My latest hobby is cold process soap making. I highly recommend giving it a try if you’ve ever been curious about making your own soap. It is easier than I thought, but you do need to educate yourself on the process before you begin so you can be safe–and make good soap. Alicia Grosso’s book, The Everything Soapmaking Book, was an indispensable resource. I also watched a youtube series on cold process soap making by Anne-Marie Faiola, otherwise known as the Soap Queen. Check out her youtube channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/soapqueentv. Anne-Marie has excellent videos not only on soap making, but also on lotion, lip balm, bath fizzies and more.
For my first ‘starter batches’ of soap, I was able to purchase everything I needed at the feed store and at HEB. I had a thermometer and a good kitchen scale at home as well as a couple of old silicone spatulas and microwave safe bowls I was willing to donate to the cause, so my start up expenses were not too steep. I also used a freezer paper lined cardboard box as a soap mold. From the feed store I got safety equipment like goggles and gloves (both a MUST), and my lye. From the grocery store I bought olive oil, coconut oil, lard and distilled water.
After I mastered a very simple recipe, I had a great time ordering a few specialty oils, fragrances and color pigments from the Soap Queen at Brambleberry.com, https://www.brambleberry.com/. I even bought two small silicone molds. After a bit larger of an investment, I’m all set for some serious soap making. Now all I need to do is find a source for some goat’s milk so I can make goat’s milk soap. (Maybe I’ll just get a goat.)
If you get into soap making, you will find there are many fabulous educational resources on the internet as well as a warm and friendly soap making community out there. One soap maker I became a fan of is Caitlin Abshier. Caitlin turned her passion for natural soap making into a successful business (see Revive Soaps). Even better, Caitlin is paying her success forward through the Lovin’ Soap Project to which she donates 5% of each of her sales.
Until yesterday, I had only read about Caitlin, but then I got to meet her in person! Mark and I had gone up to Dallas to do a little buying for the feed store. Just as we were walking out of the trade center, we passed a showroom and I saw some Revive soaps. I went in ‘just to look’ and I almost bumped into Caitlin herself. She is just as friendly and gracious as I thought she would be. It was such a treat to meet one of my soap-hero’s!
Caitlin is standing in front of her new line of essential oil products. Find them on her website or in specialty stores.