Sunday, November 7, 2010

My gift to myself - Madder root and Neroli soap

That lovely little tablecloth I bought in Slovakia. The
little lantern is from the Good S as is the glass bowl.  What
a fantastic shape.
I love making new recipes for soaps.  Mostly because I get new ideas, but sometimes I just don't have the ingredients that I need, so I improvise.  I try to use all my soaps to see how I like them and I really use them for a while to get a strong feeling for my preference.  I recently have been reaching for the same one, and realized that I really liked the way it lathers andfeels on the skin.  So I decided to make that recipe again, just for me with my absolute favorite fragrance, Neroli.

I also welcomed the opportunity to use Madder root again.  I really loved the colour I obtained last time, but it did fade to very, very light pink.  I therefore used about twice the amount as before.  But this is a facination of natural colours.  They reward me by being different every single time and I never get bored.  This time I got a very lovely peach colour.  A little bit more delicate than I intended, but who am I to argue with nature?

The recipe I used was a bit different from the one I intended to recreate because I didn't have enough Almond oil, so I improvised.  It will be interesting to see if I like the soap as much as the other.

Madder root and neroli soap.
This recipe is for 700g

25%     Coconut oil            175 g / 6 oz
25%     Lard                       175 g / 6 oz
20%     Grapeseed oil         135 g / 4.7 oz
17%     Apricot kernel oil   118 g / 4.1 oz
7%       Almond oil               50g / 1.7 oz
6%       Soybean oil              45g / 1.5 oz

I put about 2-3 tbsp of Madder root into the lye water and let it sit until cool enough to use it in the soap. The soap turned a nice pink which I felt was quite blue pink tobegin with, but it rapidly changed to a much warmer pink, ending in peach.  The scent I used was mostly Neroli, but I added some frangipani that I had left over and some ylang ylang as well.  It smelled wonderful and I do hope it stays.  I put the soap in the fridge to prevent trace in the hope that it would also result in the fragrance holding.

The smell of lye is gone now and it seems that the scent comes through in a nice and gentle way.  That is the way I like it, so perfect for my birthday present which is in a few weeks.  I look forward to it.  I know I'll get a great  present!


  1. Lovely, Ambra! It's such a treat to make a special soap just because WE like it, isn't it?
    Fun, fun, fun!

    p.s. LOVE the new look of your blog -beautiful says "Ambra" to me! :)

    p.p.s. Can you describe Neroli? I've never smelled it & I'm always looking for new, natural fragrances. -Thanks!

  2. Exquisite pink, so delicate. Love it, Ambra! Is the madder root collected or did you buy it somewhere? I have yet to use the infused rumex oil. Since you asked, it wasn't rumex longifolius that I collected but the smaller/shorter type. Roots were not super yellow, either. Will keep you posted.

  3. Becky - Neroli is the scent of the lemmon flower if you have ever smelled that. It's uplifting and refreshing andflowery in a fruity sort of way. Mmmm lovely and expensive, right up there with Rose and Jasmin in price.
    Cocobong - I also collected a Rumex acetosa roots which were very, very, yellow. They are infusing at the moment and I look forward to seeing what they produce in terms of colour in soap. Still love my R. longifolius oils. Just made a couple of soaps with it, got two different colours from the same recipe, but done separately. I Love natures unpredictability.

  4. Ambra, wow this is one of the most beautiful of your soaps... I adore the colour! I also love the soap in the blog heading. Neroli for me is Orange blossom? I thought they were the same. I adore the scent of Neroli because it reminds me of Seville in the spring with orange trees blossoming everywhere. Maybe lemon blossoms smell the same? Do you use the Essential Oil of Neroli or something more economical? xo Jen

  5. Oh, and Cocobon, I forgot. I got the Madder root from Susan at the Leaftradingpost (here is the link: We have a relative of the plant that grows here, but the roots are very small and I don't have the heart to use them. But I really like the service I got from Susan. I bought some more natural dyes from her as well as some beesvax.
    Jen - You may be right, that it is Orange flower and not Lemon flower. I have (still, but strugling) Lemontree and the smell of it's flowers is just like the Neroli/Orange blossom. I actually overcame my stingy-ness and bought Neroli EO - It cost a LOT and I coudn't bear to use it all in the soap, hence the very soft fragrance. I have used it for myself in solid perfume, body lotion and even facecream.

  6. Precioso, elegante, sutil, bello, bello.
    Un beso

  7. Thank you in advance for your help. I am looking for a supplier of organic powdered maddar/madder root and I have not had much success. Do you know of any? :-)


Sombre colours

I bought this fantastic linen yarn on a cone. It was quite fine and I usually like chunky yarns to knit.  But I love linen and this was a...