One of the best parts about making your own soap is adding the scents. You can make your soap smell like anything you want. There are endless varieties of scents. The first step is to learn the process. Adding a smell to soap is not as simple as pouring in a perfume. You have to pick the correct oil and then add it at the exact right moment in the soap making process.
You will need to get either fragrance oil or essential oil. These are the only things you can add that will give a powerful smell. You can’t add perfumes or colognes. They will not hold the scent in the soap. Many first-time soap makers are tempted to take their favorite perfume and pour it into their soap mixture. They then are upset when the soap doesn’t smell anything like their perfume.
The reason you can’t add a regular cologne or perfume is that you are adding it to the raw soap. The soap mixture has to be cured. In the liquid state it is still transforming. There is lye that has yet to be converted into soap. This means that the fragile chemical nature of the perfume will be destroyed by the soap.
What you need are oils that will bond with the soap. These oils are going to be called either fragrance oils or essential oils.
Fragrance oils are not made from real flowers or fruits. An example of fragrance oil would be Piña Colada or Almond Biscotti. These are made to smell like their namesakes but are made with chemicals. They cannot take a cookie and extract oil from it and add it to soap.
Fragrance oils are much cheaper than essential oils. They are safe for humans.
Most soap and shampoo on the market uses fragrance oils.
Essential oils, on the other hand, are made from their namesake. Lavender essential oil is made by taking lavender and crushing it and extracting the oil.
The same with something like Tea Tree oil or Lemon. It is possible to take lemon peel and extract the oil. That oil can then be added to the soap.
Many people prefer using essential oils because they have a much stronger smell. They will last longer in the soap. It is common to make lavender soap and have it retain its smell for several years. Many soap makers keep their soaps in their linen closets and notice that the ones made with essential oil have a wonderful long-lasting scent.
How to Add the Fragrance to the Soap
Once you have selected the fragrance you want you have to add it to your soap. It is important that you understand at what point you add the scent. If you add it too soon you can destroy the oil and the soap will not have any smell.
The first step in making soap is to mix the lye with the water. This is harsh.
You should never put the scent into this mixture. After you have mixed the water and lye you will add the main oil. If you were making olive oil soap, then the main oil would be olive oil.
After you add the main oil you will mix it. You want the mixture to get thick.
Most people will use a stick blender. You can use a plastic mixing spoon but this will take a long time. It might take you up to twenty minutes using the blender and up to an hour using the hand spoon.
Once the soap mixture has gotten thick you will want to add the fragrance oil.
You will pour the oil into the soap and then continue to mix it. You want to make sure that the oil gets evenly dispersed. If you don’t mix the fragrance oil then you will be stuck with soap that does not have a consistent smell.
How Much Fragrance Should You Use?
Most soap makers will tell you that you should only use about 1 teaspoon per pound of soap. Once you have made a batch of soap you will see if the recipe needs to be adjusted. Sometimes you might find that the particular scent you choose is not powerful enough in the cured soap. If that is the case you can increase the amount of fragrance you add to the recipe.
Can You Mix Fragrance Oils?
Yes. Many people mix different oils in order to get a unique scent. Some popular combinations are Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint, Coconut and Lime, and Vanilla and Cinnamon.
If you are planning on mixing two oils together, then you only have to use half a teaspoon for each. There is no need to pour twice as much of the fragrance oil into the soap.
Can You Add Fragrance Without Adding Oil?
The simple answer is no. If you were to add Lavender leaves into soap it would not make the soap smell like lavender. The only way to get soap to smell a certain way is to add the fragrance oils or essential oils we have spoken about.
There are some people who find that simple coconut oil soap will have a faint coconut smell. This is true if you use really high-quality coconut oil. However, the smell will not be very strong. If you want to make a really powerful coconut smell you will need to use coconut fragrance oil.