Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soap Fragrances

Due to all the rain, I have had some extra time to organize my soap making supplies. Here is a great shot of the bottles that hold many of the fragrance or essential oil I use.

I use both essential and fragrance oils to scent my soaps. Many times you simply can not get the fragrance you would like from a natural source and that is when I use fragrance oils. Fun fragrances like "vanilla frosting" would be a man made fragrance oil. Essential oils are often available and I use them with many of my soaps such as Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus. Often Essential Oils are very very expensive and I would have to charge you much more for the soaps, that is also when I use fragrance oils.

As an example, Patchouli oil has experience a huge markup in price lately. A tough year for crops, the yield was not just as large, creating a demand for Patchouli oil. 4 oz. of oil is $48.60, I use about 4 oz. for one batch of soap. Due to this price, I chose to use the man-made fragrance oil. It is much less expensive.

Plants such as Patchouli and Lavender are steam distilled. Patchouli oil is steam distilled from the Patchouli leaves. Before distillation takes place the leaves are partially dried and stacked. Distillation is a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction. Commercially, distillation has a number of uses. Water is distilled to remove impurities, such as salt from seawater. Air is distilled to separate its components—notably oxygen, nitrogen, and argon—for industrial use. Distillation of fermented solutions has been used since ancient times to produce distilled beverages with a higher alcohol content. The premises where distillation is carried out, especially distillation of alcohol, are known as a distillery. I can not do this on my own, I simply do not have the equipment, space or technology to perform this procedure.

After distillation the vapors are condensed, usually yielding a two-part system of water and the organic compounds, allowing for simple separation. There you have your concentrated oil. It is a lengthy process.

I have a great supplier of these essential and fragrance oils. I have used several different suppliers but found through trial and error that one supplier stands out among them all. I am happy to bring you the best essential and fragrance oils I can in my soaps.

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