Get full access to soap making tutorials and recipes, Master Class LIVEs, special discounts… and exclusive members only content including recipes, live demos, and more!

close window

How to infuse oils for handmade soap and skincare products

Some links on this site are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases by recommending products I personally use and enjoy.

Create an oil infusion

Wondering how to create an oil infusion for natural soap?

Is it really just a matter of popping some herbs into a jar with oils? Kind of… here’s a quick primer on oil infusions along with a video walk- through of the process, including oodles of tips & tricks including how to strain and store oil infusions for use in botanical soaps and salves.

soapy friends memberships

Get full access to soap making tutorials and recipes, live soapy sessions, special discounts… and exclusive members only content!

The terminology: infusions vs. macerations.

  • When herbs are in the jar along with oils, your concoction is called a maceration.
  • An infusion is a specific type of maceration, in this case, and oil infusion.
  • Once you strain the herbs out, a maceration is called an infusion.

Looking for the tools I use when making soap? Check out my Amazon Shopping List.

The basic steps to an oil infusion:

Essentially, creating an infusion consists of putting herbs into oil so the oil and extract the goodness from the plant material. Once you know how much plant material to use in the oils, and how to nudge the maceration process along, you can use infusions to create amazing colors in your soaps, impart herbal benefits to salves, or even make a fantastic salad dressing!

  1. Place dry botanicals in a clean and sterile jar.
  2. Cover herbs with oil.
  3. Infuse for 4 hours to 6 weeks.

Those are just the basic steps. Watch the video below for a live example and more details 😊

Looking for more guidance along with formulations and color tips for coloring your handmade soap with oil infusions? Be sure to check out the Extracting Color from Nature Master Class Series.

In the following video, I’ll walk you through the basics of creating an oil infusion with a focus on the following tips and pointers:

  • You can use fresh or dry herbs, but with fresh the infusion will not be shelf stable. It must be used right away, and only for soap.
    • How much herb to use depends on size of jar and your intent. All my ratios and logic behind color extractions are details in my book and in the extracting color series.
  • You can use ground herbs or pieces. If ground, you need visually less than if whole – ground is simply more compact.
    • I also like ground herbs because of the surface exposure. But be wary of too fine of a gind as it can be difficult to strain the oils.
  • When filling your jar with oil, be sure to leave room (headspace) for swelling of your botanicals as they absorb the oil.
  • You also need to keep the fully botanical submerged in the oil. With ground plant matter, this is easier to do. With whole pieces some can stick up above the oil, exposing them to air where they can develop mold.
  • When making an infusion, you can macerate with time or heat (electric or solar)
  • The shelf-life of your infusion is equal to the shelf-life of the oils used in the maceration.
  • You can store your creation as a maceration and strain off the infusion as needed (that’s typically what I do when creating infusions for colors).
  • Or you can strain the maceration, and store just the infusion while discarding the macerate (which I typically do when creating infusions for salves or salad dressing).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE Wet Soap Wednesday Live Streams!

Buy Me a Coffee donations go directly to supporting FREE live sessions by funding supplies and time.

Some of our "non-soapmaking" Soapy Friends

Kandra's Favorite Soap Dishes

"Kandra, You are amazing! ...And too generous with your time!"

Ethically Sourced Clays and Oils

"This chica knows a lot about soap. Her testing processes are so methodical and detailed."

Soapy Friends Master Class Live Sponsor

"Thank you Kandra, for considering me your friend on this soapy color journey. It goes without saying that I am in awe of your work and ebullience."

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top