April 11, 2009

Lori's Top 10 Essential Oils in CP Soap

While preparing for my upcoming 2-Day Soap Making Boot Camp, I began to realize that there are some essential oils that are crucial to me for Cold Process Soap Making. Even though I occasionally use oils that are not on this list, without these oils I would be hard pressed to make amazing soap at an affordable price.
The reasons that I use/choose these oils time and time again is...
1) they smell great in CP soap,
2) they are reasonably priced and I can afford to buy a 16 ounce bottle of them, and
3) many of them blend well with each other, creating dozens or more of possible combinations.
Here's my Top 10 List:
1: Lavender (use 0.7 ounces per pound of oil/fat)
2: 5-Fold Sweet Orange (use 0.5 ounces per pound of oil/fat)
3: Petitgrain (use 0.5 ounce per pound of oil/fat)
4: Lemon (use 0.9 ounces per pound of oil/fat)
5: Litsea Cubeba (use 0.5 ounces per pound of oil/fat)
6: Spearmint (use 0.5 ounce per pound of oil/fat)
7: Lime (use 0.9 ounces per pound of oil/fat)
8: Peppermint (use 0.5 ounce per pound of oil/fat)
9: Rosemary (use 0.5 ounce per pound of oil/fat)
10: Clary Sage (use 0.7 ounce per pound of oil/fat)
My favorite COMBINATIONS with these ten Essential Oils:
~Lemon & Litsea Cubeba
~Lavender & Litsea Cubeba
~Lavender & Any Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Lime, etc.)
~Lavender & Any Mint
~Lavender & Rosemary
~Rosemary & Lemon
~Rosemary & Spearmint
~Lime & Spearmint (aka Mojito)
~Clary Sage & Lavender
~Clary Sage & Sweet Orange
~Petitgrain & Sweet Orange
~Peppermint & Lemon
~Peppermint & Spearmint (aka Doublemint)
How to figure out how much essential oils to use in Cp soap making:
Refer to "my list" above about for how much is recommended to use per pound of oil/fat.
How many pounds (of oil/fat) does your recipe have?
Let's say you are making a 4-pound batch of oil/fats (fyi - 4 pounds = 64 ounces)
You multiply 4 x the amount of E.O. recommended.
To demonstrate, I'll use Lavender & Peppermint.
Peppermint is recommended at 0.5 per pound of oil/fat.
So... 4 (lbs of oil) x .5 = 2.0 ounces of Peppermint (if you were using only peppermint for the entire 4-lb batch).
and 4 (lbs of oil) x .7 = 2.8 ounces of Lavender (if you were using only lavender)
Since you are using a combination of oils, divide each by 2.
So for Peppermint, it's 2 divided by 2 = 1 (ounce of peppermint for the whole batch, in combo with lavender)
So 2.8 divided by 2 = 1.4 (ounces of lavender for the whole batch, in combo with peppermint).

So the end result for the Lavender & Peppermint Soap would be:
1 ounce of Peppermint AND 1.4 ounces of Lavender
Remember - these are guidelines for Cold Process soapmaking only and this is only a place to start. After making your first batch, if it comes out smelling more like one oil and you want it the other way around, feel free to adjust the amounts until you find exactly the scent you are looking for.

Did I miss any of your favorite "can't live without" essential oils? Do you have a blend that you think is out of this world? Leave a comment below!


Anne-Marie said...

Wonderful explanation of your fabulous sensibilities about essential oils and usage rates.


Dennis Fioravanti said...

Anise & Lavender soap sounds and looks great! Love the blends.

Ruth said...

Great explanation, Lori! I love your list, too. You must try eucalyptus citriodora (lemon eucalyptus). It's a bright and sunny wake-up call!

Tea said...

I like it! Thank you.

Don said...

Hello, I was wondering where everyone buy's there essential oils. Everything i can find is so expensive it does not make it cost effective. Any advice would much appreciated.

Sharon said...

Good post
Anise, Sweet orange & Litsea 2-1-1

Eucalyptus Citrodora also works good to help mask neem.

Barrs By The Bay said...

hi lori, so glad to have found you- i can't believe i haven't before, since i too am in the bay area, and i buy all my base oils from MP soap! anyway, i have a question- where did you get that wonderful slab mold, with the divider insert?

i really appreciate your explanations of the EOs and the amounts used. when you scent with 2 oils, such as in your example, im assuming you mix the EOs or you scent two equal portions of soap, so the scents remain separate? ive always wondered about that!

i use sweet almond oil, which i get from NDA- it's inexpensive and very versatile. :) thanks for your time!

sincerely, christine

Lori at The Nova Studio said...

hi christine!
i bought my divider molds from http://www.kelseiscreations.com/

as for your question about whether to combine the essential oils or keep them separate, it's really personal preference! i recently did a batch of cinnamon & orange and wanted part of the soap to be white, so i scented the orange colored soap with orange e.o. and the white & brown with cinnamon e.o. (just a touch, since it can be irritating) so that i could have white. only in cases like that do i separate the scents, otherwise i prefer to combine them together before adding to the entire batch.

p.s. as for where you guy your base oils, i just figured out that MP soap meant Mission Peak Soap! http://missionpeaksoap.com/ - (i kept thinking you meant Melt & Pour Soap!) that's where i buy mine from too!

Barrs By The Bay said...

thanks Lori for your response!! :)
yes, that's Mission Peak! sorry!! i text so often these days- i have to stop myself from trying to abbreviate everything. i love being able to take the short drive to Fremont- no shipping costs! i will have to take a trip across the bay to visit you for a class sometime! merry Christmas!

Supersaponified said...

Note from Lori: I accidentally "rejected" this comment when I meant to "accept" it and I couldn't undo! I have no way of contacting the person who originally sent in the comment, so I thought I would just post it myself (I had a copy in my email program). Here it is...

Supersaponified has left a new comment on your post "Lori's Top 10 Essential Oils in CP Soap":

Hi Lori--great post! 2 Questions for clarification: (1) When you talk about ounces of fragrance, is it by volume or mass? I assume volume, but a lot of soap makers say "everything is measured by mass" [on a scale], and some vendors sell essential oils by the pound. (2) When you mention that you like to add ___ oz. of essential oil per pound of soap oils, are you referring to a pound of oil/water/lye mix, or is it just per pound of soap oils (e.g. palm, coconut, etc.)


Lori at The Nova Studio said...

hi Supersaponified,

Thanks for your comment & questions. Sorry for the accidental deletion of your original comment! Doh!

To answer your questions... I weigh everything in my recipe, including the essential oils (on a scale), so I guess that would be mass and not volume.

And my essential oil recommendations are given/measured per pound of soap oil/fat. I do not factor in the lye/water amount when figuring out how much essential oils to add.

Hope this helps - happy soaping!

Anonymous said...

Lori, this is a wonderful post. You are SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd have to say I'm partial to any citrus with lavender. Now if we could only get a beautiful creamy 100% natural vanilla in CP...


Birgit said...

Hi Lori,

I just read your article in the latest issue of "The Handcrafted Soapmaker" and I'm simply astonished by the low usage rate of the essential oils you use. When it comes to essential I have always scented with a minimum of 7 oz/ppo, but according to your chart I could use less and still get a great scent. I have read that with essential oils the ppo rate could even be as high as 1oz ppo. I have recently stepped away from fragrance oils and only use essential oils. And now I'm thoroughly confused. Is there a fading issue with this low usage rate???

julie said...

Hi Lori
i was wondering how much EO tea tree should i use for 30 oz of oils in my cp soap? it wasnt on your list
thank you

Lori at The Nova Studio said...

Hi Birgit,

Thanks for your comments & questions. As far as the amount goes, if what you are doing is working for you, then you might want to keep doing it.

That being said, if you want to save some money, I think the stronger essential oils don't need more than .5 oz. per pound of oils. I haven't noticed a fading issue, but maybe my soaps don't stick around long enough to notice :).

Seriously, if you have the time do a scientific experiment where you make the same batch and you just vary the amount of e.o. that you use. Then keep those soaps for 9 months and sniff. That will tell you for sure!

Lori at The Nova Studio said...

Hi Jules,

Tea Tree essential oil is pretty strong, so if you are using just that one oil, I wouldn't use more than .5 oz. per pound of oils.

So, if your recipe is 30 ounces of oil, that's 1.875 pounds of oil (30 oz. divided by 16 ounces in a pound = 1.875). So you would multiply .5 x 1.875 to get .9375 (or you can round up to .94), which is just shy of 1 ounce of tea tree essential oil for your batch size.

Make sense?

BFF ►►Beauty Fashion Forward said...

Thanks for sharing, Lori! Your essential oil selections sound yummy!

Rose Marie Lewis said...

Hi Lori! Thanks for the link to this post - it's very helpful! I'm just getting started with adding scent my CP soap. I had a batch turn out softer than expected, and thought maybe the FOs affected the lye calculation, you're the second person to confirm that you don't need to factor in the lye/water amount when figuring out how much essential oils to add. I'm going to try another batch when it's not raining. :)

CCrafters on Etsy and Karess Krafters said...

Great Article.

Carla said...

Thanks for the post, I enjoyed that very much. I have a lot of EO blends, but prolly my faves are Lavender and Lemongrass, they are both willing to blend with just about anything!
I agree witrh you about the rates as well, I prefer a nice scent but nothing that sort of hits you in the face, there are those out there!

Diane P. said...

thank you for sharing this amazing list of essential oils and blends ans soap with! I can't wait to try some of them. Another (new) favorite if mine is lime and Eucalyptus oil...spells amazing clean and fresh...a unisex scent in CP soap.

Anonymous said...

So helpful. Will you provide usage amounts for these other eo's:
Orange 10x

Marilyn Paisley said...

Hi thanks for the post of these lovely blends.
Do you find that the citrus oils, such as orange, lime, and lemon stand out in the CP soap making process, even if you use a higher ratio of these?

Anna from Natures Home Spa said...

Wow this is great info, so helpful. thank you. I make hot process alot also. Would you say the percent of usage is the same for HP?

Lori at The Nova Studio said...

Hi Marilyn - Absolutely! We have great results using 5-fold oils (usually can be found for lemon & sweet orange) and those work extremely well. If this doesn't answer your question let us know. :)

Lori at The Nova Studio said...

Hi Anna, You're welcome! So... with Hot Process soap, it's a completely different animal with regards to scenting (and coloring I might add). The main difference in scenting HP soap is how hot the soap is, so scent flash point is the biggest factor. The percentage can usually be less (usually.5 oz or a bit less per pound of oils) than with CP soap, but the low flash point scents (under 170 degrees F) have been difficult for me to use successfully, with Crock Pot HP soap. We'll add a longer blog post about that to our to do list! Hope this is helpful. :)