Guest post by Amber Beltran of A Squirrel & A Scholar Soap Co.

A Squirrel & A Scholar Soap Co.

OF LEMONS & ORANGES

As spring begins to wind down, making way for summer and warmer days ahead, nothing seems to herald the changing of these glorious seasons quite like juicy, refreshing citrus fruits! For me, delicious, zesty citrus scents are synonymous with summer, and as the days grow longer and hotter, I find myself actually craving them! For this week’s soapy project, I wanted to welcome the impending arrival of summer with one of the most classic and universally-loved citrus scents of them all... Oranges!

As I rummaged through my stash of fragrance oils, I knew of the precise fragrance that I wanted to use. It’s a fragrance oil I’ve used in cold process soap before, and I positively love it! It’s Nurture Soap’s amazingly authentic “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil, which is pure orange-heaven to my nose! Not only does this delightful fragrance behave like a soap maker’s dream in cold process soap, it also smells identical to the scent of real, freshly-squeezed oranges, and sticks around in soap for the long haul! However, as I grabbed my bottle of “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil, I realized I didn’t have quite enough to make a full two-pound batch.

All was not lost with this project though! It just so happens I had some sweet orange essential oil on-hand as well, and if sweet orange essential oil doesn’t go awesome with “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil, then I don’t know what else would... Orange plus more orange equals my version of pure happiness! To bump up that happiness-factor even more, I decided a little “scrubby action” from another one of my all-time favorite citrus fruits would take this project from “happy” to full-on ecstatic! Dried, ground lemon peel would be just the thing to take this citrusy soap to the next level!

Now, keep in mind, if you sell your sudsy creations, the absolute only claim one can make in regards to what their soap can actually do for the user’s skin is clean it. That certainly doesn’t mean we can’t talk a little bit about the ingredients we’ll be using in this soap recipe though, and the qualities they have individually. Also, keep in mind that in a wash-off product, such as soap, the only thing that I can definitively say about adding dried lemon peel to this recipe is that it will provide lovely exfoliation. The only thing I can definitively say about blending sweet orange essential oil with Nurture Soap’s amazing “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil is that it will smell awesome! With this little disclaimer out of the way though, let’s take a quick look at the properties of these two ingredients.

Sweet orange essential oil has a positively delightful aroma, which from an aromatherapy standpoint is wonderfully uplifting! It’s non-phototoxic, and is very affordable too. It’s known to contain antiseptic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, while also being naturally cleansing. High in Vitamin C, it is also said to help improve circulation. Lemon peel provides gentle, yet effective exfoliation, helping to buff away dull, dead skin, revealing a healthier glow. The citric and phytic acids in lemon peel are thought to help clarify, brighten, and smooth uneven skin tone. High in enzymes, vitamins and minerals, lemon peel is known to contain as much as five to ten times more vitamin content than lemon juice. So, while you might be limited in what you can and can’t say about your wonderful soapy creations, you can certainly allow your soapy creations to speak for themselves!

TIME FOR CITRUSY SOAP MAKING!

I wanted the recipe and design for this week’s soap project to be simple and fun, so that anyone who wanted to give this recipe a try at home could! While my own design features a soap-frosted top, please know that this is completely optional. Whether you add soap frosting to the top of your soap or not, I guarantee you’re going to create a beautiful batch either way! Small tweaks that I’ve made to a very simple, yet wonderfully reliable, soap recipe have made this week’s recipe very beginner-friendly, and you can find every batch oil used in this recipe right here at Nurture Soap! If you’d like to add a piped-top to this soap design, the first order of business will be to get some optional decorative embeds made.

Using the best melt & pour soap base EVER (Nurture Soap’s Low Sweat Clear Soap Base!), I got busy getting some fabulous citrus-inspired embeds made, which would adorn the top of this soap batch. Using Nurture’s mind-blowingly fantastic “Orange Marmalade” mica (I LOVE this orange mica so much!), I quickly made some refreshing orange-wedge embeds. For a splash of vibrant color contrast, the epically lush green-ness of Nurture Soap’s stunning “Jade Green” mica was the perfect choice when it came to making some accentuating citrus leaves!

