Soap Challenge – Week 5 Link-Up

Oh, how I wish we could smell through our monitors into all the wonderful soap photos of this week’s challenge! I hope everyone was able to come up with at least one scent blend that they are over-the-moon excited about!

I told you about my project – to create an all-natural scent blend for my Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap, and I’m pretty pleased with the results! I did deviate just a bit from my test batch when I made the full-sized batch this week, which was both good and bad. Here is my video update:

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I still have some of the previous batch of Oatmeal, Milk & Honey available. (Click the photo to order.) It has more of a Honey Almond scent, which was supposed to be all-natural, but now the supplier is saying it could have some synthetic fragrance in it. So that’s why I had to do the challenge! I figure if I make the blend myself, I know what’s in it!

I also promised to provide a few more scent blend ideas for you today.
Here is a guest post by Lori Nova on the Soap Queen blog about her top 10 essential oils and how she likes to blend them.

When I come across scent blend ideas, I copy them into my “Scent Blend” document and pull it out when I need a little inspiration. Here are a few essential oil blends I’ve collected that others recommended to me:

6 parts lavender
4 parts lime
2 parts peppermint

2 parts pink grapefruit
1 part cedarwood

2 parts rose geranium
2 parts lavender
1 part ylang-ylang

3 parts pine
2 parts peppermint
2 parts eucalyptus

Thieves blend: equal amounts of eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, clove and lemon.

Dreamcatcher blend:
2 parts 5x orange
1 part clary sage
1 part lemongrass

Sensual blend (adjust as needed):
7 parts patchouli
2 parts bergamot
2 parts orange
2 parts geranium
2 parts ylang ylang

Now we are ready to see (wish we could SMELL) what you’ve been up to this week! Remember, since we can’t actually smell your soap, I asked you to at least share what you put in your blend. It is up to you whether you want to share amounts.

Bloggers: Create a post telling us about your scent blending adventures and show us some photos! Please include a link back to my blog in your post (either the home page, or this post should work nicely!).

Facebook business page photos: Upload your photo(s) into a photo album, and write a descriptive caption on the photo you are linking up to this post – including what you put in your scent blend! To link the photo, click on it, then copy and paste the URL into the “blog post URL” blank at the top. In the next step, it will show your photo, and you will need to select it. (If you press the “crop” button instead, you can adjust what the thumbnail of your photo will look like.)

YouTubers: You can create a link to a YouTube video of your soap! There will be a little frog icon instead of a thumbnail photo of the soap, but anyone who clicks on your link will be able to see your video. Starting on your video page, click the “share” button and copy the URL. You can use this URL for the “blog post URL” blank. Then in the next step, ignore all the tiny blue boxes and click the “direct image URL” tab across the top and paste the URL of your youtube video in the blank again and hit the “submit query” button.

Uploading a photo from your computer: If you don’t have a blog or business page on facebook or a youtube video, you can still upload a photo from your computer. Just put n/a in the “blog post URL” blank and go to the next step. It will give you an error message, but it will still work! Just click the tab across the top that says “upload from computer” and you will be able to browse your files and upload a photo. I will remove the dead link ASAP.

Ordering Essential Oils

box_fragrance. I received a phone call from WSP customer service this morning and found out that the bitter almond fragrance they sell is actually made with cassia essential oil and sweet almond (fixed) oil. There isn’t any bitter almond in it at all, but somehow it smells like almond, so that’s what they have labeled it. I’ve smelled cassia essential oil, and I don’t remember it smelling like almonds, but maybe the one I had wasn’t the best quality. I also received some advice from another soapmaker that WSP has a pretty great honey almond essential oil blend that doesn’t irritate your skin, so I’ve ordered both so I can decide between them.

I also received some insightful comments on the previous post from Josee who has used the bitter almond essential oil from Liberty Natural.

Liberty Natural sells the bitter almond EO FFPA FFC. There is some paperwork to fill out first but once done, they keep them on file so you don’t have to do it again next time you want to buy. I have some here and I can assure you it is VERY potent stuff. Used at 0.5 PPO it still almost drove me out of the house. This EO has been modified, the prussic acid removed, so that it is safe to use. The reason you have to fill out paperwork is because benzandelhyde is the precursor to amphetamine.

Indeed, if you look at the Certificate of Analysis for this product, it says Prussic Acid (Per FCC Test): 0.015% max.

Besides looking at the almond essential oils, I’ve also placed an order with Essential Oil University for some other essential oils & blends. Although I do like to create my own scent blends, sometimes it is more cost effective to buy the pre-blended oils. Eventually, I’m fairly certain that all of my products – including soaps – will be scented naturally. I’m starting this process slowly, however. I do love my synthetic fragrances!

Essential oils have so many facets to them – they aren’t just good for fragrance! They have aromatherapy benefits and other properties that can make them highly potent. I’m hoping to learn more about those properties as I blend and create products that are beneficial to my customers. This includes watching for cautions related to skin irritation, or oils that are to be avoided during pregnancy. Most of the larger suppliers don’t have this information on their websites, so I have to go looking elsewhere. I wish I could go to the Handcrafted Soapmaker’s Guild conference in May to learn more from Robert Tisserand. He’s going to be one of the speakers, and he’s a well-known expert on the subject. Can someone take good notes for me, if you’re going? (I just read that Tisserand advises to completely avoid cassia in skin care applications. [Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety (United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone, 1995), 204.] Perhaps I shouldn’t have purchased the bitter almond fragrance from WSP.)

I did find a couple “top pick” essential oil lists from some experienced soap teachers if you’re just starting out and need some suggestions for what to buy. Lori Nova of The Nova Studio has a top 10 list with reasons why she chose them as well as some suggestions on how to blend them. She also gives some guidelines on how to figure out how much to use in a batch of soap. Marla Bosworth of Back Porch Soap Company has a top 5 list that includes some different oils as well as her reasons for picking them and blending suggestions.

Hopefully those resources will help someone. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting patiently for my packages to arrive!