I tweaked the Four Thieves essential oil blend I’ve been using for years, as I have read how Clove and Cinnamon can be irritating to the skin. However, this is a wash off product, so I don’t think it’s much of an issue (and after years of use, I haven’t had any problems, nor have I had any complaints from others).
The blend still has about the same scent, just slightly lighter, so I used more. With a little less Clove & Cinnamon, I hoped that the soap would not turn as yellow (so I can use less titanium dioxide to whiten it), plus there was a slight decrease in acceleration, giving me a little longer to work with the batter. Both wins on the making side!
Soap from 5 lb mold
Soap from 3 lb mold
Information on Essential Oils used:
Clove: Is an aroma stimulant and an aphrodisiac; it helps with fatigue & depression, the respiratory system, muscle pain, and nausea. And it has analgesic properties.
Litsea Cubeba (May Chang): Used for a Lemon, or a base note in more elusive citrus notes, this is a lovely, uplifting & rejuvenating essential oil. It can also be used to treat acne or oily skin. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties are said to make it effective against common infections like cold and cough. The oil is a tonic for the nervous system and can help with digestive problems as well.
Cinnamon: Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, insecticide, stimulant, stomachic.
Eucalyptus: It awakens the mind and opens the lungs. It helps remove exhaustion & mental sluggishness and rejuvenates the spirits of the sick. It has a pleasant aroma and is effective as a deodorant, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agent. Helps to clear sinuses.
Rosemary: Used as decongestant and for muscle pain, it is stimulating & energizing. Best known for its aid in memory and hair loss. (It is also considered a symbol of love, and the sprigs have been traditionally used in wedding ceremonies.)
Use 86 oz batter for 5 lb & 52 oz for 3 lb
Same 3 layer design as before.
Use 7.2 oz EO Blend (made 7 oz + use extra from last batch)
Leftovers in sample or individual molds.
7 oz – 114 grams Four Thieves Oil: (might accelerates trace)
Original: MADE 7 oz: Grams: Percent:
34% Clove leaf: 1.75 oz 50 grams 25%
30% Litsea 2.10 oz 60 grams 30%
16% Cinnamon: 1.05 oz 30 grams 15%
12% Eucalyptus: 1.05 oz 30 grams 15%
8% Rosemary: 1.05 oz 30 grams 15%
Master Batch Oils #18: 100 oz Oils (Makes 142 oz/ 8.87 lb soap)
MB Oils: 100 oz/ 2835 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 14.11 oz / 400 grams
Distilled Water: (4.55 oz disc/ 14% disc): 27 oz / 765 grams (Used 24 oz)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 28 grams (in oils or Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 28 grams (in oils)
Dulse Extract Extract (1%): 28 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Nettle Extract Extract (1%): 28 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
5 lb Mold: Use 86 oz/Colors/4.6 oz EO Blend:
38 oz TD white (in distilled water), 2.4 oz EO
2nd Layer: SEE BELOW
18 oz No EO (2.5 oz inside & 0.5 oz for top – each color)
30 oz TD White 2.2 oz EO
3 lb Mold: Use 52 oz/ 2.6 oz EO Blend):
23 oz TD white (in distilled water), 1.4 oz EO
2nd Layer: SEE BELOW
11 oz; No EO (1.3 oz inside & 0.5 oz for top – each color)
18 oz TD White 1.2 oz EO
2nd Layer for Both Batches: 30+ oz No EO
5+ oz BB (6 oz) Fizzy Lemonade & BB Yellow Mica
5+ oz BB (6 oz) Nuclear Orange & BB Racing Stripe Orange (yellow)
5+ oz BB (6 oz) Radiant Plum
5+ oz BB (6 oz) Queens Purple
5+ oz BB (6 oz) Ultramarine Blue
5+ oz CC (6 oz) Granny Smith Apple Green Mica
Top with lines of colors, swirl, spritz with alcohol & fine Iridescent Glitter.
CPOP for 5 hours.
(BB = Bramble Berry; CC = WSP Crafter’s Choice; TD = Titanium Dioxide)
I combined the lye liquid and oils at 99F & 101F, stick blending just until emulsified (using an immersion blender). I had thought I would soap each mold separately, but instead I combined the amount of both first layers in one container and the batter for the third layer in another. I had already planned to combine the colored batters for both molds in each of the six containers.
