One of the most common questions in soap making. Why does the scent fade in my soap?
Blending essential oils for soap making is something I get asked about time and time again. Not only do you have to contend with the high PH of your soap chasing away the more flighty citrus scents for example but you also need to think about your scents and how they work together, top, middle and base notes. Cost (a big factor as you do need a fair amount of essential oils and they are not cheap) Plus as if that were not enough to contend with some essential oils can only be used in limited percentages as they can cause irritation.
Phew - the mind does boggle! As a guide EU legislation dictates that you can add up to 3% of your base weight of oils in essential oils. Assuming you are not using one that is restricted - for eg Clary Sage and Peppermint can only be used at a maximum 2%. Clove Bud 0.5% and Nutmeg a teeny tiny 0.08% !
Just a brief introduction
Essential oils can be found as top notes which tend to be your citrus scents, orange, lemon, grapefruit etc also spearmint but there are more.
Mid notes which are include lavender, rosemary, geranium, lemongrass (citrus but mid note)
Base notes - cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli and ylang ylang are all good examples.
As a rule of thumb top notes alone will not do well in cold process soap. By the time your soap has cured the scent will have disappeared.
Base notes however are those which hang around the longest - ylang ylang is awesome in soap - it lasts and lasts although the scent is not to everyones taste - likewise patchouli.
Mid notes - as you would expect falls somewhere in between although peppermint is very strong and very long lasting.
In my experience blends which contain 3 to 5 essential oils seem to do the best in cold process soap and use a mix of notes across that blend, that said, do not be afraid to ditch the top notes entirely - soap made from just mid and base notes can be awesome. Overall it will be very much a case of trial and error however which I appreciate can be frustrating to hear.
Here are some of my tried and tested essential oil blends that work in cold process soap making.
You will need to work out quantities depending upon the volume of oils you are using. When we make soap in my soap making workshops the volume of oils we use is 900g so 3% of this is 27g of oils which you can then break down in to parts depending on which blend you like the sound of.
Lavender 3 parts, Lemongrass 1 part, Rosemary 1 part
Grapefruit 2 parts, Geranium 3 parts,Ylang Ylang 1 part
Lavender 3 parts, Rosemary 1 part, Spearmint 1 part
Sweet Orange 3 parts, Geranium 2 parts
Lemongrass 2 parts, Lime 1 part, May Chang 1 part, Bergamot 1 part
The whole topic of blending essential oils is huge. It can also be an extremely costly exercise in wasted ingredients and batches that have not turned out as you had hoped.
Need some more inspiration? Download my free guide, 5 Essential Oil Blends that Last.