(continues from Wild Woman’s “as natural as possible” handmade soap: Part 1)
Q5. What was your very first batch of soap, and how did it turn out?
My very first batch of soap was Melinda Coss’ baby soap, from The Handmade Soap Book. This is a lovely recipe that turned out very well, probably because I had all the ingredients and followed the recipe exactly!
Q6. Would you describe your most memorable batches of soap: your “perfect” batch and your “monster” batch.
My most perfect batch of soap comes from my own recipe and is also my favorite. This embodies my favorite soap qualities: hardness, smoothness, creaminess, with excellent lather and conditioning. When dry it feels like glass, when wet it’s like a lotion.
I’ve had several monster batches, the worst being a 2 year battle with DOS. This didn’t end until I learned about the roles water content, fresh oils and lye, and metal shelving play in the process. I’m a DOS-phobe to this day!
Q7. Which soapmaking method(s) do you prefer and why?
I make cold process soap. It’s what I know, and I usually get consistent results from it. I enjoy the unique challenges it presents with regard to natural color and fragrance.
I’ve heard good things about Hot Process and CPOP, and would like to try them, but am a bit hesitant about the learning curve.
Q8. Which are your favourite ingredients and where do you buy them?
I love the ‘extras’ that make soap special – castor oil for lather, cocoa butter for hardness, rice bran oil for conditioning, etc. I buy as many ingredients as I can locally, and have other suppliers in the US.
Q9. Do you think making soap has wider significance than just making a consumable, and why?
Over the years I have stopped buying many home and body care products. Instead, I make my own. There are many excellent recipes available that yield high quality items using simple, everyday ingredients. These products are better for our bodies, our homes, our environment and for our wallets. They also do the job as well, or better, than the commercial brands. Big business teaches that we aren’t able to make our own supplies – this is simply not true.
Q10. What do you enjoy most about soapmaking and what do you like the least?
I love the creative aspect, the exploration, the challenge – taking my recipe and using special ingredients and techniques to create a bar of visual and sensual beauty. Aside from my basic, unscented soaps, I seldom make the same bar twice.
I’m not a big fan of soap wrapping, and tend to put it off. I also hate cleaning up the kitchen!
Q11. Choose three words that describe your personality as a soap/toiletry maker.