Today’s Inspiration Saturday post veers away from the realm of yarn and knitting, and towards a newer obsession that’s been piquing my interest lately thanks to Sweet Sheep: handmade personal care products. Specifically, handmade soap.
Soap is made by an interesting chemical reaction (called “saponification“) that occurs when you mix together fats/tallows/oils and lye in certain quantities. There are a few benefits to using handmade soap. Firstly, handmade soap retains all the natural glycerin that is produced during the saponification process so it is extra moisturizing.
Secondly, one can custom blend the types of oils used to produce specific results (such as using olive oil for a harder bar, sea salt for extra minerals, or shea butter for additional moisturizing properties). Of course this also means one can control whether they use soap made with organic ingredients or particular fragrances and colorants.
Thirdly, they’re really beautiful! The prettiness factor can’t be ignored. You will never find a mass-produced bar of soap that looks so delicious. You likely won’t find any that feel or smell nearly as good, either.
Finally, and most importantly, I love the creative aspect of handmade soaps. Some soaps (as proven above) seem practically edible! I think there’s something really special about taking a humble and unassuming bar of soap and turning it into something delightful and extraordinary. Why not add a little whimsy to your day, amIright? Speaking of extraordinary: that pie soap was made by an 11 year old kid, and he donates half his proceeds to a supportive housing coalition! You can check out his story on the Soap Queen blog. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is!
Within the last 6 months or so, I’ve gone from a plastic-poof-and-body-wash kinda gal to an artisan bar soap user, all the way. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll venture into cold process soapmaking territory quite yet (there’s a fair bit of equipment involved and lye is pretty nasty stuff to work with) but there are some amazingly creative things you can do with pre-made soap bases, which I’m hoping to explore soon. What kind of soap do you use? Had you ever thought about handmade soaps before? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us and link up you post in the comments!