Recipes: Herbal Infused Olive Oil Soap

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We wanted  to formulate a soap that we could use every day, specially after gardening and crafting, but that was soft enough for me, since I have very sensitive skin that is prone to drying and itching.  All the herbs used have strong antibiotic, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, and Olive oil is highly hydrating for the skin, so it seemed like a perfect  combination for very clean, but not dry skin.

Spiritually, this soap has powerful blessing, cleansing, and road opening properties – it removes physical, AND spiritual dirt. In Afro Latin traditions, magical soaps are used daily, for all kinds of purposes; so, for me (and as usual), there is no difference between home making and magic making. When I use it, I can remember what it was made for, and what are its properties, focusing my intent and empowering it even more.

(And that, dear readers, is what the Connected With Life thing is basically about.)

Ingredients:

· Olive Oil, sun-infused for two weeks with:

  • – Moorish Sage flowers (Salvia Canariensis)
  • – Balm Of Gilead leaves (Cedronella Canariensis)
  • – Lavender leaves and flowers (Lavandula Stoechas)
  • – Dry Orange Rind

Note – use a LOT of herbs. For 1 litre (33 ounces) of oil, I used three bowls of Sage flowers, one bowl of Cedronella, two bowls of Orange rind, and two bowls of Lavender, and I’m meaning breakfast size bowls, full. The volume of herbs was actually the same volume of the oil, so keep that in mind when choosing a jar for the sun infusing. If you use “just a pinch” you will not get any medicinal properties in the oil.

· Lye

· Distilled Water

· Perfume Oil: the same type that is used for bath and body products; you can also use essential oils, or combine them. Since the herb infused olive oil already has plenty of medicinal properties, I chose a pleasant and soft fragrance instead of EOs. Remember that a lot of EOs can damage the skin, so do your research before using them.

· Decoration: Geranium, Saint John’s Wort and Moorish Sage flowers, only on the top, and used very sparingly so it can be easily scraped off if the recipient of the soap doesn’t like it – we will be getting over a dozen soaps, so we will give away a few to friends and family.

Percentages: Per each 100 grams /3,5 ounces of weight of Olive oil, we added 32 grams/1,1 ounces of water, 14 grams/0,5 ounces of lye, and 2 ml. of essential or perfume oil.

How To Make It:

The oil and the herbs must be sun infused  for two weeks – in our weather, that is not a problem; if your weather does not allow it, you can always infuse it at very low heat in the oven for around 12 hours.

After the two weeks of infusion,  the oil was drained  using a strainer that was lined with a clean piece of cotton fabric, so any herb bits would not pass through it. The herb matter retains a lot of oil, so the lined strainer was left on top of the jar for a full day, with a stone as a weight over the herbs, to extract as much oil as possible.

The following day, the lye was added to the distilled water, mixed very slowly and left to cool until it reached the right temperature for making the soap, which is around 40C/104 F. Then, it was slowly added to the oil and mixed until it thickened enough to pour it in the silicon moulds. The flower bits were sprinkled evenly over the top of the soap, and flattened with a wooden spoon. After a few hours, it was ready to be removed from the mould and cut with a very sharp blade; finally, the soaps were left to cure for three weeks in a well ventilated place.

Notes:

· PLEASE REMEMBER SAFETY. Lye can seriously burn you, so protect yourself and your space well, and send away pets and children. Soap making is very gratifying, but not harmless. Gloves, full sleeves and protective glasses are non-negotiable.

· Whatever utensils you need to make the soap, keep them for soap making only – and never for cooking again! I use glass/ceramic bowls and jars, wooden spoons and silicon moulds. Metal utensils can react with lye, so it’s better to avoid them.

· The herbs used in this recipe grow around me in abundance, and that is why I chose them; do the same for your own version of this recipe. Choose herbs with antibiotic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, and you’ll have a perfect equivalent of this recipe.

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One Last Note

This recipe was originally published on the blog I had at my website, on July 2015.  Since then, we have given away quite a few soaps, but we are still using this batch daily to wash our hands and face, and we still have enough soap for a few months. Considering how much we garden and craft, and that we live with a small army of pets, we do wash our hands a gazillion times a day :). So, after months using it, I can tell you that this recipe ROCKS. My skin is hydrated and clean, the soap really removes dirt of all kinds from the skin, and compared to any commercial soap I’ve used, this is a thousand times better. The only change I’d make for the next batch is to add more perfume to it, because I love strongly scented toiletries. This summer I am making another batch for sure!

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