I feel like patchouli is one of those scents that has worked its way into the collective memory. I was instantly flooded with nostalgia when I opened my first bottle of patchouli oil—I remembered my trip to Germany and the mother of a friend who has always smelled of warm, spicy patchouli. It’s a scent I’ve known all my life, but I only recently pinpointed the source. This wouldn’t be the case, I’m sure, if I’d been around in the 1960’s, but alas, I wasn’t (though my musical tastes don’t seem to know that).
Anyhow, this soap combines the wonderful, dusty/spicy earthiness of patchouli with the bright, clean scents of spearmint and eucalyptus. You could say this is a more manly soap if you wanted too—I’ve certainly never objected to men smelling of patchouli. It makes me want to go explore the forest with them, where we will hopefully stumble upon Woodstock and go live in a world of free love and organic vegetables.
The entire batch is green thanks to some Australian Olive Green clay, and the darker streaks come from a bit of added green chromium oxide. You could also use French Green clay, or go another route entirely and use something brown or taupe.
Patchouli Mint Swirl Soap
40% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
10% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
1 tbsp Australian Olive Green clay
½ tsp green chromium oxide
10g patchouli essential oil
10g spearmint essential oil
10g eucalyptus globulus essential oil
Follow standard soap making procedures. I find this recipe traces very quickly—I don’t even need my immersion blender, a few minutes of stirring with the spatula brought it to trace. Add the clay and essential oils at trace, and then divide the batch into two. Stir the oxide into one half, and swirl the two halves together in the mold.
Let set for 24 hours, remove from the mold, and slice into bars. Cure for at least three weeks before use.
Sounds wonderful! But what exactly is ‘superfat’?
Good question, Greta! To “superfat” is to have more fat than the lye can convert into soap. So, with a 5% superfat, there will be enough lye to convert 95% of it into soap, but then the reaction will run out of lye, so 5% will remain fat, all emulsified into the bar of soap. This gives you a much more moisturizing bar, as the fat that is now soap will work to strip oils from your skin—having some fats that are still fats helps counteract the drying effect! Does that make sense?
I am seriously wanting to get into soap making, and you make it seem soooo easy. It can get pretty expensive especially when you have so many fabulous recipes!
Do it! It’s SO much fun! You can start off with grocery store ingredients (lard, olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil), but you’ll find it’s much cheaper to get those things online (you often pay a premium for food grade ingredients, plus grocery stores don’t get the same bulk discounts as online retailers can). The essential oils will generally be your biggest expense, so I’d recommend you keep to your favourites to start with and branch out from there… you probably won’t be able to stop yourself!
I love the patchouli mint mix! I made a hand creme with patchouli, spearmint, and organic bulgarian rose fragrance oil, and it was divine. It’s such a strange combination on paper, but in products, it’s heavenly!
Yeah, it’s awesome, isn’t it? So fresh and earthy all at once 🙂 I LOVE the idea of adding rose! I am so in love with rose right now… mmmm!
Stumbled onto your site while exploring Pinterest tonight. Lovely blog, great detail and projects. I’ve never made soap but would love to try. I don’t know the conversion for your measurments from grams to ounces for example. Would you be able to advice me?
Awesome, I’m so glad you stumbled on to my little corner of the internet, Susan 🙂 My favourite converter is also the easiest—if you go to Google and just type in “10g in oz”, or something to that effect, it will take you to a search results page with an awesome little converter calculator sitting right at the top—easy as pie! Have fun and let me know if you need any other help 🙂
First of all, I would like you to know how fantastic your blog and recipes are; I just LOVE it!
My question for you pertaining to the soap recipes is that you put all of the oils in percentages. I hope this doesnt sound silly of me, but when I have ever made any soaps, all of the oils/fats were in grams or measurable by weight.
Could you please explain to me how to use the percentages?
Thank you bunches! 🙂
Thanks so much, Shannon 🙂
No worries on the percentages. It’s nice and easy 🙂 You simply decide on the desired total weight of oils (I like a 500g batch to start), work out what 1% of that is, and then work out your measurements from there. For example, if you were working with 500g, 1% would = 5g. So, 50%=250g, 30%=150g, and so on. But, really, for soap, just use SoapCalc—it has a column that lets you enter the amounts in as percents, and then change the batch size elsewhere. It’s awesome and does all the math for you 🙂
Instructions say to stir oxide into half the batch, what happens to other half?
Hi Janice! The other half stays as it is, giving you a brown/green swirl when you pour the two colours into the mould. I generally sort of layer them, letting the weight of the batter and the pouring action swirl the two colours together. I did notice that the instructions weren’t great there, though, so I clarified them. Thanks for catching that!
I have recently started making soap and beauty products and I just have to say I LOVE your blog and recipes. Your blog convinced me to try homemade masks and now I’m addicted! 🙂
I want to try this soap recipe as a manly soap but I do have a question involving the spearmint EO. I was told you weren’t supposed to use that oil on your skin because of irritation. Same with cinnamon and whatnot. Is it the same if it’s in soap?
Hi Dawn! Thanks so much for reading & DIYing with me 🙂 I’m so glad I’ve got you hooked!
I frequently use small amounts of spearmint EO in lip balms as well as soaps and have never had any irritation issues. Cinnamon is a bit different in that it does increase circulation and can be warming/irritating, so I keep that to smaller amounts in lip balms, but have never had troubles with soaps 🙂 It all gets washed off quite promptly in soap, and the EOs get a bit of a butt-kicking during saponification.
Made this today and cannot wait to pull it out of the mold. I swirled a little cranberry seed on the top for a bit of Christmas colour. I used deer tallow, which has a distinctive scent, although the patchouli/mint combo seems to cover it.
Very cool! I should befriend some hunters so I can get a chance to work with deer tallow 😛
I wish I could figure out how to send you a picture! Its beautiful and smells divine! Its a little harder bar I think. It looks all ‘grinchy’:P
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