I have, and still do, spend a lot of time researching the benefits of oils and essential oils that go into my soaps. One thing that I am absolutely sure about is, I'm not absolutely sure how much of these benefits carry over into handmade soaps. The essential oils I use are mainly to make the soap smell nice and to give you a therapeutic scent while using them. Few of the essential oils "stick to the skin" for very long. The It Smells Like Cologne Coconut Oil Soap and the patchouli in the Mellow Pine Tar Soap will hang out with you for a while, through.
Avocado oil - rich in vitamins A, B, D and E and containing lecithin (softens and moisturizes) and amino acids, it is a regenerative and moisturizing oil. Avocado oil helps heal dry, flaky, itchy skin, it boosts collagen and it's low comedogenic.
Argan oil - very conditioning and moisturizing, argan oil is high in Vitamin A, E and antioxidants.
Babassu oil - anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, sooths irritations, helps heal psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other skin conditions, absorbs quickly, contains high levels of Vitamin E, and antioxidants.
Calendula oil - made from calendula flower petals, this oil is extremely gentle (which is why you may see it in products for babies) and it has regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps heal wounds, rashes, eczema, dry and damaged skin. I make my own calendula oil by steeping organic calendula petals in non-GMO grapeseed oil for eight weeks.
Castor oil - I can't imagine making soap without castor oil. Being high in ricinoleic fatty acids, castor oil is responsible for creating creamy, stable lather. Castor oil acts as a humectant by drawing moisture from the air and it's a great skin softener and conditioner.
Cocoa butter - a great addition to any soap, cocoa butter produces a stable lather. It is very conditioning, softens the skin as well as improves it's elasticity. It creates a barrier from the environment and helps with eczema and dermatitis and women use it to help with stretch marks.
Coconut oil - not only is coconut oil moisturizing and softening but it is antimicrobial. Coconut oil is non-comedegenic so it won't clog your pores. It also adds a wonderful lather.
Grapeseed oil - non-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent. Great soap properties, but add nourishing, non-comedegenic and easily absorbed and you have a definite soap making winner. Grapeseed oil is also a great base oil for essential oils.
Hemp seed oil - so much to say about this amazing oil. It softens dry and irritated skin, contains vitamins A, B, D and E and is rich in fatty acids that are important to soap making and skin care. Hemp seed oil is used for acne and psoriasis, it's non-greasy and it protects skin from moisture loss. It contains anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties.
Jojoba oil - jojoba is more of a wax than an oil and it's very close the human sebum (the natural oils our skin creates), it's moisturizing, conditioning, easily absorbed and helps promote silky skin and hair.
Mango butter - Smoothing, moisturizing, contains vitamins A, C and E. Mango butter helps restore the skins protective barrier, replaces moisture, is easily absorbed and can help heal rashes and eczema.
Olive oil - I use two different olive oils, for most soaps I use non-GMO, organic extra virgin olive oil. For soaps that have a lighter color (Loren's Citrus Fruit Salad Soap) I use non-GMO light olive oil. Olive oil contains antioxidants, vitamin E and A, forms a protective barrier for your skin, acts as a humectant and relieves dry, itchy skin.
Palm oil - it's taken me a while to decide to try this one. So much behind the palm oil industry that I wanted to try to find a reputable company to purchase it from. The palm oil I found is RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Mass Balance. Not only am I purchasing sustainable palm oil, but this purchase contributes to the production of sustainable palm oil. Palm oil helps add hardness to a bar and creates a stable lather. It's conditioning and mild.
Shea butter - rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, shea butter forms a breathable barrier to help protect your skin from the elements. It's moisturizing and nourishing, can help with skin irritations and is non-comedogenic.
Sweet almond oil - conditioning, moisturizing and absorbent, sweet almond oil leaves skin feeling hydrated and soft. It also heals dry, itchy, chapped skin.
Carrot seed oil - helps lighten sun spots, tones aging skin, helps with eczema and mature skin.
Cedarwood - relaxing, calming and comforting. Cedarwood helps cleanse, deodorize and can help skin look younger and hair more healthy.
Cypress - helps heal wounds, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, natural deodorizer. Cypress also helps with anxiety and depression.
Fir needle - this can help with respiratory issues and reducing body odor.
Frankincense - frankincense can help with aging skin, it's also antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and can help with bronchial issues.
Juniper berry - contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can help with anxiety, restlessness and stress.
Lavender oil - good for so many things and extremely gentle. Lavender oil is analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic so it's helpful for acne, headaches, depression, insomnia, irritability, stress, muscle pain and stiffness, insect bites, scarring, etc.
Lemon - refreshing and uplifting, lemon essential oil is also antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.
Lime essential oil - another uplifting scent, lime essential oil is also antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and good for coughs, fever, joint pain, insect bites and stress.
Orange - refreshing and good for stress, nervousness and insomnia, orange essential oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial.
Peppermint - good for headaches, depression, mental alertness, sinuses and fatigue, peppermint essential oil is an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial.
Tea tree - tea tree essential oil is kind of good for almost everything. I use it in my soaps mainly for it's antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidants, antiseptic and antiviral properties. However, it's also a good decongestant and can help clear sinuses, calm a cough and keep scrapes and wounds clean.
Alkanet root - colorant.
Annatto seed - colorant.
Baikal clay - colorant. this clay from Russia cleanses and exfoliates. It's said to make skin firmer and velvety, youthful, and it's not drying.
Cacao powder - colorant. Gentle exfoliant.
Dairy - super gentle exfoliant, amazing lather.
Goat's milk - super gentle exfoliant, amazing lather.
Honey - adds lather, humectant.
Luffa - exfoliant.
Pink kaolin clay - colorant. Gentle exfoliant. It's good for sensitive skin and won't cause dryness, it softens and soothes skin, it leaves the skin more moist and hydrated than other clays.
Poppy seeds - exfoliant, texture.
Sea salt - gentle exfoliant. Humectant.
Spirulina powder - colorant. Gentle exfoliant.
Turmeric and/or paprika - colorant. Gentle exfoliant.
Tussah silk - I use cruelty free tussah silk in some of my soaps to add a silky aid to the lather. I purchased my silk from Brambleberry and their site states: "This silk is cruelty free. The fibers are collected from cocoons after the silk worms have emerged."
Jasmine Spoil Me Soap Set