Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saponification Sunday. That was then, this is now.

My first bar of soap (above) was hideous. Oh sure, at first glance it doesn't look too bad but inside it was pure ugly. Made of store bought EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), Crisco Shortening and Lye Water, it barely made any suds and made my skin feel like I been to a Brillo Pad Spa.

I cut it up and showed it off like it was a brick of gold, I was so proud. My husband and number one fan grabbed one for the shower and even when he came out of the loo with bleeding limbs he still claimed it wonderful.

Which is probably why I went on to make even more soap. Nothing like false praise to keep a beginner in the race.

My next batch was even more glorious as I "advanced" to coloring my soap with a neon blue Crayola Crayon and I scented it with some old perfume I had. Evening in Paris I believe. Yes, it was THAT old. I think I may have used some coconut oil as it did give me some lather. A well meaning family member suggested I try selling some. Perhaps hoping there would be none left to gift her with.

Oh great, now I was really encouraged.

So I kept at it. I made tons of mistakes. I watched tons of You-Tube videos. Some were even about soap making...insert groan here...But why not? If you can learn to castrate pigs  via video You-Tube then why not soap making I rationalized. I am embarrassed to admit I never took a soap making class preferring to bumble through alone.

A wonderful daughter gave me a soap making book about a year into this new hobby. Should've bought myself one at the beginning but that would've been too easy. It helped tremendously.  As I got better, I pitched the crayons, latched on to using natural plants for colorings and essential oils for scents. I experimented with all kinds of GOOD oils and pitched the Crisco.

I even stopped using the Crisco in my cooking switching to the wonderful coconut oil I had laying around in 5 gallon buckets. Makes better soap and turns out better for our veins as well. I continued to learn by watching really good soapers make soap, reading endless soap blogs and getting totally hooked on the facebook Soap Page (The Soap Bar Blog)

Over the last two years both my soap making skills and my soap photography skills improved. And my husband no longer comes out the shower oozing ruptured RBC's

So to all you beginning soapers who wonder what you've gotten into and why...I really have no idea, just thought I'd share my soap story  :)

Carry on.


  1. I enjoyed reading about your soaping journey, Donna! I am one of those types that has to study and analyze everything before I try something, so I spent a lot of time reading books, blogs, and forums before I did anything. (And even then I still didn't feel completely prepared.) My first batch was a simple uncolored batch made with olive, coconut, and palm oils. It was very plain, but I sure was proud of it. Your husband sounds sweet - my hubby is a big fan of my soaps, too!

  2. You made me think of that old saw...."every day in every way wer'e getting better and better....."

  3. This story reminds me...I need to go give blood today. LOL

  4. I wonder how many soapers end up eating part of their coconut oil supply. I know I did. If you do much research about using it in soap, you are bound to also see the health benefit to eating it.

  5. Jenny, my hubbs is one of a kind, well maybe two of a kind since yours sounds pretty good too

    MBJ Beatles?

    Doug. You are very warped. My kind of people

    Anon. Yeah, its funny. Seems pretty much most od what I put in my soaps is edible. So many food issues, so little time

  6. I learned by myself as well. With materials and stuff very foreign to me. I put on big gloves, goggle glasses and had a racing heart the first time I mixed lye. Until I realized that it's not that big of deal - just be safe and don't pour any in your eyes and you will be fine.

    Yet. After a long time making soap, I just cut a batch yesterday that looked positively rudimentary. I don't know what happened.

    So the journey continues...!

  7. Just discovered Coconut oil for cooking. I almost took a spoon to it. No wonder the soap feels so awesome.

  8. Hurray for false praise! :D Loved reading about your soap journey. Thanks for sharing!