Recently on The Sage Soapmaker’s Forum we have been discussing botanical infused oils, particularly calendula. Rebekah was kind enough to take pictures of her infusion project and share them with us.
Infused oils are wonderful to use and add a little something special to your soaps, lotions or balms. You will be so surprised by how easily this makes into soap, and how wonderful the soap feels. All the thoughts I read are speculation. The skin knows. And your skin will be telling a lot when you test two identical batches except one has the calendula infused oil and the other has un-infused oil.
I would use an oil that is easy for you to tell it is added: coconut oil (solid or fractions, colorless jojoba oil, palm kernel oil, etc. I really want something that has no color. This way I know how much seems to have been added to the oil.
Just remember, only use dry botanical matter and never use fresh for this project.
Give it a whirl and have fun!
And now …. I give you Rebekah!
First I just want to say how embarrassed I am about my messy kitchen. Please overlook the mess. I’m a creative diva, not a maid 😉
1) I obtained some dried calendula and chamomile from a local store, The Spice Merchant. I’m going to use about 0.75 oz of each herb to do this infusion.
2) I put the herbs into a pint-sized glass canning jar.
3) I added about 5 oz of rice bran oil and 5 oz of olive oil to the herbs in the jar. Andee suggested I use a colorless oil, like colorless jojoba, so I could see the oil turn yellow. Unfortunately I didn’t have any on hand and I was too excited about trying this to wait for the oil that I ordered to come in the mail.
4) I put the jar (with the lid) in a sunny spot on the back deck. When I checked it in the afternoon, I moved it because it was in the shade. The jar was warm but not so hot that I couldn’t hold it.
5) I read that I should leave the jar in the sun for 2 days. When I woke up the next day it was raining. I decided to use another method. This time I put the jar in a few inches of water in my ‘crafter’s saucepan’ and heated it on low heat. I checked it a few times to make sure the jar was warm but not too warm. I read that the temperature of the oil should not exceed 120 degrees F. I did this for about 3 hours. Then I turned off the heat and let the whole thing sit for about 3 hours.
6) When the oil returned to room temperature, I strained it. I put a piece of cheese cloth folded so it was 4 layers thick over the mouth of the jar and poured the oil into a bowl. A few tiny specks of herbs went through the cheese cloth but the oil looked pretty smooth. Another http://forum.thesage.com/ member suggested that I use a panty hose in the future to completely remove the herbs.
7) Now the oil is finished. I poured this into a dark tinted plastic bottle for storage. I can tell that something from the herbs remained in the oil because the oil now has the lovely aroma of calendula and chamomile.
8) When I was done with the oil I didn’t want to throw out these fragrant herbs still in the jar. I scrapped them into my coffee bean grinder and pureed them.
9) I mixed the puree with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1 tablespoon Jojoba oil to create a salt scrub. It feels wonderful on my hands and elbows.
Andee alternatively suggested that the pureed herbs could be added at trace when making calendula soap. I bet that’s a wonderful bar of soap!