Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Uses of Botanicals

Here are a few examples of uses of botanicals in bath products.

Soap – Botanicals can be used in a powdered form or in their whole form (or even somewhere in between). You want to stick with dried botanicals. There are a number of herbal suppliers and soap suppliers that carry some great botanicals in a variety of forms. For example, you can find dried orange peel and powdered orange peel, or rose powder, rosebuds, and rose petals. In soap making, you can include powdered or very small botanicals mixed into your soaps. Powdered botanicals blend in well to the soap and impart some of the benefits of the plant and its color and can act as an exfoliant.

If you are looking to include lavender, rosebuds, or other delicate flowers in soap, it is recommended that you top your soaps with the flowers, as the heat produced in cold process soap making and the harsh lye can brown the flowers. If you pour your cold processed soap and sprinkle it with the dried flowers, they are less likely to brown. You will have little to no browning if you include your botanicals in rebatched soap or melt and pour soaps, provided the soap is not too hot when you add the botanicals. Calendula is one of the very few flowers that can hold up when mixed into cold processed soaps without browning. It imparts lovely streaks of golden yellow.

Bath Teas – Bath or tub teas are a fantastic way to bring botanicals into your tub, and there is more than one method of using them. You can either use loose teas, in which the botanicals freely float in the water, or you can place the botanicals into heat sealable tea bags. To use them, you may either toss the tea into very warm tub water and soak for 20 minutes, or you can make tea with boiled water. To do this, you boil some water on the stove, remove from heat and add the tea bag allowing the botanicals to steep for a few minutes. Remove the tea and pour the steeped tea water into the tub. Bath teas smell delightful and are a wonderful natural product enjoyed by many.

Bath Salts – Like bath teas, salts with added botanicals can provide a wonderful bathing experience. After blending and scenting your salts, mix in some botanicals. Bathers can have loose botanicals in the tub, or they can place the salts and botanicals into a muslin bag before adding to the tub. The salts will melt providing a mineral rich bath, while the botanicals are contained in the bag to steep in the water.

Bath Bombs – Anything that is used in a bath can include botanicals. That includes bath bombs and fizzies. When making your bath bombs, throw in a small amount of botanicals. It will not only add some botanicals to your tub but also speckle your bombs with flowers and herbs creating a lovely effect.

Bath Melts – Again, botanicals can be added to just about any bath product. You can add botanicals to the melted oils and butters provided they are not too hot. Or you can wait for the melts to cool and harden, then roll the melts in dried botanicals creating a stunning floral covered melt for the tub.

Exfoliants – Whether in soap or scrubs, small exfoliants such as seeds are very desirable. Bathers enjoy sloughing away dead, dry skin and welcome the botanicals made for the job. Consider using them in your soaps and scrubs to provide visual interest and scouring properties.

Natural, handmade bath and body products

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