01 of 10
Let's Get Started Making Lavender-Mint Soap
Everyone loves lavender soap. Most people also like mint scented soaps. But sometimes you just can't decide on just one scent or additive - so here's a project that combines the benefits of two scents (lavender and mint) while keeping them separate. Basically, we'll be making a standard batch of cold process soap, but splitting the batch in two - scenting and coloring one with one scent (lavender essential oil with purple oxide** and lavender buds) and one side with another (mint,... green oxide and ground spearmint.) It's a lovely way to meld two scents and make a neat looking bar of soap.
For this lavender and mint soap project you'll need:
- A basic understanding of How to Make Cold Process Soap
- Understanding of How to Make a Lye Solution
- Understanding of Soap Making Safety
You can combine any two scents, additive and/or color combinations you like. For this batch, my recipe was:
- 30% Lard
- 30% Olive Oil
- 25% Coconut Oil
- 10% Sunflower Oil
- 5% Castor Oil
- Lye and Water as per my lye calculator
It's my basic Grocery Store Soap recipe.
To it, I added
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Manganese Violet Ultramarine**
- Lavender Buds
- Bergamot essential oil
- Chromium Green Oxide
- Ground Spearmint
** Actually, in making this recipe, I accidentally substituted manganese violet colorant for ultramarine violet - so instead of purple, I got brown - for the full story, read From Purple to ZenContinue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Mix, Mix, Mix
First things first, make your lye solution. It will need time to cool - but don't worry, there's plenty to do.
Weigh out all of your soap making oils and get them ready to go. Then get your mold ready. You can make this type of soap in nearly any kind of mold, but for this batch, I'm using a Plexiglas log mold like they carry at The Soap Hutch. I have made hundreds of batches of soap in this mold. I love it! This mold makes 3.5 inch wide bars of soap in a log 18 inches long. I formulate my... batch to come out to be 2.5 inches deep...so I get about 18 4-oz. bars out of one log. Line the mold with freezer paper or several layers of wax paper and prop up one side so that it's setting at an angle.
Next, mix your oxides with a little oil. This will help them mix into the soap better. I'm putting 1/4 tsp. of oxide in 6 tbs. of oil. (Just take the oil out of your already measured out liquid oils.)Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Get Everything Set Up and Ready to Go
With a complicated, multi-step batch of soap like this one, it's very important to get everything organized, measured, and ready to go before you start mixing the soap. Once you've started mixing, things are going to go fast and you don't want to miss a step or make a mistake.
What you see here is two rows of cups - one for each layer - one with color, the next with the essential oil and the third with the additive.
Once everything is ready to go, and your lye and oils are both at about 100... degrees, let's get mixing!
Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Blend - LIGHTLY
Slowly add the lye water to the batch and stir. Give it a couple of light blasts with the stick blender. However, all we want right now is for the soap and lye to be just barely mixed together - we're not looking for trace just yet!
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Separate and Color the First Layer
Once the lye and oils are mixed together, separate out half of the batch by pouring it into a large pyrex pitcher or other large bowl. (The pyrex pitchers are great because they allow you to be more accurate on splitting the batch in half.)
Add the colorant, essential oil, and additives to the soap and blend. Here is where you will look for trace, but you shouldn't have to look far - in the time it takes to separate the soap and add the color etc., you should be very close to trace already.
Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Pour the First Layer
Slowly pour the first layer evenly into the (tilted) mold.
Don't dilly-dally though, you've got a whole other half a batch of soap waiting for you!
Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Color the Second Half
To the half batch still sitting in your soap pot, add the colorant, essential oil and additives - and stir. As before, if you're not at trace already - it will not take long at all.
Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Pour the Second Half
Very gently and slowly pour the second color on top of the first color. If you pour too quickly, or from too high up, you'll start to "swirl" the colors together and won't get a clean line in between them. (If you want the colors more swirled, though, pour from high enough so that the second color penetrates into the first and/or swirl through it with a chopstick or rubber spatula.)
I wanted a nice clean yin-yang sort of line in this batch, so I poured slowly and carefully.
After all of the soap... has been poured, very gently lower the mold so that it's horizontal and wiggle the mold a little to make sure that the soap "settles" level.
If you're paying attention, you'll notice that my purple soap layer has turned brown - to see why, read From Purple to Zen.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Time to Saponify
Put a towel over the soap and set it aside to finish saponifying. It will need to sit about 24 hours before you can unmold and cut it.
Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Unmold - Cure - and Enjoy!
After the soap has completely cooled, unmold it and cut it how you like. Let it cure for several weeks - and then enjoy it!
Like I said at the beginning of the project, you can combine any two combinations of scents/colors/additives. If you get really good - you can do three or even more! Some other layered soaps I've done are:
- Lemon and Orange
- Chocolate and Vanilla
- Chocolate and Mint
- Patchouli and Spearmint
- Lavender and Vanilla
- Eucalyptus and Lemongrass (with real Green Tea leaves)
- Let your... imagination run wild!