Calendula, Salves and an Easy Soap Recipe

Remember this lovely soap? Named Orange Blossom Special by my dear friend Cindy, thanks again Cindy for sharing that brain wave!

It's even lovelier on the senses than the picture suggests.

I have decided this is now going to be a standard recipe of mine. Carrot juice for the orange color with lavender, orange, and clove essential oils for the wonderful fragrance.

Next time I'll try adding lavender flowers instead of calendula for a bit of color and texture. Having said that however, I really like calendula for a lot of reasons.

  • Calendula is easy to grow and self seeds in the garden.
  • It blooms all summer and adds so much cheer.
  • And if that weren't enough, it's wonderful for skin.

Making a skin salve

I made a skin salve for our family last summer and at the time I didn't have my nice camera (or the time) to photograph the process so I haven't written an official how to make skin salve post. (Update: I now have a salve recipe posted here.)

Very simply, a salve is made with herbal infused oil and a solidifier like beeswax. Beeswax, by the way, has its own great skin properties.

A good rule of thumb I've gleaned from my reading and own experience is to use 1 oz beeswax for every 4-5 oz. of oil, starting with less than 1 oz and working up to 1 oz.

For more on making healing oils and salves see this post at Simple Green Frugal Co-op. She uses cottonwood buds but you can substitute any healing plant; calendula, yarrow, echinacea, etc...

Easy Soap Recipe

A reader sent an e-mail and asked if I had an easy soap recipe I use. This is the very basic recipe I used when I first started making soap:

  • 24 oz. coconut oil
  • 24 oz. olive oil
  • 38 oz. vegetable shortening
  • 12 oz. lye
  • 32 oz. water

This recipe is from the book Clean, Naturally by Sandy Maine.

I've switched since then to using palm oil because I don't like how cottonseed and soybean oil, the ingredients in shortening, are produced in this country. Now I've learned about unsustainable palm oil growing so I'm kind of stuck but staying with palm oil until I figure out an alternative.

Want to learn how to make soap?


Looking to buy dried calendula to prepare your own soap and salve?

I recommend either Mountain Rose Herbs or the Bulk Herb Store. I'm an affiliate for both.

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  • Cori

    Cori on Aug. 22, 2009, 2:02 p.m.

    Uh-oh. Don't get me started again! I've been thinking of squeezing in just one more batch pre-baby. This morning in the shower I got to use my first batch soap for the first time! It was great :-) It is your base recipe for the orange soap, but without the carrot juice or scents. I call it "innocence." Lovely!

    Cori's last blog post... so much at once!


  • 5 orange potatoes

    5 orange potatoes on Aug. 22, 2009, 4:51 p.m.

    What a perfect combination we are! Thanks for this wonderful soap recipe. The lye is what intimadates me; that's probably silly and I just need to get over it! I must try this if I really want the good kind of soap in my household! Thanks for the link love once again Renee.

    Lisa ;)

    5 orange potatoes's last blog post... Free Downloads and Giveaway Winner


  • Rodney and Cindy

    Rodney and Cindy on Aug. 22, 2009, 11:09 p.m.

    I may have named your"Orange Blossom Special" (or perhaps Johnny Cash did), but I'm now on the "Rosemary Mint"... I think that's what you said it is. It's heavenly! Your soap is very moisturizing..... more than any I've bought! Thank you again, Renee, for the lovely gift! I'll be sad when they are gone!


  • Jody

    Jody on Sept. 3, 2009, 2:58 p.m.

    I am bookmarking this BLOG for future ref. I have made Calendular salve before....and I LOVE your soap! Next time you make some of the Orange Blossom -- let me know!


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