Job’s Tears and Calendula Soaps

As much as I enjoy making soaps with fragrance oils and pigments, my first and true love has always been natural, therapeutic soaps. I get really excited discovering and experimenting with new ingredients that may offer any kind of skin benefit.

I have been soaping like crazy since I came back from Taipei two weeks ago. I made mostly fragrance oil-scented soaps, but I managed to make two all-natural ones using some of the ingredients I stuffed my suitcase with.

With so many choices, it was hard to pick which ingredient to use first. I finally settled on calendula, a very popular herb among soap makers, but it was my first time to use it.

Dried Calendula Petals

Dried Calendula Petals

Instead of steeping the petals in oil, I made a concentrated tea and let it steep overnight. Since we don’t have calendula in the Philippines (maybe we do, but I am not aware of it), I didn’t want to throw away the petals.  I wanted to use everything so I separated most of the liquid and proceeded to blitz the remaining calendula with reconstituted goat’s milk powder.  I mixed all the liquid with the blended petals into my oils – coconut, olive, palm, rice bran and cocoa butter – before adding my master-batched 50% lye solution.

To intensify the yellow color, I used 2 parts blood orange e.o. and 1 part litsea cubeba, totalling 4.2% of my oils. Next time I will increase the essential oils to at least 5% because at 4.2%, the scent is barely there. I wanted to add some interest so I tried doing a pencil line for the first time. I really like the effect but I think I was a bit heavy handed with the activated charcoal.

Calendula 2

Calendula and Goat's Milk Soap

Calendula and Goat’s Milk Soap

The second ingredient I decided to use was Job’s Tears powder (coix lacryma jobi). It is also known as Chinese pearl barley, but it has nothing to do with the common pearl barley that most of us are familiar with.  In China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan, it is eaten as a grain or cooked into a drink.  It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine for its cooling and anti-cancer properties, and for its stimulating action on the spleen, kidneys and lungs. Beauty-wise, it is reputed to remove blemishes and make the skin softer. (Click here to read more on the benefits of Job’s Tears)

Job's Tears powder

Job’s Tears powder

Job's Tears in Chinese

Job’s Tears in Chinese

I still have some lard that I carefully rendered with salt and water a few months ago. I plan to just finish what I have and no longer use it in the future. It is just too tedious to make and I don’t think it would appeal to people even though it makes for a gentle and hard bar of soap.

I needed the extra hardness for the facial soap I had in mind, so I incorporated a little bit of lard into my recipe containing coconut, olive, avocado, rice bran, pili and castor oils.  I also added 2% salt and 1.5% sodium lactate, less than what I used for my Charcoal Neem Soap.  For a richer and creamier soap, I used coconut cream, and to keep it all natural, I used essential oils of blood orange, rosemary and tea tree. I mixed the essential oils with Job’s Tears powder along with kaolin clay and turmeric powder to anchor the scent, before adding everything into the soap batter at light trace.

Job's Tears & Coconut Cream

Job's Tears 2

Job's Tears 5

Job’s Tears & Coconut Cream Soap

I love that the soap is completely ash-free and the texture is so smooth and creamy.  I think the powders, partly acting as anchors for the essential oils, worked, because I could smell the blood orange amidst the strong tea tree. I hope the scent stays after cure!

32 thoughts on “Job’s Tears and Calendula Soaps

  1. Abiola

    Niiiiiiiiiiice! You are a really talented soaper. I like how you blitzed the calendula and goats milk… I will be trying that with coconut milk soon!

  2. Amy@10th Ave.

    Your first paragraph describes me perfectly, too. Beautiful soaps! I love their clean simplicity.
    I’ve grown Job’s tears for several years. I’ll have to do some research to see if it’s the same as yours. MIne give me dark seeds that are super hard and shiny with a hole through them. Jewelry makers use them as natural beads. Now you have me curious…

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you, Amy! It’s nice to know that we both share the same sentiment on soap making. 🙂
      I was not even aware that there was an ornamental Job’s Tears plant until I did some research on it for this post. The plant in your garden is of the same species, but different variety, as the cultivated type that yields the grain for eating.

