This exotic soap contains ylang ylang essential oil, which is distilled from the flowers of the cananga tree (Cananga odorata), a member of the custard apple family originating in the Philippines and Indonesia. In the recipe, this fragrant oil is blended with geranium, clary sage, and rose to make a gently aromatic and skin-smoothing soap.
- 1¼ cups inexpensive olive oil,
- ¾ cup coconut oil,
- ½ cup cooled, boiled, or distilled water,
- 2oz (60g) caustic soda (lye crystals),
- 2 tsp avocado oil,
- 12 drops ylang-ylang essential oil,
- 12 drops clary sage essential oil,
- 5 drops rose absolute essential oil,
- 12 drops geranium essential oil,
- 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Makes 16 bars
- Blend the olive and coconut oils together in a saucepan and put the pan over low heat. Heat the mix, whisking, until the temperature reaches 140°F (60°C).
- To make the lye mixture, pour the water into a glass or stainless steel bowl, then put the bowl in a sink in case the contents froth over when the caustic soda is added. Put on protective goggles, gloves, and an apron, then mix the caustic soda into the water using a wooden spoon until the crystals dissolve completely (always add the caustic soda to the water rather than the other way around). Allow to cool.
- Add the cooled lye mixture to the hot oils in the saucepan and mix with a wooden spoon thoroughly. Then beat with a metal whisk for about 20 seconds. You should get the consistency similar to that of thick custard so that a line is visible if drawn on its surface. Mix in the essential oils to fragrance the soap. Pour the mixture into a 6in (15cm) square stainless steel dish that is at least 2in (5cm) deep and greased with olive oil, cover with a cloth, and leave to harden for 24 hours.
- While still soft enough to cut, remove the soap wearing plastic gloves and cut into bars with a knife. Arrange the bars on trays and allow to dry out fully and harden; this will take a couple of weeks. During this time the pH value of the soap will drop, becoming more neutral and therefore milder.
NOTE: You can find that a whitish residue appears on the surface; this can be scraped off if you want. The soap will continue to dry out for a few months depending on the weather, but the pH value will decrease slowly and stay stable after a couple of weeks. Check the pH of the finished soap before using (it should be about 10–10.5).