Would you do it? Use more of a particular EO than is recommended? Any other recommendations?

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akseattle

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Ok soapers, I have to ask: Would you do it? Use more of a particular EO than is recommended?
I am making only my second batch of cold process soap. I made my first small (5 bar) batch on January 6. I haven't used it yet as it hasn't cured for 6 weeks. In that batch, I just guessed at how much fragrance to use based on what I had been doing with Melt & Pour and a few other things I'd read. My soap didn't/ doesn't smell like anything except the mildest pleasant smell of oil (or what I imagine that to be.) I had used what I believed to be a coconut essential oil that I now know was coconut fragrance (or maybe not even that- like a drop of coconut fragrance in a carrier oil?? - kick me if I fall for that again....) I love the smell of fresh sweet basil. Since this summer, when I realized sweet basil EO smells like very strong anise (which I don't care for) I have been experimenting, trying to come up with a blend of EO's that smell like sweet basil out of my garden. I finally came up with a blend of lemongrass 25%, basil 25%, sweet orange 45% and peppermint 1% that I really like - and close enough to the basil from my garden.
After a small freak out when I thought I had totally messed up my first batch, having learned my lesson, I have run my intended recipe ( a small deviation on SoapQueen's 30/30/30/10.) I was very excited about having used the lye calculator and then ran my EO blend through EOCALC.COM's calculator. I was surprised that lemongrass can run into the danger zone pretty fast (I love lemongrass!). I was more surprised that Basil went off the chart right away - at a 2% usage rate! So, I have a dilemna. The first thing EVERYONE does when they pick up one of my soaps is SMELL it! Everyone who has seen/ smelled my first batch (which I regard as almost fragrance free) has seemed puzzled. So, I want my soap to have a nice strong fragance. If I change the percentages and use less basil, it will no longer smell herbaceous, rather, it starts to smell too sweet. I make soap as a hobby. This soap is just for me, my friends, my family etc.
Question 1: What's wrong with basil? What about it causes it to go off the chart?
Question 2: Would you use the blend I've come up with at 2, 3, 4 or 5%? Or would you be concerned?
I don't even know what 5% would smell like in a soap. How strong, exactly is 5% usage? In M&P, I just put in drops until I can smell it (not very scientific too date-- and no complaints...)
I don't want to blow anyone out of the room, I just want it to smell really good. I assume that the fragrance will evaporate at some point, too?
Question 3: Before any colorant (I will use micas), will this soap base be pretty yellow? From the EOCALC chart, it says Sweet Orange will discolor (orange). I'd been having a problem with bleeding of oranges and reds in my
M&P soap. I thought it was the soap base or the mica's, but now I'm thinking it was the sweet orage. I'd used sweet orange in most of the soaps I made that had orange or red, especially if I used peppermint.
My EO blend has the most Sweet Orange (45%). Exactly how discoloring might this sweet orange be in my soap. I'm wondering if I should try to do shades of orange, etc. Or what would be a reasonable palette?
Question 4: Anyone have any suggestions about anything? After my first batch, some recommended working without colorants or EO's until I got a handle on it. I did learn my lesson about the lye calculator, but, I really do
want to use colorants and EO's. Guess I need to totally trash a batch before I get more cautious....

Thanks in advance!


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...I have to ask: Would you do it? Use more of a particular EO than is recommended?....

Um, no. I won't use more EO or FO than is recommended. I cannot justify putting someone at risk for an allergic reaction or skin injury merely because I want a stronger aroma.

If I want a stronger fragrance, I find EOs and/or FOs that are stronger smelling at lower dosages. Or I find ones that are safer at higher dosages. There are so many fragrances to choose from, so I see no need to risk anyone's safety.

If you want to know the nitty gritty about the chemicals in a given EO and the reasons why that EO might have safety restrictions, I recommend you purchase Tisserand and Young's book Essential Oil Safety.
 
I am the person who would definitely have a terrible reaction to excess basil, unfortunately. The symptoms are no joke: intense skin flushing, rapid heartrate, and rapidly elevated blood pressure. I've never had a heart attack (AFAIK), but that's how I'd describe the feeling.

As far as sweet orange, yes, a fairly small amount definitely discolors the batter. It's one of my favorites as well, so I end up making more orange- or red-colored soap than I would otherwise choose to do.
 
No I wouldn't use more than the recommended amount.

Sweet Orange will end up a pale custard type yellow its very pretty. It wont be orange unless you use a red oil as well. Basil is very strong smelling even in small amounts. I used some in a blend and people were not that keen, too strong a herbal scent from it and that was under the recommended amount.

I am one of those soapers that thinks you should start with no color and no scent. Learn about trace and all the different levels, learn about emulsification vs trace, learn how to swirl the tops with a spoon or stick or whatever you think you will like. Try your soap after 4, 6 and 8 weeks curing and see which one you like.

