Infusions are simply an herb, dried or fresh, that’s steeped in a slightly warmed oil, capped, then left to steep for a while until the potency of the botanicals are achieved to the level you prefer. Some leave them for a couple of weeks, some for a couple of months, and other will leave them for half a year or more. It all depends on what you want to do with them.
Many of us have used infusions without even realizing that’s what we’re using. A good cup of tea is an infusion. It’s sped up a bit, but it is still an infusion. It’s infused into water which is then sweetened and the “ah” factor is achieved.
Oil infusions are often employed for soaps to do 1, 2, or more things. We’ll infuse a botanical into an oil to bring the various benefits that herb can offer to a formulation in our bath & body care items. If you plan to use these for CP or HP or CPHP soaps, however, the benefits may be lost in the heat of CPHP or HP processing and then the alkalinity of all of them will also alter the benefits to be pretty null and void. The infusions would be best served into lotions, balms, butters, if you hope to leave all the antioxidants, Vitamins, etc intact in your final product. Just bear in mind that though there’s no high pH in lotions, and balms production, there is heat and that may destroy/alter some or all the nutrients you hoped to add.
Another reason we use infusions is for colour, natural colour in a soap that we’re hoping to keep as natural as possible for a particular line of product we’re developing, or for a particular sector of our customer base. Perhaps we have customers with sensitive skin, allergies, personal preferences for naturally-derived colours, for which these would be a perfect fit. Maybe vegan and vegetarian followers want this option as well. That’s well and good, but please know your additives and realize that they might not all be ideal, even for those select groups either. Annatto seeds are found in many items that are a deep yellow-orange, such as some cheeses, but they can also be the cause of allergic reactions to some individuals. Know what your sensitivities are and those of your customers before you try out an additive. Be aware of these when labeling and your customers will be able to fully enjoy your products without any bad side effects.
So, that said, these are the ones I did this weekend.
From left to right they are –
Camu Camu Fruit Powder
Orange Peel Powder
Lemon Peel Powder
Hibiscus Flower Powder
All powders were sealed into tea bags then covered with Refined Olive Oil, which is a Golden colour that was slightly warmed, and once the oil was cooled sufficiently, they all were capped and placed in a safe location to prevent breakage. I give them a shake occasionally to see if the colours are beginning to show, then walk away. That’s the hard part!
These will all be filtered through either an unbleached coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth once their infusion stage is complete. That should clear out any small particles that escaped the bags during this submerging or shaking.
The benefits that these might bring to a lotions or balm are typically those of antioxidant or Vitamins our skin needs in order to remain happy & healthy. Annatto seeds, while often used to colour certain foods, are also know to cause certain allergies, so label any product made with these with a note of caution for sensitive individuals., They contain high levels of carotenoids which are beneficial to the eyes. While I wouldn’t recommend putting anything you make in or on your eyes, know that the bixins that contain these carotenoids can get through to your system by way of your skin to benefit the eyes anyway. The antioxidants contained in anything containing carotenoids has the ability to fight off free radicals that lead to premature aging as well as fight off chronic illness and prolong life.
Camu Camu Fruit Powder was called a superfood for a time when its benefits first hit the spotlight. It’s since become a well-known source of Vitamin C and antioxidants and is great for supplying us with other vitamins such as B1 B2, B3, beta-carotene, bioflavenoids, phytochemicals, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and calcium. It’s also been found to be helpful with weight loss, premature aging, reducing dark spots on the skin, and is great for shine for the hair. You can buy camu camu fruit powder here and read more about this superfood here.
Lemon Peel and Orange Peel powders are both excellent for lightening those dark spots we get from being outdoors whether it’s for recreational purposes or necessary tasks like gardening or lawn care, shooting hoops with the kids, or shooting the breeze with friends.
Orange peel powder is loaded with Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Beta-carotene, Vitamin B1, and thanks to the high levels of flavonoids contained within, it’s also a terrific anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent. That said, do NOT presume it’s safe to do without a preservative. It’s is never a good idea to do without a preservative in any formulation which goes into a jar, tub or tube then is sold to the general public. The scent of orange is believed to be uplifting and much loved in aromatherapy formulations.
Lemon Peel Powder can be bought here.
Hibiscus Flower Powder is the dried petals of the beautiful flowers of the hibiscus plant, ground to a fine powdery form. This powder will give your infusions a red colour that varies according to the length of time the infusion is allowed to continue. The flowers are often used in hair care products as they have properties known to thicken hair or reduce hair loss and for dandruff control. Being a gentle addition, they’re often found in baby care products. They also even out skin tone and texture. It also is known to cleanse, soothe, protect against acne, and soften the skin.
Buy it here.
Many other suppliers might also be checked out for these and many other beneficial additives to your formulations of creams, lotions, balms, butters, etc. Virtually anything you can dream up is possible so long as you bear in mind the ‘scratch’ factor of these when determining whether to use them or not. Many might be too abrasive to use in a lotion or oil, but might be perfect for your scrubs which requires a certain amount of scratchiness in order to do its job properly.
I’ve checked in several of my own favorite suppliers when providing the above information, but you might also want to visit the following web sites to see what they offer as well. They’re all reliable sources of information and are excellent supplies resources.
Soapmaking Resource, above, offers the convenience of a Kit to give you more natural colourant bang for your buck. All the most widely used, popular natural colourants are sent to you to try out at your convenience and determine which ones you like best for future orders. A real bargain!