Learn to make natural rose geranium soap with essential oils, mineral color, and dried flower petals. Part of the Simple Soap Recipe series.
This is the last recipe in a simple soap making series I’ve been sharing over the past month. True to the other three, this rose geranium soap recipe is made with a simple palm-oil free ingredients. You’ll color it with a mineral pigment to make the bars a pretty shade of pink and scent it with essential oils. It’s a blend of rose geranium (my absolute fav) with a deep base of cedar wood. They truly compliment each other.
Cold-process soap making can be a little daunting for the beginner so I’m here to help. The instructions you’ll find below are clear and if you follow them you’ll have six bars of handmade essential oil soap to use and give away to friends. Many others have used Lovely Greens soap making guidance to successfully make their own soap and you can too.
What’s in this rose geranium soap recipe
Cold-process soap making involves making soap from scratch rather than from a base, like in melt-and-pour soap making. You absolutely need raw oils and butters, sodium hydroxide (lye), and water. Extras like essential oils for fragrance, dried flowers, and mineral pigments make your soap prettier, scented, and more therapeutic.
In this recipe you’ll find coconut oil for fluffy lather, shea butter for conditioning, castor oil for bubbles, and olive and sweet almond oil for gentle cleansing. The mineral color, Ultramarine pink, is a nature-identical ingredient. Natural pigments mined from the earth have a tendency to be contaminated with heavy metals like lead and arsenic. Fortunately beauty chemists have found a way to replicate them in a controlled environment to be safe for your skin and health.
Rose Geranium essential oil
I mentioned before that rose geranium is my favourite essential oil. It’s actually many people’s favourite! It’s extracted from the leaves and flowers of Pelargonium graveolens plant, also called the scented or rose geranium. It smells nothing like the geraniums you might have pictured in your head right now. It’s a deep rosy scent with a hint of citrus and a deep herbaceous base.
You can grow rose geraniums in your garden too and I have five different varieties in terracotta pots. If you know someone who has one growing, ask if you can take a cutting, to create your own plants for free.
How to make soap
Almost all of the recipes you’ll find on Lovely Greens are geared for the beginner to intermediate soap maker. That means that if you’re new to soap making you should be able to make this rose geranium soap recipe fairly easily. You’ll have an even better understanding of what’s involved if you have a read through the Natural Soap Making for Beginners Series:
Soap Making Equipment
Much of the soap making equipment you need could already be in your kitchen. Rubber washing-up gloves, bowls, and even silicone molds. If you don’t have everything, you can purchase it online relatively inexpensively. Also make sure to check out second-hand shops for pots and other items.
To protect yourself from the lye-solution you should always wear eye protection (goggles) and rubber gloves. Here’s more of what you’ll need:
- Digital Thermometer gun
- Digital Kitchen Scale
- Stick (Immersion) Blender
- Stainless steel pan for melting the solid oils
- Heat-proof jug for the lye-solution
- A large bowl for measuring the liquid oils into
- Rubber spatula for stirring and scraping
- A small dish for mixing the color in
- Small sieve (strainer)
- Mixing color is a whizz with a milk frother
- A standard take-out container as a soap mold. Line it in baking/grease-proof paper
Now on to the recipe…
Rose Geranium & Cedar soap recipe
Natural Vegan soap made with a blend of rose geranium and cedar essential oils and decorated with rose petals. Technical information: 1lb / 454g batch -- 5% superfat -- 35.7% lye solution
- 64 g Sodium hydroxide 2.27 oz
- 115 g Distilled water 4.06 oz
Pre-mix the Ultramarine pink powder in about a Tablespoon of the olive oil. Prepare your soap mold(s) now too. The one I'm using is a clean take-out container lined with two strips of baking paper. One laid lengthwise, and the other one across. Leaving overlapping paper will help you get the soap out when it's ready.
Next, dissolve the lye (Sodium hydroxide) crystals in water. Gear up with eye protection, gloves, and wear a long sleeved top. In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breath it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water to cool.
Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a pot holder. Pour in the liquid oils including the colored oil.
Measure the temperatures of the lye-water and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 120°F / 49°C.
Pour the lye-solution into the pan of oils. I tend to always pour the liquid through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye or bits.
Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard.
With your spatula, stir in the essential oils. Working quickly, pour the soap into the mold(s). Sprinkle the top with just the smallest amount of dried peppermint. Don't put the rose petals on yet since they may turn brown at this time.
Turn your oven on to very low and heat for just a minute or two until it's 100°F / 38°C. Then turn your oven off, and pop your soap mold(s) inside. Leave overnight. Oven-processing the soap like this intensifies the color.
The next day, take the soap out of the oven and set someplace to rest for another day. Once 48 hours have passed, you can take the soap out of the mold(s). Cure it for 28 days. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out.
Rose petals have a tendency to turn brown if you sprinkle them on freshly made soap. So will the peppermint leaves but we're going for that effect. Peppermint leaves will also bleed into the soap the same way as you'll have seen in the herbal soap recipe in this series.
For the rose petal decoration you should wait until after the bars are fully cured. At this time, spray the tops of the bars liberally with witch hazel. Sprinkle the whole dried rose petals on top and then spray it all again. When the witch hazel evaporates off, the rose petals will be left stuck to the soap. It takes about 12 hours for it to dry.
Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of up to two years. Check the oil bottles that you're using though -- the closest best-by date is the best-by date of your soap.
Simple Soap Recipe Series
When learning to make handmade soap I’d highly recommend working with a single base recipe. That way you’ll know what to expect each time you make it, be able to spot any differences or issues quickly, and save money.
That’s why this rose geranium soap recipe is part of this series. Each of the recipes uses the same main base oils, water, and lye amount. What makes them unique is the extra scents, color, and natural decoration. Aside from this recipe you’ll find a zesty citrus soap, a herbal soap, and a fragrant lavender soap in the simple soap recipe series.
- Zesty Citrus & Calendula soap recipe
- Lavender & Poppy seeds soap recipe
- Rose Geranium soap recipe
- Herbal soap recipe
- Read this introduction to Lovely Greens soap making for even more inspiration.