September 3, 2013 by thesoapalchemist
When most people I meet tell me they’ve made soap before, they mean they’ve hobbied around with the Melt & Pour variety. Everything needed for Melt & Pour is available at your local craft store, from the already-made block of hard soap base, to the synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances. Granted, there’s a bit of creativity involved, and as a hobby, it’s probably fun. You get to mix and pour and create something pretty. I bet the finished bars make great gifts. But, that’s not the sort of “making soap” that I do.
My mom instilled in me a desire to make things from scratch, and to always always always make whatever I made interesting. It couldn’t just be the same as anyone else’s. It had to be “special.” So it is with my natural soap. I just can’t use melt and pour. It’s not me.
Our family run business, The Natural Bar Soap Company, makes real soap, the good stuff, made the old-fashioned way. I delight in choosing just the right balance of natural oils and butters trying to find that illusive, ideal blend; one that will moisturize, but still clean, exfolliate but not abrade, and hopefully, one that is pretty to look at, refreshing to smell, and bubbly and lathery beyond my wildest dreams!
So, in my quest to make interesting bars of soap from scratch and with ingredients not often used by others, I occasionally discover something great. My latest find? Carrot juice. Originally, I chose it because I heard it would give a subtle peach shade to my handcrafted, all natural soaps. Finding natural ingredients that produce pretty colors in finished soap bars can be tricky. There are so many herbs and spices that create varying shades of tan, gold, or green, but peach and pink tones can be tricky. So, I thought I’d give carrot juice a try.
Oh my goodness! What an amazing ingredient! The subtle scent and color are wonderful. Then I learned of the amazing powers of simple, unpretentious carrot juice. It is loaded with antioxidants and carotenoids. What better place to use those than in a product intended for skin! It is highly reported that Vitamin A deficiencies can lead to numerous issues, including skin problems.
Now, I can’t wait to discover my next new ingredient. I’d like to make some blue bars. Or maybe something purple. Those colors are especially illusive in the world of natural soap. But, that’s half the fun of going natural. It would certainly be easier to just run to Michael’s, and pick up a little set of artificial colorants for soap. I know I could find exactly the color I’m imagining. But, that would eliminate all the trial and error that makes natural soap making my favorite hobby. Soap making is like being on a creative, yet unpredictable adventure. There’s no guarantee that a particular new ingredient will take me exactly where I want to go, but with luck, it will get me a bit closer to that elusive perfect bar.
So, no Melt and Pour for me. I crave creativity. And, I’m always up for a new adventure!