Since patchouli is so strong - and not everyone loves it - I decided to go with a blend that was 30% patchouli and 70% geranium. The geranium is not pure grade because, gawd, have you seen how much that stuff costs?! The scent is mostly rose with a nice earthy base. Kinda like a rose garden after a ground-soaking rain.
Not that I've ever been in a rose garden after a ground-soaking rain. But it's how I imagine a rose garden would smell after a ground-soaking rain.
I hear so many wonderful things about clays, and I want to experiment with them some more in soap. I'm thinking that this should make a lovely facial soap because of the clay.
Another concern was the tint of the essential oil blend. In the middle photo of the collage to the right, you'll see a bowl of orangish liquid toward the rear. That's the EO blend, and I worried that the patchouli would impart an orange tinge to the soap. All was well, though. The portion I colored white stayed white, and the pink stayed true, too.
For the oils, I tried a palm-free recipe from Amanda at Lovin' Soap. (I went with the first recipe listed: olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, and rice bran oil.) This is my first time using rice bran oil. I see a lot of palm-free recipes calling for it, and it's supposed to have great moisturizing qualities. I tested an end piece from this batch, and although it has been curing for only about two weeks, it is very nice! (Thanks for sharing your recipe, Amanda!)
To make the soap, I added the essential oil blend to my cooled oils. I soaped at around 105 degrees F, but I probably could have gone a bit cooler. Then I added my lye solution and stickblended to trace. The soap traced quickly - I poured about half of the batch into a separate measuring cup, and by the time I whisked the Red Moroccan clay into one half and the titanium dioxide into the other half, the batter was thick like cake frosting.
I had read that geranium could be tricky to work with, so I planned my batch accordingly. The plan was to do a layered soap, so the trace acceleration actually worked in my favor. It's important to bring the soap to a thick trace when doing layers so that each layer sits on top of the previous one instead of sinking. The thick trace also helped me to achieve pretty textured tops, which is often my Achilles heel! After layering the pink and white soap, I drizzled some reserved pink soap on top and then swirled it and pushed it around with the back of a spoon.
And the scent combo is fantastic. I'll bet that even my mom - who is a patchouli-hater - will love this one!
What are some of your favorite blends with patchouli? Do you like patchouli, or do you straight up hate it? How about geranium? Have you tried them together? Did you like it? Do you want me to stop asking so many questions?