Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our testimony

As I have mentioned before, I started soaping to save my family money.  But I am not saving money.  Soaping has become a passion, and it is a very expensive hobby!  While I love to make soap, there is a bigger reason to continue.  My family.

I posted a list of ingredients in a commercial bar of soap, and what those ingredients actually are.  I also posted the ingredients I use.  For me, I do not want my children bathing in detergent and formaldehyde.

Before I started using my soap, I began taking a medication that removes all of the moisture from your skin.  I was applying lotion several times a day, with no relief.  My skin was dry, cracking and bleeding.  It was miserable.  Finally my soap was cured and I could use it.  I noticed a difference right away.  My skin was softer, and no longer constantly flaking.  I continued to use my soap, and my medication tripled over the course of a few months.  And what did I notice?  I rarely apply lotion, and my skin is soft and moisturized.  I am still on the medication - again triple the amount I was on before I started using my soap.  My Dermatologist is amazed at how good my skin looks.

One of my girls has severe eczema.  She is no longer on special lotions to help with her skin.  Her skin is soft, and her eczema is almost non existent.  

For us, we will never use commercial soaps again.  I only wish I hadn't waited so long before making the switch.

Handmade Versus Commercial

Handmade Versus Commercial 

Have you ever googled the ingredients on a bar of soap?  Here is a list from a very popular bar - 1/4 moisturizing beauty bar. 

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate is an anionic detergent and surfactant 
Stearic Acid = Saturated Fatty Acid
Sodium Tallowate = Animal Fat 
Lauric Acida crystalline fatty acid occurring as glycerides in natural fats and oils 
Sodium Isethionate = salt that functions as a skin cleanser
Sodium stearate = sodium salt of stearic acid
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) = compound derived from coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. It is a zwitterion, consisting of both a quaternary ammonium cationand a carboxylate
Sodium cocoate = generic name for the mixture of fatty acid salts (acid salts) of coconut oil that is used in soap making.
Sodium Palm Kernelate = sodium salt of the acids derived from palm kernel oil.
Sodium Chloride = A colorless crystalline compound, NaCl, occurring naturally in seawater and halite; common salt.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid = widely abbreviated as EDTA (for other names, see Table), is apolyamino carboxylic acid and a colourless, water-soluble solid. Its conjugate base is named ethylenediaminetetraacetate. It is widely used to dissolve limescale.(Detergent)
Tetrasodium EDTA is a preservative that’s made from the known carcinogen, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. It is also a penetration enhancer, meaning it breaks down the skin's protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream. Many companies trying to be "natural" will use Tetrasodium EDTA instead of parabens to preserve their products. In my opinion, Tetrasodium EDTA is just as bad.

Where in any of this is the 1/4 moisturizing ingredients?  And Formaldehyde?  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be rubbing my family in Formaldehyde.  Notice how many ingredients come from oils.  This is because commercial companies don't use the pure ingredients.  They use part of them, and then remove further ingredients after the soaponification process.

Now let's compare to Handmade.  Here is a list of ingredients I use, (not all soap contains all the listed ingredients.  This is a list that I may use in my products)

Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Sustainable Palm Oil
Avocado Oil
Shea Butter
Cocoa Butter
Almond Oil
Castor Oil
Essential Oil
Kaolin Clay
Natural Colorants (no Dyes!)

I began soaping to save money.  I now soap to protect my family.  

Now you decide.  Which would you rather use?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Recently I heard of a fragrance company that did a line of fragrance based on the Twilight series.  And with a house full of girls who are crazy about Twilight, I just HAD to have them.  They arrived yesterday, and we sat on the floor smelling them, and talking about colors.  Tonight I soaped our first Twilight soap - Volturi.  It is described as Timeless lemon, lime, lavender and amber combine with cedar, clover and patchouly.  It is a rich, sexy and enticing scent.  It actually smells very nice.  It is a very light fragrance, and pretty masculine.  We chose to use gold, red and black.  I was prepared to soap quickly, and I had heard the scent was a big seizer.  But thankfully, I had no issues with it!  I am SO excited to cut into it to see what we have!  I am working on uploading the video now!


Today I decided to try a new technique - In the Pot Swirl.  I have seen this done several times, and was intrigued.  Yet I hadn't been brave enough to try myself.  Some of the soaps I have seen made this way come out muddled, and others are breathtaking.  The other morning while getting ready for the day, an idea popped in my head.  Galaxy soap.  Blue with orange and yellow accents.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt the ITPS - In the Pot Swirl.