Then change just one thing and do it all again. You learn the most this way about your own recipe and can speak to people about what each ingredient brings to the soap. In the end you will be a MUCH better soaper because you understand what all the stages are of YOUR soap than if you rush and just wing it.
 
Way to go on your second batch! I trust and abide by eocalc.com no questions asked. Because of fading, I always use their 4-5% amounts, if they're in the green zone of course.

I hear ya on basil! I'm a gardener and love it -- and my bee balm smells like basil. I was very disappointed in the scent of basil eo. :(

Keep us posted!
 
Honestly, I sometimes question the IFRA usage rates, just like I question pretty much everything. “Who are they and why do they get to make the rules” types of questions. Still doing my own research on the IFRA. Having said that, I won’t go outside the recommended usage rates in soap meant for customers since I don’t want to be responsible for any adverse reactions, but I will with certain EOs if it’s soap for close family as they are comfortable with it.
 
I think basil EO smells like wacky baccy and my SIL thinks it smells like dirt. If you want a better fragrance clout for the amount used, I'd probably not use EOs. Few of them have the longevity of FOs ( althought some FOs are not particularly great either - always read the reviews). In the soaps where I do use solely EOs they tend to fade faster than FOs (with the exception of patchouli).

I tend to use about 3.5 - 4% fragrance, and if it's a strong fragrance that's all you need. Have you thought of tweaking your blend so you can get the safe amount of each of those EOs in there at 4% in total? It will change the notes of course as you will need to reduce the basil amount and increase either the sweet orange and/or the lemongrass accorgly, but it is a workaround to get all the notes in and yet keep them within the safe guidelines.
 
I follow IFRA guidelines/EOCalc. The guidelines are developed (in theory, at least) to be protective over the short and long term. I’m not alarmist, but I do like to reduce risk when I can and to make choices based on the best available information.

As for basil eo, a small drop off the tip of a toothpick was all I needed to get a nice hint of basil in a 30-40 gram blend of eos. I retired my almost full 4 oz bottle of basil decades before I would have been able to use it up.
 
I have no idea if this would work with basil or not, but have you researched infusing basil from your garden into your soapmaking oils? Maybe someone with experience infusing oils can give you some input on that, whether or not its safe and whether or not infusing it will give you the basil scent youre looking for?
 
I have no idea if this would work with basil or not, but have you researched infusing basil from your garden into your soapmaking oils? Maybe someone with experience infusing oils can give you some input on that, whether or not its safe and whether or not infusing it will give you the basil scent youre looking for?
Unfortunately, the scent from infusions pretty much never makes it through saponification. There just isn't enough of the scent chemicals in an infusion, plus many of them are sensitive to the strong alkalinity.
 
Hi, not sure if it relates. The only time I have seen fo/eo sweats. Was when I used an fo at just max usage. Let alone adding more. Just seemed like to much oil.(Per the little voices.) I'm in the same arena as the others. On the safety issues.
 
Well, thank you to everyone for your responses. Cooler heads have prevailed. I decided it was, in fact, foolish to ignore IFRA guidelines. A lot of scientists have done good research for our benefit, so, I got flexible :) After much searching and EO calc’ing, I came up with a blend that replaced most of the basil with rosemary. So sweet orange 45%, lemongrass 25%, Rosemary 15%, basil 10% and peppermint 5%.

On Saturday, I popped out of bed, excited and all ready for my second batch. I had step by step instructions all printed out for myself. I cleared and cleaned the counter and systematically started lining up all tools of the trade and ingredients. When I got to my EO’s, I realized I had left all 5 oils at my office downtown!! :eek: ( where doodle around with my EO’s.) Since I was already dressed for the ball, instead of driving to my office, I went back to the drawing board- I settled on Rosemary 60%, lemon 35%, lavender 5%. Which I very carefully premixed and set aside.

So, after all that, no basil!!

BUT THEN, due to tracing way faster than I anticipated before I even stuck in my stick blender!! (maybe due to doubling the mica trying to tame the red palm oil? ?? ), I forgot the EO’s until I was about 85% done pouring the mini loaf! :eek:Things got pretty crazy …. Out the window went my plan for a swirl …. I was dribbling in EO blend, trying to stir it into the batter, afraid I was going to come up with a muddy brown loaf, stopped stirring. I thought I’d have time to plan something creative with the batter that didn’t fit in the loaf. But, it was a bit of a sh--- show. In the end, I just dumped it into a couple individual cavity molds.

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This is my mini loaf after unmolded on Sunday afternoon.

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It looks WAY better after being sliced. For some reason, a coupe sides and bottom are lighter and less defined colors - probably where I tried to stuff in EO...