  3. Jenny

    Both of these soaps are naturally gorgeous, Silvia! I love the pencil line in the calendula soap, and the Job’s Tears soap looks so creamy and wholesome. The ingredients you used sound so luxurious, too. Bravo!

  4. DivaSoap

    I had to do a little research about this Job’b tears. And I’ve found out -listen to this,Amy- there are actually two different spices of the plant, one you used to grow, which is wild and this one, cultivated. The first is used for making jewellery and the second for all cooking purposes. Right,Silvia? I never heard of this plant before, I really wonder what it will give to the soap, which is beautiful.
    The second one is absolutelly fantastic, I enjoy looking at this beautiful simplicity and richness. It looks so creamy and silky. Also, e.o. combo sounds intriguing! Excellent job on both!

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you, Maja! Based on what I researched, the two plants are different varieties, and you’re right – one wild and the other cultivated, but they come from the same species. I am really excited about using Job’s Tears in soap. As a food, it is super nutritious. Maybe it will do wonders for the skin, too! 🙂

  5. Gordana

    It seems that we share the same passion 🙂 I also make calendula goat milk soap, non scented, and it is one the most wanted one. This is the first time to hear about Job’s Tears plant, although I am not expert when it comes to plants… I believe that those natural additives really provide additional quality to handmade soaps. Both soaps look so luxurious and reach! Really grate job Silvia!

  6. Ksenija

    Good heavens those are some stunning soaps you have Silvia! I am totally curious about the Job’s Tear soap, as I have no idea what it is. Sounds exciting!

  7. mijnzeep1

    Love the 1st soap, so simple and delicate, and the activated charcoal line is lovely!
    Never heard of Coix lacryma-jobi plant, thanks for sharing it with us, it’s always nice to learn something new!

    1. soapjam Post author

      Thank you, Sugarlychee! For some reason I am more excited to use the Job’s Tears soap. Maybe it’s because the blood orange scent comes through more than in the Calendula.

  8. KCK Blogger

    Thank you for your tips. I love your creativity and just learned from surfing your blog that you are also from the Philippines. Great to meet a fellow soaper kababayan.

  9. lizA

    Hi! I read your blog about the soap you’ve made with calendula and goats milk. I would like to start making my own soap in the philippines, however, I am not sure where to find ingredients that’s cheaper or do you order it online?
    I hope you can help me
    Thank you again for sharing some insights about soap making

    1. soapjam Post author

      Hi Liza. I get my supplies from everywhere! 🙂 I bought the calendula and Job’s tears powder when I went to Taiwan, and I bought the goat’s milk from Amazon. 🙂

  10. Christine

    Hi. I was going a Google search on coconut cream for soaping and found this post! Loved everything about it, especially using ingredients that are not as common in SOAPMAKING. I was wondering how much CO cream could be added PPO and does it speed up trace? Not sure if you know the answer to the second one, but more concerned about the usage rate. I tend to soap at room temperature or as cool as I possibly can. Going to explore the rest of your pages. I am intrigued! Hope to hear from you

    1. soapjam Post author

      Hi Christine! Coconut milk can be used as your liquid component,i.e., it can replace the water in your formula. Coconut cream is much heavier, so I would suggest replacing around 25-30% of the liquid in your recipe with it, but not more than 50% as it would greatly alter your superfat. I always have some kind of milk in my formula and I find that it does speed up trace a bit, but not significantly. But then again, it also depends on your oils and EOs/FOs. Hope this helps. 🙂

  11. Kelly

    Wow, the Job’s Tears soap looks and sounds wonderful! I’m interested in trying to imitate it, here in the US. I thoroughly enjoy soapmaking, and it’s so much fun to read the writings of someone else who clearly does – so many details! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm!

  12. Madame Propre

    Hi Silvia! Lovely calendula soaps! I am intrigued : how did the Job’tear turn out when you finally used the soap? It looks gorgeous, so simple and rich. Thank you for sharing your experiments, it is very interesting and very tempting!


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