Patchouli and Bentonite Clay Soap Projecthttps://www.brambleberry.com/in-the-studio/projects/cold-process/patchouli-and-bentonite-clay-soap-project/PS000039.html
Patchouli essential oil has an earthy, smoky scent. It can elicit strong opinions because it’s an assertive fragrance, but what many people don’t know is how versatile it is. Patchouli adds depth and complexity to a variety of scents, and it blends wonderfully with floral, citrus, vanilla, and minty notes.
In this Patchouli and& Bentonite Clay Soap, it’s blended with a touch of lime essential oil. Together they create a bright and earthy scent that’s sure to please. The bars are colored with natural activated charcoal, indigo powder, and bentonite clay. We chose bentonite clay because it helps absorb excess oil and gives the soap a silky feeling.
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Time to Complete: 2 hours
- Kit Yields: 3 pounds of soap
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Patchouli and Bentonite Clay Soap Project
You'll love this cold process recipe - it's made with all-natural ingredients like lime essential oil, indigo powder, and activated charcoal.
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
33 oz. Swirl Quick Mix
4.6 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
10.9 oz. Distilled Water
1.5 oz. Patchouli Essential Oil
0.5 oz. Lime Essential Oil
COLORANT PREP: Disperse 1 teaspoon of titanium dioxide into 1 tablespoon of a lightweight liquid oil such as sunflower or sweet almond. In a separate container, disperse 2 teaspoons of indigo powder into 2 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil. Disperse 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay into 3 tablespoons of distilled water – this mixture will be quite thick. Finally, disperse 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal into 1/2 tablespoon of lightweight liquid oil. Use a mini mixer to get rid of clumps. Optional: To ensure the titanium dioxide blends smoothly into the soap, we recommend micronizing it before dispersing it in oil. Use a coffee grinder to break up any clumps of color and prevent streaks of white from showing in the final soap. We like to use a coffee grinder that has a removable stainless steel mixing area for easy cleaning.
FRAGRANCE PREP: In a glass container, add 1.5 ounces of patchouli essential oil and 0.5 ounces of lime essential oil. Set aside.
SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your space. Always make soap in a well-ventilated area.
Slowly and carefully add 4.6 ounces of lye to 10.9 ounces of distilled water. Gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved. Set it aside to cool. Optional: Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to help the bars harden more quickly.
Fully melt the entire bag of Swirl Quick Mix until it’s completely clear. Shake the bag to mix up all the oils. Measure 33 ounces into a heat-safe bowl. Once the lye water and the oils have cooled to 130° F or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye water to the oils and stick blend the mixture to a very thin trace.
Add all of the bentonite clay. Pulse and stir with the stick blender to fully incorporate. Clay tends to speed up trace, so be careful to not over-blend during this stage.
Add all of the essential oil blend and use a whisk to mix.
Split the soap into 3 separate containers. One container should hold 350 mL, and the remaining 2 should hold 600 mL. Add the following amounts of dispersed powders and whisk thoroughly.
At this point you want the soap to be a medium trace – thin enough to pour, but thick enough that it holds its shape. If it’s still thin, quickly pulse each container with the stick blender starting from lightest to darkest. Begin pouring small dollops of the blue soap into the mold in different areas. Don’t worry too much about the placement of the plops or making them the same size.
Pour plops of the white soap on top of the blue, followed by plops of the black soap. Because there's less black soap, make those slightly smaller.
Continue to layer the various colors into the mold. The more dollops the more layers your soap will have. Alternating the spots you pour and the amounts will also create more variety in your bars. There’s really no right or wrong way to layer the colors, so have fun with it. Tip: If your soap gets grainy, whisk until it’s smooth. If it gets too thick to pour, use a spoon to layer the soap.
Once all the soap is in the mold, use a spoon to create texture on top. We created a side wave pattern by moving the spoon in one direction vertically down the mold.
Once you’re happy with the top, spritz it with 99% isopropyl alcohol. To help the indigo powder pop, we placed this soap on a heating pad set to medium high for about 2 hours to promote gel phase.
Allow the soap to stay in the mold for 2-3 days. Unmold and cut into bars. Allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy!
Photographer: Amanda Kerzman