I love everything about dandelions. The bright cheerful splashes of color in early Spring, their nutritious greens, useful roots, and delicious blossoms. They are full of antioxidants and minerals, but did you know this is also beneficial topically? Dandelions have long been used to help soothe dry or irritated skin.
When gathering these wonderful blooms, it's best to wait until other wildflowers have emerged, leaving the first dandelion flowers for local pollinators to have as a much needed first food source. Always take care and be mindful when foraging.
After picking, it's time to clean and trim the flowers. I personally prefer to remove the base and stem of dandelions out of habit because if you're making jelly or tea with them, that extra bit of greenery can impart a bitter flavor. For this soap, I figure the brighter yellow the better so reducing green works here as well.
The next step is making an Oil Infusion.
Because I knew I would use this infused oil immediately, I went ahead with a fast fresh infusion method. This works well with flowers that do not dry well, but this fresh infusion method should only ever be done if you are going to use it all within a few days. The natural moisture content in fresh plant material will go rancid in oil, growing bacteria and fungal spores quickly if left to sit. Never store fresh infusions, and never use them in things like salves, or other recipes where water content will cause spoilage.
How to make a fast infusion:
Place your clean botanicals into a clean mason jar and pour in your carrier oil. Here I'm using Olive oil because it's a main ingredient in my soap. Pour in enough so all the plant material is submerged. Stir to ensure there are no air pockets. Then gently heating this speeds up the infusion process, why I call it fast. I like to heat mine in a water bath on my stove. I place a washcloth along the bottom so the jar isn't in direct contact with the hot pot, and use a deep enough pot to have water up to the shoulder of the jar for consistent heating of the contents. Bring the water temperature to about 140 degrees F and hold it there. You do not want the water to reach boiling. Check on your infusion and give it a gentle stir every now and then over the course of six hours or so.
Once the heating time is complete, strain the oil. I like to use butter muslin for this to catch even the smallest plant bits. You can also double layer cheesecloth or try a fine mesh strainer.
Your infused oil will take on the color and scent of your plant. This dandelion flower oil smells amazing!
Look at that sunny yellow color as I add it in with my other soaping oils!
This flower infusion gives my Dandelion Soap a cheerful, summery, soft yellow that I just love. Combined with essential oils of Bergamot and Ginger for a light scent, this became my newest favorite soap of the Summer.
Want some? Find it here. This is a seasonal soap available while supplies last. If you missed out, don't worry! I will be making this beauty again every year.