For my latest entry in my kitchen gifts series, I decided to whip up a batch of lavender blue corn soap. This is the perfect gift for anyone who is not necessarily a big fan of the more seasonal soaps like my orange spice, peppermint hot chocolate, or pine and charcoal soaps (as if such a person actually existed...seriously, who doesn't love the warming scents of winter?). It's also an ideal gift for people to enjoy long after the holiday is gone; once all the other festive treats have been used, they can turn to this soap and the promise of spring.
Okay, I admit it: I got the idea for this soap after my favorite doughnut, a sinful blend of lavender and blue corn made by a local bakery. Blue corn has always struck me as a very New Mexican ingredient, so this soap always makes me feel like I'm gifting a little bit of the Southwest magic I live in. You can, of course, always substitute regular cornmeal if you can't find the blue kind. You don't have to get fancy with molds, either. You can simply use a muffin tin unless you want to get playful with your molds like I did with the soaps pictured.
For this recipe, I use a natural shea butter melt and pour soap base which I got here (remember how I like to keep my crafting simple? Well, a melt and pour solution gives you the fun factor of making your own soap without the more labor intensive and tricky ingredients like lye to work with). Make sure to buy the suspension formula for your soap base so that the blue corn is evenly spread out in your soap rather than sinking to the bottom. The lavender oil is an excellent antibacterial agent and nerve tonic, while the blue corn acts as a gentle exfoliate perfect for everyday use.
16 ounces (1 lb) shea butter soap base
1/2 cup blue corn
100 drops lavender essential oil
Chop shea butter soap base into half-inch chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for one minute and stir. Then continue to melt base in the microwave in 20-second increments, stirring between each heating until liquefied, about 5 minutes. Once the soap is melted stir in essential oils and blue corn. Pour into muffin tins (or other molds) and allow to set, about an hour. (You can speed this up by placing them in the fridge for about 20 minutes.) Remove soap from molds by gently inserting a butter knife around the edges of the muffin tin until the soap pops out. Wrap individually in parchment paper or tuck multiples in an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place indefinitely. Makes about 6 small soaps or 4 medium sized ones. Enjoy!
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