Trying to improve my life
My goal is to make an all natural eco friendly soap. So, I am experimenting again. This time with infusions. Soaps can be colored using herbs, spices and teas. Comfrey for example imparts a vivid green color. Alkanet root colors a beautiful deep pink. Annatto seed, which is actually not a seed but dried fruit, will color various shades of orange.
Tip 1: Use dried herbs when creating infusions. The moisture from fresh herbs can cause mold and bacteria growth in an infusion.
For the infusions I used 2 tablespoons of herbs per cup of olive oil. I used wide-mouthed mason jars because, in theory, I thought it would be easier to pour the herbs and oils into them ( I still made a mess). I washed the jars in hot soapy water and then disinfected them in a 5% bleach bath prior to use.
Note 1: When planning the color of the batch of soap using natural colorants be aware that the final color may be altered depending on the color of the base oil and fragrance or essential oils used. For example the vanillin in Vanilla fragrance oil will color cold process soaps a shade of brown.
Method 1: Hot Process
Place the herbs in a double boiler and cover them with a long shelf life oil, such as coconut or olive oil. Heat on medium heat, stirring frequently for 3-4 hours. Remove from heat and strain through a strainer lined with either a coffee filter or a cheesecloth into a clean and sanitized container. Store in the refrigerator.
Tip 2: Heat the oils to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the heat is too high the herbs may burn.
Method 2: Cold Process
Add herbs to a clean and sanitized glass jar and add a long shelf life oil so that the herbs are covered. Leave for 4-6 weeks. Once a week check the jar to see if any condensation has formed on the lid or mold has formed on the herbs. If condensation has formed on the lid wipe off, spray the lid with alcohol, and dry with a clean paper towel. If there is mold throw the herbs away and start over. After 4-6 weeks strain the oil through a strainer lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a clean and sanitized container.