Senin, 11 Januari 2010

Simple Pleasures: Handmade Soap

A friend made this for me when I realized that even Dr. Bronner's soap was giving my little one a rash.  Soap is tricky, since good natural soap is the product of lye and oils, which means we can't only go on ingredients, the soapmaking process is important too (so all the lye is processed correctly). 

Knowing who makes your soap is fun! If you have a local artisan who has their soap at your health food store or farmer's market, it's nice to try a bar and see how it feels.  Our special-made Simply Coconut soap has Coconut Milk (the liquid, this can be teas, water, milks, or other liquids), tallow (for hardness, tallow makes soap last longer), olive oil (which has moisturizing properties if I remember correctly), and coconut oil for the nice lather.  A soap artisan will balance different fats to do different things in their soaps, which I've looked into a little bit but don't know a whole lot about.  I just know that we appreciate simple good-quality soap with pure ingredients!

Some cautions when looking at handmade soap: I check ingredients carefully and avoid fragrance oils, since they are synthetic.  Also, hand-poured soap seems to mean that it came from a mass-produced block (with possible undesirable ingredients), was melted down, had additives (synthetic or natural) mixed in, and then is poured out again.  Natural soaponified oils (that's the process of mixing oils with lye to make the soap) with essential oils and other natural additives are quite sufficient for cleaning, I haven't found the need for anything synthetic.  Also, the soap needs to be processed and cured right, or there can be little pockets of lye, so it's good to buy from an experienced soap artisan.

I'm still using the tooth soap I talked about earlier this year.  I've also used this Simply Coconut soap as shampoo with success (still the vinegar rinse), and used it to brush my teeth as well.  I'm starting to think that we don't need nearly as many 'personal care products' as are being marketed to us ;-)


My friend and favorite soap artisan Nicole is willing to do a few full-batch orders of all natural soap for those who are ready to make the switch to natural soap for their families.
A batch is ten 4-ounce bars. They will need a few weeks to cure, as they are specially made to order. A batch costs $40 but she'll throw in free shipping as a bonus for my readers. Email me carafaus at gmail dot com if you're interested and I'll forward your information along to Nicole.

How about you? Have you found a hand-made soap that you like?

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