Daffodil Soap Recipe Using Real Flowers
An experimental daffodil soap recipe using real daffodil petals to naturally tint soap yellow. The color is a beautiful sunny shade that lasts a very long time! Soap instructions include making a daffodil flower puree and full cold process soap-making instructions
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While researching natural colors that can be used in soap making, I found an obscure reference to using daffodils. Though the bulbs and sap of these flowers are toxic, they’re used in natural dyeing, and compounds derived from the plant are sometimes found in beauty products. This intrigued me enough to try using daffodils in handmade soap. The outcome is a lovely buttery yellow soap that lasts a long time. It’s just as bright and cheerful as the flowers themselves and perfect for a fresh spring fragrance.
Though this has been a fun experiment, I’d advise caution in making daffodil soap. Especially if you were thinking to give it to loved ones or to sell to customers. There are a lot of soap-making ingredients that can irritate the skin, including some essential oils, benzoin, orris root, and cinnamon, to name a few. Daffodils are still an unknown, and so I’m sharing this recipe more out of interest and fun than anything else. I’m sure enough of this recipe to share it with you, but it’s important that you read about my skin patch test before you begin.
Daffodil Sap Can Cause Skin Irritation
I’ve literally gone out on a limb to share this recipe with you. The trouble with using daffodils in skincare is that they’re toxic if eaten, and the sap is known to cause skin irritation. Both are reasons that I think no one has actually tried using daffodils to tint soap. I wanted to learn more and investigate whether the yellow flower petals are as dangerous as the sap and the bulb.
All parts of the daffodil contain alkaloids that can cause stomach upset. These include lycorine, galantamine, and glycoside scilliaine. They can make you ill if you eat them, but they can enter through your skin if it has been irritated with another compound. Plants can be clever but dangerous things. In daffodils, this compound is called calcium oxalate, and you can find it in its sap. If you pick the stems and get sap on your skin, it can cause something called ‘Daffodil Picker’s Rash.’ This is the effect of the calcium oxalate and the alkaloids working together.
Naturally Yellow Soap Recipes
Testing Daffodil Flowers on my Skin
As a gardener, I know that parts of some plants can cause toxicity but that other parts can be edible. Rhubarb, for one. The stems are a delicious springtime treat, but if you eat the leaves, you’re in serious trouble. So I scoured the internet looking for scientific references to calcium oxalate in the petals of daffodil flowers. I couldn’t find any that gave assurance.
Without any trusted sources, I decided to conduct my own test. Not only did I try this soap recipe on my own skin before sharing it, but I also placed chopped daffodil flowers on the inside of my arm to see if I’d react. The way I did this was by placing the daffodil flower petals in two spots on the sensitive skin of my left arm. In one spot, I left the flowers on for just a minute, and in the other, I left them on for five minutes. I rinsed both spots off with water but no soap afterward.
The Results of my Skin Test
There was no irritation while the flowers were on my skin or even afterward. Now what this says to me is that daffodil flowers don’t irritate MY skin. This could be different for people with more sensitive skin, so I’d advise that this recipe not be used for any commercially sold soap. I also recommend that you test your own reaction before using this recipe for your own use.
I’m not a scientist, so cannot give you a definitive answer on the matter. Treat this recipe as an experiment, and if you have any further information or experiences to give please share them as a comment. And if you’d like to try more conventional yellow-colored soap recipes, try my natural carrot soap recipe or calendula soap recipe.
Daffodil Soap Recipe
454 g (1 lb) batch — 7% superfat
all measurements are based on weight, not volume
62 g (2.2 oz) Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
172 g (6 oz) Daffodil Infused Water – see method below
8 Daffodil flowers – yellow flower parts only
182 g (6.4 oz) Olive oil
114 g (4 oz) Coconut oil
114 g (4 oz) Sustainably-sourced palm oil
45 g (1.6 oz) Shea butter
7.5 g (0.25 oz or 2 tsp) May chang (litsea cubeba) essential oil (optional)
Special Equipment needed
Digital Kitchen Scale
Stick (Immersion) Blender
Step 1: Make the Daffodil Infusion
Pour 300g of scalding distilled water over eight clean daffodil heads. Make sure that you only have the yellow parts of the petals, and you discard the base and any green parts. Allow to steep until the water reaches room temperature, and then puree the flowers and water until there are no large bits. Strain this mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and measure 172g/6oz of the liquid for use in the recipe.
Step 2: Mix the Lye Solution
Wearing gloves and eye protection and in an area with good ventilation, mix your lye and daffodil infusion together. Pour all the lye into the liquid and then mix with a stainless steel spoon until the lye crystals are dissolved. Now set the lye solution aside to cool — I like to set the jug into a basin of water to speed up the process.
Step 3: Melt the Solid oils
Some oils are solid at room temperature and need to be melted. After mixing the lye solution, begin heating your solid oils in a pan on very low heat. They will fully liquefy in around ten minutes. It’s better to take the oils off the heat when there are a few small pieces of solid oil still floating around, though. They’ll melt with a few stirs of your spoon/spatula.
Step 4: Check the Lye Solution
Take the lye-daffodil-solution temperature with a digital thermometer. You’re aiming for it to be within ten degrees of 120°F / 49°C. If it’s close to that, take it out of the water, so it stops cooling as quickly.
Step 5: Add the Liquid oils to the Melted oils
Add the olive oil to the pan of melted oil and stir together well. Take the oil’s temperature — you’re aiming for it to be within 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) of the temperature of the lye solution.
Step 6: Bring to ‘Trace’
When your temperatures are right, pour the lye-daffodil-solution into the pan of oils. Next, place your stick blender into the pan at an angle to minimize the air getting into your soap batter. Stir the contents of the pan gently, using the stick blender as a spoon. Then bring it into the center of the pan and while it’s at a standstill, pulse for a couple of seconds. Then gently stir. Repeat pulsing and stirring until the soap thickens up to the thickness of warm custard. This stage is called trace, and if you lift the immersion blender from the soap, you’ll notice trails of soap where it drizzles onto the surface.
Step 7: Add the Essential oil
At this point, add the essential oil. Stir well but work quickly. The soap will begin thickening and setting, and you need it in the mold as quickly as possible.
Step 8: Pour Into the Mold
Pour your steadily thickening daffodil soap into your mold, cover it, and wrap it with a towel. Leave for 48 hours before taking the soap out of the mold, cutting it into bars, and allowing it to cure for four weeks before using. Curing soap means you leave it in a place that’s cool, airy, and out of direct sunlight. During the month that it cures, soap dries, finishes saponification, and the crystalline structure of the soap forms.
After it’s made, daffodil soap’s beautiful yellow color can last for years. As said previously, I’ve also not seen any skin issues when using daffodil flower petals as a natural soap colorant. That doesn’t mean that other people won’t react, though, so please be sensible and consider conducting a daffodil flower test on yourself too.
Ideas for Naturally Coloring Soap
If you enjoyed learning about using daffodils to color soap naturally, check out this chart of natural soap colorants. Everything from madder, alkanet, to cochineal. Here are even more soap recipes and ideas to try out:
- How to Rebatch Soap the Easy Way (no crock pot)
- Naturally Yellow Calendula Soap Recipe
- Naturally Magenta Himalayan Rhubarb Soap Recipe
My sister is actually allergic to daffodils flowers … though I know no-one else on the planet who has this allergy …. and I love the colour so I will be trying this BUT be aware that there are some allergic to daffodils people out there ?
Tanya, the instructions say to add 300 g of scalding water to the petals. I’m assuming that you mean by weight, so I am adding about 1 1/2 c of hot water, Right? I just want to make sure I’m doing it correctly.
Also, can I freeze the daffodil water if I don’t have time to make soap now, but will make it at a later date, say next month?
Have you tried using paperwhites for the scent? I’m considering an oil infusion of paperwhite blooms for a handsoap and can’t seem to find much info.
Can I add this to melt an pour base ? Thanks Rachel
Hi Rachel, I’d not recommend it. I imagine the excess water would create problems in the M&P setting properly. It could also ooze from the bars.
Im keen in making my own soap. Just one thing, how long will the colour (from natural colouring) and the bar soap last?
If kept out of direct sunlight, it should last years (if you kept it that long!)
Can you freeze the infusion for later? I have daffodils blooming now but im not ready to make any new soap at the moment. Id hate to loose out on this beautiful color. thanks.
Interesting question and one I don’t have a definite answer for since I’ve never tried to freeze it. You can only try though!
Could I somehow use the daffodils to color melt and pour goat milk soap?
I use LOADS of Nescafe jars…haha :)
I just saw my kitchen and me making soaps, when I saw you using Nescafe jars eheheheh my favorite at home :)
The soap looks lovely. I was wondering the recipe calls for palm oil I have red palm oil, is it the same thing? I have yet to see any recipes specifically call for red palm, but my local health food store only has red. It's more a light orange color and thinking it would lighten up more if I used infused water like you call for. Just curious if you have advise or knowledge on this type of oil. I'm still pretty new to soap making and only making for self and my Mom atm. So even slightly off color isn't too much of a concern.
Red Palm Oil Mamés an intense Orange soap but the color Does not last.
Brilliant Orange turns into light yellow after curing so not valid as colorant.
Such a lovely colour Tanya…is this something we will be seeing in your shop??
Oh Tanya, our daffodil season is over. :( I will remember this idea for next year. We have zillions of daffs! I have dyed sheep's wool with daffodils for a glorious yellow, but the soap idea is brilliant.
I have a good friend who dyes wool naturally so will have to mention this to her when I see her next! Hope you, your garden, and the goats are keeping well :)
Hola Tanya. Me gustó el método de coloración con las preciosas flores de narciso, pondré en practica. Gracias por compartir. Saludos!
I don't speak Spanish but think I understand what you're saying :) You're very welcome and I'm glad you like the tutorial Lola!
What lovely soap.
Thanks Chrsty :)
Oh that looks so beautiful. I love daffodils, but unfortunatley they dont grow here in the tropics….
I'm sure there are loads of other golden flowers that you could use though! I'm not familiar with your local varieties but maybe you might have some ideas?