Friday, August 2, 2013

Geranium Patchouli Soap


Patchouli. Some people love it, some people hate it. I am a big fan. One of these days, I need to make a straight patchouli soap. A while back, though, someone suggested that I try a geranium/patchouli essential oil blend, and I decided to give that a try since I had both on my fragrance shelf.

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 recently got some Red Moroccan Clay and figured it would make a deep rosy pink color. I used about one Tablespoon of clay per pound of oils, and once I mixed it with some glycerin to work out the clumps, I was afraid that it was going to turn out rather brown. As you can see in the finished soap, the color ended up being a dusty rose, so, yay!

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.

This should be such a lovely soap! It seems wonderful already, but it will be even better after it cures for a few more weeks.

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?

40 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny! I like the earthy color imparted by the red Moroccan clay and the way your soap looks. I am very curious about patchouli but have not smelled it. Is it true that it has an earthy/muddy smell? How does it change or what does it bring when combined with other e.o.'s?
    I also have not tried geranium. I am not a fan of the smell of rose. Does it have a strong rose smell?

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    1. Hi, SoapJam! Thanks for the compliments. I was glad that the red Moroccan clay turned out to be such a pretty dusty rose. I was worried it might look more orangish or brown. Patchouli does smell kinda like soil or dirt to me, but in a good way. It is a very earthy, musky scent on its own or as a background note in a blend. Not everyone likes it, but I love it. Geranium does have a distinct rose scent. The geranium EO I used isn't pure grade, but it does smell very floral, like roses with a hint of an herbal undertone.

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  2. Such pretty bars Jenny! I' do love patchouli and have done the geranium rose mix but with less of the GR, cause like I said I LOVE patchouli. I have also mixed it with lavender for an even heavier, hippier scent which several of my customers like and used maddor root powder for my pink. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I love patchouli, too. I've tried lavender and patchouli in M&P soaps and loved that combo as well. I should use it in a batch of CP sometime. I'll bet geranium, lavender, and patchouli would be a great blend, too!

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  3. Do ask more questions! :)
    I have not tried either patchouli nor geranium as essential oils, but I have tried them as fragrance oils: I like patchouli in mixtures with other scents, but by it self it is too strong for me. I have only made one soap with geranium FO and it smells wonderful. Had no problems soaping because the manufacturer recommended soaping at room temperature and using full liquid amount.
    I really like the layered look of your soap and I agree with you, the red color of the clay is warm and earthy. The soap made me think of beer soap: the darker on the bottom and wonderful white foam on the top.

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    1. Thanks, Marika! I really like how the red Moroccan clay looks, too. I'm glad that it made such a pretty dusty pink. I was worried it might be more orange or brown. Patchouli is very strong. My mom finds it overwhelming on its own, but she seems to like it in small amounts in a blend. Geranium is such a great scent, too. The patchouli lends a nice earthiness to it. And you're right - the soap does sorta look like a beer with a frothy top!

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  4. This is a gorgeous soap, Jenny! Love the natural color you used and the fragrance is one of my favorites! Enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! The color of the clay turned out lovely, and I do like the scent combo!

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  5. Jenny. Could you check if my long comment is in the spams?

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    1. Hi, Marika! I found your comment - it went to the spam folder for some reason. I have no idea why that happened, but it is showing up here now. Thanks again!

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  6. I can't tell if I like this combo,because I don't know how neither smells like, sorry. I think I would love geranium and probably would like a combination with earthy,woody scents. So,I'm sure you got lovely scent there. The soap is great and the clay amount is just perfect for this beautiful colour!

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    1. Thank you, Maja! Patchouli is earthy and musky, kinda like rich soil or dirt. Geranium has a lovely rose scent. They are great on their own, and wonderful as a blend, too. I am also really pleased with how the clay colored the soap. I haven't played too much with natural colorants, and I like how this one turned out.

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  7. I love your scent description Jenny, a rose garden after a ground-soaking rain. I can totally picture that haha! I have a Rose Geranium EO blend that does a weird clumping thing in soap for me.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! Some soapers say that geranium accelerates trace, and other soapers say that they haven't have any problems with it. Maybe it depends on the EO, or perhaps other factors contribute as well. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I planned a design to allow for acceleration in case it happened. The thick trace worked out well for me, though, because it helped with my layers and textured tops!

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  8. Such a pretty soap Jenny, I would have never thought to put those two essential oils together, but the way you describe the blend makes total sense! I do love pathchouli, it's such a deep, rich fragrance.

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    1. Thank you, Cee Gee! I do like the geranium and patchouli together in the blend, and they are also lovely on their own. I agree - patchouli is such a unique and wonderful scent!

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  9. That turned out lovely, Jenny...the clay color is so pretty and I'm sure it's going to feel wonderful too! I've tried Patchouli Orange before (purchased from someone else)...the Patchouli was dominant, so I don't think I would like it by itself. I do have a Patchouli FO, not an EO, and it's not very strong smelling..and it does kind of smell like dirt. I'm going to work on a blend with it. I've never tried Geranium either, but it sounds nice!

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    1. Thanks, Kalla! It is already a lovely soap, and I'm sure it will be even better after it cures! Patchouli and orange is also a nice combo - I made a batch of Orange Patchouli a while back and really liked it. I went heavier on the orange than the patchouli, though. I can't wait to see what patchouli combos you come up with!

