Recently I have been reading a lot about lavender and the preparation of home-made soap. This is how Ildikó Török’s blog came into my range of vision, on which Ildikó introduces us into the world of really artistic home-made soaps. I got in touch with her, and she answered my questions very readily.
You have truly beautiful, moreover artistic soaps! There are many among them made with lavender.
Soap is just my hobby, I’m a real “hobby-soap-maker”, so I mainly prepare them for my family and close friends , but positive feedback coming from further away is always a pleasure as well.
I work at a hospital lab, my little free time belongs to both my garden and my new hobby, soap-making. It hasn’t even been a year since I was searching for goat’s-milk soap on the internet for my big daughter, who has eczema on her hands, and I found myself thinking that this could be fun to make, not just to use.
It took many-many weeks until I had the courage to begin, I read a huge amount about it, I studied the attributes of oils, butters, herbs, volatile oils, I watched soap forums and in the meantime I found new friends as well.
Right away, the first soap (lavender-goat’s milk) was a big success, I mean I was glad, that I didn’t explode (I was afraid of bases), it came out of the box, it had the scent and substance of soap, altogether, soap became of the concoction made by shaking hands.
My first lavender soap
Later, the greatest push was given by the fact that my daughter’s hand started to improve, so after this there was no stopping me.
Since soap-making is (so far) just a hobby, a relaxing distraction, there haven’t been too many made of each type, thus it isn’t hard “to get rid of” them. Well, it is hard, they are all like my children, one of a kind, there is almost a story to all of them. The family and the circle of acquaintances are big, and I gift these to teachers, pharmacists, shopkeepers, girlfriends as well. Positive feedback empowers me, I am glad, that it is a pleasurable and useful experience for others to use them as well.
Goat’s milk lavender guest soap – poured in a cream cheese box.
Lavender baby soap with pink clay – with natural ingredients only
I prepared a lavender olive soap, but I experienced that my hands were dry after I used it.
Some of my soaps don’t dry my skin, it’s true that it’s rather dry and also dehydrated to begin with. It appears, that olive soaps indeed need at least 4-5 months to ripen, but it’s better to be patient and wait as long as half a year before using them.
Olive soap from the Szappan Téka blog
Can plant colouring be used in soap making?
A good portion of plant petals, leaves unfortunately turn brown in a base environment, so does lavender , but the ones sprinkled on top retain their colour relatively well, it’s true that only those which don’t hang too much into the concoction. First I was embittered myself, moreover I also didn’t like that the petals drew a line while I was slicing them. Later I realized that in spite of that it is still fine home-made lavender soap, I named it rustic (it really is) and I immediately looked at it differently.
Pumpkin soap – a good example for plant colouring
Marigold and goat’s milk soap
How much volatile oil needs to be in the soap, and how do you achieve that its scent be lasting?
Unfortunately there needs to be a large amount in the soap concoction for it to have lasting scent. On top of that – as you probably know – there are such volatile oils which remain in the soap less from the outset (for example citrus derivatives), while the woody (for example cedar) or sweet (for example vanilla) can be felt in the soap longer as well.
Fragrances be bound by adding dry-matter, for example my tea-wood nettle soap, in which I also put quite a lot of ground, dried herbs (I coloured it with this also), but the same effect can be achieved with for example oatmeal, ground grape seeds (also not my own experience, but it appears logical).
My soaps are not very fragrant, for one thing, because I use exclusively top quality 100% volatile oils, and those are quite expensive, for the other thing – in my opinion- it isn’t even a problem if a home-made soap doesn’t resemble the ones available in drug stores. This is the natural soap, with slight scent or namely just with “cleanliness” scent.
It is interesting, by the way, that the majority of people start sniffing soap as soon as they takes it in their hands (so do I). Somehow it has been absorbed into us, that cosmetics are good if they are fragrant (colourful, conspicuously packaged, etc.).
A “traditional” lavender soap
The soap, before being cut, after having been taken out of the mould
And the lavender, which it was prepared of
Drying lavenders – the raw material for lots and lots of beautiful and fragrant soaps
This reminds me of the time when I initiated my first soap, perhaps also because of the expectation, if it would really act like a soap , would it foam, would a miracle happen or some unexpected event while I used it, I was a bit disappointed. It was silky, it even foamed (this was what I was the most anxious about), the knowledge that I made it myself was great. I was standing at home, I washed, I washed myself (by the way, you must be careful, because you could easily become soap dependent), and the catharsis just wouldn’t come. So I realized what was missing, the scent of course! The usual, aromatic, fresh scents. Albeit, I put volatile oils in it as well. A few days had to pass so I wouldn’t feel like something was missing, and I could fully enjoy my own soap. The large amounts of artificial fragrances simply dull a person’s nose, and mainly his brain. This is like when a delicious dish is over-spiced, and that is exactly what supresses the flavours of the basic ingredient.
I can say about myself that I have never likes too intense fragrances, rather the fresh, flowery or green aromas were my favourites. Nowadays I prefer neutral in everything.
But there is one exception: lavender. I can handle lavender in any form and quantity, may that be blossom, soap, volatile oil, ice-cream, syrup or biscuit, that can have a fragrance. Fresh purple lavender fragrance. Strong, pervasive, like that of a freshly scraped blossom, or just a veil in a tasty biscuit, it doesn’t matter.
The anniversary soap
What kind of soap have you prepared most recently?
On the weekend I prepared a lavender camomile soap. Its colour unfortunately is greying, but this is still the bluest soap of all of them, it’s true, that the others were not made blue. And for the first anniversary of the launching of my Blog I made my very first soap again, the lavender goat’s milk soap.
Lavender soap with lavender design