We use butters in many of our soaps.
Cocoa butter is a fatty wax with a buttery texture, it is found in the seeds of the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter is very well known as an excellent skin conditioner and softener with antioxidant properties. We find it a brilliant, luxourius additive to our soap, it also makes the bar harder which inturn helps it last longer, Bonus!
Shea Butter is a smooth, creamy butter that is super moisturizing. It is very gentle on the skin and has anti inflammatory properties which is beneficial to many types of skin conditions. It is a gorgeous addition to soap and features in our Shea and Macadamia Soap scented with our very own grown and distilled lavender oil.
Other butters such as mango and olive (there are many more) will feature in our soaps from time to time, check out the soap individual ingredient list for more details.
When l started soapmaking, l learned so much about Calendula, which is actually a popular herbal ingredient, and have noticed it popping up in skincare products everywhere. You can infuse the petals in oil for a lovely orange colour, blend the petals into soap batches, or use them for scattering on top of finished soap logs. There's even calendula tea at my local health food shop.
Calendula can be used in herbal remedies to heal wounds and soothe skin. It is extremely helpful for dry and irritated skin, and also has proven antibacterial and anti inflammatory benefits. Traditionally used for the treatment of acne, grazes, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
Cold pressed from the Castor Bean bush, Castor Oil is unsurpassed in terms of skin repair and is a popular healing agent for many skin problems and a natural remedy for dry skin. The triglyceride fatty acids present in Castor Oil help the skin to restore the natural moisture balance, thus preventing unnecessary dryness. Castor Oil also has many antibacterial properties and is fabulous in handmade soap for creating a rich lather with huge glossy bubbles!
I'm not aware of any therapeutic benefits from adding chocolate to soap...well...l guess anything chocolate is good, if you can count that! But cocoa powder is an excellent natural colorant used in selected soap recipes, and it also lends a lovely chocolatey scent to soaps it is used in.
So enjoy...but please don't eat it!
Coconut oil is a soapmaker's staple - thick and creamy, it is responsible for producing a beautiful bubbly lather in handmade soap, and contributes hardness to the bar. Extracted from the seed of the coconut palm, it is also widely used in skincare products and is said to prevent the skin from drying out and promote a smooth soft texture.
DEAD SEA MUD
For quite a while l have been hankering to make a muddy soap...something with charcoal or black colouring, or mud, or Rhassoul Clay...or just *something* muddy in it. l used to adore clay facial masks, and am really getting into the whole skincare thing and wanting to experiment a bit. And on my travels l discovered a supplier who sells Dead Sea Mud.
After it arrived, l did some research. Mostly because my partner John spent the next 20 minutes doubled over with laughter when l told him l'd bought a kilogram of mud. He offered to dig me up some dirt from the veggie patch to put in my soap. Not funny! So here's what l found out.
Dead Sea mud, also known as black mud, is a high quality, mineral-rich mud used for centuries for its cosmetic and health benefits, sourced from the Dead Sea in Israel. Because the Dead Sea is not connected to any other body of water, it evaporates every year, leaving an extremely high concentration of salts and minerals from seawater to soak into the mud on the sea bed. It is these minerals and salts that give Dead Sea Mud special properties.
Thousands of people every year visit the Dead Sea and there are many photos to be found online of visitors in beachwear slathering themselves in black goop. l can only imagine the smell!
Dead Sea Mud is claimed to:
- pull out toxins and pollutants from the skin, unclogging pores and purifying revealing younger, healthier skin
- remove dirt and cleanse your skin, while infusing it with minerals
- be extremely effective at relieving acne
- improve blood circulation and natural skin re-generation by gently peeling away dead skin cells
Sadly there's some things you can't extract essential oil from - apples, kiwi fruit, raspberries and fairy floss to name just a few! But they DO smell amazing in soap, and that's where cosmetic grade fragrance oils come into their own.
A quality fragrance oil is a blend of various chemical components - some natural, and some synthetic. They are carefully formulated and/or blended to the exact specifications of a perfumer.
My handmade soaps contain fragrance oils that are specified soap safe, and are purchased from reputable fragrance oil companies. l love the fun and freedom they bring to the creative side of soapmaking - l couldn't bear to leave them out.
Goat's Milk Soap has a PH level similar to human skin and is popular for it's healing and moisturising properties. People who prefer goat milk soap claim that it is far less drying and harsh than commercial soap, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how nice your skin feels. The lather is rich, thick and creamy, and a complete treat for dry irritated skin. All of our handmade soaps are gentle and nourishing, but if you're still unsure, then you won't regret trying any of the handmade goats milk soaps first.
My daughters both suffered badly from eczema when they were babies, especially in the creases of their elbows and knees. I really wish l had known about goats milk soap back then, because l would have loved to have found something that made a difference. Instead l wasted my money on detergents and 'soap free' body washes from the chemist, not realising that the harsh chemicals in commercial soap and also the body washes was probably doing more harm than good.
You'll find naturally occuring botanicals in many of my soaps, including our very own lavender buds, grown right here on our farm "Kangaroo Flat" we are located about 30 minutes drive from Orange, smack bang in the middle of food & wine lovers country! We grow roughly thirty different varieties, they are all so wonderful. Lavender contains a multitude of benefits for your skin and senses, and is used in quantities you can actually see for yourself - instead of leaving you wondering whether it was just waved over the top of the soap :-)
Olive oil is an extremely moisturising oil, and makes wonderful soap that is hard but also non-drying and extremely gentle on the skin. It is a fantastic source of natural vitamin E, and soothing and healing to all skin types. I use olive oil as the base to all of my soap recipes, each barcontains a substantial amount of coconut oil from 30% to 100%.
Try the benefits of olive oil for yourself by making yourself a quick hand or foot scrub - pour a tablespoon of table salt into the palm of your hand, and cover it in olive oil. Rub your hands together to mix the salt and oil, and then gently rub all over the front and back of your hands. Rinse with a small amount of soap and water, and towel dry. Your hands will feel squeaky clean and smooth as well as incredibly moisturised.
PINK ROSE CLAY
A gorgeous, soft and smooth French Argiletz clay. Mild and gentle in its actions, this superfine dusky rose coloured clay is used for extra-sensitive and mature skin.
Pink clay exhibits a softening effect on the skin's texture and is a beautiful natural soap colorant.
RED COSMETIC CLAY
Clays are natural silicates of the earth and draw toxins out of the skin like a magnet. Clay cleans the skin, revitalises and leaves the complexion looking radiant.
Cosmetic Red Clay has been purified for use on the skin, and is rich in trace elements with its red colour coming from a high iron oxide content.
It can't be denied that by itself, Sodium Hydroxide is neither soothing or skin loving, however it is a necessary part of the soapmaking process. Despite what people may claim, you can't make soap without Sodium Hydroxide (also known as caustic soda). Soapmaking begins with melted oils, and by adding a mixture of Sodium Hydroxide and water, a chemical reaction is started, called Saponification. The result of this reaction is soap, which is actually a salt.
So although caustic soda is used as an ingredient in the initial stages of soapmaking, there is absolutely none left in any self respecting bar of soap, because it has all been used up by the chemical reaction of saponification. React A with B and you end up with C - soapmaking works on this principle - the act of causing the chemical reaction changes the original ingredients and creates something completely new. In this case - Soap!
A correct recipe is essential for any soapmaker, and every batch is measured out in minute detail, always making sure there is more oil in the recipe than called for. This is called super-fatting, and makes sure the caustic soda is fully activated and used up as well as adding extra moisturising benefits to the soap because of the extra oil content.