Forsythia are those ornamental flowering bushes that you see blooming everywhere this time of year (at least around these parts.)
What some don’t know though, is that forsythia is also considered an edible flower, which is the main qualification I look for when creating new soaps and such. I figure if it’s safe to eat, it’s usually safe to go on my skin too!
Forsythia fruit is also a really great antiviral, especially when combined with honeysuckle, and the flowers and leaves also share many of the valuable phytochemicals as the fruit.
RELATED: See my blog post 11+ Things to Make with Forsythia Flowers for more ways to use forsythia!
To make this soap, first you’ll need to gather up a jar full of forsythia flowers. I pick just the yellow part and leave most of the green stem ends behind, because the blossoms help give the natural color I’m looking for in my soap. Don’t get hung up on precise amounts. If you have a few flowers that’s fine; if you have a bunch to use, that’s great too.
A jar full of forsythia blossoms smells heavenly, almost like a mixture of honeysuckle and jasmine. For this reason, I decided to scent my soap with some Jasmine Absolute that I’d had on hand for a while. It was the perfect choice at the time!
However, Jasmine Absolute is on the very expensive side, especially these days. If it’s too expensive for your budget (and it normally is for mine too – I just happened to have some on hand I hadn’t used for another project) then you can leave this unscented or try adding lemongrass or your favorite essential oil instead. So, don’t feel like you have to break the bank to make this soap. Use what you have.
Split your forsythia blossoms roughly in half. We’ll use part to make a water infusion (tea) and the rest to make an olive oil infusion to go in our soap.
To make the tea: fill a small jar about half way with fresh blossoms. Pour simmering hot water over them until the jar is almost filled. Let cool to room temperature, then cap and store in the refrigerator, overnight. Strain right before using in the recipe.
To make the oil infusion: Spread the rest of your fresh blossoms out on a clean towel or paper towels in a single layer. Let them wilt/dry overnight. They’ll look like this the next day:
Place those wilted/dried flowers into a small jar and fill it almost to the top with olive oil. Set that jar, uncapped, down into a pan that has a few inches of water in it. This will create a homemade double boiler of sorts. Let the water almost simmer (not boil), for about an hour or two. This indirectly heats the oil and speeds up the infusing process. Remove from heat, strain, and it’s ready to use in your recipe!
Forsythia Soap – Cold Process Recipe
- 15 ounces of olive oil (use forsythia infused oil for part or all of it)
- 8 ounces coconut oil
- 2 ounces castor oil
- 1.5 ounces mango butter (or shea butter)
- 3.5 ounces sunflower oil
- 4.17 ounces of lye (6% superfat)
- 10 ounces of water (I used 10 oz of strained forsythia tea)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons jasmine absolute (for a light scent) (or try lemongrass for a cheaper variation)
LEARN TO USE HERBS & FLOWERS IN SOAP
Subscribe to Soap Tip Tuesdays and I’ll send you my quick start guide to Using Herbs & Flowers In Soap. Each Tuesday, you’ll receive one of my best natural soapmaking tips, recipes, or printables.
- Discover 21 of the top herbs and flowers for making handmade natural soap
- How to make nourshing oil and tea infusions
- Benefits & final color that each herb gives soap
Forsythia Soap Recipe Notes
If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before attempting this recipe.
All measurements are by weight, even the liquid.
I didn’t insulate my soap, because I wanted to keep the color light. It starts out a pretty buttery yellow, but fades a bit as it cures.
This batch is sized to fit a roughly 3 pound mold that my husband made for me – inner dimensions are: 8 inch x 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch. It yields 7 or 8 bars.
You can also use a regular glass 9 inch x 5 inch bread loaf pan for soap recipes that have around 30 to 35 ounces (total) of oil in them. Be sure to line either one with parchment or freezer paper (shiny side up) before use.