The color theme for this citrusy creation is simple, but aptly bright, happy and vibrant! I envisioned a soap with a solid color bottom section (Complete with scrubby lemon peel!), and a top section featuring a fun drop-swirl design. To make this easier and allow myself plenty of time to work at my own, steady pace, I decided to treat this batch as if it were two smaller, separate batches. Instead of preparing one 32oz batch, I prepared two 16oz batches instead. This would give me ample time to pour the bottom half of this soap’s design, and then allow it to set up enough to be able to easily pour a drop-swirl over top of it with the remaining half.

For the bottom half of this project, the bright, sunshiny “Rise & Shine” mica seemed a great choice to incorporate those lemon peel granules into, and for the would-be drop-swirl on top, more “Orange Marmalade” and “Jade Green” micas would look lovely when swirled with some “Winter White” mica. Using a bit of my batch oils, I prepared these cheerful colorants by getting them nice and dispersed with my mini-mixer!

Once my divided batch oils and two lye solutions had cooled down to around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, I set one 16oz container of batch oils (and its corresponding lye-water solution) off to the side and focused on the first half of the project. This would be our bottom layer, with all those lovely lemon peel granules added for a touch of blissful scrub! After carefully and gently stirring the lye solution into the batch oils, I went ahead and stirred in the lemon peel as well. This will help break up any large clumps that may form, but lemon peel is a heavier exfoliant, so to fully and evenly disperse the granules, you’ll want to use your stick blender to bring your soap batter to trace. A light to medium trace is ideal to get those lemon peel granules evenly suspended throughout your soap batter. For this project, a usage rate of one tablespoon of lemon peel granules per pound of batch oils was used, but you can certainly add more or less lemon peel, per your desired level of “scrubbiness”.

The next step was to get the batch colored with the ever-sprightly “Rise & Shine” mica, as well as get that sensational orange-scented blend added to the soap! There’s truly no right or wrong way to accentuate the deliciously juicy scent of “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil with sweet orange essential oil, but if you’d like to try the blend that I used for this project (Which smells fantastic, by the way!), a fragrance blend consisting of 75% (or 3-parts) “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil, and 25% (or 1-part) sweet orange essential oil smells outstandingly orangey! If you don’t have any sweet orange essential oil on-hand, worry not... “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil smells absolutely sensational all on its own!

TRUE COLORS SHINING THROUGH!

With my lemon peel, mica colorant and fragrance blend now added to the soap batter, it was time to get the first half of the batch poured. This part of the project is fun, easy and oh-so satisfying, all at the same time! Just pour your soap batter into your mold, then allow it to firm up a bit before continuing on to the last half of the project. You’ll notice in this picture that my soap batter looks as brightly orange in color as it smells. This is because in this specific recipe, “Rise & Shine” mica does undergo a temporary color change. If this happens in your own cold process soap recipes at home, don’t panic! As soon as saponification gets underway, that chipper shade of orange will eventually go back to being its original shade of yellow, I promise!

While giving the bottom half of the soap batch a little time to firm up, I continued on by getting the last half of the soap batch prepared. This would be the top portion of the project, which would feature a colorful and eye-catching drop-swirl design! Blending until just passed emulsion, I split the soap batter into three equal-ish portions, then stirred the mica colorants and fragrance blend into each one as well. You might notice some color changes here too, but again, this is nothing to worry about and completely normal. In this specific soap recipe, “Jade Green” mica tends to take on a slightly darker, murkier shade of green in the fresh soap batter, while “Orange Marmalade” mica takes on more of a reddish tone. As with “Rise & Shine” mica, these changes are also very temporary, and the true shades of these gorgeous colors will return with the completion of saponification.

From here, this sudsy creation becomes a breeze! By this time, that bottom layer should be nice and firm enough to be able to pour a drop-swirl design over top of it without disruption, and once you’ve filled your mold to the very top, you can stop right here and call it another fantastic, soapy day! You could also continue on by adding some soap frosting to the top of the loaf if you’d like, but either way, you’re going to have one fantastically-fresh, orange-scented, scrubby-lemon batch of soap on your hands! If you’d prefer to skip piping the top of your soap with soap frosting, a bamboo skewer (or other swirling tool of your choice) can be used to create some colorful swirls on top!

