Genre: non fiction
I was introduced to soapmaking last year by an online friend. she’d set up a website for her hand made soaps. I didn’t want to go that far – it involves lots of testing and paperwork to ensure recipes approved before sales. I found the process fascinating though, and the sample bars she sent me were fabulous, not drying on my skin as conventional soaps are, and of course not packed full of chemicals. Look on any bar of soap or container of hand wash and you’ll see just how many chemicals were exposing ourselves to. Skin is porous so its clear that they can be absorbed into the body that way, and over time minute amounts add up. Besides I have a fascination for old crafts so wanted to try it myself.
My 14 year old granddaughter has made some with me, from recipes found on the web and our attempts have smelled lovely and feel good, but appearance – well, that leaves a lot to be desired. This book though has taught me so much that I know where we went wrong.
The recipes are very specific, but also have formulas for if you want to change the type of oils used. That’s very important and depending on the type of oil used the amounts of other ingredients vary slightly, and getting it wrong gives the results we had – where the smooth, glossy, little hearts we’d hoped for came out as dull, lumpy blobs. Still worked well, but just didn’t look pretty. Now we’re set for another go.
I challenge anyone to look at the illustrations here and not feel inspired to try, it really is a simple basic process. I use an old slow cooker and a cheap stick blender and all you need then is caustic soda, water, oils and colour/perfume. A silicone heart shaped ice cube mould, and an old bread-making oblong tin for slices.That’s it. This book gives processes that don’t even need the slow cooker, and temperatures for more accurate timing. I didn’t know that before and now think we over heated/over mixed our batter which led to a deterioration in appearance and the lumpy effect. It a relatively quick process too and the combinations of soaps you can create is endless. I want to try again and make some soap, bath bombs and scented beeswax candle gift packs for christmas and birthday presents. It’s a really easy to follow and inspiring read.
Stars:five, a fabulous book full of gorgeous illustrations and soaps to temp the reader into trying.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers