By Lisa Maliga
F.O. Versus E.O.
First off, learn what these initials mean. F.O. = Fragrance Oil. E.O. = Essential Oil. What’s the difference?
Fragrance oils may contain up to 200 components to make it smell like a fresh-baked slice of chocolate fudge brownie, a luscious ripe raspberry, or a just-picked jasmine flower. Fragrances may contain natural ingredients, but many synthetic ones. They’re created in a lab, and are less costly than essential oils. They are also more plentiful. Another advantage is that you can obtain your favorite perfume or cologne for just a few dollars an ounce!
Essential oils derive their substance directly from nature. Lemon oil comes from the expressed rinds of the fruit, rose essential oil is from the petals of this lovely flower, and sandalwood or cedarwood comes from the bark of the tree. Essential oils can be reasonably priced at only a few dollars per ounce [citrus scents], to more than $300 for Bulgarian rose otto from the Valley of the Roses!
Don’t Add Fresh Fruit or Vegetables
Please refrain from adding that pureed avocado. Don’t include dewy lavender or rose buds unless you want to see them turn brown. A fresh slice of cucumber would look gorgeous suspended in a translucent bar of soap – until mold grows over it. You can add dried herbs such as peppermint or rosemary, but expect them to turn brown within a few days or weeks. Glycerin soap contains up to 10% water. Water causes pretty dried lavender buds and green leaves to darken over time.
[The picture shows the Cucumber & Chamomile Glycerin soap I used to make. The cuke slices are just for show!]
Test Your Soap!
You have to be comfortable making your soap before you sell even a single bar. Don’t have your first batch be a complicated multi-color embed project. Start simply: use one color and one scent. You have to be certain that the colors won’t run or fade. Will your fragrances hold up for more than a month? Does your soap sweat? Will that lovely white vanilla or coconut soap remain that color or will it turn chocolate brown in a matter of weeks?
You’re the first person to test your soaps. Then your family. Let a few friends, neighbors and coworkers in on your soaping hobby that may turn into a business. Anticipate questions from testers/potential customers. Know the answers. Do this for at least six months, but a year is even better. Remember, you need to be happy with your products, as you’re now the soapcrafter.
Want to learn more about selling your soapy creations? Check out The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing