About Natural Soap Making
The skin, being the body's largest organ, is incredibly porous and absorbent. Many studies have shown that toxic chemicals can be drawn through the skin and transferred into the bloodstream, causing long-term damage. After studying multiple soap labels, I came to the realization that I didn't know even half of the ingredients, and therefore the store-bought soap couldn't be good for me, if it was made with unknown chemicals. Everything you put in or on your body should have a purpose. It is primarily for this reason that I started to make my own soap. I remember how daunting the task seemed after I had measured and displayed all the ingredients on the table. It is under my daughter's guidance, who happens to have a degree in chemistry, that I made my first natural rosemary soap with Cambrian clay. Until this day, it is my favorite soap by far.
Yes, natural soap making is all about chemistry. The ingredients have to be measured with precision and combined in a particular order and at a specific temperature for the saponification reaction to take place. All the soap recipes I use require sodium hydroxide (also called lye), which is dissolved in distilled water or infused tea. Those recipes, with olive oil as the main ingredient, often include sodium lactate, which allows bars of soap to harden quicker. No preservatives are used in my recipes, instead I add a small amount of extracts (grapefruit seed extract is my favorite), which serve as antioxidants and help keep the oils in the soap from going rancid.
I grow my own herbs and flowers, which I dry and use in small applications. I also infuse herbs in oils, such as olive, sunflower, and almond oil. My recent discoveries are plantain, echinacea, hollyhock, and sunflower petals. They contribute to the quality of the soap and have different medicinal properties. Clays take a special place in my heart as they add a lovely shade to the final product and are so gorgeous on the skin. Honey, famous for its antibicterial and antioxidant properties, is great for slowing down aging and is a wonderful soothing and moisturizing remedy. And finally, essential oils -a finishing touch- that make it all worth it. What could be better to treat ourselves and our loved ones?