Infusions and other natural, frugal and simple soap tricks?

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Nikolye

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I'm going back to basics after a few expensive soap disasters. So i have recently decided to try and entertain myself with simple infusions rather than fancy multicolored soap while I get my basics back on top.

I have done rosemary and lavender infusions thus far. Although the dried herbs didn't really come through in the soap it is still a beautiful gentle scent with a beautiful creamy color.

My mates love the appeal of a natural infused castile soap almost as much as the pretty yet expensive clays and essential oils i usually use.

But my question is: What about herbs that don't really have that medicinal label appeal but are easily found in my area? like lemon balm, mint or lime leaves....it may be entertaining for me and a cheap alteration to my soap, but a total waste of time? Color and scent is gone after drying and lime leaves don't exactly scream medicinal.

As a foodie, i know fresh zest and leaf can make a beautiful cooking oil with lime still fully present but fresh herbs go off in oil after awhile. so how does one preserve the "fresh" scent for soap use? I think they don't is probably the answer, or they use some expensive dried food powder or EO.

I was thinking of packing a jar full as possible with dried lime leaves and zest to see what would happen, but i also don't wanna waste expensive oil or time and space collecting and drying said leaves. What if i used some of the juice as well in the water amount? I have no idea what that much citrus would do to a recipe.

I'd love any tips/tricks on infusions or other natural and frugal ideas to alter soap without major costs. i have read loads of blogs on the subject, but i'm finding all these very vibrant popular herbs people are using are not commonly grown in my area and would cost me more than essential oils in some cases!!!

I'm also aware that a great way to alter soap cheap is by adding things in place of water.. fruit veg juice/puree, sugars, milks... these are all things more in my stage two of back to basics as they tend to seriously alter the soaping phase which is where my mistakes are being made( which is why i'm going back to basics. )

Whats your favourite/most popular simple and natural soap to make?
 

Susie

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Can you get paprika? Not smoked, not hot, just regular paprika? You can infuse that into olive oil easily, and use as a colorant.

What about Beta Carotene-in the vitamin aisle, a bit spendy, but you only use 1-2 capsules/batch.
 

earlene

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Turmeric also colors soap and I have used it several times for a nice yellow. Cocoa powder provides a brown color and can also be used to create a fine pencil line.

Infusing oils with botanicals has not produced any scent carry-over in my experience, but I have not tried all botanicals (and probably never will.) But I liked the feel, although I would guess it was more to do with the effort I put into it and the psychological impact of that extra effort than a real difference in the soap if I had left out the botanical and made the soap with un-infused oils.

The one I liked the feel of the most was made with rose-petal infused oils. I used up all the rose petals from my climbing rose bush one year and really did like that soap's feel.
 

Obsidian

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I've tried herb infusions for scent and it just doesn't work. I once stripped my whole lemon thyme plant and infused OO with it, smelled wonderful. I should have cooked with it instead of soaped with it, it was a waste in soap.
Using herbs in the water doesn't add scent either and if the water is colored enough, you could end up with brown soap since many herbs turn brown in in soap. Mints are especially bad for turning brown.

Calendula petals are nice in a infusion. Add no scent but adds a lovely gentle yellow color and its said to be soothing for skin. You can even add the petals to the soap for decoration, they stay yellow.
 

Viore

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One of my popular soaps is a kumquat soap, in which I use pureed (and strained) kumquats for half of the water amount. The scent doesn't survive the lye monster, so I use a fragrance oil. People really like the idea of showering with citrus, so in my opinion your lime leaves or lime juice soap should be good. Just remember that the acid from the citrus will make your superfat larger, so you may want to fiddle with that.

I've used several different infused oils for colorants, and the only ones that stayed true were alkanet root and turmeric. Your mileage may vary, of course. Good luck, and let us know how things are going!
 

Seawolfe

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I've given up on scents or any "goodness" surviving the lye monster and cure. But for colors, oh heck yeah. I have had good success with: Carrots (use puree and hot infusion of grated carrots), annatto, alkanet, madder root, paprika and turmeric. Red palm oil also can contribute fabulous color. Indigo in oil gives me a faded grey blue. Hemp oil can give a nice light green.

