Saturday, March 7, 2009

Adventures in Liquid Soapmaking

I am not a master at liquid soapmaking by any means...
but, boy, I can't wait 'til I am!

When I first started making soap, I eagerly added liquid soapmaking to my list of things to learn. But it took some time for me to actually make my first attempt, for two main reasons.

The first is that I am utterly smitten with making bar soap - to the point of addiction. It's a very soothing and therapeutic endeavor for me. I think I could make soap every day for the rest of my life (and believe me, I'm trying!) and never fully explore all the traditions, techniques and methods of soapmaking. And while I tend to specialize in bringing something different to the table with my soaps, there is an infinite number of oils, herbs and additives to discover and experiment with.

The second reason is that I feel a bit of a hypocrite. I believe that the advent of liquid soap has somehow diminished the soap bar - as if squeezing out of a bottle is so much more convenient that using a bar of soap. My goal with this entire process is to promote great skin health with handcrafted products made with incredible ingredients, and soap is the ideal place to start. How can I help the public recapture their love for beneficial and wholesome bar soap if I'm also promoting liquid soap?

But I managed to resolve my internal moral dilemma, and all it took was reading the labels of a few bottles of shower gel, shampoo, hand soap and dish detergent. I've been reading labels for years and can tell you what most of the ingredients are and what they're for, even if I can't pronounce them. And one thing not included in most of these ingredient listings is soap. Oh, they may contain a chemical that makes it clean like soap, another chemical that makes it emollient like soap, and even one that makes it bubble like soap. But is it soap? Nope.

So I took to my crockpot and started making liquid soap.

I did my research and experimented and came up with specific formulas with ingredients to target very specific needs and began bottling up laundry detergent, dish detergent, shampoo, shower gel, hand soap - even dog soap!

My clothes have never been softer, whiter & brighter.
My dishes and glasses have never been sparklier.
My hair has never felt healthier or softer.
Bella (my in-laws' black lab) has stopped scratching and her coat is shiny and bright.

And my skin?

My hands in particular are thanking me. My hands, like so many others, spend more time in water than out. This is the first winter my hands haven't dried, cracked or peeled. My nails appear much more healthy. No itching. No flaking. Just smooth, pink, healthy looking and feeling skin. Oh, and handcrafted liquid soap is the absolute best to shave with! No more nicks, cuts, scrapes or scratches!

So, I'm making time these days to gain more experience in making liquid soap. However, I think I could make liquid soap every day for the rest of my life (and believe me, I'm trying!) and never fully explore all the traditions, techniques and methods of liquid soapmaking.

Lucky Me!

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