Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or 10 bars of soap to fit a large loaf mold
Citrus oils are very volatile and can lose their scent quickly in soaps, especially when they heat up during gelling in cold process. Using a concentrated orange essential oil removes some of these lower boiling components, mainly the terpenes, which intensifies the scent and makes it also longer lasting in soaps, but also removes some of the phytotoxicity. The higher the concentration the stronger the scent will be. Higher concentrated essential oils can also colour your soap, ranging from yellow to orange. Sometimes the colour can fade during curing, but the stronger tints tend to stay.
In this tutorial I am using the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil from Pure Nature, which has an amazing intense fruity orange fragrance, and I can confirm that the scent is still strong after the obligatory 6 week curing time. This is definitely one of my favourite orange oils!
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly recommend you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.
ONE: Measure out the caustic soda and the water in separate containers. Then add the caustic soda to the water (never the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.
TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter, and heat in the microwave or stove top until the oil and butter have melted. This particular recipe will give you a nice solid bar of soap with a creamy lather due to the coconut and shea butter it contains.
THREE: Add the olive oil and castor oil to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter. I’m using pomace olive oil here because it makes for a harder bar than the cold pressed olive oil and doesn’t need as long a curing time. I also find that the pomace oil I’m using makes a whiter soap than my other olive oils, but I know that’s not the case with all pomace oils.
FOUR: Add the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil and give everything a good stir. As you can see on the bottle the Latin name is Citrus sinensis, which is the same as the normal sweet orange essential oil. The only difference being that is a 5-fold concentration than the normal essential oil.
FIVE: Make sure you are (still) wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye solution to the oils, avoiding any splashes.
SIX: Use your stick blender and alternatively pulse and stir until the mixture has emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.
SEVEN: Pour the soap into your loaf mould and sprinkle some calendula petals over the top for decoration.
EIGHT: Let the soap cure for a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it harden for another few days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use.
Note: the soap will have a yellow-golden colour to it in the beginning but this will fade over time, leaving only a light yellow tinge.
5x Sweet Orange Soap
- 550 g olive oil
- 300 g coconut oil
- 100 g shea butter
- 50 g castor oil
- 138 g caustic soda
- 260 g water
- 50 ml 5x orange essential oil
- optional: calendula petals
- Measure out the caustic soda and the water. Then add the caustic soda to the water (not the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.
- Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and heat in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
- Add the olive oil and castor oil.
- Measure out and add the essential oil and give everything a good stir.
- Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.
- Pour the soap into the soap mould. Optional: sprinkle some calendula petals over the surface.
- Leave the soap to cure a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it stand for another few days before cutting into bars. The soap bars will need to cure for a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.