A Guide To Essential Oils For Soap Making
Posted on November 07 2015
Essential Oils & Soap Making
Essential oils are key elements in soap making; used to add fragrance naturally, essential oils are also included to impart their healing properties. Each essential oil is reputed to have its own benefits for body and mind.
The term essential oil is actually short for quintessential oil. Quintessence is thought to be the fifth element, adding to the four we’re already familiar with: earth, air, fire and water. According to ancient belief, matter is comprised of these elements; quintessence is also referred to as ether or spirit, thus essential oil is the life essence of the plant it is extracted from.
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant essences, with just a drop or two required in applications like rubbing perfume or oil burning. In soap making, just a couple of ounces can be added to soap batter to create a specific or combined fragrance.
How are essential oils made?
Essential oils can be extracted from plants through distillation, which requires heating and cooling selectively to separate the oil from the other plant components. The leaves, roots, flowers and bark of various plants are commonly distilled to create the residual oil.
In some cases, vast amounts of plant matter are required for the creation of just a tiny amount of oil; in the distillation of rose oil, for example, a ton of petals is required to create a pound of oil.
Fragrance oils are often confused with essential oils; the two are not the same, as fragrance oils are artificially created rather than derived from a plant. They can add scent to soaps but without providing the same therapeutic properties associated with essential oils, although they may also be derived from natural sources.
Why are essential oils used in soap making?
As well as adding scent to natural soap, essential oils are used in soap making for their reputed health benefits – especially for the skin. Different oils are associated with different benefits, for example, ylang-ylang reputedly helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, while lemon and sandalwood are both associated with treating acne.
Many essential oils have antibacterial or antimicrobial properties, while others are reported to help relieve pain and inflammation. Some soothe the senses, other are mood-lifting. As aforementioned, fragrance oils are added for scent alone – if you buy an aromatherapy soap, please check the label for fragrance or essential oil.
Essential oils are natural products and fragrance oil is synthetic; this doesn’t mean, however, that natural soaps should be avoided if they contain fragrance oil. As long as the oil is not harsh and constitutes less than one per cent of the soap’s ingredients, it should not be detrimental.
How To Make Natural Soap With Essential Oils via WaysAndHow
Types of essential oils and soap making fragrances
There are all sorts of essential oils and fragrances used in soap making; Soap.Club produces over 70 varieties of natural soap infused with fragrances from nature, using the best-quality oils for the perfect finishing touches.
The quality of essential oil depends on the crop it is distilled from, where the plant was grown and the conditions at the time; for these reasons, essential oils can be less stable to work with than fragrance oils. However, for the best results, find a reputable essential oils manufacturer and stick with them.
The same can be said of fragrance oils; once you find a good seller, stick with them for consistent results but beware terms like ‘perfumer’s grade’ and other vocabulary that seems official but in fact isn’t. These terms simply indicate the level of concentration and are more for the manufacturer’s use than the consumer’s.
Combining essential oils and fragrances
Artisan soap makers understand the importance of balancing scents; at Soap.Club we have single-scented soaps as well as combined fragrances. In some cases, we use both essential aromatherapy oils and fragrance oils to create the perfect balance.
Both essential and fragrance oils are categorized into top notes, middle notes and base notes, depending on how long-lasting each scent is. Blends often include one scent from each category for a well-rounded fragrance.
Top note essential oils include sweet orange, lime and citronella. These fragrances are strong but disappear quickly.
Middle note essential oils include rose, jasmine and neroli. These fragrances are not as strong but they are longer lasting, forming the main element of any fragrance blend.
Base note essential oils include ylang-ylang, sandalwood and vanilla. These are heavy and rich, lasting the longest.
At Soap.Club, we use the cold process soapmaking method, which means the fragrance or essential oils are added last; this helps the soap retain its scent. An alternative is to use a fixative, which enables the soap to keep its smell in instances where it would otherwise completely fade. We also cure our soaps for at least six weeks, which intensifies the fragrance and produces a better quality bar.
What are the benefits of essential oils?
Each essential oil has its own associated benefits. Some people like to use essential oils with a carrier oil in massage, while others add a few drops to an oil burner or rub them into pulse points to enjoy the fragrance.
In natural soap, essential oils can be used every day to bring about benefits and a lingering fragrance. Some of the most popular essential oils include lavender, sandalwood, jasmine and rose. Lavender is a relaxant, aiding sleep, but it also has disinfectant properties for the skin and scalp and is known to relieve pain and boost circulation. Sandalwood, meanwhile, is anti-inflammatory and helps soften the skin while also calming the nerves.
Jasmine nourishes the skin and reduces the appearance of blemishes while rose helps rejuvenate, tone and lift the skin. Each essential oil has something to offer in terms of maintaining healthy skin – why not check out our e-store and find your favorite fragrance?
Don’t forget to check back to our blog for useful tips and tricks, natural soap recipes and the latest articles from Soap.Club. Visit our website and select from over 70 sumptuous scents.