How To Make Soap Using Dried Herbs
Making soap can be very intimidating. The powers that be will have everyone believing that lye is this big, bad scary substance to live in fear of.
The truth is, yes lye is caustic in it’s original form. Once it goes through it’s saponification process and turn oils into soap, it’s no longer caustic.
Once you start making soap, you will be addicted and never want to stop! I am serious! There is something so amazingly pioneer-ish about making your own soap. Like Little House on the Prairie!
I was asked by a friend recently to make favors for a baby shower that were egg shaped. I didn’t want to do an herbal infused soap but I did want to use herbs as a decorative part of the soap.
I chose calendula to go with the earthy, patchouli, lavender and cedarwood essential oils that I used to add scent. You could use cornflowers, roses, lavender petals or any other colorful herb or flower. I found egg molds here.
I turned to Shalom Mama’s tutorial once again but added and took away things as needed to suit what I was looking for. Please visit the herbal soap recipe to see what equipment you will need and for detailed pictures if you are a beginner soapmaker.
How To Make Soap Using Dried Herbs
- 18.5 ounces Olive oil
- 12 ounces Coconut oil
- 9 ounces Palm oil
- 1 ounce Shea butter
- 5.8 ounces powdered lye (or buy here)
- 13.5 ounces water
- 2-3 Tbsp Essential oils – I used an earthy blend of patchouli, cedarwood and lavender. I like this brand.
- Dried herbs of choice if using to decorate.
- If you are using large soap molds, line them with parchment or butcher paper. If using small molds you don’t need to line them.
- Weigh each of the oils either in a bowl or in a pot, taring the scale after each addition. Or if using a bowl, pour the oils one by one into a pot after measuring. Warm on the stove on low.
- Alternatively, heat the oils in a crock pot on low.
- While heating the oils, put on a pair of gloves, a mask and eye goggles and add the lye to the water. I like to take my bowl of lye and water outside and place it in a bowl of ice water (or in the snow in the winter) to the fumes are not in my house. ALWAYS pour the lye into the water and not the other way around!
- While the lye is cooling down to 110 degrees, get the temp of the oils up to 110 degrees.
- Pour the lye into the oils and blend using an immersion blender until it reaches trace. Trace is a thickening of the soap mixture so that when you run the blender over the top of the mixture, it makes ridges in it. Think of pudding consistency.
- Add in your essential oils and pour into molds. If using dried herbs, put them in the mold prior to adding soap.
- Place soap molds in a box with a lid for 48 hours.
- Unmold carefully and allow to sit for 3 weeks to harden. They can be used earlier, they just won’t be as hardened.
- Clean all of your equipment thoroughly with hot water.
This recipe makes enough soap for 5 egg soap molds plus one loaf pan. If you are just making soap loaves, it makes two standard sized loaves.
All the soapmaking ingredients like oils and herbs can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs.
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Disclaimer: I am an herbalist but I am not a medical doctor or nurse. The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information presented here is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to prevent, treat, or cure any disease.
Sarah is a wife, mom of 4, farm owner, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an Master Herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and is a Clinical/Functional Nutritionist and Advanced Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioner at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).