Sunday, September 12, 2010

Calendula soap - Triple luxury

That improvised soap mold worked beautifully and I could
easily use it to practice swirls. The heart shaped evening bag
is pretty and the ornate hairband is a little over the top.
Now I know that it's fall again.  My cousin and I just started to make soaps together again after taking the summer off for the most part even though I have made a few soaps on my own.  I can't not do it.  I guess it's an obsession of sorts, or it's just too much fun to not do it.  And there always seem to be some really fund things to try out.

But our joint soap making sessions are ususally fun.  We always manage to agree on what to do and this time she wanted to make calendula soap with her homemade Calendula oil and my dried Calendula petals and her dried flowerheads.  We ended up making it in a tray mold that I had picked up at "The Good Shepherd" a thrift shop charity where I spend all my spare cash.  It isn't really a soap mold, that much I know, but I can't imagine what else it could be used for.  I frequently get asked by the staff at the till: "What is that you are buying?" and very often the answer is: "I have absolutely no idea".  I usually figure it out or find some use for the stuff myself at some point.  But back to soaps.

Very pretty and very nice soap for delicate skin.
We intended to make just one recipe and since we wanted it a bit yellow we used carrot juice and we also hoped that the infused Calendual oil would contribute a bit of colour.  But as it turned out we made a 3 layer soap because the mold required at least 3 pounds of soap and we just made a regular size batch the first time.  So we made the other two a bit different, just for fun.  We could have made swirls, but didn't since she wanted to put dried flowers on top and I have to admit that that looks very nice.

I was asked for cut pictures and here they are, the little hacked up darlings.  It did surprise me that the dried calendula petals came through with their colour so orange, but I don't know if that will last.  We used no fragrance.  Two reasons for that.  I placed an order from a UK company at the beginning of June and am still waiting for it!  This might turn into a separate post about fraud pretty soon.  I've called and emailed... But... later.  Anyway, in the absence of the EO's that we should have received a looong time ago we thought we would make this unscented and therefore suitable for people with allergies and sensitivity to fragrance.

The recipes are:

Layer 1:
Olive oil            56%        420 g / 14.8 oz
Coconut oil       28%        210 g / 7.4 oz
Cocoa butter       6.3%       70 g / 2.5 oz
Sunflower oil      5%          50 g / 1.8 oz (Calendula officinalis infused)

Carrot juice         38%       285g / 10 oz
Lye                                    103g / 3.6 oz
8% SF.

The infused oil was added at trace as well as a generous amount of dried Calendula petals.  This layer turned out to be a slightly yellowish tan colour.

The next layer is almost the same except we added unrefined palm oil which I found in an Asian store and couldn't resist trying even if there are all kinds of ethical issues.  So layer one has different percentages, but mostly the same numbers are layer 1.

Layer 2:
Olive oil                   52.5%      420 g / 14.8 oz

Coconut oil              26.3%      210 g / 7.4 oz
Cocoa butter               8.75%       70 g / 2.5 oz
Sunflower oil              6.25%       50 g / 1.8 oz (Calendula officinalis infused)
Unrefined Palm oil     6.25%       50 g / 1.8 oz 

Water        38%       304g / 10.7 oz
Lye                         109g / 3.9 oz
8% SF.

To this we also added dried calendula petals and the infused oil went in at trace.  This layer turned out a very pretty yellow.

The third layer was the same as the first except we used water instead of carrot juice.  That layer is quite white and is a perfect backdrop for the dried flower heads we pushed in on top for decoration.

Cutting the soap turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  I hadn't really thought about how I would do that since the mould is larger than any knife I have.  I guess I need to make a wire cutter if I use that mould again.  I had thought that we would end up with 3x4 soaps out of the mould, but when I had cut (hacked?) them up they were way too big so I cut them in half again.  And they look kind of cute, if a bit crooked.


  1. Please do show us the cut version, Ambra. I would love to see those layers. How did you scent it? I'm about to make a Calendula soap myself, have collected plenty of petals from my garden and just love how they retain their color in cp soap.

  2. I would love to see a picture of the cut soap too! xo Jen

  3. Another one who'd love to see a cut bar! I love the layer idea and the white top layer of the soap looks so creamy!

  4. Yes, of course! I was just so excited to snap a photo and then I cut the soap just before I published the post. But I added the photo. It's a decent size if you click on it. I'm wondering what type of scent would go with calendula. I'm thinking something gentle, maybe vanilla, ylang ylang and orange?!

  5. Hi Ambra!
    Wow your soaps look good enough to eat..well done x

  6. Nice! Looks like a yummy piece of cake :)
    Calendula is sweet citrusy I maybe a balanced out combo of orange and lemon?

  7. Edith, thank you :)
    Cocobong, I love the citrus scents. How to make them last is the problem, alas. But they would be good with the hot orange colour.


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