Making soap from scratch is an ambitious project that requires special ingredients such as lye and equipment that should be set aside for soap making only. However, you can easily make your own herbal soap by starting with pure glycerine or castile soap and an herbal infusion. The addition of a little lanoline (available at your pharmacy) makes the soap very creamy and less drying to the skin. If you want to give the soap even more of an herbal kick, you can also stir some of the chopped herb into the soap just before pouring it into the molds.
Rose Soap: You can increase the amounts of rose oil and coloring for a more intense rose impact if desired. In place of rose water you may want to try a combination of peppermint and rosemary; lemon balm or lemon verbena; orange mint; rose geranium; or lavender.
Two 10-ounce bars of glycerine soap
½ – 1 cup rose water
1 Tbsp anhydrous lanolin
10 drops rose oil
10 drops red food coloring
Grate the soap with the grating disc of a food processor or by hand. Combine the grated soap and ½ cup of the rose water in a glass or enamel container and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. This may take some time; adding more rose water will speed the process, but the more liquid you add, the softer the finished soap will be. When the soap is melted, stir in the lanolin, mixing well. Add the rose oil and the food coloring, stirring until blended. The herbal infusion may turn the soap the color of old oatmeal, but he addition of food coloring will remedy this. Add the coloring drop by drop so that you can control the color. Remove from the heat.
Lightly oil several clean small round metal cans or a cut-off –milk carton with almond or vegetable oil. The cans make individual soaps, the milk carton a bar that can then be cut into the sizes you want. Pour the soap into the molds, making sure there are no air bubbles. Let the soap set for a day or two before removing from the molds. At this point you can carefully cut large bars into individual cakes. Allow the soap to sit out to dry until it is quite hard.
Herbal soaps such as these of rose or a blend of rosemary and mint are easily made by melting grated castile or glycerine soap with an herbal infusion. Melt down any scraps or leftover bits with lots of water to make a gentle liquid soap to keep by the sink.
Successful Gardening ~
Kali S. Winters