Soap Making 101

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by Wise Woman, May 5, 2011.

  1. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    479
    21
    131
    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    I have been making handmade soaps for 10 years now and had a soap and B&B business for 8 years. I noticed there are some soap threads on here but they are so long I don't have the time to read them. So I just wanted to say that if anyone wants to learn to make soap or other B&B products and has a question about it, let me know and I will help you the best I can. My speciality was goat's milk soap and there is a lot of misinformation out there about that, such as you can't get a light colored soap using goat's milk and other things as well. Just wanted to let you know I am here to help if you need it.
     
  2. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    0
    109
    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    [​IMG]

    I also make goat milk soap and started my own business selling it last year. It's just a side job for me, but maybe someday I can turn it into something bigger!

    I don't use any water in my soaps, I just add the lye to frozen milk - is that what you do?
     
  3. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    479
    21
    131
    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Good for you. Best of luck with your business endeavors. We did very well with our soaps, but eventually it all got out of hand and we decided we didn't want to do it full time and closed up. Yes we used 100% goats milk in our soaps. We also made a goat's milk milk bath and had a goat's milk lotion made for us at a cosmetics lab. People loved it!

    On a side note, I have a ton of fragrance and a few essential oils I would love to re-home. If anyone is interested, email me at [email protected]. You can have them free, just pay for the shipping. I need the room in my soap shed for other things now. Perhaps I will put some of my supplies up for sale here if there are enough soapers to warrant it. Good luck in your venture. If I can be of any help let me know. I mentored a lady last year and she now has her own soap biz as well.
     
  4. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    0
    109
    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    email is being sent! I love deals!

    I really want to try making lotion...my neighbor who also makes GM soap does so but she's got me convinced it's harder than it really is.
     
  5. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    479
    21
    131
    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Making lotion isn't that hard. I avoided it for liability reasons as we were selling so much. Having it made for me in a lab meant it was made in sterile conditions, which I could not duplicate in my workshop, and I couldn't make batches large enough for what we needed. So it was easier to have it done for me. However, I did make whipped shea butter, body butters and things like that. I just tried to stay away from anything that involved water and preservatives. There is a ton of info on lotion making online. It is fun and I have done it for myself, just never sold it. I am not an expert at lotion though, so good luck and give it a try.
     
  6. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    0
    109
    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    I'm with you on avoiding water and preservatives, but I've had a few people ask about it. There is a ton of info on-line and it always gets overwhelming when you know nothing about it! When I wanted to start making soap I got so put off by all the conflicting info out there that I almost gave up on the idea. But then the person I bought my first two goats from showed me how and I realized what it basically was, heating oil, adding lye to frozen GM and adding the lye/GM to the oil. That's it. Well, when you break it down that way it doesn't seem so hard.

    Of course, there's all the "other" stuff like superfatting, SAP values and such, but that comes with time and experience.

    Did you make body butters with goat milk too? That's something else a friend of mine was asking about. She buys that expensive stuff from Lush and I looked at the ingredients and wondered why I couldn't do that.
     
  7. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    479
    21
    131
    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    No, I did not use GM in my body butters. Once you add a liquid like water or milk, you are in need of a preservative, so I steered clear of that. You can certainly do it for youself though. I have a recipe that is very good and I would be happy to share it with you, however, I have to be at work in a while, so I would have to do that this evening when I have time to dig through my recipe books. Let me know if you would like it.

    Soap making is not as hard as some people make it seem. When you consider that Sandy Maine from Sunfeather Soaps, made a basic trinity recipe and look how far she got. It does not have to be fancy to be good. I never bothered with actually superfatting my soap. When I make up a recipe, on the lye calculator I just use the 5% lye measurement and so the recipe is automatically superfatted at 5%. No need to add extra oils. Most of the time it is such a small amount that it makes little difference in the soap bar itself. When I am making up a recipe, I don't get too bothered with SAP values either. I just make sure I include something for hardness, for lather and so on and follow recommended amounts. Gets to be old hat after a while and honestly, I never notice that much difference in recipes that are good and so I narrowed mine down to 2. My regular 5 oil GM soaps and a castile GM soap.

    And for what it is worth, most people in the handmade B&B biz think Lush is crap. Have you ever been to the Handmade Soapmakers Guild? I used to be a member and it is a good place to get insurance, which I assume you have if you are already selling. But it is a nice organization to belong to when you are selling soap. Lots of stuff to look at there as well.
     
  8. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    0
    109
    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    I'd love that recipe if you want to share it! No rush - I've got a ton of stuff going on and lots of back stock to make so I probably won't get to trying it out for a bit.

    It's nice, too, to hear that you don't really pay attention to the SAP values. I linger on a soap making forum and it's amazing how into that stuff people get. I feel like I'm in chemistry class again when I really don't need to be. When I create my own recipes I just look at the values for hardness, bubbles, etc - similar to you.

    I have looked at the Soapmakers Guild and am actually going to join it later this year when my current policy is up. I get insurance through the company we get our homeowners through, but I like the perks that come with the guild's membership. Plus it is cheaper.
     
  9. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    479
    21
    131
    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    I think I know which forum you are referring to and yes, some of them make it into rocket science. No need in my book. I sold a lot of soap and I made a wonderful soap. I just followed standard guidelines and then adjusted to my liking. While you should be familiar with SAP values, I dont' think you have to carry it to the extreme that some people on that board do. But to each their own I suppose. I don't go there much anymore.
     
  10. glenolam

    glenolam Chillin' With My Peeps

    483
    0
    109
    Aug 19, 2009
    Canterbury, CT
    Hey Wise Woman!! Did I miss something? I haven't seen any of the FOs or anything else in the auction section. Maybe I'm just too slow and missed it?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by