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What You Need to Know About Using Essential Oils When You Make Soap

Every week or so, I receive an email with a question about using essential oils in soapmaking and it’s high time I round them up into a blog post for the whole Modern Soapmaking tribe! (Don’t miss my other posts about essential oils.) Below, I answer common questions about using essential oils in soapmaking, including how to anchor essential oils, if they “flash off,” if essential oils discolor, and so much more. Let’s dive in:

Using essential oils in soap tips

Common Questions (& The Answers) About Using Essential Oils in Soapmaking

How do I anchor the aroma or get the scent to stick when using essential oils in soapmaking?

I’m a no-nonsense kind of soapmaker, and don’t believe in complicating a soap formula to fix an issue, such as scent fading. If I experience a problem with a soap formula, I go back to basics and evaluate the base oils, lye solution strength, colorants, and fragrances (essential oils or fragrance oils) used.

Using particular base oils can affect the final scent of cold process soap. Natural (or non-deodorized) butters, such as shea butter and cocoa butter, can heavily affect the fragrance in cold process soap. Before “officially” going palm-free with my soapmaking, I never really used palm oil in formulating because it seemed to affect the scent as well. (I never had problems using palm kernel oil, however.) Other oils have a strong scent of their own, such as neem oil, which also needs to be considered when choosing to use essential oils in soapmaking.

Additionally, I always use well-rounded essential oil blends in soapmaking, ensuring that a blend is “anchored” with middle and base notes rather than leaving flighty top notes on their own. When using citrus essential oils, I usually opt for folded essential oils and synergize an essential oil blend with litsea cubeba (may chang) essential oil or lemongrass essential oil. Lavender essential oil is another that tends to fade on its own in soapmaking, and I tend to pair it with a small amount of another base note, such as patchouli essential oil. Other essential oils that I use to “anchor” include anise, basil, cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, oakmoss, peru balsam, and vetiver. (Some of these essential oils are not cost-effective in soapmaking for production/sale.)

Lots and lots of citrus scented soap made with essential oils
Lots and lots of citrus scented soap made with essential oils, using litsea cubeba to help anchor the citrus

While I personally do not use these methods, some soapmakers choose to add fixatives to their formulas to help anchor essential oils in soapmaking. Some of the common recommendations I’ve seen are mixing the essential oils into a small amount of arrowroot, cornstarch, clays, benzoin, oatmeal, or orris root powder.  I do not recommend using benzoin or orris root as both are skin sensitizers and have potential to induce allergic reactions. If you choose to use either, please label your soap accordingly.

(Want to dive deep and learn everything about using essential oils in soap and cosmetics in one place? Well, I wrote the book on that! Snag your copy of Smellgoods: How to Use & Blend Essential Oils in Handmade Soap & Skincare.)

Do essential oils “flash off” in soapmaking?

A common misconception when using essential oils in soapmaking is that an essential oil’s flashpoint in the temperature at which an essential oil will disappear or “flash off” in cold process soapmaking.

I’ve been known to dig into a loaf of soap during gel phase in soapmaking classes I’ve taught to show students the consistency of soap during gel phase (similar to petroleum jelly) as well as its temperature. (Never done it before? Use a spoon or spatula to crack into a loaf during gel phase and check it out!) It is extremely easy for the internal temperature of cold process soap during the gel phase to reach 160° F, 180° F, and even 200° F or higher. Many common essential oils have a lower flashpoint (less than 200° F.) If the flashpoint did denote a temperature at which the essential oil dissipated in soapmaking, most essential oils would not work in cold process soap making at all.

For example, Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil has a flashpoint of 118° F to 120° F. Many soapmakers start their soapmaking process at 110° F. When adding the base oils and lye solution together, it’s common to see a slight rise in temperature of around ten degrees. So, eucalyptus essential oil should be just as flighty as citrus essential oils! But if you have ever made soap with eucalyptus, you know just how strong the scent is! 😉

In reality, a flashpoint is a temperature determined for the safety of transport and storage of an essential oil. The flashpoint actually denotes the temperature at which the essential oil’s vapor will ignite in air when exposed to an open flame.

A more reliable temperature is the boiling point, which should be available on the essential oil’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS). (You will occasionally still see this called a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS. It’s the same document.) Most essential oils have a boiling point above 300° F.

So, why do essential oils seem to change or fade in soap making? Some components of essential oils saponify or alter during saponification, which can change the scent of the essential oil. Most essential oils continue to evaporate as the soap cures, too. (Using a bar of soap which has faded usually revives the scent as the outer layer is washed away!) This fabulous interview between Robert Tisserand and Kevin Dunn has more information about the saponifiable content of some essential oils and how they react in soapmaking.

How much essential oil should I use for scenting soap?

There is absolutely no blanket answer for how much essential oil to use in soapmaking. It depends on the method of the process (cold process, hot process, melt and pour, etc.) as well as the essential oil itself. I’ve put together a small guide for calculating the usage rate of essential oils in soapmaking that you can find here. I’ve also created the EOCalc, our essential oil blend library and usage rate calculator.

Should I expect discoloration when using essential oils in soapmaking?

Essential oils don’t tend to have as many issues with discoloration as fragrance oils do, but it can and does happen!

Folded orange essential oil can give soap a light yellow to peach hue, while dark patchouli essential oil can lend a yellow or pale tan color to cold process soap.

A good way to determine if an essential oil will affect the color of the soap itself is to look at the color of the essential oil! If an essential oil is darker than a pale to medium yellow, you can usually expect a minimal amount of discoloration. That being said, it’s very rare to see discoloration to the extent of fragrance oils that contain vanilla (dark, dark brown.)

How can I get a vanilla, almond, chocolate, or coffee scent using essential oils in soapmaking?

Another common misconception about using essential oils in soapmaking is that it’s not possible to mimic a lot of fragrances out there. While you won’t find cucumber or banana essential oils (because they don’t exist), you can create essential oil blends to evoke a wide variety of scents with a lot of practice.

Soap Made with Coffee Absolute
Cold process soap made with coffee absolute

You can create blends with notes of vanilla, almond, and coffee using essential oils, absolutes, and CO2 extracts, but they aren’t very cost effective options if you are looking to sell your creations at a low price. You absolutely will have to charge a premium for these scents, but they are oh-so worth it!

For vanilla:

  • Vanilla oleoresin can lend a somewhat balsamic and resinous vanilla note to a blend. (It does discolor in soapmaking.)
  • Peru Balsam essential oil can also be used to bring a lightly spiced but warm vanilla note to a blend. (Peru balsam should be used in extremely low amounts, and be labeled appropriately as it is a skin sensitizer.)

For almond:

  • Bitter almond essential oil can be found at a few suppliers (Rainbow Meadow carries it), but due to DEA regulations, it must be diluted with a carrier oil. Even though it is diluted, no adjustments to usage rates should be made (aka you should not use double the essential oil because it is diluted.)

For chocolate:

  • Using natural cocoa butter in soapmaking definitely pulls a chocolate-y scent through. I can usually detect cocoa butter in a recipe in as little as 5% of the formula, but most soapmakers tend to report a scent around 15% to 30%.
  • I like to use a little aged dark patchouli essential oil and peru balsam essential oil to scent cocoa butter soap to support the chocolate scent. (Add in a dash of orange or peppermint for a truly delish concoction!) Cocoa absolute is available, and does hold in a blend in soapmaking for awhile. However, it is extremely expensive and not likely something you will want to use.
  • You can also use melted bittersweet baking chocolate, but the soap will discolor a dark brown and may have brown lather depending on the amount used.

For coffee:

  • Coffee bean absolute (Coffea arabica) can be used in soapmaking for a freshly roasted coffee fragrance. Pairing the absolute with triple-brewed coffee as a water replacement and natural (non-deodorized) cocoa butter helps to push and round out the coffee scent. (Coffee absolute is solvent extracted, so it may not fit your definition of “natural” and it’s extremely expensive. Though, I have to say, it’s completely worth it to make a batch for yourself, if you’re a coffee fan!)

Can I use floral waxes or resins with essentials oil in soapmaking?

Of course! The downside with floral waxes and resins is that you will need to soap at a higher temperature to fully incorporate the waxes and resins. I recommend melting them in a small amount of your base oils, and then adding them to the entire (hot) batch of oils. The temperatures required depends on the melting point of the waxes and resins you wish to use. You will also need to ensure that once your soap is in the mold, it is elevated and has plenty of air circulation to prevent it from overheating.

Cold Process Soap Made with Essential Oils and Floral Waxes
Cold process soap made with essential oils and floral waxes (as well as natural colorants, alkanet and madder)

Last year, I made a soap using floral waxes (jasmine sambac & jasmine grandiflorum) with a blend of oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli, and ylang-ylang for family and friends, and it was a huge hit! Floral waxes are great alternative to obtaining expensive floral fragrances in soapmaking without deferring to fragrance oils. Start with a usage rate of 3% of your base oils, and make sure to help support the fragrance with other essential oils.

