I thought I would start a new series introducing you to Anointment products, giving you some details into how it is made and what makes each product special. I have a soft spot for the products I create, it is as though they all have their own personality. My friend Marsha, aka Aliper and the best “alternative” baker this town has ever seen told me today that “you make great soap, THE BEST SOAP. I will never use any other kind of soap.” My neighbour, who lived in the South of France for a number of years (where Marseille soap is BIG business) and who knows soaps also told me recently that she loves Anointment soaps. So, without further ado, here is an introduction to Calendula Soap.
Calendula is a type of pot marigold that is loved for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. To make it, certified organic calendula flowers are infused in olive oil for a minimum of three hours. This means the flowers are simmered in olive oil, allowing a slow extraction of the oils and beneficial qualities of the flower. The flowers are then strained out and the petals hand-picked from the blossom heads and saved to be added back into the soap. The calendula-infused olive oil is then combined with the remaining oils to create the soap. No essential oils, colours or scents are added, keeping the soap mild and gentle for babies and sensitive adults. It also makes a great facial bar and calendula is sometimes used as an acne treatment, too! This soap is always fun to make, but it is no easy task pulling all those petals out of olive-oily flowerheads!
Anointment soaps are created by cold process, meaning that as little heat as possible is used to create the soap, preserving the beneficial qualities of all of the ingredients used. The fats are heated only as warm as is necessary to melt them and still allow the chemical reaction of saponification to take place. This temperature varies from recipe to recipe and from soapmaker to soapmaker, but we find it works best around 35 C. Sometimes even the atmospheric conditions (high humidity, for example) can change how long it takes for the chemical reaction to take place…soap waits for no one!
The soap solution will slowly change colour, from translucent golden to opaque creamy white as saponification progresses. The consistency will thicken and become more gelatinous as glycerine is formed during the chemical reaction. At this point, the mixture becomes like cake batter and the shea butter and calendula petals are added back in.
The soap is poured into molds, where it continues to generate heat over the next number of hours as the chemical reaction continues. In 24 hours, the soap is hardened enough that it can be gently removed from the molds, cut into bars, stamped with our logo and soap flavour, inspected for quality, and placed into storage for curing. During the curing process, the chemical reaction will continue to take place, ensuring the lye has completely reacted and has been “used up”, creating a mild, luxurious soap that is gentle on your skin. The curing process requires 3-6 weeks.
Have you tried Calendula soap?