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  10. Beautiful soap Jenny! I love the smell of geraniums and would probably love this blend. Beautiful color, do the clay colors last as long as micas or do they fade over time?




















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    1. Thanks, Gloria! I know that some micas morph or fade in CP soap, as do some botanicals and spices. I think clays are supposed to be more stable, but it's probably a good idea to test to be certain. I haven't heard that Red Moroccan clay fades, and it's holding strong so far almost three weeks later. Geranium is a lovely scent. If you try this blend, I hope you like it!

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  11. Wow, what a gorgeous soap! Moroccan red clay turns out a dusty rose in my soaps, too... 'very earthy. If I want more of a red I go with madder root. And as a fan of both patchouli and rose geranium, I bet your soap smells soooooo gooood :)

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    1. Thanks, S. Waters! I really like the color that the Red Moroccan clay gave the soap. I'll bet rose clay would be pretty, too. I have some madder root around here somewhere. I should dig it out and give it a try someday! And, yes, the scent combo is so nice - floral and earthy.

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  12. Jenny, i do a patchouli geranium soap as well, with different percentages. It is one of my favourite combos. Just to let you know that the soap straight out of the mould does not smell the same as the cured soap 5 weeks later.... the geranium really calms down and evolves... and it smells better with time. Beautiful soap! xo Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! It's been almost three weeks now since I made this soap, and it smells pretty amazing already. I can't wait to see how the scent evolves after a few more weeks of curing time! It's good to know that this scent combo holds up well and gets even better with age!

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  13. I'm not usually a patchouli fan but your combination sounds very pretty! You are always so wonderfully descriptive with your photos and writeups.

    Looking at the raw red clay I wouldn't have expected it to turn your soap such a nice colour, but you obviously know what you're doing. So lovely!

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    1. Thank you, Monica! My mom doesn't like patchouli, either, but she seems to like it in a blend as long as it doesn't dominate. I was nervous when I mixed the clay with the glycerin and saw the color. I thought it might look muddy brown or burnt-orangish in the soap. I just hoped that the color would end up a dusty rose in the finished batch. I'm glad that it turned out to be the same color as the dry clay in the bag!

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  14. I love this soap! Such beautiful combination of ingredients which perfectly match with design. You should be really proud of it!

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    1. Thanks, Gordana! I'm really pleased with how this soap turned out, too!

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  15. Oh, that scent combo sounds awesome! I'm going to try that b/c I love patchouli, too, and catch such hell from my husband as he hates it and it smells up our whole house. I'll cut it with some geranium and he'll learn to love it.
    I don't use palm oil, either and have a similar recipe that is olive oil, rice bran, coconut, beeswax and castor oil - wonderful bar - hard when cured, lathers in lofty stable bubbles and keeps up well. It's my go-to recipe now. I've found rice bran to be a great oil to work with. My heart will always belong to olive oil, but rice bran is a close second.
    These soaps are gorgeous - I'm gonna try using clay. I've never done it before and it looks fun to work with.

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    1. Thanks, Lindsey! I hope your hubby likes the geranium and patchouli combo. (Or learns to love it!) I hear lots of good things about rice bran oil, so I plan on keeping it around. I like this batch of soap already and it's not even done curing. I like the clay, too. The only other time I've used clay is in shaving soaps, but I should use them more often. They bring an extra bit of luxury to the bar, and they're pretty, too!

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  16. I just love how this soap turned out, the colors and design are absolutely gorgeous. =)

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    1. Thank you, Anne-Marie! I'm very happy with how this batch turned out, too!

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  17. I tried a spearmint-patchouli combination that fooled the patchouli haters. They loved it! I'll have to try the geranium combination soon.

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    1. Hi, Cindy! Thanks for reading! Spearmint and patchouli sound wonderful together. I've got some spearmint EO - I'll have to give that combo a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  18. That looks terrific! I like Patchouli and Peppermint. Surprisingly good together.

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    1. Thanks, Kate! Patchouli and peppermint sound very nice together. Thanks for the suggestion - I'll have to try that someday!

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  19. Gorgeous soap! I'm a big fan of patchouli, but not tried blending it with any floral EOs yet - will have to give this a try. I recently made a soap with a patchouli/red mandarin blend which was lovely, and patchouli/bergamot/cinnamon turned out well for me too.

    I'm just waiting for some Rose Geranium EO to be delivered, so looking forward to trying it, but I've never used straight Geranium EO. Are they very different do you know?
    Vicki

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    1. Hi, Vicki, and thanks for the kind words! Patchouli with red mandarin or bergamot and cinnamon sounds lovely! Honestly, I wasn't sure about the difference between geranium and rose geranium EOs. I checked around a bit online, and it appears that rose geranium is from the same family as geranium, but it has a rosier scent. It sounds like geranium is similar to rose geranium but has a softer, sometimes greener scent. I haven't used pure grade geranium - the one I used here isn't pure grade, but it has a nice rose scent with slightly herbal notes. Enjoy your new EOs!

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  20. Love the "earthy" color of this soap. You know I'm not a fan of straight patchouli, but I love it in moderation when it's mixed with another scent. The geranium sounds lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Mom! I like the color of the clay, too, and it fits nicely with the theme. I know that you don't like straight patchouli, but think you'd like this combo. It's mostly geranium with a bit of patchouli in the background to give it a deep, earthy scent. And the clay should provide an extra bit of luxury!

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