Vanilla, the Problem Child of the Soap World

I’ve made a couple of soaps for the summer season.  One is a creamsicle scent and the other smells like cotton candy.  Yum!  They almost smell good enough to eat, and if it weren’t for the fact that vanilla discolors, they would be lovely.  When I first made them, the colors were just what I’d hoped for–the creamsicle was a soft orange and the cotton candy, a bright pink.  I don’t suppose I have to tell you what they look like now, do I?  Yes, the Dreaded Vanilla Brown, scourge of soapmakers everywhere.


 I’m sure that many of you can empathize with my situation and that you have your own “brown” stories to tell.


This is crazy.  We’re landing a rover on Mars, but we can’t have a vanilla scent that doesn’t discolor at all?  Is that really so hard?  Apparently, it is.




It’s true that some clever soapers have found ways around that discoloring, whether it be whipped soap or adding scent to only a portion of the batch so that just part of it turns brown.  Half brown, they feel,  can certainly be more appealing than all brown!


Other wise soapers have learned to embrace the brown and are satisfied with it.  The “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” theory is at play here.  It’s certainly better than stressing over an inevitable result.



What about you?  Do you care if vanilla fragrance turns brown in soap?  Have you found ways to deal with it?  Perhaps you have ideas to share.  We’re all ears!


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier