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Beauty (shower) bar

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or 10 bars of soap to fit a large loaf mold

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As I often explain in my classes, don’t put in expensive oils in your soaps, because soap is a cleansing product, which is to be rinsed off and you’d be literally flushing your money down the drain! Think of it, a bar of soap will last how many showers? Fifty? Hundred? And each time you only use the tiniest sliver of your bar of soap, which after lathering your skin, you will rinse off again, because you don’t want any soap left on your skin. Soap is not a leave-on product, it’s a rinse-off product. So keep all the expensive oils and ingredients for your moisturisers and balms, and for your soaps, concentrate on cleansing properties, which not only includes lathering qualities and hardness of a bar of soap, but also mildness, exfoliation, antiseptic, circulation boosting or astringent properties, just to mention a few.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good soap! The special blend of essential oils I created for this Beauty (shower) Bar are known for their skin-loving properties and yet are still affordable. The soap also contains 70% olive oil, which is known to make good quality, long lasting bars of gentle cleaning bars of soap. However, a soap made of pure olive oil has a very long curing time and doesn’t really lather well, so I’ve added coconut oil to give it hardness and a nice fluffy lather. The benefit of adding shea butter to the soap is that it contains emollient and moisturising polyphenols that can’t be converted into soap, making it a great additive to soap. Cocoa butter shares similar skin-loving properties as shea butter, adding conditioning and nourishing qualities to the soap. And for mildness, I’ve increased the superfat of this soap to 8%. The only problem with this is that it also increases the risk of DOS (dreaded orange spots), so make sure you follow the instructions carefully and store your soap correctly (dry place, away from humidity!).

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.

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PREPARATION: Measure out the following essential oil blend:

  • 15 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 12 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 3 ml spearmint essential oil

Rose geranium is an all-round skin oil, which, in my opinion, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Applied to the skin, it helps balance the sebum production of the skin, making it beneficial to both dry and oily skins, and its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and cell regenerative properties have proven it valuable for a range of skin problems. I’ve added lemongrass because I love the fresh, lemon-y scent of lemongrass, but also for its tonic and astringent properties, which leaves your skin radiant and glowing. Both lemongrass and bergamot act as deodorisers, and, in addition, bergamot supports the sebum balancing property of rose geranium. Sweet orange is a great essential oil against stress, and not just mental stress. It helps combat stressed skin, boosts circulation, yet also calms the skin at the same time. And lastly spearmint, similar to peppermint, is a wonderful for sensitive and irritated skins. If you don’t have spearmint, you can easily substitute for peppermint, although personally I prefer the fragrance of spearmint in this blend. If you are looking for essential oils, Pure Nature has high quality essential oils at reasonable prices.

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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature. Because this soap contains 70% olive oil, I added 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate, which is a natural additive, to my lye solution to make the soap harder and reduce curing time.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted.

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THREE: Add the olive oil to the now liquid coconut oil and butters, and give it a good stir.

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FOUR: Once your lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils. If your oils are still very warm, let it cool down a little. It’s ok if it’s a little warmer than usual, but it shouldn’t be more than 30-32 degrees Celsius.

Use your stick blender to mix the lye/oil blend until it has emulsified.

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FIVE: Add the essential oil blend and keep mixing with the stick blender until the soap has thickened to a medium trace. Pour the soap into the mould.

Use a spoon to add texture to the top of your soap and sprinkle a few rose petals over the surface.

SIX: 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.

Because of the high superfat content of the soap and the addition of essential oils, this soap is more at risk of DOS (dreaded orange spot) than usual. To avoid these pesky DOS, make sure you cure and store the soap in a dry place with good air circulation, away from humidity.

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Beauty (shower) bar

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 700 g olive oil
  • 200 g coconut oil
  • 50 g cocoa butter
  • 50 g shea butter
  • 132 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water
  • 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate
  • 15 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 12 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 3 ml spearmint essential oil

Directions

  1. Prepare the essential oil blend and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to the lye solution and set aside to cool down.
  4. Weigh out the coconut oil and butters and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted. Add the olive oil and give the oils a quick stir.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified.
  6. Add the essential oils and keep mixing with the stick blender until medium trace.
  7. Pour the soap into the soap mould and sprinkle some rose petals over the top.
  8. 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.

