Occasionally, we forget that our masculine counterparts enjoy a bit of pampering. As the weather turns, and the air dries, there’s raking leaves and putting away the mower, and gutter cleaning, and wet socks to be hung near the fire, so let’s put something together just for them, shall we? Everyone needs a good foot scrub, with a suitably masculine fragrance. (Though this one is really suitable for everyone, should the lady of the house find that her work boots have worn on her heels as well.)
First, the Formula
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is retiring, Autumn is settling in, and that brings drier air and furnaces, with dry skin and cracked heels. For me, Refined Olive Oil is a brilliant oil to put in soap for this time of year. I went with 85% olive oil in this recipe. It has a couple of drawbacks, some of which we can counter, some of which we will just live with. It’s great for wintery skin, but it takes a long time to set, and it tends to discolor soap to green. Using Nurture Soap’s refined oil will help some with the color. You can counter some of the set time by pouring it into individual bars, but it is going to take a while regardless, in this case, three days to unmold.
Another issue with olive oil is the lack of real bubbles. It foams a bit, but it’s more of a rich lather than bubbles. For bubbles, a mix of Coconut Oil and Castor Oil works very well. For this soap, I used 10% coconut and 5% castor. Heavy coconut oil soaps can be very drying to the skin, and too much castor oil makes for a soft, sticky bar. There’s some sort of lovely magic that occurs with the two of these together that makes good bubbles; along with the olive oil, this bar turns out with a soft, rich, bubbly lather that looks good and feels nice.
Second, the Fragrance
Transformation Fragrance Oil is a unique fragrance, with notes of wood and incense and spice. It isn’t wholly masculine, but it definitely isn’t a traditionally feminine scent – there are no real floral notes here. It’s important to note that this one maxes out at a low usage rate. You won’t notice it in the soap – it has plenty of strength at recommended rates, but it is about half of the usual amount, so take care with that if you choose it.
Third, the Color
Olive oil has a way of dulling color a bit, so I wasn’t going to devote a lot of thought to making this soap an ideal color. Mocha Brown Mica is my default brown because it’s my favorite. It gives a rich, dark shade that I like. It does dull a little in this formula, but I like the evenness that adding the mica adds to the final product. If you aren’t worried about that sort of thing, you could probably get away with skipping the color, and you’d still have great soap.
Fourth, the Scrub
Pumice is formed in a very specific set of circumstances involving volcanic eruptions and a good deal of light and air. It is rock, and it floats. When crushed, it provides a gentle scrub to the skin. It comes in all sorts of sizes and levels of ‘scrubbiness’, and to some degree, you’ll want to experiment. Generally, if it is found under cosmetic searches, you’re going to find it acceptable for that use. It doesn’t take much, and once you’ve added everything else to the soap, you can blend it in. I recommend hand blending, just because it can rough up your stick blender. Before you add the pumice, though, spend some time with the stick blender. Olive oil soaps stay fluid, and the pumice, though light, will settle to the bottom of the bar if you don’t give it extra time with the blender to thicken it. You want to have it at a fairly heavy trace before you add the pumice.
Shall I wax poetic about a foot scrub bar in the afternoon sun? I think I shall. I really love these. Or I did love them. They have all been pre-claimed, after being sniffed at and fondled. I think part of their appeal is in their simplicity; they don’t look like much, but they will be excellent to use. Small luxuries are often the best kind.