Using St. John's Wort Oil

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dimitris

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Here in Greece, it's a tradition to make St. John's Wort Oil with extra virgin OO and the flowers of the plant every spring.
My grandmother does this every year and I have more than 10oz of crimson red oil which I usually use for treating burns etc.

I am thinking of using it in a Castille soap and substitute 10-20% with the St. John's Wort Oil. Other than the healing effects (if there will be any after the saponification), it is most likely to be either red or pink.

What do you guys think?
 

lsg

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I would probably use the oil in a salve, lotion or cream. I am not sure how much healing effect the oil will have with a soap that you wash off and then rinse. Many natural colors morph during the saponification process.
 

dimitris

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I'll give it a try and see how it goes. I will probably use a little and see how it behaves during saponification.
 

dimitris

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Will definitely post them here with photos.
 

dimitris

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So...
I soaped with 70% extra virgin OO and 30% St. John's Wort Oil (which is basically extra virgin OO infused with the flower of the plant).
Here's the colour of the oils I used:


Here's what the blended oils look like in the metal mixing container I used:



As soon as I poured in the lye, I noticed a disc forming in the middle of the mixture in a different colour. I mixed with a whisk shortly and the mix changed colour completely! Here's what it looked like after some mixing:



Green! I wasn't expecting that. And here's what it looked like in the mold after trace:



Interesting, no? My guess is that the extra virgin OO was stronger and the red colour was completely neutralised by the lye.

Will post photos tomorrow when I unmold it, but I expect it to take some time to solidify (isn't that normal for Castille soaps)?
Also, isn't it natural for 100% OO soaps to be white? I wonder where the green color came from.
 
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Badger

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Wow, I love how interesting soap can be and you never know what to expect :)
 

WallFlower

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Wow that is pretty cool! I wonder if it will stay green or change more throughout the curing process. It's a lovely shade of green though.
 

dimitris

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I checked out the soap this morning and it seems to have developed a crack and a darker oval disc in the middle (probably gel-phase)?
The color is similar, something like light green.

Does castille soap generally need more time in the mold to solidify? I am thinking whether to try remove it from the mold today (after 24h) or wait until tomorrow.
 

krunt

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Also, isn't it natural for 100% OO soaps to be white? I wonder where the green color came from.
it's my understanding that 'early harvest' extra virgin olive oils will produce a green soap, 'late harvest' extra virgin olive oils will produce a yellow soap, and refined olive oils will give a white soap, as the natural colour of the oil has been removed in the refining process. i could be wrong though...
 

Ruthie

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Very interesting experiment! I've raised St. John's Wort before but didn't remember it had skin benefits. If it were me, I would wait to unmold it, but I'm excited to see the finished soap!
 

dimitris

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I just checked it again, and it seems that the gelling has propagated towards the edge of the soap, i.e. the mold. This is about 14h after the process.

I am thinking of leaving it in the mold (under blankets) for another day at least.
It is hot here anyway (about 77F) so this may have accellerated gelling.

Update: Guys, the soap hasn't solidified almost 20 hours after the process. Do I leave it in the mold for some more time?
 
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dimitris

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So I opened the soap today (40 hours after saponification started) and it seemed to have solified enough for unmolding.

The first thing I saw was that the freezer paper was stuck to the soap:



First time this happens to me. Can't understand why.
Due to this (I think), the bottom of my mold was also damp:



Here's the first piece I cut:



And here's the end result:



I have now realised I used too much water (almost 3:1 water to lye ratio) which has resulted in this. I will let it cure for months now and use it when ready!
 

Ruthie

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Reminds me of a batch where I used too much water. I had even used hot process method so I could use it right away- or so I thought! Months later and now I can finally use it. And thankfully it turned out to be a pretty nice soap!

And isn't it fun to experiment? One might not know what will happen, but that is how we learn.
 

Badger

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I am glad you figured out that you used too much water. I hope it cures out for you!
 

christinak

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Since olive oil soap takes so much longer to cure, you'll probably be ok with it :) I've heard that it can sometimes be very green. Too bad you lost the pink, that would have been lovely! Your top cracks look like it may have overheated...but that is only cosmetic. I like the soap! It looks rustic, just the way I like :)
 

dimitris

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It certainly overheated! It actually was so hot, it burned the freezer paper and the mold (as shown above)!
I will let it cure now, probably for a very long time!
 

MarinaB

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I have a ton of St John Wort plants growing around my house. I will make an infuse this year for sure. How can I use that red oil? Looks like that I will not get pink bars.
 
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