Botanicals in Soap 14


Botanicals are often added to soaps. While I don’t have problems with most botanicals there are ways to add these items and few problems.

No sweets: if your fruit item is sugary sweet it will probably cause problems in your soap. If you must add a peach puree to your soap, then use a teaspoon per lb of fats. Your soap will turn out much better with less sugars going into the pot.

No sours: consider adding any juice you like to the mixture but remember the above rule. Lemon juice certainly isn’t sugar sweet, but the pH is too low to be a good addition to your soap.

Juice and tea: If your chosen fruit or vegetable has a high water content (like cucumbers) then consider adding this juiced material to your soap. It will work far better than adding cucumber shreds.

As with any item you desire to add to soap, the first test batch should err on the side of caution. Increase your chosen additive with each successive test batch, until you hit a limit of tolerance. Test batches are certainly usable, and can often be great for test marketing purposes, but failure to make test batches is just asking for trouble.

What plant materials do you like to add to soaps? Which have you considered, but haven’t yet tried? I would like to see your list of items and we can review them together. Send us your comments.

Andee
Next week is all about the face and nails. We are going to make a mask, a lotion, an exfoliating soap, cuticle jelly and a cuticle oil. I’m so excited for this! Lots of this next week will end up in the Mother’s Day Gift Baskets! Don’t forget about the drawing!

Our pile of potential items to add to soap.

Our pile of potential items to add to soap.

Items that can be steeped or made into teas.

Tea bags, loose leaf teas, mushrooms, and coffee can be steeped.

Items that can be to be juiced for use.

Cucumbers, celery, carrots, lettuce, and parsley can be juiced. Be careful, too much chlorophyll will cause soap to go rancid quickly.

Coffee can be ground or grated.

Coffee can be ground.

Forgo Oranges, Lemons and Kiwi Fruit.

Forgo Oranges, Lemons and Kiwi Fruit.

Puree Tomatoes, Carrots, Bananas, Mangos, Avocados, Pumpkins and Apples.

Tomatoes, carrots, mangos, avocados, pumpkins and apples can be pureed.

Blend the following with water then strain. Celery, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, and Apples.

Blend the following with water and then strain. Celery, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, and Apples.

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About Andee

I'm a twenty something soap snob. I've grown up with hand made soaps and I love them! I really like making lotions, soaps and perfumes. I adore mixing scents to come up with something new. My favorite scent is either Wicked or Cotton Candy. I tend to hoard fragrances, I even have an Earl Grey Tea from the MMS catalog. I won't tell you how old it is, but it sure is good!


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14 thoughts on “Botanicals in Soap

  • kathyjane

    I recently added coffee to a batch of soap, using strong brewed coffee for my liquid and then adding 1/4 cup grounds.
    It’s a nice hard bar that gets just about any kitchen smell off my hands. Love it!
    Then, I tryed chocolate in a small test batch but it stayed very soft and crumbly and had no lather what-so-ever, but it smelled wonderful!! I wound up throwing that test batch in the trash.
    I’ve wanted to try fresh herbs like sage or thyme but wasn’t sure how to proceed, any suggestions?

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    • Andee Post author

      kathyjane,
      Chocolate, and cocoa butter, are lather killers. There is nothing wrong with the soap and if you can get past the “lather = clean” concept, it is a nice soap. Use chocolate lightly, and cocoa butter as no more than 2 ounces in each lb of fats. Make sure to use lots of coconut oil, palm kernel oil and/or olive oil.

      As far as fresh herbs, remember they turn black and look like compost piles. My suggestion is to make a strong tea with the plant material, then puree what is left. Use the tea and a bit of the puree. Then scent with compatible essential oils. You do not want much chlorophyll in the mix.

      Good luck!

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  • sincerelyemily

    Hi Andee, my first batch was “coffee” – the soap is fine, next time I will add a lot more of the coffee grounds. second batch I added dill weed, lemon granules, lemon EO and Tea Tree EO – it is drying nicely and just need to use it and test it. the tea tree oil is very potent, but I think it will be alright. not much lemon scent and the bits of lemon granules and dill weed are GREAT looking even though I can’t smell them much. I am VERY happy with how the batch turned out. Things I would like to try: loose camomile’s (for texture), peppermint, sage, thyme, rosemary (love to know more about rosemary and what combines well with it – like rosemary & mint). Can I use herbs out of my spice cupboard – like rosemary, sage and just put it in the coffee grinder and grind the heck out of it to a more powered state to use? I know you showed us in the process crushing things in your hands. Also, I have some essence oils that came with a heating tray (you know, put the EO in a little dish and burn the candle under it and it smells up the room – can I use these in my soap? bottle says “100% pure EO”. enough for now. I will think on more things I would like to try and put them out there. AGAIN – thank you SO SO much! Emily

