Soap Challenge – Week 5

You know I always encourage you to go check out the link-up from the week before at this point! Some fabulous soaps as usual, and LOTS of learning experiences this week from the alcohol soaps.

Here we are on the last week of the challenges – that have been announced anyway. I want to find out if you are interested in continuing the challenges, and if so, which ones you would like to do. I had also mentioned at the beginning that we might do a soap swap with this group. So I’ve created a short survey for you to let me know what your thoughts are about continuing the challenges and about participating in a swap! Please take a few moments and DO THE SURVEY NOW so you don’t forget. Thanks!

Now, on to this week’s challenge: mixing your own scent blend! The challenge is to make a soap using a new blend of either fragrance or essential oils (or a mix of both) you’ve created yourself using what you already have in your stash.

There are three different reasons why I have created scent blends in the past:
1. I was tired of the scents I had and wanted something new without spending any more $$$$$$$!
2. I have a ton of sample bottles or small amounts left in bigger bottles and wanted to use them up.
3. I was creating a new blend for my regular line of soaps.

Now, there are two different approaches to creating scent blends. The first one is just to dump and add until you like what you get. I’ve done this with sample bottles before because I knew I wasn’t going to duplicate it again. It’s not a very scientific method, but you can do it.

The other way is to create your blend on a small scale, using drops or Q-tips. Each drop or Q-tip is translated into a “part”. I prefer the drop method. Using disposable pipettes and paper towels, I will simply leave a drop of the essential or fragrance oil on a piece of paper towel, writing down what I’ve added and how much of each one. Some people like to dip Q-tips into the fragrances and put them in a glass jar with a lid over it for a day or so to let it “marinate”.

Here’s a video of a recent blending project that I’ve been working on for this week’s challenge. I am creating a new scent blend for my Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap in my regular line:

So, how do you know which scents will go well together? The easiest blends are the ones that blend like scents together – such as florals with florals, citrus with citrus, or spicy with spicy. According to Aromatherapypoint.com, the easiest scents to blend are florals. I would agree!

You can also check this list of essential oils that gives information about which ones blend well together.

You may have also heard about fragrance “notes”: some are top notes, some are middle notes, and some are base notes. This refers to how fast a fragrance flashes off and what you will smell first, next, and last. You can check out this list to see how different essential oils are classified by their notes. A basic ratio would be 3 parts top notes, 2 parts middle notes, and 1 part base note.

You can also blend fragrance oils – either single note scents or more complex scents. Sometimes this can be easier than blending essential oils because you have a much larger range to work with. Once again, blending like scents together will create the best outcomes. For example, I have plans to create an apple spice soap this fall with several different apple and/or spicy fragrances because I need to use up samples and small amounts left in the bottom of several bottles. For summer, I like what Jennifer came up with for her rum soap last week: mango-peach, pineapple-orange, and coconut. The possibilities are endless!!

Optional: get some guinea pigs – friends, neighbors, or family members work well – to smell your blends and tell you what they like or don’t like.

Once you have your parts figured out, now you can create a blend for any size soap recipe. For example, let’s say you have 3 parts grapefruit, 2 parts bergamot, and 1 part patchouli. (I’ve never made this blend, so I don’t know if it’s good or not!) Here is the math equation to figure out how much of each scent you will need: number of parts divided by total number of parts multiplied by the total amount of scent needed for your soap. Just make sure you stick with the same unit of measurement – probably either ounces or grams! Say you need a total of 2 ounces of your blend. Let’s start with the grapefruit: 3 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 1 oz. of grapefruit. Then bergamot would be 2 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 0.66 oz. of bergamot. Finally patchouli would be 1 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 0.33 oz. of patchouli. You get a total of 1.99 ounces, which is close enough! I know this can be confusing for some, so if you need any points of clarification, please ask!

For the link-up this Saturday, please be prepared to show a photo of your soap that you made using your custom scent blend, and since we lack the technology to smell your beautiful scent blends, I would ask that you also share what you used to create your custom blend. If you’d like to share the specifics (amounts and/or suppliers of fragrances) so that others can duplicate your blend, that is completely up to you. Many soapmakers consider this information to be proprietary, which I completely understand if you are planning to sell the soap in your regular line as I plan to with the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey. My plan is to share a few blends with you in the link-up post on Saturday in addition to the one I’m making for the challenge – so you’ll have a few others to try if you would like!

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!