Things that you would think would work, but don't really: green seaweed, nettle, comfrey - they all fade to brown in CP/HP soap. But you can add a strong glycerin infusion to M&P and it will stick, so there's that.
 

Spice

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I've given up on scents or any "goodness" surviving the lye monster and cure. But for colors, oh heck yeah. I have had good success with: Carrots (use puree and hot infusion of grated carrots), annatto, alkanet, madder root, paprika and turmeric. Red palm oil also can contribute fabulous color. Indigo in oil gives me a faded grey blue. Hemp oil can give a nice light green.

Things that you would think would work, but don't really: green seaweed, nettle, comfrey - they all fade to brown in CP/HP soap. But you can add a strong glycerin infusion to M&P and it will stick, so there's that.
Doesn't food spoil in soap? I have never used a food product like purees, how does that work when lye meets puree?
 

earlene

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I have not had the soap turn bad when made with food purees or dried ground leafy foods. I have used tomato paste for a tomato soap; carrot puree for a carrot soap; avocado puree; different dried herbs and flowers (they do turn brown except the calendula); dried spinach (beautiful green color eventually fades to white); as well as some juices. So far none of those have turned bad from food spoilage. Perhaps if you use too much of the food product it would spoil, but I don't think you can use too much and it still come out as solid bars of soap. Too much of a high water content food would make your soap soft and if that happens, you'd probably toss it out anyway.

I have also used egg yolk in soap, as well as egg white in soap. We also use milks in soap. Spoilage has not occurred in any of these instances for me.
 

Seawolfe

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Doesn't food spoil in soap? I have never used a food product like purees, how does that work when lye meets puree?
IF the food is pretty much just water, fat and sugar, AND there are no "chunks" of it, then no it shouldn't spoil if properly formulated. I've made soap with 100% avocado puree instead of water, as well as coconut milk instead of water with good results. Other people have reported good results with vegetable and animal milks, and other purees (as I'm sure you have read).
 

Nikolye

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Turmeric also colors soap and I have used it several times for a nice yellow. Cocoa powder provides a brown color and can also be used to create a fine pencil line.
Turmeric I have used, will def try again and maybe in an infusion rather than at trace. Love the coco powder idea, i recently had a coffee batch split and get weird on me, so i like an alternative brown that can be non water based!

Infusing oils with botanicals has not produced any scent carry-over in my experience, but I have not tried all botanicals (and probably never will.) But I liked the feel, although I would guess it was more to do with the effort I put into it and the psychological impact of that extra effort than a real difference in the soap if I had left out the botanical and made the soap with un-infused oils.

I think your bang on with the psychological impact..I love all my soaps more that took an extra clever step. And yes, even the people i gift my soaps to would be impressed just knowing the oil was infused. People love lime and lime leaves aren't something people hold dear so my mate with a tree will happily let go of loads. but its such a shame how amazing lime leaves smell to not be able to save it.


The one I liked the feel of the most was made with rose-petal infused oils. I used up all the rose petals from my climbing rose bush one year and really did like that soap's feel.
I bet you did, Roses are lovely and yet the oil is far to delicate and expensive for most soapers smell or not i would of loved that

Doesn't food spoil in soap? I have never used a food product like purees, how does that work when lye meets puree?
My answer to this is like the others, doing it right should be fine as its just the water amount, you need water. I'm in the process of working out when and where you can have additional water and when not... it can be rather confusing actually. like you can't infuse your oil with something containing water (fresh lime leaves) or the oil may spoil during infusion, but you can infuse lye water or replace water entirely with something fresh. i can't help wonder if a hot infusion of herbs over a few hours would hold color better than a long cold infusion with dry herbs.. This is what gets really confusing, why can there be water in the food, but not in the herbs that go in the oil, hmmmmm.. But in the end I've had milk soaps stay fresh longer than a plain soap made with older oils, Other than milk which i've done at 100% of the water, i've tried carrot puree, tomato juice, aloe juice, coconut milk at 100%... no issues

I've given up on scents or any "goodness" surviving the lye monster and cure. But for colors, oh heck yeah. I have had good success with: Carrots (use puree and hot infusion of grated carrots), annatto, alkanet, madder root, paprika and turmeric. Red palm oil also can contribute fabulous color. Indigo in oil gives me a faded grey blue. Hemp oil can give a nice light green.

