Making your own soap can be a great experience. If you have a favorite scent, such as vanilla or mango, you can make your own spa-quality soap at home for a lot less than purchasing your favorite scented soap. Plus, you have the luxury of knowing exactly what is in your soap.
There are several ways to add fragrance to handmade soap. The most common way is to use fragrance oils or essential oils. Fragrance oils are man-made and have usually been steeped in alcohol. Distilling the oil out of the plant comes from makes essential oils. As you can imagine, essential oils are more expensive than fragrance oils, but they also tend to be worth the money because the scent retention in your soap is much better.
Fragrance oils are still a good choice, however, in large quantities, they can cause your soap to ‘seize’ or turn into the quality of mashed potatoes and become unusable. This must be discarded and you will have to begin again. Oils are available from a variety of sources. If you cannot find them locally in a drug store or health store, they can be easily obtained online.
A couple of things to keep in mind when using oils to scent your soaps is to choose oils with a long shelf life, and to remember that a little bit goes a long way with these oils. They are super concentrated and can irritate your skin and overpower your nose if you use too much. The best plan is to add them a drop at a time, and you will notice that most soap recipes call for oils by the drop.
Another way to add some great scent to your handmade soap is to replace the water called for in the recipe with coffee or an herbal tea of your choice, such as chamomile. They will have to be brewed fairly strong because some of the scents is lost during the soap making process. A good rule of thumb is to use distilled water when making the coffee or tea to avoid the minerals in regular tap water as they can cause your finished soap to produce fine ash that does not ruin the soap but must be cut off before use.
Some people have recommended using ground herbs like cinnamon or dried flower petals such as calendula to scent handmade soap. Again, this can be a risky process because if you add too much to reach the desired scent level, the soap will be gritty and harsh to the skin. These are best used in addition to using scented oils. For example, if you wanted to make apple cinnamon scented soap, you could use an apple-scented oil and some ground cinnamon.
In the end, the best choice is to go for the oils, whether you use man-made fragrance oils or the more expensive essential oils. I have used both to great success.
When you are making soap at home, it is better to use high-quality ingredients so that your soap turns out well and the scent is just right, not too strong, or too weak and a treat for your nose as well as your body.When you are making