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Minty foot butter

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins
Yields: around 300 ml


Now that winter is here, our feet get stuck in socks and shoes all day and tend to get a bit stuffy and smelly. This foot butter is made with rich avocado oil and nourishing shea butter to give your feet a bit of well-deserved pampering, to which I’ve added peppermint essential oil, which will help revive and freshen up your feet and get rid of unpleasant odours. I prefer to use this butter at night, massaging and moisturising my feet with the whipped butter, before putting on some bed socks. This will give the nourishing and conditioning ingredients to soak and do its wonders overnight, leaving you with fresh and happy feet the next morning!

ONE: Weigh out and add the coconut oil and shea butter to a bowl. Don’t make the mistake of melting the oil and butter first. They need to be solid to be beaten fluffy. (I tried melting first and it doesn’t work!)

TWO: Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix on high until the oil and butter has softened and blended together. I’m using my KitchenAid stand mixer for this and have set it to 9 (10 is the  highest setting).

THREE: Next, add the avocado oil and peppermint essential oil. Keep mixing on high until the oil/butter mixture has become light and fluffy.

This next step is optional, and you can easily omit it if you want to keep it all natural.

FOUR: Add 1/4 teaspoon of mica, I’m using Shimmer Mica from Pure Nature here, and keep mixing until all the colour has been evenly dispersed throughout the whipped butter. You can add more if you like a deeper green colour, but keep in mind that the mica will also add sparkly shimmer to the butter.

FIVE: Scoop the whipped butter into containers. There is no need for preservatives in this whipped butter because it doesn’t contain any water-based ingredients and as such, doesn’t create an environment for mould or bacteria to grow.

Minty Foot Butter

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 100 g coconut oil
  • 150 g shea butter
  • 30 ml avocado oil
  • 5 ml peppermint essential oil
  • Shimmer Green mica

Directions

  1. In a bowl, weigh out your coconut oil and shea butter.
  2. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the oils until they are soft.
  3. Add the avocado oil and peppermint essential oil, and continue to mix until it becomes soft and fluffy. Every now and then, scrape the sides with a spatula.
  4. Optional: Add 1/4 teaspoon of mica and keep mixing until the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the whipped body butter.
  5. Scoop into containers.

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Shea butter and rose shower smoothie

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 pots (250 ml)


Shower smoothies are whipped up foamy bath butter bases with added nourishing and conditioning ingredients, such as butters and oils, which makes them particularly mild and moisturising to your skin. They are also extremely convenient, because they cleanse Continue reading Shea butter and rose shower smoothie

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Rose geranium and shea butter soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 500 g soap

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Rose Geranium Soap

Rose geranium essential oil has a lovely fresh floral fragrance with a light citrus top note. Considered to be both calming and grounding, the uplifting scent helps reduce stress and worry, and this balancing effect extends to the skin, as it helps stabilise both oily and dry skin. Adding nourishing shea butter to the soap, it creates a wonderful bar of soap that leaves your skin clean and fresh, and yet without it being too drying for your skin.

If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.

Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

ONE: First, prepare your lye. Weigh out the caustic soda in a small container. Measure the water in a small pyrex or other heat proof glass jug. Then carefully add the caustic soda to the water and gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Stir one teaspoon of sodium lactate to make the soap harder. Set aside to cool.

TWO: Weigh out the shea butter and oils in a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex jug) and heat on high in the microwave for 1 minute or until the shea butter has fully melted. Set aside to cool.

Wait until both the oils and the lye have cooled down to room temperature, which is around 25C (77F).

THREE: Make sure you are still in protective gear (goggles and gloves), carefully pour the lye to the oils, avoiding any splashes. Give it a quick pulse with the stick blender.

FOUR: Add the rose geranium essential oil and give it a quick stir with the stick blender. Then keep alternatively pulsing (5-10 seconds) and stirring with the stick blender until you reach trace.

FIVE: Pour the soap into the mold, and then gently tap the mold on the bench a few times to get rid of any air bubbles in the soap. Scatter a few dried rose petals on the surface and then leave the soap to cure overnight or until it is hard enough to remove from the mold. Olive oil soaps tend to be a bit softer initially and take longer to harden.

