As a great place to start, Botanie’s soap-making oil blends ensure a more convenient soap-making process while still allowing you to create your custom soap. In addition to convenience, these blends are tried-and-true and have been proven to create wonderful cleansing bars that are hard and long-lasting, full of moisturizing properties, and produce a dense, creamy lather.
There are multiple ways to customize the oil blends, including adding additional oils or butters for superfatting, creating your custom essential oil scent blend, and adding specific herbs or botanical ingredients for different colors and exfoliating properties. In this post, we are going to specifically address soap scenting.
How can I incorporate herbs or other botanical ingredients into the soap blends?
There are a few ways you can add herbs and/or other botanical ingredients into your soap. Doing so will help you create certain colors and exfoliating characteristics.
- Adding Herbs Directly (No Steeping) — Many colors can be achieved by adding herbs, in powder form, into your soap. Both barley and wheat grass powder are great for getting different shades of green, while annatto seed powder and madder root powder can get you brighter colors. Experimentation is the key. Simply add your desired quantity of powder at trace and mix it in, and you will start to see your color.
- Steeping Herbs in Oil – For certain color ranges it can be beneficial to use the steeping method. Doing so can help achieve more vibrant and consistent colors. Herbs such as annatto seed, alkanet root, and madder root powder work well for this method. If you aren’t familiar with steeping herbs, use the following steps for reference.
- Set aside a small portion of your base oil blend and heat the oils to 110-120 °F.
- Add your herbs to the oil and let steep at that temperature for at least an hour (stir occasionally).
- After about an hour, let the powder settle to the bottom and pour off the colored oil (do your best to keep the powder out of the colored oil).
- Pour your colored oil back into your base oil blend. The quantity of colored oil will usually be less than what you originally started with for steeping. When you mix it back in, it may be necessary to weigh your total base oils again to make sure you have the correct quantity. If you find that you have less than needed, add some extra base oil to top it off. Once you have your colored oil and correct base oil quantity, you can begin your usual soap-making process.
- Adding Herbs for Visual Effect – You can also add herbs that aren’t going to color your soap, but instead create visual properties. Both calendula petals and peppermint leaf are great herbs for creating these visual characteristics. Again, just add these herbs at trace and mix them in.
- Adding Exfoliating Ingredients – Exfoliants are a great way to create bars that have either smooth or rough scrubbing properties. You can use something as fine as pumice to create a subtle scrubbing bar or something as bold as whole oats or large coffee grounds for a tougher scrubbing bar.
The following table shows our recommended quantities for non-steeped herbs, steeped herbs, visual herbs, and exfoliants. We’ve provided quantity ranges per pound to allow you to calculate quantities for different size batch. We also provided the quantity ranges for both our 14 and 35-pound blends. Enjoy experimenting with your soap colors, and feel free to leave us any comments or questions regarding herbs and soap coloring!