With your carrots you use the puree as water 100%?
and hot infusion, do you mean you take raw carrot and gently heat it in your oils? does this add more water to your oil? clearly you don't heat it much or for long or you would have fried carrots? Just curious, as if you read above i'm also wondering if a hot infusion of fresh herbs/foods in oil would add water to the oil causing spoilage issue as if you did a long cold infusion with fresh herbs? as fresh herbs in oil infusion seems to cause oil/soap to go rancid. I was thinking more color might come through if you infuse fresh


Things that you would think would work, but don't really: green seaweed, nettle, comfrey - they all fade to brown in CP/HP soap. But you can add a strong glycerin infusion to M&P and it will stick, so there's that.
comfrey is one on my list, since i grow it i have some,
however i don't do melt and pour as of now. I'm tempted to dry it and infuse just for label appeal in one of my medicinal soaps and fun of course but I only have one plant, its probably better used in a tincture.


One of my popular soaps is a kumquat soap, in which I use pureed (and strained) kumquats for half of the water amount. The scent doesn't survive the lye monster, so I use a fragrance oil. People really like the idea of showering with citrus, so in my opinion your lime leaves or lime juice soap should be good. Just remember that the acid from the citrus will make your superfat larger, so you may want to fiddle with that.

I've used several different infused oils for colorants, and the only ones that stayed true were alkanet root and turmeric. Your mileage may vary, of course. Good luck, and let us know how things are going!
Exactly right, its totally worth a shot, people love lime. I could make it green and add a tad bit of citrus scent, like lime, patchouli and may change to help lime stick. I hadn't even thought to beef up the scent, i just wanted people to smell the nice natural infused soap smell, but people arn't all soapers and don't actually care!!!!! they want smelly results! Acid makes superfat larger, like milk then? I need to read up on that i had no clue!! I wonder if that goes for the EO's too.. hmmm, thanks for that tip!!!


I've tried herb infusions for scent and it just doesn't work. I once stripped my whole lemon thyme plant and infused OO with it, smelled wonderful. I should have cooked with it instead of soaped with it, it was a waste in soap.
Using herbs in the water doesn't add scent either and if the water is colored enough, you could end up with brown soap since many herbs turn brown in in soap. Mints are especially bad for turning brown.

Calendula petals are nice in a infusion. Add no scent but adds a lovely gentle yellow color and its said to be soothing for skin. You can even add the petals to the soap for decoration, they stay yellow.
Ha, i guess thats another way to get brown colors by adding random dried herbs to lye water! yes, I hate to lose my beautiful herbs, i don't have any "out of control plants" yet, they are all new, so i source most herbs from
neighbors. I've tried to grow medicinal marigolds/calendula a few times for tinctures and soap with no luck. either my chooks eat the seeds or they hate my ground!



So in conclusion
-don't expect much color out of many herbs/spices/flowers except brown unless you buy the fancy powders like indigo, annatto, alkanet, madder root. (besides a few like paprika, calendula, turmeric) otherwise try adding food as the water amount.
-Don't expect any scent
-People tend to love it regardless with just the label appeal, but probably not worth robbing your prize thyme plant that you love to cook with.
-if it has no label appeal or medicinal quality, it might be a waste of time.
-Adding a bit of scent to a infused oil will give it more appeal for those who like scent.
-can be great fun if you have the herbs and its not a big loss to use them, why not?
-I have alot to learn. still. Everyday is a school day with soaping.
 

anshika154

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Try using Lemon essential oil or lavender essential oil, mixed with water in a spray bottle for frugal
 
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