The making of Calendula Cleansing Bar

Hi Everyone and Happy Friday!!

This is my second official blog post and I can’t wait to share it with you!  I’m going to have a goal of at least one blog post per week that will be posted on Friday, hopefully giving everyone something to look forward to at the end of the week.

This week I am showing you a behind the scenes look at the making of my Calendula Cleansing Bar.  I originally made this recipe from Anne-Marie Faiola’s  (The Soap Queen) book Soap Crafting. (LOVE this book!)  I have since tweaked it a bit to add Shea Butter and Castor Oil.

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Original Calendula Cleansing Bar

If you take a look at any of my social media pages (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) or have met me at a market, its pretty obvious that I love bright colors and lots of different fragrances. 🙂  But I also love being able to offer a gorgeous, all natural bar of soap that smells just as amazing and can suit many different types of skin.

The Calendula Cleansing Bar is a wonderful beginner soap to make because it has a short list of ingredients and isn’t technically difficult.   Calendula Petals are dried Marigold Petals and have been known for ages to be beneficial to skin and health.  Calendula Petals are a wonderful ingredient to infuse into different, light weight oils for use in soaps, balms and tons of other products and I love using them!

Making Calendula Cleansing Bar:

To begin prepping for this soap, I infuse my olive oil with Calendula Petals for 4-6 weeks.

A quick explanation on oil infusion (I have a much more detailed post on infusions in the works for a future post.):

-Before I even touch the oils or herbs I take a big pot of water and let it come to a boil on the stove.

-In two large mason jars I measure out 20 ounces of olive oil per jar and fill the rest of the jar with calendula petals.

-Close the lid, shake it vigorously.(Make sure the lid is on tight because this could be a huge mess! :))

-When the mason jar is prepped and shaken I put it in the boiling water with a lid and turn the stove off.  I keep an eye on it and let it sit in the hot water for at least a few hours.

-Then I take the jars out, wipe them down, make sure they are labeled and put them on a shelf for a few weeks for the herbs to fully infuse the oils.

For this recipe I use the following percentages:

Calendula Infused Olive Oil- 85%

Shea Butter- 10%

Castor Oil- 5%

I superfatted this recipe at 5% and ran it through a lye calculator (I use Bramble Berry’s Lye Calculator but you can use whichever calculator you’re comfortable with.).  I also used a blend of Lemongrass and Lemon Essential Oils at .4 ounces per pound of oil. Normal essential oil usage is generally .5 ounces per pound oils but I like to use slightly less.

As I mention in the video, before I started making this batch I had prepped the lye/ water solution, my oils and butter, my mold, my ingredients (petals from the infusion and the dried petal for the top) and the rest of the supplies needed for this batch.

Work space prepped and ready.


Here is a video of me making this batch of Calendula Cleansing Bar, enjoy!


Calendula Cleansing Bar in the mold.

After letting the soap sit in the mold for 48 hrs I unmolded it.

The dark section in the middle of the soap is where it gelled darker than the rest of the loaf.
After the cut.

**Gel Phase happens when you insulate your soap and the saponification process causes the soap to heat up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  This can make your colors brighter and ensure that your soap has a consistent look.  But some recipes, fragrances and additives can cause the soap to overheat and you can get cracks in your soap or even a soap volcano!  There are some recipes that I immediately place in the freezer for 1-2 hours and then into the fridge for 24 hours to avoid gel phase and overheating.  These recipes usually include honey, beer or an accelerating fragrance or essential oil.**

Soaps all stamped, you can see the color difference due to an inconsistent gel phase.
Sample Soaps Stamped. On the left- normal gel, on the right- super gel.

I think for this soap loaf, the whole loaf went through gel phase but due to the high temperature in the soap studio I think the middle of the loaf heated up even more than normal and caused a darker color.  For this recipe the gel phase really just affects the color and all of the soaps will still feel and smell the same. 🙂

All of the soaps cut,stamped and heading to the curing rack.

From this 7 lb mold I cut 18 bars around 4.6 ounces each and 6 sample soaps.  The soap will lose water as they cure and end up around 4.25 or more ounces.

Finished Calendula Cleansing Bar.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this behind the scenes look at Single Barrel Soaps.

Note: Most of my blog posts will be geared towards soap makers and anyone who wants to see how I make my products.  I will try to explain the terms I use (such as gel phase) but if there is ever a term that you would like to know more about, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to explain what I meant by it.  I plan to make a post about soap making in general and detailed explanations of all the little steps that have become second nature to me.

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