I’m starting to think that lemon essential oil in soap is a bit like vanilla extract in baking—you can add it to almost any other essential oil and you’ll get a lovely smelling bar of soap. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised by how much I loved the combination of lemon and rose in my Vinolia soap. So, I decided to try out lemon and lavender, and I was rewarded with a delightfully refreshing bar of soap. It’s bright and calming, the lemon cutting through the sweetness of the lavender, and unseating any notions of lavender smelling like your grandma.
I chose lavender & white swirls, but lavender & yellow, or yellow and white are also great ideas, depending on what you’ve got on hand. I elected to leave out lavender buds for a smoother soap, but they’d make an excellent addition. So would a bit of dried lemon zest, if you happen to have some.
To get the lovely swirls in this bar, I’d recommend letting both your melted oils and your lye water come down to room temperature before combining them. This gives you plenty of time to get everything mixed in without ending up with a very thick trace that makes swirls much more difficult to achieve.
Also, you definitely need an immersion blender for this soap, or you’ll end up with clods of titanium dioxide and iron oxide instead of a pretty, uniform bar. You’ll love watching the soap go beautifully milky white as you blast apart the stubborn bubbles of titanium dioxide, I promise.
Lavender & Lemon Soap
Superfat at 6%
Per 500g (1.1lbs) of oils:
- 1 tbsp titanium dioxide
- 1 tbsp white white kaolin clay
- 20g lavender essential oil
- 10g lemon 5 fold essential oil
- 2 tsp lavender iron oxide
Follow standard soap making procedure. When you reach a moderate trace (think unwhipped heavy cream), add the essential oils, and use the immersion blender to blend in the white kaolin clay and titanium dioxide. The immersion blender is not optional for this recipe unless you want little blobs of the oxides and titanium oxide suspended in your soap.
Pour half the soap into your prepared mold. Use the immersion blender to blend the lavender iron oxide into the remaining soap and pour that soap into the mold, drizzling it back & forth and up & down. Run the handle of a spoon through the raw soap to swirl, but not too much or you’ll just blend it all together since the trace is so light.
Let saponify for 24 hours before removing from the mold and cutting. Let cure for at least 3 weeks before using.