Friday, July 29, 2011

Feature Friday: The Soap Experiment

I first got interested in soapmaking back in November, when I took a trip with my in-laws and husband to Brevard, NC for a weekend of camping.  At a little sort of head shop in town, I found a bar of lemongrass castile soap that smelled absolutely amazing.  My mother-in-law bought a bar for me and one for herself and when we got home I started washing with it right away.  It was fabulous and creamy and my skin wasn't dry and scaly for once.

So I toyed with the idea of soapmaking for a long time, all the while continuing to buy fantastic bars of soap from fellow Etsians such as Mr. Kitty, Happy Hound and Sacred Suds, all of which were wonderful and different in their own rights.

Finally, a I picked up a few books, ordered the stuff (lye included), and made my first batch. It was a somewhat success.  It came out alright, but the cheap fragrance oil I used nearly seized the batch and the scent has faded (the soapiness part is actually creamy and cleansing and I'm still using the last few bars).  The second batch came out with oily patches and I've put aside to rebatch.

One of the soap molds made by my father-in-law, waiting to be opened.

Then I started reading about sodium lauryl sulfates and the fact that most soaps are actually detergents.  Plus, I couldn't find a shampoo I was happy with as they were all drying out my scalp. So I made my own, adapted from a recipe on the internet, and with rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.  It came out better than I could have hoped.  As a matter of fact, the first batch only has one bar left.  My husband and father-in-law both love it because they can wash their hair and bodies with one bar.  My mother-in-law loves it because it gives her hair texture and body.  My BFF loves it because it has cleansed her once oily hair and for the first time in her life, she doesn't have to wash it every single day (which is bad for your hair, if you didn't know).

The second batch of shampoo soap.

So I think I've found something to pursue. I am presently tweaking my shampoo recipe and my FIL was kind enough, being a master carpenter, to knock me together a couple of two pound wooden soap molds.
Now the second, twice as big batch (rosemary-lavender scented this time) is waiting to be cut up and set out to cure.

It's interesting how my art has become my work and it looks like my hobby could be headed the same way.

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