HERB - soap making question

Sheron Buchele/Curtis Rowland foxryde at verinet.com
Sun Jan 10 12:54:49 PST 1999

At 09:51 AM 1/9/99 -0600, you wrote:
>I am going to try and make my first batch of soap. (sometime soon I hope)

Wonderful!  It is great fun!

>  Lavender  ( this is very good for acne and since I have teenagers...)
>So I am going to use real Lavender flowers. Do I use the animal fat or

Every fat has characteristics which will affect the soap.  There is super
good information about how each oil impacts the quality of the soap in the
book "The Soapmaker's Companion" by Susan Miller Cavitch.  If you are only
going to buy one soap making book, in my opionion this is the one to get.
I make between 60 and 100 pounds of soap a month and I use this book a lot.  

In my opinion, soap should be 75% vegetable fat and 25% animal fat.  The
all vegetable bars are often brittle.  A lot of people make all vegetable
bars which are very nice.  But as a *personal* preference,  I like the
blends the best.

>Does anyone have a recipe for this using and leaving in the Lavender
>The one bar I had was a brown color. I have gotten others but they were
>either whitish or greenish colored and do not work as well.

Generally speaking, natural red colorants are unstable in basic conditions.
 Lavender flowers turn brown in soap.  As a matter of fact most natural
things added to soap turn brown due to the very strong basic nature of raw

To minimize the "cooking" that happens, go to a pretty heavy trace, and put
in your additives then, right before the soap goes into the mold.  The pH
of the soap is still very high so it will still react, but I think it is
less than just going to a light trace.

>Could aloe be used in this?

I have a lovely soap (that sells very well) that has oatmeal, calendula
petals, and aloe vera gel in it.  Again, I go to a heavy trace and then
pour in the additives.  

A hint:  get a small bowl and mix all of your addatives together.  If you
wish, you can temper the additives by ladleing in a small amount of soap
into the bowl and mixing well with the additives, then adding to the soap -
but I find that sometimes the mixture sets up in the bowl.  I have found
that if I mix the additives together, I can just slowly add to the soap
mixing in well.  I haven't had any clumping of additives or seizing since I
started doing this.

I'd love to hear from other soap makers what natural additives they use for
color and other qualities!

Baroness Leonora
Master Healer to the Crown of the Outlands

  Practice random acts of intelligence & senseless acts of self-control. 
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