I have made numerous batches of Lavender soap over the years, using a variety of techniques, and tried many different Lavender FO’s and EO’s. I’m not a huge fan of the fragrance, but there are a lot variations out there – some that are really wonderful, some that are not.
I have been very pleased with the Bramble Berry 40/42 essential oil, but it’s pricey, at $60 for only 15 oz. Since I was getting to the end of the bottle, I decided to add a bit of a Lavender FO to stretch it out.
Description of Bramble Berry and Essential Depot Oils:
BB Lavender 40/42 EO: Similar to Lavender Provence essential oil, this is a mixture of lavender’s: 40/42 blends different kinds of Lavender for a consistent blend. The aroma can have a soothing effects on people suffering from stress, anxiety, and illness. CP: Water White, no A, D, R.
ED English Lavender FO: Floral, floral apple, muguet, grape; lavender, rose, gardenia, jasmine; orange flower, musk. CP: works great, long lasting. A pretty good scent. (This was unbearably strong when new, now that it is a couple years old, it has mellowed quite a bit).
BB 10X Orange EO (for Sunflower soaps): Also referred to as ’10 Fold’ Orange. CP: Scent does not fade. Turns a bright egg-yoke yellow color.
Make 113 oz/ 7 lb of batter, pour off 36 oz for embeds & Sunshine Orange Sunflower soaps.
For Lavender soap:
5 lb mold with tube heart embeds: 1 red, 1 purple, 1 pink – for 2 hearts in each bar.
77 oz batter plus 13 oz tube heart embeds = 90 oz total soap.
Use 45% of colors to white (including embeds) (See blog here and blog here as to how I came up with this idea.)
Master Batch Oils #9: 80 oz Oils (Makes 113 oz/7 lb soap)
MB Oils: 80 oz/ 2268 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 11.4 oz / 323 grams
Distilled Water: (4.4 oz/17% disc): 22 oz / 624 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 23 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 23 grams (in oils)
Carrot Extract (1%): 23 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 23 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Lavender Soap: 77 oz Batter/Color/FO-EO blend: 1 oz FO & 3.5 oz EO:
50 oz TD White
9 oz BB Ultramarine Violet
9 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue
9 oz BB Red Mica
13 oz tube embeds – 1 red (4 oz), 1 purple (4 oz), 1 pink (5 oz).
Silver, red, and queens purple mica oil swirls on top
Sunshine Orange Sunflower Soap: 21 oz Batter/Color/1 oz 10x Orange EO:
Dark Brown center (BB Cappuccino Mica)
Yellow petals (natural color from EO)
Orange background (CC Illite Pumpkin Clay & hint of BB Nuclear orange)
Leftovers: 14 oz for embeds for future projects.
I combined my lye liquid and oils at 100F & 102F, stick blending until emulsified (using an immersion blender) and separated out the batter for each color and project.
I mixed up a little dark brown soap and spooned it into the center of the 6 sunflower molds, then put in the fridge to stiffen. While I waited for that, I made embeds for future projects, then went back to the sunflowers. I added 1 oz of 10x Orange essential oil to the rest of the batter and it turned a beautiful egg-yoke yellow. I poured this into the molds up to the edge of the petals, and again put into the fridge.
I got my Lavender batch ready, adding the colors & fragrance, and had planned to work on that next, but the batter wasn’t quite thick enough. So once again, I worked on the Sunflowers, adding the last layer. I was going to use an orange colorant, but instead tried a Pumpkin orange clay. It was browner than I would have liked, so I added a touch of nuclear orange pigment mixed in oil. (I went with the clay, to make it a more naturally colored batch, but aesthetics won out.)
I ran out of batter before filling all the molds. Fortunately I had some uncolored soap left from making embeds, so I just poured that into the orange from as high as possible, to drop swirl it into the soaps, and then I swirled the top (which will be the bottom) with a toothpick. This solution worked well.
Back to my main batch of 5 lbs of Lavender: By now the soap was at a light to medium trace, which I though would be perfect to hold the tube embeds. I started with some white, then drop swirled the other colors and used a chop stick to mix them. I had about half my batter in the mold and added one row of hearts, more batter, the other row of hearts, more batter, then finished off with a white top. I then added one row of each color, swirled with a chop stick, and added the mica oils and swirled again, sprinkling the top with fine iridescent glitter.
An interesting note: I thought the top looked really boring, but when I complained to my Sweetie Pie, he gawked and said “That’s boring???” He thought it was beautiful, which just shows you the different perspectives between a soaper and a “normal person:”
More Soaping Notes:
I knew this soaping session would be complicated, doing 3 different projects. It wasn’t all “elbow and knees,” but it was far from flawless (is any soaping experience perfect?)
The first oops was after I finished mixing my soap to emulsified: It seemed like a great idea to unhook my stick blender and leave the mixing part in the bowl – all the cool kids did it on YouTube, so I thought I’d give it a try. But instead of standing it up, I did what I always do (when the two pieces are together), and laid it against the side of the bowl. Plunk! It immediately slipped all the way to the bottom and I heard a “glug, glug, glug,” as the center core was filling up with soap. (I’m sure it will be the end of that attachment – good thing I have extras.)
Then of course I ran out of batter for my sunflower soaps…I never checked how much soap the mold held (I was thinking they were the size of the snowflake molds I had been working with).
I always weigh out the batter in containers with spouts. This time I decided to use the bowl I mixed my 7 lbs of soap in for my white soap, as this would work well for my In The Pot swirl. That’s right – I was going to do an ITP swirl: pouring the colors into the white, swirling with a spatula, and pouring it all into a 5 lb mold with embeds. I had it written on my soaping sheet and it wasn’t until I was cleaning up and asking – Why? Why did I have so much trouble with my colors? And why did I use this big bowl? – that I figured it out!
It was very frustrating making the lavender soap, as it seemed like I had way too much color and I just couldn’t get it mixed in right using the drop swirl. That’s because I wanted an ITP swirl – somehow the image in my head and what my hands were doing never set off a bell to alert me I was messing up!!
I think I have been watching too many YouTube soaping videos – the techniques of others have permeated my brain to the point of taking over, in spite of what I consciously want to do! But I just can’s stop watching them!
And Note to self (I actually wrote it on my EO/FO inventory list): DO NOT USE this Lavender FO again! Just throw it out!! (which I did.) It took over the wonderful EO and it just smelled stinky – fortunately it mellow out in a couple days.
I like that these bars were cut right where the red heart ended and the pink began:
You can see a range of heart combinations in these: red & purple, purple & pink, and red & pink:
The biggest issue I had with these were of my doing: I cut them too soon. The embeds were fully cured and because they were so hard, they caused the soap to ripple (you can see that a little on the bottom edges of the hearts). The colors also streaked in some places, due to the softness of the bars. (I was leaving town for a week, and if I had waited till I returned to cut it, I wouldn’t have had these issues, and/or they wouldn’t have been so acute.)
I picked one side of each bar to plane some of these problems away, but I would have lost too much soap weight if I would have planed them to perfection.
I do love that every bar is so different – not just from the swirls, but from staggering the red & purple heart tubes in the mold and adding half of the pink heart tube to each side to get a variety of combinations.
Sunshine Orange Sunflowers
I dusted the petals with gold sparkle mica:
The petals faded to a beige cream, while the background fated to a brown/beige, but then perked back up to a light orange. Dusting the tops with gold mica helped brighten them up a bit. Next time I will use Annatto infused in oils, or a colorant or clay to get the petals a yellower color.