SIX: Once the soap has hardened and doesn’t stick to the sides anymore, you can remove the soap from the mold. Let the soap cure for another couple of days before cutting into bars. The bars will then need at least 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready to use.

Rose Geranium and Shea Butter Soap

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 325 g olive oil
  • 50 g shea butter
  • 25 g castor oil
  • 51 g caustic soda
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 20 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • dried rose petals

Directions

  1. repare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Add one teaspoon of sodium lactate. Set aside to cool.
  2. Weigh out the shea butter and oils in a large heat proof glass jug and microwave on high for 1 minute or until the shea butter has fully melted. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once both the oils and the lye have cooled down to room temperature, carefully add the lye to the oils, without splashing, and give it a quick pulse with the stick blender.
  4. Add the rose geranium essential oil, and keep alternatively pulsing and stirring with the stick blender until trace.
  5. Pour the soap into the mold, and gently tap the mold on the bench a few times to get rid of any air bubbles in the soap. Scatter a few rose petals on the surface and then leave to cure overnight or until hard enough to remove from the mold.
  6. Once the soap is hard enough, remove the soap from the mold and let it cure for another couple of days before cutting into bars. The bars will need another 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready.

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Rose and shea butter bath bombs

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 3-4 bath bombs

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A dear friend of mine had her 40th and I wanted to make her something special. Looking after kids all day, both as a mum and as her job, I felt she deserved a bit of a treat. What could be better than a long soak in nice, warm bath with a glass of bubbly, and listening to Coldplay? These luscious rose and shea butter bath bomb are just perfect for that.

According to Valerie Ann Worwood, in Aromatherapy for the Soul, the fragrance of rose vibrates with the energy of universal love, and encourages contentment, happiness, inner freedom and completeness.

To make these lush bath bombs, you will need baking soda, citric acid, shea butter, polysorbate 80, rose fragrance and rose petals, as well as your bath bomb molds (or alternatively you can use a muffin tray).

ONE: Combine your baking soda and citric acid in a bowl and mix with your hands. Make sure you break up any clumps.

TWO: In a small heat proof bowl or cup, heat some shea butter in your microwave until completely melted. Add two tablespoons of liquid shea butter to your baking soda/citric acid mixture.

THREE: Measure out your polysorbate 80 and fragrance and also add it to your mixture. Polysorbate 80 will make sure that the shea butter will be dispersed into your bath water, rather than float on top of the water.

FOUR: Spritz one or two squirts of water and start mixing everything with your hands to combine all the ingredients. I always wear gloves, even if I’m not mixing in any colour, because I find that my hands get really dry working with the raw mixture. Plus, if you’re wearing nail polish, the gloves will help protect your manicure! If you find the mixture isn’t holding well enough, spritz some more water, but be careful you don’t over-wet your bath bomb mixture. If it starts to fizz, you’ve definitely overdone it, and start adding baking soda and citric acid in a 2:1 ratio, until it stops fizzing.

FIVE: If you haven’t done so already, prepare your bath bomb molds. In one half mold, add a few rose petals to the centre of the mold and scoop the bath bomb mixture on top of them. Press the mixture into the mold to compact it. Next, fill the other half mold, but without adding any rose petals, and slightly overfill to help the two halves stick together.

Press the two halves together firmly without twisting them. Very gently remove one half (a light tap helps loosen the mold) and leave to dry for a few hours.

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After a few hours, carefully remove the bottom half mold, and place the bath bomb on a baking sheet. Leave to harden overnight in a warm, dry place. This is particularly important, if it’s a humid day, like we often have in New Zealand. I like putting mine in the hot water cupboard, which is the driest place in the house, and which ensures that my bath bombs always turn out. Enjoy!

Rose and Shea Butter Bath Bombs

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon polysorbate 80
  • 6 ml rose fragrance

Directions

  1. Combine the baking soda and citric acid in a bowl and using your hands mix and break up any clumps in the mixture.
  2. In a separate small heat proof bowl or cup, heat the shea butter in the microwave on high until fully melted and add to the mixture.
  3. Add the polysorbate 80 and fragrance.
  4. Mix everything with your hands and if necessary, spritz some water to reach the right consistency.
  5. Scoop into your bath bomb molds and let harden overnight before removing.