Saturday, April 2, 2011

Homemade soaps and salve

I made some herbal healing salve the other day. Zinnia (new goat mama with twin doelings), had a sore cracked, bleeding, scabby teat- (sorry if that is more info than you needed). I started off putting bag balm on it, which is what I had on hand. I wanted something more healing and nourishing. I usually keep a healing salve on hand, but the tins I rummaged up all had little bits of rancid salve in the bottoms. I did have a jar of fresh calendula infused olive oil and a jar of dried comfrey root olive oil. Comfrey use to be known as "knit bone", it has that kind of super healing powers. I also had a couple teaspoons of Vitamin E oil which I added for moisturizing and nourishing oil.

I put three parts of a combination of the two oils in the saucepan above. Then I measured one part beeswax into the oils and gently warmed it up till the wax was melted. I measured a fews drops of various essential oils and tinctures into the bottom of each tin. I used lavender essential oil for soothing and calming properties, tea tree oil/antifungal and rosemary for healing, red thyme for purifying. I also put just a few drops of goldenseal tincture for antibacterial use and st. johns wort tincture for pain relieving properties- I didn't have st. johns wort oil otherwise I would have used that. I keep all these ingredients on hand and close by, so while it might sound complicated, I spent twenty minutes making the salve, and most of that was spent gathering supplies from different corners in the house.

Finished salves cooling. Should be enough for all the cuts, scrapes and bug bites for the next year- for both the goats and we humans as well. I've got tomake these things now; salves, lip balm, lotions, bug spray and sun lotion. Helps me feel prepared for summer. While they don't take long to make- I don't want to spend any more time than necessary indoors during the summer.

A girlfriend and I recently shared a soap making spree. We made four soaps in an afternoon. It was a bit of a soap making fiasco. In the past we've been content to make simple soaps with no more decoration than some lavender or calendula petals. This time I'd been looking up some professional soap maker sites and was inspired to raise the bar to the next level. I had great hopes and ambitions for layered and swirled soaps. I knew exactly what I wanted our soap to look like, and that is why I'm disappointed. I'm a little embarassed  of  the appearance of the following soaps. The bars I've used so far do have a nice fragrance and lather- so thats something. At first I thought about cutting them all up and making cobblestone soap, but I'm running out of soap making days- and they work. Should be enough soap to get us to next fall when the days slow down again.

                      Both above and below are lavender soap. Lavender essential oil and lavender buds.

                 Above is goat milk soap with cedarwood, eucalyptus and lemongrass. Great fragrance.


Homemade Alaska said...

I really like the ones with the stripes in the middle. Anytime I try to use lavender in mine it either gives me rust spots, or worse, looks like dead flies. Have you done hot process soap? I want to try that then stir in the lavender or callendula, I'm hoping it will look like the herb that way. Thanks for sharing.

Miranda said...

I think they all look pretty, though I'm sorry you're disappointed.

I really want to learn how to make soaps and salves. I'm venturing into making deoderant this week, but that's pretty simple compared to those masterpieces you just made!

Michaele said...

Soap making is so fun! I am impressed with your balm. Sounds wonderfully healing.

Emily said...

I don't know exactly what soap process I've been doing- hot or cold. I heat the oils and fats until they all melt then let them cool until they are the same temp as the lye, around 120 I think then add together.

Miranda, I make a lazy deoderant, just alcohol, water and essential oils. I did see a nice recipe for more of a bar that I was thinking of trying sometime. Sounds like a good place to start.

Homemade Alaska said...

Emily, that's cold process. To make hot process, you can put it in a crock pot (I don't do one I eat in), or you can put it in a low temperature oven and cook it until it looks like Vaseline. At that point the lye is used up, and it doesn't do ugly stuff to your added in herbs. Glop it into your molds, bang it down etc... it doesn't give as nice and smooth bar, but a more rustic one and it suspends your add ins better. Google it obviously this isn't all the instructions.

Jewel said...

Your soap is the cold process method. The hot process is done in the oven, I haven't tried it yet, but plan to experiment with it soon. I spent March learning to make soap, and am now planning to make it a small home business and sell on etsy.
I think they're beautiful bars of soap, and you made them yourself, thats the best part.

Plickety Cat said...

Isn't it frustrating when our crafty projects don't turn out the way we envision them?! But they're beautiful wholesome anyway because they're homemade... better made with love than harsh synthetic cleansers!

I had a similar experience making an oatmeal and peach kernel exfoliating bar, and was unfortunate enough to choose a round mold. When they were finished, they looked surprising similar to meadow muffins... eeek, didn't want to wash my face with those!

At least yours don't look that bad :) I agree with the others, if you're putting tender botanicals in, the hot process usually preserves them better even if the bar turns out a little chunkier.