Regina Bauscher Answers Your Questions

Hi there! Not sure if this question should go to you or not - but here goes! We are looking into making our own teas, extracts, etc from our herb garden. I have seen several cold process soap recipes that add extracts but I'm having trouble figuring out if these are alcohol based or glycerin based and which step they should be added in (although so far I've read that light trace is the time). Can you help? I can make extracts using either medium I just don't want to end up destroying a test batch or blowing up my lye because I added the wrong type at the wrong time! Any help would be appreciated, Michelle  -- D.P.

Hello Regina, I have recently started making cold process soap. Most of the research I've done on essential oils in soap state the use is 1 ounce per pound of soap, or, some calculators state the use is 3% of the total oils in the soap. My test batch recipe is 32 ounces of oil. 3% is about an ounce of EO. By the time my soap cures, there is very little scent. I use primarily USDA certified organic EOs; if not organic, then therapeutic grade. Can I use more EO so the scent will be stronger? Thank you. Mary  -- M.A.

Hi Mary!

Thanks for the question.  Because it is a wash-off product, essential oil safety guidelines will allow up to 5%-7% depending on which oil is used.  There are some where more caution and dilution is necessary.  

If you are using any of the citruses however, they have much lighter molecules and are more aromatic.  Aromatic meaning high evaporation rather than more scent.  You will lose the scent much faster in any citrus oil.  It is a fact that we don't like, but have to respect. 

Your recipe will also have an effect.  If you are using any butters that are raw and still have a scent of their own (raw cocoa butter), it can mask the EO scent to some degree. 

Of course, do a test to see if your EO reacts with alkali, because if it does the batch can accelerate significantly, which can challenge you even if the scent is great. 

Some essential oils are simply not meant for soap, either because of cost or because of potential for irritation. 

Let me know if you have any other questions!



As a general rule how long will an essential scent last in a cold process soap? Thank you!  -- V.C.

Hi Vera:

I apologize for the delay.  HSCG had trouble with my experts portal and I could not get into answer until now.  Please forgive the delay.

How long an EO will last in cold process is dependent upon the oil used primarily.  Citrus oils will lose their scent the fastest, no matter the type.  Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Bergamot....they all will fade usually within 2 - 3 months.  

The less volatile the oil, the longer the scent will stay and there are some that are good for a year or more.  Some that will stay are Lavender, Spearmint, Eucalyptus, Clove, Citronella, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Frankincense.  But it takes at least 5% essential oil in the recipe.  If you use 1 - 2% you will not have a lasting scent. 

Of course the recipe you use will also affect the EO longevity.  If you use heavy butters, like cocoa butter, it can mask EO to a certain degree, reducing the scent. All EO's will have a "slight" scent alteration because of the alkali reaction.  Some EO's actually saponify in soap and others do not. 

So it is a complex answer with many variables.  But overall, with the exception of citrus, you should still be able to detect a scent at 9 months to a year in an EO soap that is made correctly. 

Hope this helps!


Regina Bauscher

Honey Sweetie Acres


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