October 29, 2012

Good Clean Fun: The Natural Soap Chef.

 Looking for Christmas gift ideas? Make them soap!

A few years ago, I decided I would make some soaps and bath and body products as Christmas gifts. I got a little carried away and ended up with a new hobby as well: soapmaking!

When I received The Natural Soap Chef for review, I was excited to see that she recommended Brambleberry, one of my favorite companies for some of the supplies. (Mountain Rose Herbs is another favorite.) It’s worth taking a good look at where you get your supplies, because “natural” is one of those terms that means absolutely nothing.

According to her bio, Heidi was unable to find soap that did not irritate her youngest daughter’s skin, she started creating her own. I think for many of us, this is where we begin experimenting with making soaps and skin care items. The natural and organic brands are often cost-prohibitive, and the more mainstream brands can be irritating or raise concerns about toxicity.

While there are lots of websites that have soapmaking info and recipes, I enjoyed Heidi Corley Barto’s book for its in-depth detail, innovative recipes and gorgeous pictures.

A few things to remember before you jump into the world of cold-process soap:

>>Lye is extremely toxic! If you have small children and animals, plan to work on this part when they are either not home or safely in another area.

>>Your soaps will not look exactly like the picture! I think the fact that each batch—and really, even each bar—is unique is part of the charm of handmade soap.

>>This hobby is addictive! Warn your friends and family ahead of time to expect soap gifts for the foreseeable future.


Have fun!

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