Hi, I’m Katie from Nature’s Garden. (That’s me and Enji!) We’ve got a great team here, and my role largely involves writing fragrance blogs and rendering videos. I’ve been working here for a little over two months, and I’ve watched Bailey make a LOT of soap (you can, too, if you click that link)! Until I started working here, I had very little knowledge of soapmaking (and I still have a LOT to learn), but you bet your bippy I like crafts of all kinds, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on some soap. This past weekend, a friend asked me to house-sit and I had a rare opportunity: an entire kitchen at my disposal. (I live with my folks, two teenage siblings, and a large puppy [keep reading for pic], so the kitchen can be a little crowded.) On Friday, I frantically purchased soapmaking supplies from our store, and soon after started my first foray into melt-and-pour.
Katie’s Impulsive Orange Soap
Truthfully, I don’t trust myself with anything too potentially hazardous. While I’ve read all about lye safety and its proper handling, I still don’t trust my clumsy self. Melt and pour seemed to be the way to go. We use mango butter in our cold process soap-testing recipe because of its moisturizing properties, so I decided to buy some Mango Butter Melt and Pour Soap.
On a separate note, I am absolutely obsessed with Blood Orange Essential Oil. Pictured to the right is the reed diffuser that sits in my office, filled with blood orange essential oil (and reed diffuser base. Reed diffuser kits come plain- I just painted mine to match the workplace). It smells insanely amazing and its considered aromatherapy benefits are as a stimulant and an anti-depressant (an aphrodisiac, too, but that’s not important at work). IMPORTANT NOTE ON USING CITRUS ESSENTIAL OILS IN BATH AND BODY PRODUCTS: Citrus fruits contain compounds designed to help them absorb sunlight to ripen. Citrus essential oils are likely to increase the photosensitivity- or sensitivity to sunlight- of your skin. I’m already as white as ghost, so I need to be especially careful not to use this soap on body parts that will see a lot of sun. I already get sunburnt pretty easily, and overuse of citrus essential oil on sun-exposed skin can lead to a type of super-sunburn. No thank you.
My idea quickly became centered around making an energizing soap with mango butter melt and pour and blood orange essential oil- but what else? I looked up natural soap colorants. Orange Peel Powder, rich with vitamins and a citrus aroma, seemed like an obvious addition, and for extra orange color, I included skin-nourishing Carrot Powder and cleansing Red Moroccan Clay Powder. Let me remind you again that I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing. –Since I was a kid, I’ve loved making my own recipes. Even if they were terrible. I once put cinnamon squares cereal in a bowl with ripped up bread and orange soda pop. I have no idea why. I can’t imagine anyone ate it. (I’m not sure how those fragrances would smell together, either.)– But no one’s going to eat this soap, so I figured I couldn’t go too terribly wrong, right?
To recap, here’s my recipe (and a picture of me and my dog for fun):
Small sauce pan
Glass 2-cup Measuring Container with spout
Tbsp measuring spoon
Stainless steel spoon
Bite-sized daisies mold
First, gotta cut up those lil melt and pour squares. I cut my soap along the lines laid out and then I cut those pieces into halves or even quarters for faster melting. You can use a microwave, but I wanted more time to add my herbs and oil so I used the double boiler method to melt my mango butter base (or something very similar- I just googled “double boiler method” and that’s not exactly what I did. Oops.) In the little bowl I mixed 1 tbsp of each of my powders with the whisk, being sure to break up carrot powder clumps. Once my soap base was good and melt-y, I stirred in my powders and began mixing with a whisk. Shortly thereafter I used a pipette to add my blood orange essential oil. I didn’t measure this one out exactly, but a friend suggested I use no more than a few drops of essential oil per ounce of base, so initially I went with about 1 drop/oz. It didn’t smell orange-y enough to me, so I added an extra tbsp of orange peel powder and upped my essential oil to 2 drops/oz base. Once I got my batter thoroughly mixed, I poured it into that *cute little flower mold,* very messily, I might add, and very carefully laid the filled molds on paper towels on a flat shelf in the fridge. I waited a while for them to set up, at least a half hour, and then popped them out and put them in a zip-seal bag. THEY SMELL GREAT. I cannot get over how much I love this soap. I have never smelled anything like it before- it’s orange-y and herbal-y and the soap turned out to be a tan-orange color- and I LOVE IT.
But melt and pour comes in two pound slabs.. so what did I do with the other pound?
This one was more simple and scientific. One pound = 16 oz. and (16 x 0.05 = 0.8). I measured out 0.8 oz Bacon Fragrance Oil and.. I’m not sure sure how much Red Moroccan Clay Powder I used.. maybe 3 or 4 tbsp? But I used the same melt and pour method described above and ended up with a pound of bacon soap! Woohoo! Be sure to keep this soap away from your puppy- he might mistake them for treats- they are bite-sized and they smell like bacon. Though honestly, my goofy dog will try to eat anything.
I can’t wait to create another soap recipe with herbs and essential oils!