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These two bars will not win a beauty contest. But, the green bar in which I put in the EO and blended with a stick blender actually smells pretty good.
All I can say is, after all the trouble the red palm oil caused, it better feel great!
 
No I wouldn't. Customers are more likely to get a reaction to it.
@MelissaG thank you for your response. You're 100% right.

Um, no. I won't use more EO or FO than is recommended. I cannot justify putting someone at risk for an allergic reaction or skin injury merely because I want a stronger aroma.

If I want a stronger fragrance, I find EOs and/or FOs that are stronger smelling at lower dosages. Or I find ones that are safer at higher dosages. There are so many fragrances to choose from, so I see no need to risk anyone's safety.

If you want to know the nitty gritty about the chemicals in a given EO and the reasons why that EO might have safety restrictions, I recommend you purchase Tisserand and Young's book Essential Oil Safety.
@DeeAnna , you were right. There are so many options out there, I don't know why I got so attached to using basil. BTW, I looked up that Tisserand and Young's book. More like a treatise I'd say. Not to be lazy but, I think I'll just ask all of you who have read it, what it says .... ;)

I am the person who would definitely have a terrible reaction to excess basil, unfortunately. The symptoms are no joke: intense skin flushing, rapid heartrate, and rapidly elevated blood pressure. I've never had a heart attack (AFAIK), but that's how I'd describe the feeling.

As far as sweet orange, yes, a fairly small amount definitely discolors the batter. It's one of my favorites as well, so I end up making more orange- or red-colored soap than I would otherwise choose to do.
@AliOop , thank you for your response. But, I was definitely influenced by hearing of your reaction to basil. Bummer that you react to basil. The good news, once I tore myself away from my fixation on basil, i realized that there are so- o-o- o many great options out there. No need to risk our health !! or the health of our loved ones!
As to the sweet orange, any time I dare to use red palm oil again, I'm going to use sweet orange EO!

No I wouldn't use more than the recommended amount.

Sweet Orange will end up a pale custard type yellow its very pretty. It wont be orange unless you use a red oil as well. Basil is very strong smelling even in small amounts. I used some in a blend and people were not that keen, too strong a herbal scent from it and that was under the recommended amount.

I am one of those soapers that thinks you should start with no color and no scent. Learn about trace and all the different levels, learn about emulsification vs trace, learn how to swirl the tops with a spoon or stick or whatever you think you will like. Try your soap after 4, 6 and 8 weeks curing and see which one you like.

Then change just one thing and do it all again. You learn the most this way about your own recipe and can speak to people about what each ingredient brings to the soap. In the end you will be a MUCH better soaper because you understand what all the stages are of YOUR soap than if you rush and just wing it.
@curlycoat2, well, if I'd remembered to bring my sweet orange home, it would have gone great with the red palm oil in my recipe! Ditto on basil being super strong and not a great smell on its own. Definitely the amazing sweet basil smell in my garden.
Well, I'm sure I'll never be a very disciplined a soaper. But, anytime I get a huge spanking, I take a lesson from it. My first batch, I learned to always use a lye and fragrance calculator. This batch, I learned I should listen to scientists who've done valuable research for my benefit.
Finally, I thought it was the mica that caused my batter to trace so fast. Just in the last hour, I learned it was the red palm oil! I only stirred it with a spatula!!
I don't think I saw that warning in any video or recipe I saw that had red palm oil.

Way to go on your second batch! I trust and abide by eocalc.com no questions asked. Because of fading, I always use their 4-5% amounts, if they're in the green zone of course.

I hear ya on basil! I'm a gardener and love it -- and my bee balm smells like basil. I was very disappointed in the scent of basil eo. :(

Keep us posted!
@Zing, thank you. It was exciting (and stressful) to get my second batch under my belt. How do you make your bee balm smell like basil? Do you have a blend you've come up with or do you buy a fragrance that smells like basil?

Honestly, I sometimes question the IFRA usage rates, just like I question pretty much everything. “Who are they and why do they get to make the rules” types of questions. Still doing my own research on the IFRA. Having said that, I won’t go outside the recommended usage rates in soap meant for customers since I don’t want to be responsible for any adverse reactions, but I will with certain EOs if it’s soap for close family as they are comfortable with it.
@Marie_with_an_e , you have a rebellious streak ;) I only make soap for family and friends as a hobby. Although I REALLY wanted to ignore IFRA, I guess I'd feel bad if someone had a bad reaction because I threw caution to the wind. So, I'm glad I asked the question. I'm glad everyone took the time to post a reply.

I have no idea if this would work with basil or not, but have you researched infusing basil from your garden into your soapmaking oils? Maybe someone with experience infusing oils can give you some input on that, whether or not its safe and whether or not infusing it will give you the basil scent youre looking for?
@ackosel thank you for your response. I've decided that basil on its own is a lost cause. It is super strong.
 

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