After scrounging through my stash of essential oils, I settled on a Rosemary Lavender combo and a Lemon Ginger combo. Since the lavender looked so delicate, I opted to mix that one with the creamy oatmeal base. The orange peels were a nice accompaniment to the golden color of the olive oil base anyway.
My kitchen already smelled amazing.
The second combo came together very similarly. Again, a pound of soap base (oatmeal glycerine this time), half a dropper or rosemary essential oil, half a dropper of lavender essential oil, 1/2 tbsp dried lavender flowers, and 1/2 tbsp dried mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, and parsley). Fresh herbs shouldn't be used as their water content is just too high.Once the herb and lavender soap was poured, I sprinkled another 1/2 Tbsp each of lavender and herbs on the top of the cooling soap for aesthetics value. I assumed the majority of the lavender and herbs would sink to the bottom of the mold- and I was right. This was better in my mind but I don't think it made much of a difference in the long run. The whole bar smelled phenomenal.
Tick.tock.tick.tock.tick.... You get the picture. In reality, the time I spent waiting for the soap to harden was a busy few hours. I made an amazingly silky and moisturizing body butter! That recipe is next.
Once the soap was cool and hard, I flipped the pan upside down onto a cutting board and lightly pressed on the bottom of each cavity. A sharp knife made chopping the loafs it into smaller bars quite simple. The non-stock spray did its job splendidly. No soap casualties.
I decided to wrap up a few of the bars to send out to family. The more testers, the better.
Onto the Body Butter. Have you ever looked at a bowl of buttercream icing and thought- oh man I bet that feels wonderful on skin. If you did, you'd be wrong. It's sticky. But the light whipped clouds are enticing anyway! Enter whipped shea body butter.
You'll need a stand mixer with whip attachment, raw shea butter, coconut oil (the hard variety for cooking), grapeseed oil, and a scent of your choice. Raw shea butter smells a bit strange if you aren't accustomed to it, looks hard, feels like dry clay, and seems like a major failure destined to happen. This works.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, put 1 cup coconut oil, and 2 cups (roughly 1 pound) raw Shea butter. Set the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water for a makeshift double boiler. I'm all about using less dishes wherever possible.
Gently stir as everything melts. Once melted, stir in 1/2 cup grapeseed oil. Set this aside for 30 minutes to let it come down in temperature a bit.
Pop the bowl onto your stand mixer. Using the whip attachment, beat on medium until it looks like buttercream. Scrape the bowl a couple of times to make sure everything is fully incorporated.