The refreshing scent of this soap makes you feel like you're at the spa! Comforting yet refreshing at the same time, the smell of rosemary and peppermint together is one of my favorite combinations.
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Of all the soaps I make and share, Rosemary Mint is one of the top three that people specifically ask me for, when they reach out to see if I have more in stock.
(Black Spruce, and Fir & Frankincense are the other two.)
Recently, when people reach out looking for it, I've started asking folks what they love so much about this particular soap.
"I love how it lathers in the shower."
"It smells amazing!"
"It's not flowery, and the scent is strong enough but not too strong."
This is some of the feedback I've been getting about it, and these are actually all reasons I love it too!
Historic uses of rosemary for skin health and beauty
Rosemary has an especially long history of being used for health and skincare. I had a lot of fun going on a very deep dive into ways this herb was used throughout the centuries.
While there are amazing references going far back to Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures, it was a British text from 1525, which most caught my attention. Among the suggested uses of rosemary, here are a few that especially intrigued me:
- Boil rosemary flowers and water until it's reduced by half, then cool it and drink, "for it is much worth against all evils in the body."
- Make a powder from the flowers, and bind it to the right arm in a linen cloth, "and it shall make thee light and merry"
- Put the leaves under the head of your bed, "and thou shall be delivered of all evil dreams."
Here's an interesting instruction that draws on rosemary's long association with skin health and beauty: "boil the leaves in white wine and wash thy face therewith, they beard and they brows, and there shall no corns grow out, but thou shall have a fair face."
Want to read the text for yourself? You can find the translated text of An Herbal here, or I've also figured out how to embed it right below. Check this out...it's such a cool read.
Modern studies suggest historic uses of rosemary are grounded in real health benefits.
Studies are still being done that compellingly show a relationship between the use of rosemary and improved physical, cognitive, and emotional health. (This post does a good job of laying out the possible benefits of rosemary, and linking to relevant studies.)
Reading the studies that link a drop in the stress chemical cortisol, to use of rosemary, makes me want to go brew a pot of rosemary tea right now! Goodness knows we could all use a little help when it comes to stress. (Maybe I should try that method from 1525?)
How to make this rosemary mint soap
Want to make this rosemary mint soap, but haven't made soap before?
That's ok. This is an easy recipe, and you are more than capable of doing this.
However, if you'd like a good introduction to the steps involved in making soap from scratch (this is not melt and pour, we will be working with lye), my friend Heidi has an excellent tutorial on hot process soap making. It's a great idea to give that a read, just to get comfortable with the steps involved.
Once you've got an understanding of how to make soap, this really is a beginner-level soap recipe that is very easy to make!
Some frequently asked questions
Can I substitute different oils for the ones in this recipe?
No. Different oils have different properties, and soap recipes need to be calculated exactly. The amount of lye in this recipe is exactly calculated based on the specific oils listed in the recipe, and substituting could result in an improperly saponified mixture, which could be caustic.
However, if you're talking about swapping out different essential oils, go for it. You can use this basic recipe with any type of essential oil you'd like.
Is this a strongly scented soap recipe?
I tend to make my homemade soaps on the well-scented side, and would call this one "moderate" in terms of scent level. That said, if you're used to working with fragrance oils rather than essential oils, the scent of this recipe may seem underwhelming. On the other hand, if you're very sensitive to scents, even natural ones, you may want to cut the essential oils in half for a very mildly scented bar.
Can I use this recipe to make cold process soap?
YES! Most soap recipes can be made using either process. Just don't forget to let it cure fully, for 4-6 weeks.
Do you have any other questions about making this hot process soap recipe? Ask away in the comments below!
Rosemary Mint Hot Process Soap Recipe
- Crock Pot
- Soap mold
- kitchen scale
- Immersion blender
- safety glasses
- long latex gloves
- non-reactive stirring spoon
- non-reactive measuring containers
Prepare your workspace
- As with all soapmaking sessions, prepare by clearing your workspace and ensure that you have abundant clear counter space. Don't allow pets or children to wander through your work area.
