I love creating. I love learning. Combine the two and I am like a kid in a candy shop! Soap making is a great way to combine the two. So when I was asked a few years ago if I could make soaps and candles for a boutique looking for a new supplier, I said yes without hesitation. Little did I know what I was getting myself into. Soaping isn’t for the faint of heart.
Types of Soap
Anyone who has strolled through the aisles in the craft stores has seen the big blocks of soap and the colors and fragrances to go with it. This soap is pretty simple for the small time crafter. It’s called melt and pour, or MP for short. It’s simple to work with and requires no dangerous chemicals or ample supplies of oils. You take it home, chop it up, microwave it, color and scent it, and pour it in the mold. Within a few hours you have a useable bar of soap.
The big daddy of soaps is known as cold process soap. This is the method with gloves, goggles, lye, various oils, essential oils, and exact measurements. It can be intimidating, especially knowing your working with a caustic material, lye. This soap also requires patience, as it needs a cure time. You make the soap and then let it sit on a shelf to dry and finish the saponification process. This generally takes 6-8 weeks.
After agreeing, I took to the internet. First off I went and got a few books off Amazon. I scoured them through and through once I got them. I pinned like crazy on Pinterest. I googled popular scents and got a feel for what was selling. I bought some MP soaps to get some product out like yesterday. I ordered a small fortune of essential oils and colorants. And then I melted, scented, and colored only to never follow through beyond a couple batches. Did I mention that I was running two coffee shops and a bakery at the time?
As I researched I started seeing the trend of what people really want when buying soap. I can tell you one thing…. People really didn’t want MP soaps. Yes, they look gorgeous. Yes they are quick and produce an instant result. What they don’t have is that true artisan touch that people want. Soap buyers are also looking for as few additives in their soap, they are true naturalists. Your MP soaps tend to have more ingredients in them than necessary.
So I didn’t touch my soap supplies for a few years. I’ve since closed my shops and now focus on my household, my cakes tutorials, and all this blog entails. I have rekindled my soaping fascination and am still at the baby stages of what I can do. This gives you an excellent opportunity to learn and grow with me. Thankfully at this point I have more patience to learn slowly and properly. I have time to research products and recipes. I also have time to price compare which is key if you wish to sell your soap. I feel like I can enjoy this and take this in a direction that is beneficial to me. Last thing I want to do is haphazardly throw soaping into the mix and not give it the attention it deserves.