How to enrich your soaps and gels with essential oils

Although they may be very soft, your soaps and gels are alkaline-based and upset the delicate pH balance of the skin and sebum secretion. For silkier skin, enrich your soaps with plant extracts and essential oils. Here are three ideas to get you started.

How to enrich your soaps and gels with essential oils

1. The soap plant

  • The ancient Egyptians were the first to make soap from Saponaria, a plant which foams in water.
  • It is still found today in luxury plant-based soaps.

2. The secret of the foam

All soaps are derived from two basic ingredients:

  • a fatty product (animal or plant);
  • an alkali (usually sodium hydroxide).

In a process called saponification, the combination of both produces a molecule which attracts both water, dirt and sebum on the surface of the skin. Some common soaps use animal fat, others use glycerin, a moisturizing by-product of the soap production process.

3. Peppermint shower gel

This toning and fragrant body gel contains the essential oil calendula to soften the skin, peppermint to refresh it and comfrey to treat skin conditions.

Glycerin is a moisturizer that is often recommended for delicate skin.

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) boiling water
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) dried comfrey root, chopped
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) of liquid Castile soap
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) vegetable glycerin
  • 15 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops of calendula essential oil
  • 10 drops of lemon balm essential oil
  1. Pour boiling water over the comfrey root.
  2. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes and strain through a cheesecloth.
  3. Take 60 millilitres (1/4 cup) of this infusion, to be added to the Castile soap.
  4. Then pour in the glycerin and essential oils. Mix throughly.
  5. Pour into a plastic dispenser bottle.
  6. Lather gently with five to 10 millilitres (one or two teaspoons) of this mixture.
  7. Rinse thoroughly.
  8. Dry without rubbing with a soft towel and apply a lotion or body oil.

Prized for its antiseptic qualities, tea tree essential oil is a very useful remedy for skin infections and small bites and stings.

The essential oils will also help you to a smooth and healthy skin. Use as little soap as possible and rinse off with warm water to prevent dryness and skin irritation.

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