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Peppermint and Pine hot Process soap
Last Christmas I was determined to but my fresh cut pine tree to good use. Pinterest had at some point, put information on how to use my pine tree for herbal remedies in front of my face, and I remembered it. I am the type of person that likes to find more than one use from the things that I buy. Consequently this helps me feel like I have made a good value to investment with my purchase. Every winter we go get a permit and cut our own tree. Not only do I want to honor that tree and use as much as I can but I hate just throwing it to the curb when the holiday is over.
Thus came my grand idea to use the pine needles in a soap recipe.
I see that you are thinking, “If you made this soap at Christmas time why is it labeled as a gardeners hand soap?” That is a perfectly logical thought, and there is a perfectly logical explanation.
See I didn’t really have the foresight when I decided to play around with the pine needles in my soap to know that I was going to be making gardener’s soap in December.
Hence the first lesson to making soap. Lye CHANGES things. This is an important lesson if you want to put additives in your soap recipe.
So here I was thinking I was being cute and smart, by making a wonderful custom soap using the hot process soap method I shared with you here in an earlier post. I had done my due diligence and spent a good amount of time reading about how to use pine as an herb. I had read what I could find about ways to use pine needles and I thought I had it all figured out.
I went and made some wonderful smelling soap.
Then I left my soap for a week to cure.
After about a week I needed to refill the soap in my shower and I was so excited to go and grab the Peppermint and Pine soap that I had made. If you remember from my fist post on how to make hot process soap, (if you haven’t seen it check it out here) that this method of making soap yields fairly fast results. Hot process soap can be used almost immediately instead of needing a cure time of several months like cold process soap. But even with hot process, the soap is best if left to cure for at least a week.
My shower went great! I loved the smell and the soap lathered really well. It seemed to me to be a success! Until about an hour later when I started to notice that my skin felt dry. After some reflection I realized that the pine needles had been hardened by the lye. They were pretty stiff and coarse and they had just exfoliated my skin in the shower. I hadn’t known it was such an exfoliating bar of soap and so I didn’t pay any attention to how vigorously I had scrubbed.
Now, if you know much about soap you might be thinking “no you felt like your skin was dry because your recipe was wrong and the lye was not cured out of the soap.” I thought this too. So I tested the soap and I also used the bar a second time just with lighter pressure and it was not an issue with the lye. The second time I showered I didn’t press the bar so hard against my skin and I had no dryness or irritated skin.
So What was I going to do with all that soap?
In all honesty the soap works fine as long as I don’t vigorously scrub with it. The hardened needles are like a large pumice. We used the rest of that bar just fine. I did however start to think about how I would prefer a different soap in the shower and started to wonder what to do with the peppermint pine soap.
I decided that it might just make a good gardener’s hand soap.
Fast forward a few months and now it is early spring. I have been working in the greenhouse and digging early season weeds out of my flower beds and garden boxes. My hands have gotten dirt ground down into the cracks of my skin (like they always do since I don’t prefer gloves).
I am happy to report that this soap does really make an excellent gardener;s hand soap. I might be biased but it has been working better then anything else I have tried to get that dirt out of all the tiny cracks in my skin. My hands don’t feel dry and they get squeaky clean after a long day playing and working in dirt.
So while it was discovered by accident, I will be making it again every Christmas season from my tree. Its sort of like a gift that keeps on giving.
How to make Peppermint Pine Gardeners Hand Soap.
To make this Peppermint and Pine Gardener’s soap follow the steps below. I recommend that you check out my first post on how to make soap using the hot process method if you haven’t made soap before. You need to follow that recipe first before you start adding things to your soap.
This recipe is really just a matter of what you add to an existing recipe. There are certain guidelines about what you can add and how much in order to keep a balance with the lye and oils in the recipe. If you make any changes on your own make sure you run your recipe through a lye calculator. Expect that any thing you add that is solid, like the pine in this recipe will harden with the lye. Smaller bits will be less abrasive.
Pine has potent healing properties it aids in the resistance of redness and swelling making it an amazing aid for joint pain and discomfort.
It’s is able to help relieve general muscular aches and pains. Pine has amazing cleansing capacities, because of this it can help with a variety of skin conditions such as Psoriasis, acne, eczema, itching and athlete’s foot. Applied topically it can help remedy the scalp of dryness and dandruff. It also speeds up wound healing and fights against free radicals with its antioxidant properties.
Peppermint not only smells good but it can benificial for your skin too. It has menthol in it which is revitalizing when you breathe it in. That is one of the main reasons I love using it in topical applications like soap. It picks up my mood and helps me feel energetic when I smell it.
There are other common benefits of using peppermint topically. It is cooling and can relieve minor aches, and it is antiseptic, (which means it kills germs and prevents infections). Pepermint is also analgesic which means it relieves pain.
As always, I am not a doctor or a master soap maker. Be sure to do your due dilligence and learn as much as you can before just taking my word for things. I can only share my perspective with you, I am not making any promises to you. If you ever get your hands dirty, I hope you make some of this soap to help you get them clean!