Do the beneficial properties of essential oils remain after saponification?

The efficacy of essential oils and their beneficial properties isn’t as widely known or accepted by the medical community as a whole, and as a girl of science, I rely on scientific evidence to support my opinions. Common essential oils such as lavender and tea tree have plenty of research backing them, but other lesser known essential oils have fewer studies available. While I do love essential oils and have done a ton of research, I am, by no means, an expert and always defer to the experts! 😉

In the comments of the previously mentioned interview between Robert Tisserand and Kevin Dunn, Robert responded to a similar question with the following:

“I am not aware of any peer-reviewed studies that directly compare soap without essential oil to the same soap with essential oil, in terms of antibacterial or any other properties. But, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that essential oils in soap are active. The heat may cause some loss of essential oil molecules through evaporation, but it should not cause any significant chemical changes.”Robert Tisserand, source of quote

While I do formulate with essential oil properties in mind, I don’t rely on the purported benefits and do not perpetuate medical claims on any product I make nor the recipes I publish here on Modern Soapmaking, in accordance with FDA regulations. I always recommend soapmakers follow the established regulations in their locale, so keep that in mind!

There is so much noise and misinformation out there about essential oils! I hope this article and the resources I’ve shared help make using essential oils in soap making more accessible and safe for our Modern Soapmaking tribe.

Did I miss any questions you have about using essential oils in soapmaking? Leave a comment and let me know!

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67 Responses

  1. I use pic and when I unwrapped my molds. My essential oil of peppermint and clary sage was on the towel and not my soap. I used a tiny bit of chlorophyll to give it a green color. Why did my oil leak out? I mixed it well with a stick blender.

  2. I have made the basic cold process soap; but still learning about the essential oils.
    I just went through your website and got a very good info about essential oils.
    However, i wanted to know when to add essential oils in the soap…? Does adding essential oils accelerate soaponification?
    What are the precautions i should take when adding essential oil.
    Can i use any essential oil for no matter which soap recipe I’m using?
    I will be thankful to you if you can enlighten my knowledge on this. . Thank you

  3. What I have found, frustratingly, (and with discouragement) is that many fragrance oils either fade or change over time into either an indistinguishable from the original scent, or an off-putting from the original scent. These are simple formulas (olive, coconut, palm, plus something like castor, meadowfoam, etc. in a smaller percentage), good soap results but the fragrances for the most part are finicky. Also, I purchase from reliable vendors with good reviews on the fragrances. Very few fragrances hold up well. Although I have tried many, only about a dozen remain my tried-and-true. Do others experience this? I weigh everything, use fresh, un-expired ingredients, etc. As far as I can tell as an amateur soapmaker.

  4. My soaping preferences tend toward the unusual or novel, and I am interested in any tools that could contribute to performing due diligence. Are there any resources that list which essential oils are skin sensitizers and require additional caution or outright avoidance?

    1. You can become sensitized to any essential oil. Additionally some oils such as clove are “hot” oils and can irritate or even burn the skin. Given the high amount of eos needed to scent soap I personally have decided to stay away from them. FDA recommendations are higher than dilution rates recommended by the aromatherapy institutes. Yes, the are wash off but if you use a soap in a bath for example you are going to absorb more oil than if you use it in the shower. I have heard of people have reactions to soaps with eo’s and I am not willing to take that chance. Id rather make unscented soaps on the natural side and use a good quality fo for scented soaps. I’ll keep my expensive essential oils for other uses!!

  5. I know I’m late to the game and I am just starting out in soap making. But I do have a question that I can not seem to get an answer on. I am starting out with melt and pour bases. I have a 5 year old and not enough safe space to use lye at the time and want to start small and then grow into cold process soaps. But anyhoo I was wondering that when mixing essential oils together to put in melt and pour. Do I need to mix them in a carrier oils first and if so how much. Let’s say I’m making a 2lb batch of soap and I know my max essential oil mix should be 0.56oz So how much of high note, middle not and base note do I use to equal 0.560z and how much carrier oil do I use. Sorry I’m really new to this.

    1. Did you ever get the answer? I’m just starting out and have been wondering the same thing. Hope it’s going well for you!

    2. Hey, I’m not sure if you got an answer to this question or not but from my understanding, when it comes to melt & pour soap making, you do not need to dilute essential oil(s) in a carrier oil first. You just add the recommended amount straight to the base at a low enough temperature (right before pouring in your mold). Diluting essential oils are mainly necessary when using them to apply to the skin, hair etc. As far as the usuage amount, say a recipe calls for 0.7 oz of EO and you want to use 2 different ones, you would split it up into 0.4 oz and 0.3 oz or 0.2 oz and 0.5 oz. It is up to you on how you want to split it up just as long as it totals the recommended amount. Just keep in mind that some EO are stronger than others so try to use the stronger ones at a lower amount. Hope that helps!

  6. Hello. I’m a newbie to soap making and I have a rookie question. Are fragrance oils and heating oils the same thing ? I’ve noticed that on some of the bottles of heating oils, it says they contain essential oils.

  7. Hello I have been wanting to make soap with most of essential oils in it like excluding the lye solution I want to use 50% of essential oils and the remaining carrier oil. Can you please let me know if it’s possible? Thank you.

    1. Besides being expensive, EOs are highly concentrated and have medicinal properties that could cause issues used in high dose. Using them at this percentage would not be safe.

  8. I was asked a question today about eucalyptus essential oil that I couldn’t answer. The question was does eucalyptus essential oil make more of a lather? I’ll add to this do any essential oils add to lather or is if just The fats.

  9. Thanks so much for putting all these questions and answers in one easy to find spot! I’m relatively new to soap making and just made my 4th hot process batch yesterday. Is there a temperature range of when is best to add essential oils to hot process soap?

  10. Hey, may i ask you something?
    I Saw someone making soap using infused olive oil, at the time they used camomile, but i wanted to try with a citric herbal mix that i have, including lemon and orange. Due those having a lower pH Will this stop me from getting soap?
    Also, i’ve seen two youtubers, and one pays attention to the temperature while other does not. Do i need to keep track of that ir not really?
    Final question: can i dilute the lye with Rosemary water?
    So sorry for bad english and so Many questions. I love your website!

    1. I’m not an expert soap maker, but wanted to pass on something told to me by someone more experienced. Get one of those battery operated infra-red temperature readers. They said it was one of the essential tools along with a large crock pot and an immersion blender. This I learned when I experienced my first “volcano” reaction when adding lye water which was too hot (+/- 170 degrees F) to the melted oils in the crockpot, which were also hot, maybe around 130 degrees F (?). The goal is to add the lye water after it cools a bit, to around 110-120 degrees F, and also the oils should be approximately the same temperature as the lye water. I immediately purchased on on Amazon, it was inexpensive, and I use it compulsively during the HP soap making. I also use it at the end, after the 50 min. mini cook, to make sure it’s not too hot for my Essential Oils to be added~! Some tools are worth investing in…I’m glad I got mine, and haven’t had any mishaps since.

      1. I always let the lye water cool overnight, then melt the olive oil and coconut mix and let it cool to 30°C. Never experienced a problem. I superfat at 8℅. And use essential oils at 1-2℅.

        Great tips! Thanks

        1. Obviously if you do this, have great caution with leaving the lye water unattended in a spot where nobody can reach, like a locked garage. Place warning labels just in case. And let the plastic container cool while having a cooling bath. And don’t forget proper safety gear and ventilation.

          I only add essential oils at trace to ensure their scent remains.

  11. I was wondering if it was possible to use infused oils (like a safflower oil infused with lavender or rose) to scent a hot process soap if it was added in small amounts before it goes into the mold?

  12. Hi I am making hp soaps!! I hve a doubt that adding turmeric or other herbs infused oil or adding herbs after gel stage which is effective on skin?

  13. My friend and I made hot process Lemon Poppyseed Soap. It was super soft when we tried to cut it and it crumbled, and then as it dried, it turned very white on the outsides. Her Lemon essential oil was an aromatherapy kind and not bath & body. Would that affect the soap?

    1. If your essential oil was not pure (ie. in a carrier oil or containing other additives), it could certainly play havoc with your soap. Please be sure to only use skin safe oils from a reputable supplier.

      1. I get my essential orders from Walmart was sometimes from Amazon but also it starts to make the soap start to thicken and/or separate into clumps is that why?

        1. Florence,
          First off, here is our guide on buying essential oils. It lists the issues with buying essential oils for soap formulation from sources like you mention.

          That said, even oil from reputable suppliers will influence your soap batter’s behavior. Just like some fragrance oils are prone to making soap seize, rice, discolor, etc, essential oils can do the same. Another bonus of purchasing from reputable suppliers is that they often have usage notes or product reviews that point out these issues.

  14. Hi thank you for your article! Is there a method you have found to ‘maximize’ the fragrance of EO? Is it worth infusing oils beforehand? Add an increased %? Fold in to your traced mix or blitz with an electric blender?


    1. Simon,
      In addition to the tips in the article, you can also use our EOCalc to determine the maximum safe usage rate for your essential oil or blend. For the strongest scent, choose the highest safe usage rate.

      Infusing base oils generally adds very minimal scent. I’ve not noticed a difference between folding in and blitzing, but I do like to add my fragrance to my base oils before adding my lye solution; I’m less likely to forget the to add the essential oils and the oil “buffer” makes hard-to-handle oils a bit more tame.

      Hope that helps.

  15. Wonderful information.

    Can I use aromatherapy essential oil in soap making?
    I found two great sales and one says ok for soap making the other does not but they are both listed as aromatherapy essential oils.

    I read lots of reviews and none mention soaps, only diffusers. Thank you.

  16. I’m wondering approximately how long lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oils keep their smell in cold process soap?

    1. Hey, Mary,
      There are so many variables – base recipe, essential oil quality, amount of essential oils used, soap storage conditions, etc. – that is it really hard to give even an approximate time. I hear people say that their essential oils fade in under 6 months, but I have bars the have held scent for well over a year. I well-composed blend, rather than a single oil certainly helps. But, a bit of testing with your own recipes will serve you best.

      If you need some blend ideas, check out EOcalc.com.

  17. Thank you! I guess I’ll have to test it out for myself ☺ I’ve made about 10 batches and have really been enjoying trying out different things. Am glad for all the information I have found on modernsoapmaking and other places!

  18. When making melt and pour soaps the EO will rise to the top of the mold I use. how do I get the EO to stay in the soap mixture?

    1. Hey, Chelsey,
      With melt and pour, you need to stir thoroughly but not vigorously (which will cause air bubbles). It sounds like you might not be completely mixing in your essential oil. Also, soap base can only hold so many additives, so be sure you are not adding more than the manufacturer recommends. And be sure you are following temperature recommendation and not adding fragrance when the soap base is too hot or cool.

      All bases are a little different, but part of your supplier’s job is to help educate you on how to use the products, so don’t hesitate to ask them for troubleshooting help!

  19. Can I make soap with just essential oil and lye solution? What about essential oil and potassium hydroxide solution?

  20. If I add fragrance oils at trace, will they be saponified? And if I already have a 5% superfat before I add a fragrance/essential oils, does the fragrance/essential oils drive up the superfat percentage? Would love to hear your expertise.


    M S R

    1. Hey there,
      First things first, fragrance oils aren’t true oils (fats), so, only a tiny amount of fragrance oils will saponify at all, whether added before the lye or at trace. In addition, fragrance oils are a small percentage of your total recipe in the first place. The amount of saponifiables in your FO is too low to push up your superfat in any meaningful way.

      Hope that helps!

  21. Thank you so much for this info. I’m a relative newbe in soap making. I had 2 batches of soap that were floral that got small lumps in it. I tried blending them out but not all lumps were gone when I molded the batches. Each of these batches got green spots in them after about a week or two of cutting. Do you know what happened and why?
    Also, I noticed a couple of soapers add the essential oils in the batch oils before adding the lye. What does this do and do you recommend this method?
    Thank you for your help in advance.

    1. Hey Gail,
      It’s really hard to troubleshoot soap with so little info. You can check out our troubleshooting series to see if any of the experiences match your own. Floral scents are notorious for making soaps seize, so, if this is a new-to-you-fragrance, that might be the issue. Although that’s usually a whole batch issue rather than lumps. Also, you might have been working too cool (some of your oil solidified) or too hot (soap started trying to gel in the pot).

      Some fragrances do morph the soap’s color as well. Was your scent soap safe? Does your supplier have reviews or list any known problems with the fragrance? (I’m not sure if you used fragrance of essential oil for the batch in question.) Did any of your oils have a green tinge, like pomace olive oil?

      I absolutely advocate adding essential oils to the oils prior to lye. The oils create a buffer that can minimize seizing and other issues caused when the fragrance, lye, and oils come together. Also, I’m more likely to forget fragrance when I’m looking for trace, so by making a habit of adding the essential oils early on, I’m less likely to forget.

      1. Hi Stephanie:
        I used an essential oil called Tuberose. And it says on the site it is good for soaps, candles and perfumes. The company does not mention any issues with the oil. I used mostly coconut oil (65%) but also did use a little olive oil & grapeseed oil mixed with some almost colorless oils. But I’ve used these oil many times without ever getting these green spots.
        I will check out the Trouble Shooting Series. I love the essential oil scent from this company so much better than the Tuberose Fragrance oil I also purchased. I don’t want to give up on it.
        And I think I will also adopt the essential oils to oils first before the lye. I’ve not been soaping a year yet and just love it!
        I really really appreciate your feedback.
        Thank you so much.

  22. Sometimes when I use essential oils they make the mix sticking and or start to separate why is that? Is the fact that I’m using the Walmart brand that does that? Need help.

    1. Florence, here’s our buying guide for essential oils that points out why essential oils from non-specialize suppliers might be causing havoc with your soap. One of the first steps in troubleshooting soap issues is making sure that you are using in date, properly stored, properly identified ingredients at the proper amount.

      That said, like fragrance oils, some essential oils are troublesome in soap. Spices and florals can cause soap to thicken or seize as soon as you add them. This can be mitigated by adding your fragrance to your base oils rather than at trace. Using a weaker lye solution or making a larger batch of soap will also help. But, before you deal with that, you want to be sure you aren’t using adulterated essential oils.

      Another bonus is that reputable suppliers will often have usage notes, customer reviews, and customer support with some soapmaking knowledge, so you can know in advance if an essential oil is likely to cause issues for you.

  23. Just wanna clarify if essential oils used for hair and body are the same used for soap making? Thanku for the answer! 🙂

    1. Essential oils can be used for a variety of applications, but not all essential oils are created equally. If you follow our tips for buying quality essential oils, those essential oils can be used according to IFRA standards for hair, body, soap, etc., Ver.

      1. Hello,

        I live in the UK and was wondering if it’s okay to add essential oils that have been diluted with almond or jojoba oil to cold process soap? I would really like to make rose otto soap but find it to be expensive. Also would it be permitted to sell soap that has been made with diluted essential oils?



        1. Rose,
          Will your supplier disclose the percentage of rose otto and carrier oil in the mixture? If so, you can properly create a recipe to account for both the oil and the otto.

          When you make soap and add essential oils, you are creating a de facto dilution. Adding a premixed carrier oil and essential oil is not much different from adding them separately from the POV of your soap pot. So, I can’t think of any issues with that. However, we are US-based and less familiar with UK regulations, so you will want to make sure you are on top of those to know what is permitted for your business.

  24. I am curious about something – there are obviously max amounts of each EO that you use, but is there a max amount of the total EO’s that should be used in a product – like, the total amounts of EO’s shouldn’t exceed a particular percentage?

    I made a soap from this website and it’s much stronger than I have previously used but I was using the EO calculator off of brambleberry, not the EO calc listed above.

    I’m just a little confused here.

    1. Hey there, M’lissa,
      Calculating safe usage percentages is pretty confusing, right? That’s why Kenna created EOcalc.com based on IFRA guidelines.

      The total amount of EOs that is going to be safe in a recipe depends upon exactly what essential oils are in the blend and the safe rate of each of those oils. There isn’t a blanket maximum as far as *safety* goes.

      However, there is a maximum amount of total additives that any given formula can take and remain stable and effective. For cold process soap, we suggest not added over a tablespoon of additives per pound of oil (Yes, you should be measuring everything in weight, but the tablespoon amount is a ‘gut check’.) And if you ever use a purchased base for soapmaking, you will notice the manufacturer/supplier lists a percentage for maximum additives.

      We formulate as per IFRA but cannot speak to how BB determines their calculated rates. I urge you to share your concerns with BB directly, M’lissa.

  25. Hello, thanks so this lovely piece
    I’m a newbie in soap making and I have learn greatly from reading here. But I’m still curious as to what purpose essential oils really serve in soap making. Are theyou the same with fragrance oils or not? If not, why are they added to soaps?
    I will like to also know the various examples of essential oils available

  26. So I’ve played around with the IFRA Standards 48th Amendment and I think I kind of get it, but my question is, where does the 5-6.25% total essential oils percentage come from? Aren’t there certain essential oils that have no restrictions or such high usage rates that one could almost apply them directly to the skin? And if that’s the case, why can’t one exceed that 5-6.25% limit? I’ve been tinkering with different oils and blends and I’m finding my scents fade within 4-6 weeks or change into something completely different. I have to dig in to layering scents and using other additives to lock the scents in, but I’m finding it disheartening. Eight or so batches pretty much useless as far as nice smelling soaps go.

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