Making this hot process soap recipe
- Start by putting all of the oils/butter into the crockpot. Set it to LOW, and allow it to warm until all of the oils are melted. The shea butter will take longest to melt, and you can give it an occassional stir to help it along.12 ounces coconut oil, 12 ounces olive oil, 4 ounces shea butter, 4 ounces castor oil
- Weigh your water into a heat-safe, non-reactive contatiner, with plently of additional room to mix in the lye.12.16 ounces water
- In another non-reactive container, weigh out the correct amount of lye.4.61 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
- Slowly pour THE LYE INTO THE WATER (never the other way around), stirring slowly until all of the lye is fully disolved into the water. The lye mixture will immediately begin to warm up. (Unlike with cold process soap, you don't have to wait for the lye mixture to cool to a certain temperature. As long as all of the oils are fully melted, you can actually pour the lye into the oils as soon as it's mixed.)
- Carefully pour the lye mixture into the melted oils.
- As soon as the lye is poured into the melted oils, use an immersion blender to bring the lye and oil mixture to trace. When the mixture reaches trace, you'll know, because it will look like vanilla or butterscotch pudding. When you lift the immersion blender, it will leave a gentle peak in the mixture, and any drops will linger on the surface as little blobs. It REALLY looks like pudding.
- Put on the lid of the crock pot, and let the mixture cook. You'll see the mixture start to get translucent around the edges and start to "crawl" up the side of the crock pot. Definitely give it a stir if it threatens to flow over the edges, and it doesn't hurt to give it the occassional stir even if it doesn't.
- The soap needs to cook until until it's no longer caustic, which takes about 40-50 minutes. It will go through several phases - translucent around the edges, then lumpy and cloudy looking (I've hear this called the "mashed potato stage" and it's really what it looks like!) Then the soap will start to get translucent again. It's a good idea to give the whole thing a stir about once every 10 minutes, to keep it all cooking evenly.
- When the soap starts to get evenly translucent again, you can go ahead and test it. I use the "zap test", recommended by Heidi at Healing Harvest Homestead. Take a little bit of soap between your fingers, and rub it around. Does it feel waxy? If it's feeling waxy, go ahead and touch your tonge to it. If it "zaps" and tingles your tounge, it's not quite done yet, and needs to cook a little longer. If it just tastes like soap. You're ready.
- Once the soap is done, go ahead and turn off the crock pot and remove the lid. Let the soap cool for 5 minutes. You want a little of the heat to escape before adding the essential oils, so they don't burn off.
- Add the essential oils and spirulina. Still well until the mixture is evenly blended.1 ounce Rosemary essential oil, .75 ounce Mint essential oil, ½ tsp powdered spirulina
- Spoon spoon the soap into your mold. It's going to feel a lot like piling mashed potatoes into a bowl that's just barely big enough. (This 2lb recipe fits perfectly into a 2lb loaf mold. This is the one I use and love)
- Now, lift the soap mold and firmly thump it on the counter several times to release any bubbles, and help the soap settle well into every corner of the mold. (I truly THUMP it really hard on my countertops - it's not very graceful, but does an effective job at getting good solid bars of soap!)
- Now, let the soap just sit and cool for at least 8 hours, before unmolding it. If you really need to rush it, you can put it in the fridge, and get away with unmolding after about 4 hours.
- While the soap is technically read to use right away, I like to let it sit and harden for about two days after it's unmolded, before slicing the soap loaf. Then, once it's sliced, I usually let the bars of soap sit for another day or two to harden up a little more, before I package them. That said - there's no rush to cut your loaf of soap, and it's actually a great way to store the soap if you're not using right away. You can just leave it as it is, and slice of bars of soap as you need them.
- To make your bar soap last well, be sure to use a well-draining soap dish that lets your bar dry in between washings. Sitting in a puddle of water drastically reduces the life of your soap. Enjoy!