December 17, 2011
A Beginner's Guide to Making Aromatherapy Liquid Soaps and Shampoos
Why Making Soaps And Shampoos Is A Great Way To Learn To Blend Essential Oils
We often get questions regarding what essential oils to use for what purpose. And we'll give a few suggestions on what one could try in their recipe. Though many folks that are just starting out using essential oils are somewhat nervous about making their own formula -- They've never measured and mixed essential oils before, so it seems a little daunting.
Making aromatherapy liquid soaps is an easy, inexpensive means of learning to blend through practice. All you're doing is adding essential oils to a bottle of (hopefully) good, organic liquid soap. Shake it a little and "presto!" ...you have either a wonderfully smelling, or purposefully therapeutic (or BOTH) soap or shampoo that you can use either on yourself, or your clothes, your dog, most household surfaces, etc...(though usually not all with the same blend :)
How Much Essential Oil Do I Use?
To create your formulas, all you really need to know is how much essential oil to use per your amount of soap -- and that's between 30 and 60 drops per 8 fluid ounces of soap. For essential oils with more potent aromas, use closer to 30, for those with less potent aromas, use closer to 60. And you can always use the higher number if you'd just like a stronger smelling soap -- just be aware if you're using it on your skin to avoid any adverse reaction.
What Soap Do I Use As A Base?
Before you chose your soap base, you'll probably have an intention for your blend... balancing "cleanliness factor", "aroma factor" and if for personal or other human use "skin care factor". Our organic Aloe Castile is very all-purpose. Great for the body, the hair, your dog, your car, you name it. It's not "harsh" in any way, yet for sensitive and/or dry skin, go for the Hi Olive Castile Gel. With a little natural thickener (and a little olive oil) it works well with the small flip top caps, as it won't come out all at once. The olive oil in it moisturizes as the soap cleans. We've heard rave reports on the way this soap makes one's skin feel. Because of its viscosity, it won't foam, so if you want to use a foaming pump top, choose the Aloe Castile.
How Much Essential Oil Do I Use? Converting for Different Size Bottles...
If you'd like to experiment, you can start by making small bottles. Our smallest are "travel size", airplane-legal 1.75 ounces, with both foam pumps and flip top caps. Fill your chosen size bottle nearly to the top with your soap base. If using the foaming pump, do leave a little room for the pump -- the essential oils will hardly take up any space at this size.To Convert from the standard of 30 to 60 drops of essential in each 8oz of liquid soap base works out to 6 to 13 drops of essential oil for this size: 8oz/1.75oz=4.57 (1.75 ounces is 4.57 times smaller than 8 ounces, so you'll reduce the amount of essential oil by 4.57 times: 30 drops/4.57=6.6 drops, 60 drops /4.57=13.2 drops.
With this formula, you can just change the "1.75" to the bottle size you're making. This gives you a new adjusting factor, which was 4.57 for 1.75 ounces. Bottles LARGER than 8oz will have adjusting factors that are less than one, and will increase the number of drops. For a 16 ounce bottle: 8/16=.5, then 30/.5=60 drops minimum, 60/.5=120 drops maximum.
A note on these numbers of drops: They're not set in stone. You can see that there's a pretty wide range as it is. If you make your first bottle with close to the maximum number of drops, and smell it, and immediately think "I want it to smell stronger!"...use it first. See if your skin and/or hair likes it. Also, to measure accurately for blending in general, it's a good idea to take out the orifice reducer from the bottle neck (if you have them) and use an eye dropper or pipette to measure out your essential oils.
Creating Blends for Different Purposes
Some blends are really easy and obvious...when traveling or when among people when a cold is going around, just add Super Immune essential oil blend to a 1.75oz foaming bottle of Aloe Castile and keep it with you. Leave it by the sink at work and invite folks to use it. Or, instead of Super Immune, you could use equal parts of Bay Laurel, Geranium, and Benchmark Thyme essential oils for a super well-rounded, NATURAL AND ORGANIC anti-microbial soap.
And there's a great essential oil for a "single note" soap; Cape Chamomile has the nicest aroma of all the chamomiles (in our opinions), and seems to have properties of both German and Roman Chamomiles - with it's light blue color and sweet, flora scent. It's really wonderful -- and with a sample size, you could make a 1.75oz bottle of soap. You may also really enjoy it in a shampoo, both for its therapeutic properties and its aroma.
Make Your Own "Custom-Therapy" Shampoo
You can use several essential oils known to support the health of the scalp and hair in the base of your choice to make a "custom-therapy" shampoo. Rosemary Verbenone essential oil is often used in skin and scalp oil blends, as it stimulates new cell development, and cellular metabolism (it'll help wake up those follicles). Carrot root delivers important nutrients, as does Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn, and Calendula. Ylang Ylang (use the "complete") is said to help grow dark, lustrous hair.
Making a shampoo is a really good introduction to learning to blend and getting an idea of the properties of the essential oils. As long as you've found that the base you've chosen treats you're hair right, you can then add essential oils YOU'VE CHOSEN for your personal needs. You'll be the judge of your formula, and can adjust it as you like. Because you have "boundaries" of the amount of essential oil you'll use, you'll just be choosing which essential oils and how much of each. There's enough information on this site to help you choose 3 essential oils to use -- and then simply use your intuition to decide the amount of each.
Learn to Blend, And Introduce Essential Oils to Family and Friends
There you have it -- all the instructions you need to make some effective and fun liquid soaps and shampoos. This is an excellent way to both introduce essential oils into your life or the lives of your family, and gaining experience in blending...taking out that orifice reducer, counting drops carefully and mixing your formula... These are things you just need to do once, then you'll start mixing all the oils in the house together to come up with your own "Signature Shampoo"...