Talk to me about alternatives to EOs in soap (hydrosols, oil infusions, glycerin extracts)

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Johnez

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In anticipation of the first two things I think will be brought up right away:

To start, this is in reference to HP soapin', just to get that out of the way.

Also, I am not selling soap so I'm not too concerned about efficiency, cost, feasibility, scalability or even effectiveness. I just want to try things out, if it even comes out with a faint whiff of a scent I think that'll be a win.

***

Alrighty guys, once again I'm reaching past my experience level and wondering about using plant matter around me to scent my soaps. I'm not really concerned about "healing properties," just scent, and the possibility of using cool things like pine needles, juniper berries, or flowers right near me.

Some links I've found:


There's a few threads mentioning these methods and some suggestions in threads to use one instead of the other, or that it's a waste, but no real follow-up or in depth discussion as far as I know. A thread I found says not to use too much glycerin or the soap will be too soft-in reference to a person thinking about using 1%-how much is too much? Moreover, many threads seem to discount these methods due to the lye monster killing all the goodness in CP soaps. I'm curious if HP can take glycerin extracts in particular, although I've read glycerin extracts in general aren't very good in other uses (on my journey to DIY snus a long while ago). Oil infusions excite me as well for the simple reason that I don't have to make any recipe adjustments and can be straightforward.

The idea of making soap scented with pine needles or juniper berries from my apartment complex is just too cool. Honestly I'm expecting the general consensus to be FOs or EOs are better/easier/cheaper but eh maybe there's some hope out there. Juniper Berry extract in particular is kinda expensive and something I'm very interested in using. Is there any comparative review between these types of additives I can reference? Any of you guys have experience with these types of scents? Which is better for what reasons? What plants work best with what methods.
 

Zany_in_CO

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In my extensive experience with botanical infusions, sad to report, the scent simply does not come through in soap. :(

Suzanne Catty wrote the book on Hydrosols. You may find it at your local library which is where I got it or on Amazon. I have no experience using hydrosols in soap. IMHO, a better use would be using them in leave on products.

You can learn to make glycerin extracts here. Once again, these are not likely to scent your soap. They are used in herbal therapy.

You can, however, set up a fairly simple DIY steam distiller to extract the essential oils to use in soap. To make it worth the trouble, you would need access to copius amounts of the raw material and nothing better to do with your time. :D
Search YouTube for Steam Distillation of Essential Oils
 
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Johnez

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In my extensive experience with botanical infusions, sad to report, the scent simply does not come through in soap. :(

Suzanne Catty wrote the book on Hydrosols. You may find it at your local library which is where I got it or on Amazon. I have no experience using hydrosols in soap. IMHO, a better use would be using them in leave on products.

You can learn to make glycerin extracts here. Once again, these are not likely to scent your soap. They are used in herbal therapy.

You can, however, set up a fairly simple DIY steam distiller to extract the essential oils to use in soap. To make it worth the trouble, you would need access to copius amounts of the raw material and nothing better to do with your time. :D
Search YouTube for Steam Distillation of Essential Oils
I like your style of posting Zany, a bit of good news to mellow out the bad. Interesting avenue, as figuring steam distillation is another adventure itself. Right up my alley. :-D
 

Juggsy

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I hot process with extracts, resins, infusions and hydrosols. I love the smell of oat and honey soap. Only add a couple of teaspoons per 500g.

I know that you can combine a resin with it's respective oil and it will increase the scent. I believe that in CP resins are hard to add.

You know you can make an oil infusions. Stuff a sterile jar with clean fresh or dried herbs (see below) and cover with heated oil (add vitamin e), sit it for a month.

Leaves of herbs such as mint, nettle leaf, and lemon balm can be dried before use and do add some scent. If using homegrown herbs, select those that are healthy, unblemished, and not chemically treated (Permaculture Rocks!). It's best to cut the stems early in the morning then rinse briefly under running water. Put them on a screen or tray and leave them in an airy place out of direct sunlight. If drying out leave for a week.if using as fresh infusions just wait until dry.

