an amazing company! If you haven’t ordered from them before, you should definitely check them out for more than just soapmaking ingredients. Mountain Rose Herbs offers high-quality organically grown herbs, spices, teas, essential oils, carrier oils and botanical goods. They have been known for their uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, fair trade standards, and sustainable business practices. The company’s core belief that people, plants, and planet are more important than profit guides everything they do.

Since members could choose their own design for this challenge, you will see a huge variety of techniques were used to create their soaps. (Fair warning: if you’re on a diet, you may not want to read any farther as you will be hungry by the time you get to the bottom of the post!) If you’re willing to continue, however, let’s start with the advanced category!

In first place, winning the grand prize is Juanita Serrano of Juanderous in Melbourne, Australia!! Juanita’s soap, “Brunch is Served” is packed full of yummy foods in each layer, including eggs, avocado and berries with red wine and prickly pear juice as the drink ingredients. All layers are naturally colored, and the scent comes from an essential oil blend of peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass and eucalyptus blue gum:

“Brunch is Served” soap by Juanderous

This was Juanita’s first time making diagonal layers and they look fantastic!! She wins a $50 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs – congratulations! Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to read more about it and her process for creating it.

Second place in the advanced category goes to Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Quebec, Canada! Helene created an amazing NINE layer soap with all local ingredients, including donkey milk (from Betsy) as the drink ingredient, and buckwheat with maple syrup, strawberry jam, and raspberry and blueberry purees. The soap is all naturally colored with madder root, alkanet and poppy seeds in the fruit layers and scented with peppermint essential oil. The result is quite striking:

Betsy, Buckwheat and Berries soap by ChezHelene

Helene mixed each layer separately, adding cocoa powder lines after each one to create perfectly straight layers. Her prize is a $35 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs! If you click on the photo of the soap, you can see the video of Helene making the soap and more information on her YouTube channel.

In third place we have Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in British Columbia, Canada! Belinda’s soap is a tribute to her partner’s amazing banana pancakes!! She calls it Maple Mountain because they are so good she could eat a mountain of them:

Maple Mountain soap by Love Your Suds

Not only did Belinda include real bananas and maple syrup, but she also used coconut cream for her food ingredients, plus coconut water for the drink ingredient! Colorants include annatto, ground walnut, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and colloidal oats for even more goodness. Darker portions of the soap are scented with vanilla essential oil, and the banana slices on top are made with soap dough, colored with annatto extract and cinnamon. Belinda’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs! Click on the photo to read more about her soap and see more photos on her Instagram post.

Next, I have some recognition awards to show you for the advanced category! The award for Best Technique goes to Sharon Powell of Sharp Owl Handmade Soaps in Saskatchewan, Canada for her soap entitled The Salty Sea Men as the fish scale impression mat she created really enhanced the theme of her ingredients:

The Salty Sea Men soap by Sharp Owl Handmade Soaps

Her drink ingredient is a local pale ale that pays tribute to a great northern Saskatchewan River, while the food ingredients include nori seaweed and Northern Pike Roe (caviar!). No added scent, and the colors are achieved from annatto, indigo and activated charcoal. Be sure to click on the photo to read more about this fabulous soap on Sharon’s Facebook post.

The Best Presentation award goes to Leah Stinman of Delta Tule in California! Leah created a simple carrot and coconut milk soap for the challenge, but the way she presented it is excellent:

Carrot Cake soap by Delta Tule

I love the placement of the soaps in the photo. We get to see one full bar front and center, but it’s at an interesting angle so we can see two of the sides in addition to the face of the bar. The rest of the soaps that are fanned out behind it are perfectly spaced. Each bar is carefully beveled and there aren’t any stray soap crumbs to be found! The yellow contrasts beautifully against the dark wood grain and there’s enough light to bounce off some of the beveled edges without being over exposed or causing any shadows. Feel free to click on this beautiful photo to read more about Leah’s soap on her Instagram post!

Next up is the Best Use of Color award. This one goes to Jaimie Pendergrass of Soap Authority in Washington State. She used carrots in her soap as well as Greek yogurt for the food ingredients, and homemade goat milk kefir for the drink ingredient. Her colorants include activated charcoal and yellow and red Brazilian clays (in addition to the carrot puree baby food):

Goat Kefir Butterfly Swirl soap by Soap Authority

The colors are so vibrant for a natural soap, and they have been well incorporated without spots or bleeding. The oranges really pop with the addition of black, yellow and white swirls. Even the anise star seed pods and dried orange slices really enhance the look of the soap. Check out Jaimie’s thorough blog post with video by clicking on the photo!

Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award in the advanced category goes to Sherry Gros in Alabama for her Summertime Tomato soap! Sherry has been making soap for less than a year and has made fewer than 50 batches. She put a lot of time and energy into creating her soap as she considered the best essential oil blend to mimic the smell of tomato leaves, to figuring out all her food and drink ingredients, putting the soap together and creating the finishing touch of a small soapy tomato on each bar:

Summertime Tomato soap by Sherry Gros

Sherry chose V8 juice plus tomato puree for the bottom layer, scented with red thyme, grapefruit and a hint of geranium and colored with Moroccan clay and paprika. The top two layers were made with aloe vera juice plus fresh basil puree and pureed cucumber skins in the very top layer and French green clay to color the middle portion, scented with basil, lemon, and oregano essential oils. All in all, a very hearty garden soap! You can read more about the soap and see more photos as well on Sherry’s Facebook post by clicking on the photo above.

