Essential oils are a powerful tool in soapmaking. They give your soap a distinct and natural scent while also imparting benefits from the plants from which they were derived.
Whether you're trying to determine which essential oils to include in your own handmade soap, or just trying to be a more informed shopper, keep reading to learn which essential oils are best for soap.
What's the Difference Between Essential Oils in Soap and Fragrance Oils?
You may hear the terms essential oil, fragrance oil, perfume, and fragrance blend get tossed around a lot when it comes to soapmaking, but they are not the same thing.
Essential oils are natural plant extracts in a carrier oil, whereas fragrance oils are synthetic chemicals designed to mimic specific scents. So if you're looking to make an all-natural soap, you'll want to use essential oils.
Essential oils in soap also tend to be gentler on your skin compared to synthetic chemicals, which can dry out and irritate your skin.
What Are Antimicrobial Agents?
Antimicrobial agents are substances that can kill microbes. Microbes such as viruses, bacteria, protozoans, and fungi are all around us and can cling to the surface of our skin when we touch objects. Then, when you touch your face or eat a bag of chips, those microbes find their way into your body.
It's easy to see why you'd want your soap to be antimicrobial, but many people doubt the capabilities of natural soap. However, certain essential oils in soap can be used to stop the growth of microbes like viruses.
What Essential Oils Are Best for Antimicrobial Agents?
Below are six of the best essential oils for antimicrobial agents. Scientific studies have proved the antimicrobial properties of each of these, so they're attractive additions to see on a soap's ingredients label.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is sought out for its invigorating properties, but it's also a very effective antimicrobial agent. Studies have shown that it combats pathogens such as salmonella and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Orange Essential Oil
This sharp, citrusy oil may bring back memories of Saturday morning breakfasts, but its real superpower is its antimicrobial properties. In a recent study testing its effectiveness against 22 different bacterial strains, the orange essential oil was one of the few essential oils that was effective against all 22 strains.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil seems to be everyone's favorite essential oil thanks to its minty scent and the cooling, tingling effect it has on the skin, but it's also an antimicrobial.
It's not as strong of an antimicrobial as some other essential oils, but it is effective at stopping the growth of bacteria like E. coli and listeria and can have an entourage effect when paired with other antimicrobial essential oils.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil was another one of the oils tested against 22 strains of bacteria, and like orange essential oil, it proved to be effective against all 22 strains. That, combined with its pleasant and unique scent, is why it's one of the most popular essential oils in soap.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
When discussing which essential oils are best for soap, leaving out lemongrass would be an injustice. This essential oil is commonly found in spas because it's a powerful antibacterial and antifungal oil. Research indicates lemongrass extract is effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus, and more.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil has a light, fresh, and herbaceous scent, making it a welcome addition to any soap. It's a common ingredient in acne products due to its ability to reduce inflammation, but it's also been used as an antimicrobial agent to address fungal nail infections, athlete's foot, and other conditions.
The Essential Oils in Botanie Soap
At Botanie Soap, we never use any fragrance oils, perfumes, or other synthetic chemicals to scent our soaps. Instead, we use all-natural, high-quality essential oils to fragrance all of our ready-to-label and custom-manufactured soap.
We use several different essential oils across our large product lineup, but we always make sure to pack each product with plenty of antimicrobial agents to stop viruses and other microbes in their tracks.
For example, our Blood Orange Bergamot Bar Soap uses orange essential oil, but so do other unsuspecting scents, including our Pink Grapefruit soap.
And lavender essential oil is featured prominently in our lavender soap, but it also lends its antimicrobial properties and acts as a subtle scent enhancer to our Thyme Garden Bar Soap. Very few of our soaps use only one essential oil, so you're reaping the benefits of several essential oils working together.
To learn more about the antimicrobial agents we use in our soap, or to begin your next bulk soap order, reach out to our team of experts today.