Personally, I find dry herbs better to add to as an additive and fresh for hydrosols, infusions and extracts.

Coffee smells great! If you like the smell (some don't).
 

Johnez

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Well I tried to do a juniper glycerite using crock pot method. Unfortunately it failed. Smelled "off" out of the crockpot, and with the price of glycerine locally I'm not sure I want to try again. A few mistakes:

-While I washed the berries, I probably should have poured boiling water over the berries.

-I set the temp to "keep warm" for the first day, probably should have put it on low. Maybe even high for the first 3 hours.

-did not have enough glycerine to to reach the brim, nor did I fully cover the berries. I don't know if this is a critical error as in actual canning.

Now I tossed it because I wasn't pleased with the scent. Being this is the first time I've tried anything like this I'm wondering if glycerites smell kinda different than the original thing we're infusing from. Maybe juniper berries go through a chemical change, or the glycerine itself, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, it did not bring the strong fresh scent I was expecting. Maybe an oil will be better.

If I end up making a decent sized order from WSP or other soap supply company I might grab a larger amount of glycerine and give it another go with a much smaller container. As it is, kinda disappointed at the amount of waste. :-/
 
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Zany_in_CO

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If you are just going for fragrance, you can save time and money by buying the FO. Juniper Breeze FO is a favorite from way back. Many FO suppliers used to sell it. I don't know if it's still around or not, but you may want to check to see if your favorite supplier has it. :thumbs:

ETA: WSP has it on sale!
 

Juggsy

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Well I tried to do a juniper glycerite using crock pot method. Unfortunately it failed. Smelled "off" out of the crockpot, and with the price of glycerine locally I'm not sure I want to try again. A few mistakes:

-While I washed the berries, I probably should have poured boiling water over the berries.

-I set the temp to "keep warm" for the first day, probably should have put it on low. Maybe even high for the first 3 hours.

-did not have enough glycerine to to reach the brim, nor did I fully cover the berries. I don't know if this is a critical error as in actual canning.

Now I tossed it because I wasn't pleased with the scent. Being this is the first time I've tried anything like this I'm wondering if glycerites smell kinda different than the original thing we're infusing from. Maybe juniper berries go through a chemical change, or the glycerine itself, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, it did not bring the strong fresh scent I was expecting. Maybe an oil will be better.

If I end up making a decent sized order from WSP or other soap supply company I might grab a larger amount of glycerine and give it another go with a much smaller container. As it is, kinda disappointed at the amount of waste. :-/
Glycerine is huge in my house. Due to the vapers.

You are likely to get it cheaper at chem supplier or on eBay. I don't think you're in Australia but I'm sure this would be the case at most soap suppliers. As an example: 1l of veg glycerine averages $18.74 (did I mention that I live with a doctor of mathematics 😂) however, I buy 2 litres food grade glycerine from eBay vape shop and pay $21.

I've seen it as low as $13 for one litre on eBay and chem suppliers. It's cheaper per litre when you buy more. I find having 2 litres on hand means that I usually don't have to stress about the glycerine.


I think with things like berries you'd be best to make an oil extract. I would crush them, add to a jar and cover with your oil of choice.
I really do think you are going to have to extract the botanical first. I just don't think you're going to get a strong enough aroma because if you haven't concerntrated it, it is likely not doing to have a strong enough aroma.

Also think if you use dried (or ones you dehydrate yourself) are likely to give you a better scent.

I know you are experimenting but I do think you will be better extracting thongs first. I know when you add fruit to soap you don't really get the smell.
I have a book called "Pure Soapmaking" and in it the author adds pureed fruit not for scent reasons but for the skin benefits and texture. I've only added avocado, I've not tried the others but perhaps you could try adding fruit. My niece does one with carrot and pumpkin. It makes a beautiful orange soap.
 