Next, we’ll move on to the regular category!! Our grand prize winner is Debi Olsen of Me Do it Meself in Colorado for her Cuckoo for Coconuts soap! Debi chose to use EVERY part of the coconut for her soap as well as a yummy coconut fragrance. Her design didn’t quite go to plan and she almost didn’t even enter! What a shame that would have been!

Cuckoo for Coconuts by Me Do it Meself

Debi made her soap entirely with coconut oil, using a 30% superfat! The white layers have coconut milk/cream that Debi prepared herself from a fresh coconut for the drink portion, and the dark layers are made with coconut water from the fresh coconut for the drink ingredient, plus pulp from the flesh of the coconut for the food portion. It is colored with cocoa powder and activated charcoal made from coconut husk. Of course the gold sunshine stamped on the front just adds to the character of this sunshiney bar! Debi wins a $50 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs, and you can read all about her process and see more photos on her blog post by clicking on the photo!

In second place in the regular category, we have Lisa Edgar in California with her absolutely decadent Chocolate Strawberry Bourbon Layer Cake soap! Lisa made her entire soap with whole milk as 100% of the lye solution, with strawberry puree, cocoa powder, Carmel Butterscotch Bourbon fragrance and a bit of cappuccino mica in the brown layers, and Sugared Strawberries fragrance with some titanium dioxide in the white layers, and cocoa powder lines between each layer. The frosting also has strawberry puree and Carmel Butterscotch Bourbon fragrance added, but no extra colorants to make it a slightly different color from the brown layers:

Chocolate Strawberry Bourbon Layer Cake soap by Lisa Edgar

The gold mica drizzle on top just enhances the texture of the piping and makes the soap even more enticing! Lisa wins a $35 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs – woo hoo!! Click on the photo for more information about Lisa’s soap on her Instagram post.

Third place goes to Matt Cox in Idaho for his Peaches and Cream soap, made with – you guessed it! – peaches and cream! I’ve also awarded this soap the Best Use of Color. I mean, check out those gorgeous colors and swirls:

Peaches and Cream soap by Matt Cox

The layering of the two different orange colors with the white between creates a truly beautiful color palette. The colors are saturated, but not bleeding. Matt’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Mountain Rose Herbs for his third place finish! He created a total of three different soaps for the challenge, and you can check them all out on his Instagram post by clicking on the photo above.

The rest of the recognition awards for the regular category are as follows:

Best Technique goes to Kristie Barker of Odyssey Soap in Utah for her incredible I Need S’More Soap entry! Kristie created such a realistic looking s’more soap using all the ingredients you would find in a real s’more sandwich! Graham crackers, marshmallows and real chocolate all found their way into her creation, with coconut and almond milks for the drink ingredients:

I Need S’More Soap by Odyssey Soap

I love that Kristie created her own mold for the Hershey’s chocolate pieces on top as well as whipped soap for the marshmallows! Everything looks absolutely delicious, doesn’t it? Be sure to click on the photo to read and see more about this soap on Kristie’s Instagram post!

The Best Presentation award goes to Yvonne Liao in Taiwan for her beautiful Carrot and Leaf entry photo! Yvonne’s all natural soap is made from carrots and sweet potato leaves, with carrot juice and aloe vera juice for the drink ingredients:

Carrot and Leaf soap by Yvonne Liao

I love how Yvonne highlights one bar of soap by creating a stack of soaps for height, bringing that one soap at the top of the stack into focus and leaving the rest just slightly blurry in the background. The asymmetrical positioning adds interest, and the soap bars are also perfectly stamped and edges are planed straight for a neat appearance. Click on the photo to watch Yvonne’s video about her soap on YouTube!

Finally, the Best Soap Newbie award in the regular category also goes to a soapmaker who has been making soap for less than a year, with fewer than 50 batches under her belt. Congratulations to Lindsey Rogers in Illinois for her Good Morning Beautiful soap! Lindsey made a coffee and cream cheese soap with an “everything” bagel embedded inside:

Good Morning Beautiful soap by Lindsey Rogers

Lindsey was quite ambitious with her design, creating her own bagel embeds with poppy seeds and corn silk for texture! I love how the drop swirls come down just short of the bagels to mimic the cream in the coffee. Check out Lindsey’s Instagram post for more information about her soap by clicking on the photo!

The rest of the entries from both categories are posted in the order they were voted at the bottom of this post. 

We have a bit of a break before the next challenge starts in July! Registration will open on Monday, July 8 for the Pointy Layers technique with Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks as our guest teacher. Teri has created this gorgeous soap for the video tutorial:

Pointy Layers soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Elements Bath & Body will be our sponsor for July, and I’ve decided to do ONE big challenge for everyone (no separate categories!) which means there will be larger prize packages! $100 gift certificate for Grand Prize, $75 gift certificate for second place, $50 gift certificate for third place, and $25 for Sponsor’s Choice. You will also have the opportunity to sign up for the August challenge at a discounted rate. Be sure to check out the Current Challenge page for more information and to sign up for notifications!

And now, here are the rest of the entries for June:

Advanced category:

Contest Ended

Regular category:

Contest Ended