It’s a question I’ve been asked more than a few times and I guess it would seem a strange hobby. I have always been an admitted science geek and love to research. My artistic skills are somewhat lacking but I’ve always enjoyed making things by my own hands. Once my friend taught me how to create soap from scratch, I was immediately hooked on the magic of transforming the oils into soap. I buried myself into books, learning all I could about the benefits of different oils, herbs, and spices. I pondered the old homesteader’s recipes and learned a ton about essential oils and aromatherapy. I made tons of batches of soaps, tweaking the recipes and trying new ingredients. I found the chemistry in soap making transfixing and realized I had reached the point of no return when I was taking downspouts and the husband’s pvc pipes for molds. I was eyeballing containers in stores not for their contents but if I could use it for a soap mold; I was a goner. But that doesn’t explain completely why I feel handmade soap beats the usual mass produced soaps.
I have the advantage of using oils depending on what I am wanting to create, not having to consider the cheapest way to make 1000+ bars. If I want an extra gentle soap for delicate skins, I just blend the oils I want and mix away. If I want an all vegetable based or authentic pioneer recipe, I have that option without clearing it through a budget committee. If someone wants a specific smell or herb added, I have that flexibility. I can keep my ingredients all natural and avoid the extra chemicals and petroleum by-products you find in a large portion of the soaps in the store. Handmade soaps also keep their naturally produced glycerin which is something mass produced soaps can’t really say. You can actually read and understand the ingredients listed on my labels. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, there is a real person to ask who is happy to answer your questions.
For the most part, I do not add colorants to my soaps. Some of the essential oils or herbs & spices I add will color the soaps naturally or they remain their natural white to tan color. For example, my homestead soap is white but the chocolate & vanilla soaps are brown. My Texas Suds soap has a light caramel tinge to it while the cinnamon one is a speckled brown. My Castille soap, made from olive oil, has a light green tint to it. I find it quite enjoyable to see what colors the recipe produces. And I get excited when planning a new batch, wondering what colors I might create next.
I make handmade soaps because I enjoy it and I feel it is better for my family. It is all natural, better for us, and I know exactly what I’m rubbing all over me.
Now I must run and get back to the soap pot!