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    • Andee Post author

      sincerelyemily,
      When making your first test batches remember to brew strong, puree till smooth, and essential oil lightly. If you aren’t sure how an essential oil blend will work out, test it in blotter cards. The paper will show which scent will be dominant. I suspect from a lemon/tea tree mix that the best mixture will probably be only 10% tea tree. Lemon is a light, volatile, and fresh scent. Tea tree sticks, to everything! To get a dominant lemon, or a first whiff of lemon, it will need to greatly outweigh the tea tree.

      Spices from the cupboard are fine to use. Grind finely. It is ALWAYS better to grind too finely in your first batch, then make notes as to the lesser grindings you prefer (keep bagged samples for future reference).

      As far as the essential oils for a room diffuser, if you feel confident they are pure essential oils, you can use them in soap. I will caution that you should check a listed resource for essential oils to make sure they are skin safe oils. Cinnamon leaf can be used in cosmetics (lightly please!) but cinnamon bud can not. If any of the bottles are vague as to what is inside (such as listing CINNAMON only) then just use it in the diffuser.

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  • MB

    I have used cornmeal, chocolate powder, oatmeal, alkanet root powder, aloe vera juice, goat’s milk, honey, cinnamon powder, the real pine tar, pumice and clay kaolin.

    I have always wanted to try the different herbs, spices and botanicals that would color the soap naturally like paprika but I didn’t know how it would make the soap smell. The paprika I have is probably old and it doesn’t smell like something I would want my soap to smell like.

    I have some bee pollen granules that turn my homemade yogurt a shade of yellow when I stir it up. I have been so curious and tempted to try it in my soap but I did not know what the chemical reaction would be. So I haven’t tried it yet.

    mb

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    • Andee Post author

      mb,
      Some colors are oil soluble. Think of the last time you made a big pot of spaghetti sauce. The spoon turned red/orange! This color is oil soluble. So, how do you get it off the spoon? Wipe it with solid shortening and leave it overnight. Wipe off the orange shortening the next day, wash, the repeat the shortening if necessary.

      So, what does this have to do with color? The most stable colors in soap are oil soluble. Try the paprika, turmeric, mustard, and more, by covering with any vegetable oil, heating, then straining out the herbs or spices. Some herbs or spices make pretty swirl bars. Try the recipe we did for making a swirled bar on February 27. Almost all food ingredients make good soaps, just remember to err on the side of too light for your first batch.

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    • Andee Post author

      MB-
      It could when used excessively. When peppers are used as colorants they are generally low Scoville unit peppers, and they work well.

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  • gentlegranny

    I love to use calendula petals in soap scented with Pina Smoothie or anything Pineapple and it looks like Pineapple is in it. Or ground oatmeal in my signiture soap is very invigorating.
    Grins,
    Gentlegranny

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  • sincerelyemily

    ok, so, if I want to use rosemary (substitute any herb/botanical) as a scent I should brew it into a tea and use that tea as my water (like I did in Coffee soap)? then I can as a bit of the finely ground rosemary to the soap for effect? thanks, Emily

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  • jaspersgarden

    I tried pureed carrots (baby food)…I’ll tell ya! I got me some HEAVY lye soap – LOL!! But it doesn’t look crumbly or anything.
    It’s actually very pretty to look at – but man o man – it will take the skin right off of you…not good ;o(

    I used full water in MMS calculator, then subtracted 7 oz of the water. At light trace, I added my pureed carrots (7 oz) and FO. Everything looked good, so I went ahead and poured it in the mold. Next day I unmolded and cut each bar. I swear – they are sooo pretty, but they burn!!! But what’s funny about this is there was no zing
    when I did the tongue test…???

    I went over my recipe with a fine toothed comb, every ingredient was checked off – I just can’t for the life of me figure out what went wrong…

    Any ideas?
    Thanks!
    Kathy

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    • Andee Post author

      jaspersgarden-
      Did you add all of the oils you entered into the calculator? This may be a situation where drying the soap is best. How much water did the initial batch want? How much total fat? Did you add lye for the carrots?

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  • GotWickDotCom

    Another good oil for lather is castor oil! I use cocoa butter in my soaps for the hardness and the nice scent, but I always add coconut and castor oils and it always lathers beautifully!

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