I mixed in the titanium dioxide – and stick blended very briefly because it was in water and that seems to be the only way to get it mixed in well. I then added the EO blend (2.4 oz + 1.4 oz); put the first mold on a scale and poured in 38 oz; then set the second mold on the scale and added 23 oz.
I then mixed in the colors in all the containers and waited for them to get a bit thicker. But they would not thicken enough, so I stick blended each a bit. (In hindsight it would have been better to pour out the batter for the first & third layers, stick blend the rest and then divid it into 6 containers, as this ended up being my downfall.)
For the second layer I tilted the mold and added unscented & colored batter lengthwise along the side – this is called an advanced tiger pour. I made three passes with each color in this order: yellow, green blue, orange, plum, and purple. I then put in the fridge to set.
It took an inordinate amount of time to set, and still the large mold (which I poured first) was not hard enough and when pouring the third layer, it broke through (even though I poured over a spatula to break the fall.)
By the time I added the titanium dioxide for the last layer, the batter was so thick I wasn’t even able to stick blend it in. I then added the EO blend (2.2 oz + 1.2 oz) and mixed that in. Of course it accelerated as usual, and I had to glop it into the molds. Then I smoothed it out and added lines of color on top, swirling with a chop stick first the short way, then made a squiggly line down the long way of the mold (3-4 times).
Top of 5 lb mold
I dusted with fine iridescent glitter, spritzing on alcohol before and after this, then put the 5 lb mold in a 150F preheated oven for 5 hours. (The oven was off until the halfway mark, then turned back on to bring up to heat, and off again for the remainder of the time.)
This is called CPOP – cold process oven processed. It helps the soap to come to a nice gel, which brightens the colors and sets the soap faster (for quicker removal from the mold and faster cutting). (For CPOP in most areas, 170F is used. Because I live at 6,000 feet elevation, that is too hot and 150F works better.)
The 3 lb mold was covered with plastic wrap and towels to keep warm and promote gel. (It’s a silicone mold, so it can’t be put in the oven or it will sweat. The 5 lb mold is a wooden one.)
3 lb Mold:
5 lb Mold:
This was a Huge batch for me to make, and using both a 5 lb & 3 lb mold I maxed out the capacity of my container. (I have a second 5 lb mold and would like to use both for one batch in the future. I just need a bigger container or make two batches side by side.)
When pouring my second layer I was worried about not having enough for both molds, so I skimped too much on the 5 lb mold and added a little more to the 3 lb mold. (Next time it would be better to separate out these colors for each mold.)
I used titanium dioxide in water, instead of oil (as I need so much of it to whiten the batter), and decreased the total water used by 3 oz – which was a lot and added to the faster thickening of the white batter. But I didn’t go to bright white as usual, and instead, when I added the eo blend and it darkened it to a cream/pale yellow, I left it that way and I think it looks lovely.
The Story Behind The Four Thieves Blend:
The Bubonic Plague wreaked havoc in Europe off and on for about 600 years before peaking in the 1300s. Century after century, as late as the 1700s, outbreaks claimed up to half the population.
During the plague a group of four brothers began robbing the dead. At first, they were largely ignored, as everyone knew they would eventually pay the price by catching the contagion themselves but, to everyone’s surprise, they managed to avoid the plague and continued robbing graves, amassing a great deal of wealth. They became legendary and everyone wanted to know how they evaded the sickness.
When they were finally captured, they were asked for their secret during questioning. After much debating, they agreed to share their methods in return for their pardon.
These men were the offspring of a perfumer and herbalist. They learned about essential oils from their parents during their childhood. They knew these oils would protect them so they rubbed them on their bodies and used them to clean anything they brought back. The powerful blend is now called Four Thieves. (They did use these oils & herbs in vinegar, and the vinegar probably played a big part in their wellness too).
An interesting note: There is a period of time when physicians wore dark robes, wide-brimmed hats, & masks with long beaks. These beaks held dried herbs, spices and essential oils which the physician breathed. The robe was doused with a similar fragrant concoction. (Scientific evidence today is building support for these actions.)