It was actually a lot of fun!  I am SO excited to see it cut!  I am working on the video now!  I learned a lot while making this soap.  I am excited to try it again!  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When soap goes bad

So what happens when you soap with distractions?  Well.... beautiful soap goes BAD!

I have a rule.  When I am measuring my ingredients, kids know mom is out.  I don't want to get confused.  I always double and triple check my measurements, even though I know my recipes by heart.  Well, I have learned I need to make sure my husband adheres to the same policy as the kids!  

Last weekend I decided to make a couple of fall soaps.  I also tweaked my recipe just a bit.  I began measuring, and my husband sat in the room chatting with me.  I kept getting pulled away due to various things, (crying baby, husband needing help, etc).  But I kept going, hoping that I was keeping track of where I was.  You see, making soap is pure science.  And requires precise measurements.  You need a certain amount of oil and liquid for the saponification process to occur.  Not enough oil, and you end up with Lye heavy soap.  Not what you want to bathe in!  (ALL soap is made with Lye, but it does not remain.  More on this later!)

So I set up my camera and soaped away.  I made 2 beautiful loaves of soap.  Everything seemed to be going perfectly.  The next day I checked my soaps, and realized the loaves seemed smaller than usual.  My soaps should fill the mold, and these were quite a bit smaller.  I un-molded them, and began to cut my first loaf.  That is when I realized there was a problem.  Instead of a beautiful, smooth soap, I ended up with a crumbly mess.  I was shocked.  And confused.  I sat with my recipe, and went over my numbers again and again.  And that is when it hit me.  When measuring, I didn't add enough of one of my oils - I read the wrong line.  And now I was stuck with 2 loaves of expensive, pretty, yummy smelling, lye heavy soap.  

Some soapers will re-batch.  (Melt it down and add the oils and re-mold it).  But I just couldn't bring myself to put my beautiful soap into a pot, and watch it turn brown from the colors mixing.  You see, I mix my own colors.  I spent well over an hour mixing until I found the perfect shades for these soaps.  Watching them mix while re-batching  - I just couldn't do it.  But I found some soapers across the country who couldn't wait to get their hands on my soap.  So I mailed that to them last week!  I am excited to see what they do.  

For me, time to soap!  I am going to attempt to re-create my soap, Jupiter and Draco, and hopefully will have better luck this time!  

Happy Soaping!


I have been talking about writing a soaping blog for some time now.  I figured this is a good time!  

I will start with an introduction!

I am a busy stay at home mom of 5.  Yes, 5!  As a stay at home mom, I look for ways to save my family money.  I cloth diaper, use reusable cloth paper towels, and only use reusable snack bags.  One day I got a bee in my bonnet, and decided to try my hand at soap making.  Well, after some research I thought there was no way.  It was complicated, and time consuming.  I discarded the idea.  But I kept hearing little bits of information about the soap we were using, and suddenly my research was back on.  But this time it was not just about saving money, but protecting my family from harmful chemicals.  

My first batch was scary.  I remember lining up my ingredients, and going over my instructions a dozen times.  I intended to make a small batch, but ended up with 10 pounds of soap.  And it isn't pretty, but it is a nice bar of soap!  I had so much fun, I had to try it again. I think my husband realized before I did that this was going to quickly become an obsession.  

Several days later, I had 2 more batches of soap under my belt.  And they were even better than my first batch!  And I knew I was in trouble - I was hooked!  

I cure all of my soap for 6 weeks before we use it.  It was so hard to wait for those first few batches.  I checked them every day.  I almost caved a few times and used it early, but resisted.  In the meantime, I began experimenting with colors, and tweaking my recipe.  I wanted to find something that was my very own creation.  

While I have had some flops, (more on those later!), I have been pretty lucky and most of my batches turn out beautifully.  I always feel like a kid waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve while my soap is in the mold, just begging to be cut.  

So that is how my soaping journey began.  I will post more about the chemicals and my flops soon!  

A quick note - making my own soap has NOT saved me any money.  In fact, quite the opposite!  It is a very expensive hobby!  I am thankful I have been able to turn my passion into my business - and am able to mostly support my habit!