Juggsy

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This could be a bit of a rabbit hole, LOL! speaking from experience :)
We are currently collecting lavender for distillation. My daughter is doing this as part of STEM (they are looking at different distillations - oil, cold press and steam).The amount needed for 30mls oil is at around 3 kilos. The children wanted to do rose oil 😂🤣 thankfully they were talked out of it. They started a few weeks ago distilling water. It's amazing watching 10 & 11 year olds working through this. It certainly helps them put it in perspective why it costs so much for oils that are extracted without chemicals etc. Only issue is my daughter's already addicted to EOs and she wants to start attacking the garden to make her own oil extractions, unfortunately, I can't afford (financially) to foster her interests.
I do have a friend who does distillation and sells her biodynamic EOs. Her oils are expensive but the freshness and quality of the oils is far superior to any I've bought. I tend to use same suppliers as there's always a difference.
 

Johnez

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In my extensive experience with botanical infusions, sad to report, the scent simply does not come through in soap. :(

Suzanne Catty wrote the book on Hydrosols. You may find it at your local library which is where I got it or on Amazon. I have no experience using hydrosols in soap. IMHO, a better use would be using them in leave on products.

You can learn to make glycerin extracts here. Once again, these are not likely to scent your soap. They are used in herbal therapy.

You can, however, set up a fairly simple DIY steam distiller to extract the essential oils to use in soap. To make it worth the trouble, you would need access to copius amounts of the raw material and nothing better to do with your time. :D
Search YouTube for Steam Distillation of Essential Oils
Well I found a pretty decent video (I think) on the process, though it uses a kit. Funny enough she uses juniper-this google thing really knows my preference lol.
 

Johnez

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Glycerine is huge in my house. Due to the vapers.

You are likely to get it cheaper at chem supplier or on eBay. I don't think you're in Australia but I'm sure this would be the case at most soap suppliers. As an example: 1l of veg glycerine averages $18.74 (did I mention that I live with a doctor of mathematics 😂) however, I buy 2 litres food grade glycerine from eBay vape shop and pay $21.

I've seen it as low as $13 for one litre on eBay and chem suppliers. It's cheaper per litre when you buy more. I find having 2 litres on hand means that I usually don't have to stress about the glycerine.


I think with things like berries you'd be best to make an oil extract. I would crush them, add to a jar and cover with your oil of choice.
I really do think you are going to have to extract the botanical first. I just don't think you're going to get a strong enough aroma because if you haven't concerntrated it, it is likely not doing to have a strong enough aroma.

Also think if you use dried (or ones you dehydrate yourself) are likely to give you a better scent.

I know you are experimenting but I do think you will be better extracting thongs first. I know when you add fruit to soap you don't really get the smell.
I have a book called "Pure Soapmaking" and in it the author adds pureed fruit not for scent reasons but for the skin benefits and texture. I've only added avocado, I've not tried the others but perhaps you could try adding fruit. My niece does one with carrot and pumpkin. It makes a beautiful orange soap.
Interesting, I was thinking about trying to extract a dry set of biomass, but I was afraid being dry they'd have lost some potency. I'll have to do some heavy duty reading the instead of going by some DIY blog or video to understand fully what's going on. Thanks!
 

violets2217

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I make a chamomile infused soap that smells very lightly of chamomile. I’m always surprised that is still smells after curing. I’ve never hot processed soap so I don’t know if that would change the outcome... but it’s a simple soap for me. I just put my oils in a crockpot on low with all kinds of chamomile tea for a long while. I’m sure other herbal stuff would work too. Good luck! 👍
 

ResolvableOwl

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Unpopular opinion: Why not leave the soap unscented altogether?

If you don't want to totally abstain from smell, you still can let unrefined cocoa butter, red palm oil, poppy seed oil, laurel, or neem do their magic.
 

Johnez

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Unpopular opinion: Why not leave the soap unscented altogether?

