Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Search for Fabulous Citrus Goat Milk Soap

In most of my Cold Process (CP) books, the authors mention the difficulty of citrus fragrance using natural essential oils (EO).  There is something about citrus essential oils that doesn't stand up to the heat produced during the CP process.  And I really, really want a nice, perky citrus soap!

When I'm making soap, I use a very cool method because I don't want to 'damage' or scald all the good things in goats milk during the process.  I want all the skin-friendly proteins and fats to be totally available.  I freeze our fresh, raw milk in ice cube trays and add the lye to the cubes.  I melt all our solid butters then allow them to cool with the fluid oils before adding the milk/lye mixture.  I freeze the soap mixture as soon as I put it in the molds.  Doing these things, I've manage to produce lovely ivory-coloured soaps, without the beige/brown tinge brought on by high heat.

Thinking my cool method may negate the citrus scent problem, I made a small batch a while ago, using just sweet orange EO, which is what I had on hand.  I used almost double the EO that I use for my lavender and peppermint soaps.  I ended up with absolute no citrus fragrance at all!  Huge disappointment!  Because I'm stubborn and really don't want to use the fake fragrance oils, I started some research.

During the Christmas season (which is also kind of the beginning of citrus season), I was seeing a lot of stuff, on the crafty blogs I read and on the Facebook pages I follow, about using up citrus peels.  Posts included drying for potpourri, dehydrating zest and....infusing oils.  Well, I thought, why couldn't I infused the olive oil in my soap recipe, to get a little head start on fragrance.  So I took some of the many mandarin orange peels we were producing, air dried them and then soaked them in olive oil.   That blog post is here.  When finished, the oil had a nice, although light, citrus scent.  I kept the peels and air dried them again, letting them dry really well to use as an exfoliant in the soap.

Then....somebody commented anonymously with one word.....bergamot!  Whoever you are - thank you, thank you, thank you!  I went in search of bergamot EO and love it!  And found five-fold lemon EO while I was at it, which means extra concentrated.  So, a new batch of citrus soap has been made, with sweet orange, five fold lemon and bergamot added just before I pour the mixture into the molds!  After 24 hours, during the cutting, it smelled strongly of fresh soap (somewhat chemical) and very little like anything citrus.  Now two weeks later that 'new soap' scent is gone and a nice but light citrus fragrance remains!  So excited!  The soap has a lovely pale peachy/yellow colour with some darker orange pieces from the ground peel.  The soap needs at least another two weeks to cure, but I have high hopes!


  1. This Soap Sounds Really Nicely Scented. I LovE To Make And Use My handmade Goatmilk Soap. It Makes The Skin Feel So Very Soft.

  2. yah for anonymous blogging lurkers!! so glad to hear you've made a breakthrough. I too love the smell of citrus and the added rind as exfoliant sounds wonderful.