Many soap makers enjoy having control over every ingredient that goes into their final product because it gives them the opportunity to use more natural components that are beneficial to your skin. Essential oils are one of those natural components and can be used in place of synthetic perfumes, which usually contain chemicals that can cause you harm. Using essential oils will not only give you a stronger and more pure aroma, but many of them contain properties that can heal and protect your skin.
The concentrated aroma of essential oils are fantastic for soap but there are some usage guidelines to be followed and precautions to take to make sure your soap comes out with the scent you imagined.
Each essential oil has its own usage rate, which tells you the amount of oil that is safe to use for different applications. It is important to research the usage rate in soap of each essential oil you plan to use.
When making your own soap, it is crucial to wait when adding your essential oils until close to the end of the process. If they are added too soon, both the fragrance and the therapeutic qualities of the oils can be destroyed by the lye. Some essential oils, such as citrus and floral scents may accelerate the saponification process, causing the soap mixture to thicken more quickly and become difficult to work with. You can combat this effect by mixing your oils and lye at a lower temperature; around 100° seems to do the trick in many recipes.
Once you get the hang of using essential oils in your soap, the possibilities are nearly endless. Use single oils or create blends for a truly unique product. Just a few essential oils can be blended in many different ways and create a variety of different aromas.
Start building your soap scenting collection with our top ten essential oils for soapmaking:
- Lavender essential oil
- A definite favorite of many and an extremely versatile oil. A balancing and soothing aroma that is great in soap on its own or blended.
- Lemon essential oil
- A refreshing and fruity fragrance that blends great with florals and other citrus oils. Adds a bright and clean scent to soap.
- Rosemary essential oil
- An invigorating, woodsy scent that acts as an anchor in blends. Anti-inflammatory and great for the skin.
- Sweet Orange essential oil
- A sweeter, bolder citrus smell. Good for balancing out earthy fragrances and acts as a natural degreaser.
- Peppermint essential oil
- A powerful sweet, minty aroma. Can add something unexpected to blends and is great for holiday soap projects.
- Patchouli essential oil
- A rich, earthy scent perfect for creating depth in a lighter blend. Very versatile for blends and a perfect anchoring base note.
- Tea Tree essential oil
- A fresh, medicinal aroma that can be used alone or blended with many different oils. A must have for facial soaps and natural acne treatments.
- Cedarwood essential oil
- A woodsy, dry scent that provides a good base note for more cleansing blends. An excellent choice to pair with floral or citrus notes.
- Litsea Cubeba essential oil
- A crisp citrus aroma with a green undertone. Works well with many other oils and gives blends more staying power in soap.
- Ylang Ylang essential oil
- A rich, sweet floral scent that adds a smoothness to blends. Soothing and balancing properties for the skin make it perfect for soap.