I live on a century-old family homestead and have heard many stories of the trials, tribulations and accomplishments our grandparents and great-grandparents endured. I was interested in learning about some of the old ways and processes used on the farm that provided many of the things we take for granted today. Soap, in particular, was made from mixing a combination of refined fat (lard) taken from farm stock, and mixing it with lye. I haven't used lard in my soap yet but I plan to in the near future. Instead, I find environment-friendly and sustainable oils, such as coconut, olive, sunflower, palm, almond, avocado and castor oils. Shea, mango and cocoa butters may also be used.
I took soap making classes, experimented with recipes and spent many hours studying essential oils and aromatherapy. I am currently in my second year of studying to become a certified Aromatherapist.
Learning about the different chemicals used in mass-produced soap, which are known to be harmful to our bodies, encouraged me to go back to the basics of soap making. I realized that creating beautiful scented soap was a fun hobby that could possibly become a business.
Adding pure genuine essential oils from respected international companies to the soap formulation makes each bar unique. Some of these oils are orange, peppermint, patchouli, lavender, anise, vanilla, cedarwood, ylang ylang, clove, cinnamon, grapefruit and lemon. There may be soaps made with fragrance oils as well, which have been purchased from reputable, soap manufacturing companies.
The recipes I use make between 8-20 bars which differ in size and weight. Essential oils and fragrances create the unique scents. Dried flowers, seeds, grains, and sea salt, may be used to give an exfoliant texture to the bar of soap. Once the soap is cut the bars must cure for a minimum of 4 weeks to ensure the soap is thoroughly hardened and will last a longer time.
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