Stinging nettle is a plant close to my heart. It is is a superfood containing many vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and protein. All parts of the plant are edible and medicinal, and can also be used as a plant dye, for fibre crafts, and as a compost activator. Nettle is wonderful for skin and hair. It is anti-inflammatory, can help to reduce dandruff, and restore strength and vitality to your hair.
You can see why I love nettle so much.
Personally, I like to eat nettle by putting it into soups or casseroles, I harvest and dry the leaves for tea (taken as a tonic, or mixed with goldenrod for allergies), and most recently I used it in soap.
Since I use my homemade soap to wash my hair, I wanted to create a nettle shampoo bar by using nettle infusion instead of water for the lye solution and adding ground nettle to the soap.
I started by making a strong nettle infusion. 1 part nettle to 2 parts water. I poured boiling water over the nettle, capped it tightly and let it sit overnight to infuse, then I put it in the refrigerator to chill.
I used the SoapCalc Lye Calculator to figure out my oil percentages and amounts, and my amounts for lye and water. For more information about this process visit my first post on soap making Lavender Rosemary Soap.
First I measured out my lye, and instead of water I measured out nettle infusion to mix with the lye.
Then I measured out my oils and heated them over low heat until they all melted.
While the lye and oil were cooling down, I prepared some ground nettle to mix into the soap base and measured out the essential oils. I used rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon essential oils. They are uplifting, promote circulation, and are good for skin and hair.
Once the oils and lye solution cooled to about the same temperature, I mixed them together and blended with my immersion blender until the mixture started to thicken.
Then I added in the ground nettle and essential oils, blended to mix everything thoroughly, and poured it into my silicone soap mold.
24 hours later I popped them out of the molds, and cured them for 4 weeks before use. I love this soap. It smells wonderful, it works great as an all-purpose soap for hair and body and leaves me feeling clean and energized!
Rosemary Nettle Shampoo Bar
40% Coconut Oil
15% Olive Oil
5% Castor Oil
5% superfat (this means the recipe is calculated to have 5% extra fat that won’t react with the lye to give a more conditioning soap)
6 g Rosemary essential oil
4 g Eucalyptus essential oil
4 g Lemon essential oil
1 Tbsp of stinging nettle leaf, ground
Prepare your nettle infusion the day before you want to make soap. Use 1 part herb to 2 parts boiling water, cap and let sit overnight to infuse and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Calculate your recipe using Soapcalc to get your precise amounts of fats, lye and water based on the amount of oils you want to use. I have been using the standard 16 oz by weight of oils. You will just replace the water with nettle infusion when measuring it out.
After you reach trace, add in your essential oils and ground nettle.
Let saponify for 24 hours, then unmold and let cure for 4 weeks.