Since my first batch of homemade cold processed soap, I’ve experimented with a few different recipes. I tried out two fragrance oils to see if they were something I wanted to bother with or if I should just stick to essential oils. And I have decided that once my few fragrance oils are gone, I won’t be replacing them. They are just too unpredictable – you never know if they are going to seize your soap or turn it a weird color, plus I was never really fond of the idea of synthetic fragrances. Especially since I’ve been on a mission to use more natural products on my skin.
I also wanted to see how I liked olive oil and other vegan oils versus animal fats for soaping. I got really ambitious and even rendered my own tallow from some beef fat I bought (photo at right). I felt very empowered by this and I think I’ll hunt around for a less expensive source and continue using animal fats in some of my soaps. In the meantime, though, I had a 7 pound bottle of pomace olive oil I wanted to play around with; so I infused four little jars of olive oil with various botanical ingredients on a day I was home sick from work. That weekend I used the calendula infused oil to make a skin soothing batch of soap that will hopefully provide some relief for my step-dad and his itchy skin.
Carrot Calendula Soap
Yield: 2 lbs (21 oz oils)
- 13.7 oz olive oil (pomace)
- 4 oz calendula infused oil
- 4.2 oz coconut oil
- 2.1 oz castor oil
- 5.98 oz water w/1 tsp fine sea salt dissolved into it (this has been discounted by 2 oz b/c of carrot puree)
- 2.829 oz lye
- 2 oz carrot puree (I used baby food)
- Calendula petals, sprinkled on top
This recipe is 6% superfatted and I blended the carrot puree into my oils before adding the lye water. I added the sea salt to the water because I read that this makes for a harder bar of soap. It traced at a speed I was comfortable with (meaning I didn’t have to rush to cram it into the mold), and as it set up a little, I played around with texturing the top before adding the calendula petals. It was ready to cut in 24 hours and I was so happy with how it turned out. I’ll definitely be using this recipe again. And while this batch is unscented, the smell of the infused oil really stuck around, so it has a light, sweet fragrance.
I think I’m going to do a lot more all natural, basic ingredient soaps in the future. I like the idea of soap with a purpose over soap that looks fancy.
Soap photography by Paul Adams