|One of our Spa Baskets|
Monday, November 1, 2010
I have many herbie friends who make potpourri and soap. Some of them are so good at it that my skill paled in comparison. As a result I focused my attention on tea and culinary herbs. I honed my skill at blending flavors and scents and as a result I can custom make any tea flavor or food flavor anyone wants and do so often.
However, I really wanted to make soap. My skin is pale and sensitive and herb soaps can really help with caring for my skin in ways commercial soaps cannot. But when we moved to an apartment, the from-scratch method was too cumbersome in my tiny apartment kitchen. (It is hard enough bringing the herbs from my off-site garden into the second bedroom I outfitted for herb preparation.)
So what I did is find a way to utilize quality unscented soaps and turn them into an herbal soap. Once you learn how simple it is to make your own scented soap this way, you’ll want to make plenty not only to keep for yourself but to give as gifts.
For the strongest aroma, use herbs like rosemary, lavender, mint and thyme – their oils seem to linger on the skin longest. I have a passion for lemon and find lemon peel and lemon verbena will give you that best. Lemon balm works too, but the scent is less strong and easily masked in herb blends. Lighter herbs like floral scents can be enhanced by matching essential oils. Remember you don’t want your soap too strongly scented so that it clashes with perfume or your personal scent.
Soft Herbal Soap
1 ½ cups dried herbs
1 ½ quarts water
2 cups shredded pure soap
1/3 cup borax
In an enamel saucepan, combine herbs and water and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes to release oils. Reheat slowly and add the shredded soap and borax while stirring. Boil gently for three (3) minutes, then cool. Pour the soft soap into covered containers.
Hard Herbal Soap
In an enamel saucepan, combine the herbs, water and essential oil and bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes and then add shredded soap, mixing thoroughly. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then roll each into a ball. Place the soaps on waxed paper to dry for several days. Once dry I wrap them in colored tulle so they look decorative, but also have a built-in scrubby!
Although I don’t make soap, I do create a variety of other bath sachets, salts and scrubs, so check them out at http://www.backyardpatch.com/.