When I made the Chamomile & Clay Shave Soap, I started thinking about other ways to use a chamomile infusion in soap. One of my favorite soaps has always been one with colloidal oatmeal for its properties that soothe the skin. Chamomile also has a calming effect on the skin, therefore it seems natural to combine the two.
This recipe uses Rice Bran Oil and Avocado Butter, both of which are great oils for skin, and I’m going up to 7% superfat, so some of that oil is left in the soap. I’m using Bergamot & Chamomile Fragrance Oil for this soap at a moderate rate (I ran it through our Fragrance Calculator to get the correct usage rate for my batch size) and adding 1 1/2 tablespoons of colloidal oats to the oil.
Gather some supplies and make this gentle and pleasant soap with me!
Before you get started, get prepared to soap safely. Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and close-toed shoes are a must. If you have never made cold process soap before, we’re glad you’re here! Please check out this blog post, which is the first in a series on beginning soapmaking. This simple Chamomile Oatmeal soap is an excellent choice for a beginner.
*You can purchase Colloidal Oatmeal, or you can make your own by finely grinding oatmeal into a powder using a blender or food processor. If you want a bit of exfoliation in your bar, don’t grind the oatmeal quite as much. Rub the oatmeal between your fingers as you process it to get the texture you like best.
Recipe for 22 ounces of fats
8.25 ounces Soybean Oil
37.5% Soybean Oil
Making Chamomile Tea
The first thing to do is make the chamomile infusion using distilled water and chamomile buds. (Plan ahead to make the tea in advance and refrigerate it, so it’s cold when you use it.) I need 8 ounces of tea for the size of my soap batch, so I began with 12 ounces of hot water and one-half ounce of chamomile buds. (Note: that’s a lot of botanical, but it makes a nice, strong infusion for the soap.)
Add the chamomile buds to the hot water, pressing them down into the water with a spoon, so all are wet. Cover the cup with a plate and allow it to stand 20 minutes. When the tea is finished, pour through a fine mesh strainer into another container. Use the back of a spoon or your gloved hand to squeeze all the liquid from the buds. Weigh the tea; if necessary, top off with additional water to get 8 ounces. Refrigerate or set aside to cool if you did not make the tea in advance.
Weigh all the oils into a microwave-safe container; set aside.
Measure the colloidal oatmeal into a small container; set aside.
Weigh the fragrance oil into a small glass container; set aside.
Weigh the lye.
If your tea is freshly made, it should come to room temperature before you add the lye. Slowly add the lye to the cooled liquid, stirring to dissolve the lye. Do this in a well-ventilated area. It will stink, and breathing lye fumes is not good for your lungs. Once the lye is completely dissolved, set the mixture aside to cool. (Mine was 189 degrees F at this point. I set it on a windowsill to cool with the added benefit that the fumes went out the window.)
Gently melt the oils in a microwave, using 30-second increments. (My oils were melted in 1 minute 30 seconds, and the temperature was 142 degrees F.) Now add the colloidal oats to the oil and stick blend.
Here is your break to clean up your workspace, set out the mold you will use, visit the restroom. Once the oils and the lye mixture are within 10 degrees of each other and have cooled to about 110-130 degrees F, you’re ready to make soap. (My lye mixture was 129 degrees F and oil 119 F when I combined them.)
Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils, taking care not to splash. Stir with your flexible spatula, then pulse the stick blender several times to emulsify the soap batter. I blended it more to thicken it a bit. Once I liked the texture of the soap batter, I removed my stick blender and hand-stirred the Bergamot Chamomile Fragrance Oil into the raw soap mixture.
Here’s your opportunity to laugh with me at the vagaries of fate. Apparently, I forgot to add oatmeal to my shopping list when I used the last of what we had on hand, because when I went to the pantry to grab a few rolled oats to decorate my soap, I found none. I can’t remember the last time we ran out of oatmeal! Hmmm … now what? OH! I recalled that I had a bag of muesli, so I spooned some onto a plate and sorted out the rolled grains from the nuts and seeds and dried fruit. Of course, that’s the time someone walked into the kitchen and was quite curious about what I was up to when I was supposed to be making soap! HA! So this soap is decorated with rolled oats as well as various other rolled grains.
I put the lid on the soap mold so it would help insulate the soap and allow the soap to fully gel. After two hours, I lifted the lid and peeked to see what was going on in there. It looked like it had gelled most of the way, but the outside edges didn’t ever get warm enough.