I may have a lavender problem. At last count, I had six different types of lavender essential oil in my cupboard (though in my defense, New Directions had a lavender sale last year). Anyhow, that surplus got me thinking about all the different things I could do with lavender, and soap is always high on my lists.

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For this bar, I chose bergamot as to keep the lavender company because the pair reminds me of British castles, and I feel like Lady Mary would be quite content with such a bar of soap. The scent combination is just divine—soft, rich, and intriguingly bright. Mmm.

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I wanted a sort of dusty, subdued colour scheme. The scents brought to mind a sort of rusty red and a periwinkle purple/blue, with seams of indigo and white. I’ve been really itching to try some thin seams in my soaps, so I was super excited to cut these bars when they were finally done.

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The final bar is quite hard, but still gentle. It reaches trace quite quickly, even though I let the oils and lye water come to room temperature before combining them, so be prepared for a speedy trace, especially if you soap at 110°F.

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Lavender & Bergamot Soap

25% olive oil
25% coconut oil
30% tallow
15% shea butter
5% castor oil

Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:

  • 20g lavender essential oil
  • 10g bergamot essential oil
  • 1 tbsp kaolin clay
  • lavender/pink ultramarine oxide
  • blue ultramarine
  • yellow iron oxide
  • red iron oxide
  • black iron oxide

You’ll also need at least one additional bowl or pot to mix up different colours of soap to layer.

Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make. I do not recommend making less than 750g of this batch since we are working with four different colours, and working with such tiny amounts of soap for different colours can get tricky.

Add up the total weight of your oils, water, and lye so you have an approximate weight of the entire batch. Calculate the following:

  • 50% of the total weight
  • 10% of the total weight
  • 20% of the total weight

Write these final weight numbers down for later. They are for the layers.

Follow my standard soap making instructions to bring your soap to a thick trace (thick enough that it can support its own weight, like pudding). Blend in the essential oils and the kaolin clay, using an immersion blender to insure the clay is well blended.

Once you’re at trace, transfer 50% of your final soap (you calculated that earlier & wrote it down—yay math!) to a second bowl. Blend in some ultramarine lavender/pink oxide, and a wee bit of the ultramarine blue. Use the immersion blender to blend them in, and don’t add more until you’ve blended them very thoroughly. The colour gets stronger as the blender busts up the clumps. You’re aiming for a sort of dusty lilac colour, so tweak as required for the amount you’re making. Transfer this layer to the mould, and spread it out evenly.

Now weigh out 10% of the soap, and blend in a small amount of ultramarine blue and black iron oxide to make a dark indigo. You’ll probably only be able to use a flexible silicone spatula to with such a small amount of soap, so be thorough. I find smushing the soap up against the side of the bowl really helps. Spread that layer over top of the lilac layer, taking care not to swirl them together. You’ll have to do some dabbing and gentle spreading.

Up next, weigh out 20% of the soap, and spread that (yup, just leave it white/cream coloured) over the indigo layer, taking care not to blend the two.

Using red and yellow iron oxides, colour the remaining soap a pale orange/red. Spread that layer on top of the cream layer, taking care not to blend them.

Cover the mould, insulate it lightly, and let saponify for 24 hours before slicing.

Let age at least three weeks before using. Enjoy!

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