Here’s another look into the Anointment family of products. This time, Om Shanti – our BEST-SELLING soap. Its popularity is astounding and we’re surprised again and again how often we’re making new batches.
Om Shanti is a phrase used in yoga and meditation that translates roughly to “I am peace” or “to bring peace”. The look of enchantment that comes over the faces of those who pick up and smell the bar of soap brings a smile to my face every single time. I never tire of it!
The first step in our soap making process is actually to make sure we have music. Music is very important to our soap making routine and depending on who is in charge of the workshop that day, you may hear oldies or you may hear top 40. Our workshop is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1980s ghetto blaster complete with non-functioning tape deck. Once we have music, we’re ready for a fun day of soap making!
Om Shanti Soap is the most difficult soap Anointment produces and requires a significant amount of attention to detail, concentration and preferably two people to handle the batch. The soap base is mixed in the same way as all our other soaps by combining 50% olive oil and a combination of solid fats (coconut oil and palm oil) in reaction with lye (sodium hydroxide).
The mixture is stirred until trace is reached – the point where if the soap mixture is dripped from a spoon, it will look like cake batter. Once trace is reached, we have to work quickly as the soap mixture will continue to thicken. The process of swirling the Om Shanti Soap is similar to making marble cake, but on a larger scale. A portion of the soap mixture is separated into a clean bowl and mixed with fair trade coffee beans (ground finely) and fair trade organic cocoa – the good stuff – Dutch Processed. We don’t skimp on our soap additives! The smell is intoxicating, I love it.
In the original soap pot, the essential oil mixture of Patchouli and Cinnamon is added making the whole workshop smell delicious. The properties of these particular essential oils accelerate the soap reaction and if we’re not ready (all dancing ceases at this point), the entire batch of soap will begin to seize making it nearly impossible to pour into our soap molds. Once the essential oils are mixed a small amount of the cocoa-coffee mixture is poured back in and swirled using a spoon. It is then poured into molds. If the batch is beginning to seize, we sometimes employ one person to funnel the mixture into the molds while the other one taps it to remove any trapped air. This process is repeated three times until the entire batch is poured. The molds are then covered with a heavy wool blanket (we also use antique quilts) for a minimum of 24 hours. After 24 hours the soap is gently warmed and removed from the molds. It is then cut by hand and stamped on one side with the Anointment logo. It then sits for another day when each bar is checked for quality, the edges are hand rolled to prevent chipping and denting and the other side is stamped with the soap “flavour”. Each bar is then placed into storage for curing. During the curing process, the chemical reaction will continue to take place, ensuring the lye has completely reacted and has been “used up”, creating a mild, luxurious soap that is gentle on your skin. The curing process requires 3-6 weeks.
Have you tried Om Shanti Soap? Is it your favourite, too?