Soapmaking 101: Handmade soap basics
There are many ways of making soap, and consequently many different types of soap. As SoapNatch'ers, we encourage you to aim for the best, that is, for handmade soap that is as natural as possible. Here is our descriptive definition:
As natural as possible handmade soap:
Soap that is made through a process that exploits the naturally occurring saponification reaction between natural fatty acids (vegetable oils, animal fats) and an alkaline solution, using as little chemicals (catalysts, surfactants, scenting agents, synthetic additives) as possible.
So as to be as natural as possible, handmade soap uses ingredients and tools that are both sustainable and locally available, in order to leave the lightest possible footprints in the environment. All soapmaking methods that fit these goals are described in the Natural Soapmaking Handbook and referenced to from the Soapmaking Information section on this Website.
In our definition, natural handmade soap does not include Melt & Pour, nor industrially manufactured soap bases (soap flakes, soap noodles), but can be made starting from naturally handmade, glycerin-rich soap bases through a method called rebatching, also explained in detail in the Natural Soapmaking Handbook.
If you are new to soapmaking and would like to learn how to make natural handmade soap without wasting time, money and resources... we suggest that you start with a good soapmaking book.
Once you have gained a good understanding of soapmaking, you can refer to the Soap Naturally/Natural Soapmaking Web Table of Contents for the largest online collection of natural handmade soap recipes and natural skin care resources.
Don't forget you can also access the Soap Naturally/Natural Soapmaking community & social media platforms for topical suggestions and advice from expert soapmakers!
If you have any soap making related questions that are not addressed here, feel free to contact the ListMums for soapmaking advice.
Page last updated 07 jan 2015