For the soap frosting portion of this project, I used the very same recipe as the main batch of soap to whip up the frosting itself, and used a blend of equal parts “Winter White” and “Lemon Drop” micas to color it. This created such a soft and cheerful shade of yellow that reminded me of a delicious lemon custard dessert! You’ll notice that “Lemon Drop” mica doesn’t temporarily change in color, but such is the way of yellow micas! Some change from yellow to orange, then back to yellow again, and some don’t. You’ll even notice that this can be dependent on the recipe you use too. Nurture Soap’s amazingly bright “Firefly” mica temporarily turns orange in some of my soap recipes, but stays yellow in others. This is just another one of those wonderful ways in which soap making keeps us on our toes!

To add a beautiful, light dusting of golden sheen, I completed my fluffy, piped-top with a spritz and a sprinkle of Nurture Soap’s exquisite “Gold Enigma” mica, then gently placed each decorative melt & pour embed on top as well. From here, all that was left to do was insulate the batch overnight, then impatiently wait to cut it the next day!

THE CITRUS FRUITS OF OUR LABORS!

This soap design was truly two times the fun to make, and with sweet orange essential oil accentuating the already amazing orange scent of “Satsuma Orange” fragrance oil, it’s two-times the orange awesome-ness too! With a dash of scrubby lemon peel, lovingly incorporated for an extra dose of citrusy goodness, this soap project doesn’t just say, “Hello summer!”, it shouts it!

As you prepare for the warmer days of summer ahead, I hope you feel more than welcomed to add this citrusy soap project to your incredible lineup of summertime creations! Whether you’ve been making soap for a month, a year, ten years, or more, my hope in sharing this handmade soap recipe and design is that you enjoy making it just as much as I did, or feel completely free to customize it any which way you’d like! Stay cool and keep on soaping, my phenomenally talented crafting companions!


SOAP RECIPE

*Remember to divide the total recipe in half, working with one half at a time!

  • Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) @ 5% Superfat
  • Distilled Water @ 33% Lye Concentration (2:1/Water: Lye)
  • 40% Olive Oil
  • 30% RSPO Palm Oil
  • 25% Coconut Oil
  • 5% Castor Oil
  • 6% Fragrance Oil/Essential Oil Blend (3-Parts “Satsuma Orange” Fragrance Oil to 1-Part Sweet Orange Essential Oil)
  • 3% Sodium Lactate (Optional, Added to Cooled Lye Solution)
  • 1TBS/PPO White Kaolin Clay (Optional, Added to Fragrance Blend)
  • 1TBS/PPO Dried Lemon Peel Granules (Added to Bottom Portion of Soap)
  • 1TSP/PPO “Rise & Shine” Mica (Added to Bottom Potion of Soap)
  • 1TSP/PPO “Winter White”, “Orange Marmalade” & “Jade Green” Micas (Added to Top Portion of Soap)

FROSTING RECIPE

  • Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) @ 5% Superfat
  • Distilled Water @ 33% Lye Concentration (2:1/Water: Lye)
  • 40% Olive Oil
  • 30% RSPO Palm Oil
  • 25% Coconut Oil
  • 5% Castor Oil
  • 1TSP/PPO “Winter White” + “Lemon Drop” Micas (Blended at Equal Parts)
  • “Gold Enigma” Mica
  • Melt & Pour Citrus Wedge Embeds in “Orange Marmalade” Mica
  • Melt & Pour Leaf Embeds in “Jade Green” Mica
  • Wilton #1A Round Piping Tip

OUTSTANDING NURTURE SOAP PRODUCTS USED TO MAKE THIS SOAP!

2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
Winter White Mica-Nurture Soap Making Supplies
Winter White Mica-Nurture Soap Making Supplies
Winter White Mica-Nurture Soap Making Supplies
Winter White Mica-Nurture Soap Making Supplies
Purple Haze Mica-Nurture Soap Making Supplies
2.5 lb Basic Mold - Nurture Soap
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