Making Aromatherapy Soap & Choosing Essential Oils

Essential Oil Soap | Essential Oils for Soapmaking

Making aromatherapy soap at home lets you choose the scents you want and avoid ingredients you don't want. This article describes options for making soaps, talks about how to choose essential oils, and points you to resources for detailed soap-making instructions.

Cold Process Soaps

To make cold process soaps, you combine a base oil containing fatty acids (almost any oil, from beef tallow to olive oil) and sodium hydroxide (lye). 

For cold process soaps, Cathy Winsby of Soap Making Essentials recommends 3 to 4 teaspoons (15 to 20 ml or 0.5 to 0.7 ounce) of essential oil for each pound of base oil. She notes that some people use as much as one ounce of essential oil for each pound of base oil; however, that much essential oil creates a very strong scent that not everyone likes or can tolerate.

You want to add the essential oils near the end of the soap-making process, after the lye has mostly evaporated. Lye can damage essential oils.

Video instruction for cold process soap making.

A variation is hot process soaps, where you heat all the ingredients to put the soap through various stages. When the excess water evaporates, the soap is ready to cool and then use. You add the essential oils at the cooling stage.

Melt and Pour Soaps

The easiest way to make soap is to use melt and pour. You purchase a clear soap base, melt the blocks, add color (if desired) and essential oils, and place the melted mixture into molds to harden into solid soap. This approach is especially good if you want to get your children involved.

Essential Oils For Aromatherapy Soap

Which essential oils to use? You can use any oil that is not irritating to the skin. It's also important to use only high-quality oils.

Floral scents are popular: jasmine, lavender, neroli, rose, and ylang ylang.

Citrus scents are also popular: grapefruit, lemon, orange, and tangerine.

Earthy scents: frankincense, myrrh, patchouli, or vetiver

Woodsy scents: cedarwood or sandalwood

Spicy scents: ginger or nutmeg

For more about making soap, see Saponifier Magazine, which covers soap, toiletry, and candle making, or Teach Soap, a site that provides many recipes, tips, and tutorials.

Recommended essential oils to use in your soap.



Photo Credit: dusky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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