Botanicals in lye solution
I have read that botanical powders can be mixed into the water-lye solution and left to sit for hours or days to strengthen the color.
I have also read that CP oils are best mixed with lye solution at 100 degrees. And that oils and lye should be close to the same temperature.
If my lye solution has been sitting around, it's going to be room temp, which is way colder than 100 degrees. So what does one do? Answer:
To increase the temperature of the lye solution, place the lye jug in a larger pot filled with boiled water and stir it every minute or so as it warms up. This is called putting the lye in a hot water bath. If the water cools down before the lye heats up enough, add more boiled water to the bath.
Another alternative you can try is to make a tea with the botanical powder, allow that to steep for a couple of days and then use the tea in place of water with the lye.
Many botanicals do best when infused in olive oil and then used in a soap recipe.
And to really reap the rewards of using plant matter as a colourant, make sure your soap goes through the gel phase as this will intensify the colour the most.
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