Ruth’s Advice on Dealing with Evaporating Essential Oils
I make soap using the hot process and that’s a challenge for keeping the scent of the essential oils in your final product.
One thing that helps is to put an ounce of castor oil in a bottle, add the essential oils to that and stir or shake it well. I like to get this ready the day before. Usually, I set this aside and don’t add it until the soap is almost done.
At trace I start checking the hot soap temperature. I often add some liquid such as distilled water or milk, about 4oz to every pound of base oils. The liquid helps cool it down and also loosen it up if it gets real stiff too fast. The idea is to slow the process of setting up so the essential oils can be easily worked into the soap calmly rather than in panic mode.
Then I add the castor oil mixture and stir continuously, making sure I get to the bottom of the kettle and turn it all over.
My soap batches average 5 to 6lbs depending on the recipe. I use 24 to 30ml total of essential oils for that much soap. While there will be a ‘flashoff’ I’ve always found that the aroma and qualities of the essential oils definitely remain. Even to the last sliver. I’ve even been told my aromas are ‘strong’.
If I use Patchouli it serves to hold the other essential oils so I don’t need to use the Castor oil. Another oil that does that is Copaiba Balsam, which is heavenly for skin.
If I want to make a blend of scents, I plan it out using the top, medium, and bottom notes. Though when it comes to florals that’s a real challenge as the good ones are expensive. I’m still experimenting to find what I like. Palmarosa is one of my favorite ‘anchor’ essential oils around which to build a floral like scent.
If I am going to add botanicals (dried crumbled herbs,) I do so shortly after the addition of the essential oils. They will keep their color longer. Calendula, chamomile, mint leaves and damascus rose especially.