If you don't want to totally abstain from smell, you still can let unrefined cocoa butter, red palm oil, poppy seed oil, laurel, or neem do their magic.
Despite my recent postings....that's kinda where I'm leaning. After being here a while the mindset of "all the smells" has worn off because as many of you have pointed out-soap is a wash off product.

From a purely utilitarian point of view it doesn't make sense to scent soap being it's costly, doesn't last, can be an allergen or irritant, and even messes with the whole tracing process depending on what you're using. Buuuuuuut it's kind of a challenge to get something that is both useful and smells amazing. The whole point of me trying this glycerine experiment was actually to infuse an ingredient in already going to use so that it would be "free." That's also why I picked juniper, beside the great smell of course, and memories of playing in my grandparents yard with the bushes.

But you bring up a good point. The next soap I make is likely going to be unscented.
 

Zany_in_CO

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From a purely utilitarian point of view it doesn't make sense to scent soap being it's costly, doesn't last, can be an allergen or irritant, and even messes with the whole tracing process depending on what you're using. Buuuuuuut it's kind of a challenge to get something that is both useful and smells amazing.
That pretty much sums it up! All that's left now is to resolve how to get the scent you love into the soap -- assuming you have "perfected" your recipe to the point that you're good to go. If not, then that's where your time should be spent. Also, it might be a good idea to learn a little about the essential oil.

SOURCE: EDEN BOTANICALS

Safety Considerations: Prolonged/excessive use may cause kidney irritation/damage; old and/or oxidized oil may cause skin sensitization. Do not use when acute kidney or urinary tract infection exists. Although this oil has GRAS status (Generally Recognized as Safe), we recommend avoiding use with small children, elders, epileptics, pregnant and nursing women, and those who have acute kidney and urinary tract infections. Dilute before using. A patch test should be performed before use for those with sensitive skin.
 

earlene

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Despite my recent postings....that's kinda where I'm leaning. After being here a while the mindset of "all the smells" has worn off because as many of you have pointed out-soap is a wash off product.

From a purely utilitarian point of view it doesn't make sense to scent soap being it's costly, doesn't last, can be an allergen or irritant, and even messes with the whole tracing process depending on what you're using. Buuuuuuut it's kind of a challenge to get something that is both useful and smells amazing. The whole point of me trying this glycerine experiment was actually to infuse an ingredient in already going to use so that it would be "free." That's also why I picked juniper, beside the great smell of course, and memories of playing in my grandparents yard with the bushes.

But you bring up a good point. The next soap I make is likely going to be unscented.
Many of my early soaps were scented only by virtue of naturally unscented soap. All soap has a fragrance derived from the oils used (and probably contributors from other additives.) Not all soap formulas produce the same fragrance, either. But there is a definite fragrance of just plain soap.

However, there are some artificial scents that do last in soap. My favorite is Dragon's Blood FO. But I found Lemongrass EO to last exceptionally long as well. A few others also, as mentioned in numerous places around the Forum.

What I don't like about some commercially produced soaps is their long remaining fragrance in the bathroom after the person who showered has left the building. But I do like the lingering scent of Dragon's Blood soap in the shower and also on my skin.

I do like the smell of juniper, too. But pretty much any woods are a place of solace to me, so all such fragrances bring fondness memories to my mind.

As to the question of "why bother with added fragrances in soap?" I think it goes to expectation of consumers. Sellers can testify that scent sells. Even non-sellers like myself have heard requests for certain fragrances from family and friends.

Strangely sometimes the power of suggestion creates a scent that isn't there. Not so strange, really, but an interesting fact.

A few years ago I gave out soaps to my eldest son's neighbors and one was a fragrance-free (no added fragrance) soap I had labeled for the color as "Lavender" soap. I tend to name soaps for how they look, not so much as for how they smell, although I have named some for a combo of look & fragrance. Anyway, the lady who I gave the lavendar-colored soap insisted it smelled like lavender even when I told her it was "fragrance-free" and pointed out the part of the label where I had put "so added fragrance". It smelled like soap to me, but like lavender flowers to her.
 

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