Tag Archives: soap recipe

How to Make (Real) Soap

I’ve had many people tell me that if they were stranded on a deserted island, I would be their first choice of a partner. It’s not because of my charm. It’s because… there’s a bit of MacGyver in me. I was the kid who dismantled broken clocks, watches, appliances… and as an adult was able to put some of them back together, without any many parts left over. Just ask Wendy, my old roommate. 🙂 I’m always learning how things are made, and usually try to make them myself. Just because.

I made soap for the first time about 20 years ago. Of course, I had to buy beef fat to render into tallow — no wimpy bottled oils for my soap! It was fun and successful enough for me to repeat the process. But then life got busy and I left soap making for my future.

Which came about last year, when I challenged myself to make, from scratch and with safe and natural ingredients, as many household and personal products as I could. I found a really nice bath/body bar soap recipe and love the gentle, moisturizing soap so much that I’ve stuck with that same recipe ever since. This recipe happens to be mostly vegetarian (depending on how you view beeswax) and I use all organic, food-grade ingredients. Well, except for the lye. Lye is… lye.

Making soap is EASY and will be successful if you follow the directions. The most important thing to remember is that there is chemistry behind the “turning fat into soap” process ( Saponification ) and so the ingredients must be measured accurately. Lye can also seem scary to people, but if you are careful and smart about handling lye it is not a problem. Get careless and you could burn a hole through your flooring, counter top, clothes, skin… you get the idea.

So here’s the process. You can skip directly to the recipe if you’re experienced in soap making. Continue reading

Lotions and Potions – Do it yourself!

debsters lab signAs a child, I was a bit of a junior scientist, experimenting with mixing fragrances and ingredients from the spice cabinet to make new and amazing concoctions. Always testing, testing, testing things to see what I could make, how things work together and learning along the way. As an adult, I became interested in the process of making soaps, non-toxic household cleaners and whatever else I could create using essential oils and simple ingredients—including lotions and potions to slather on my body. Just for fun.

remineralizing toothpasteFast forward to just a few years ago, when I got serious about reading labels on store-bought products: moisturizers, creams, toothpaste, makeup, deodorant… and it occurred to me that anything it put on my body will certainly end up in my body. Why expose myself to unpronounceable lab-created chemicals, petroleum products and ingredients that are often by-products of some manufacturing practice, which we have been duped into thinking have some curative value? For instance, fluoride in toothpaste was/is a by-product of aluminum manufacturing and before that, atom bomb manufacturing. As disposing of this by-product was expensive and cumbersome, fluoride was artfully finessed into a miracle cure for tooth decay.

the best soap recipeWe know that anything applied to our skin ends up in our bloodstream. Otherwise, nicotine, pain and birth control patches would not work, right? The skin as a barrier (like the legend of the placental barrier) is pure nonsense.

So… being the mad scientist that I am, with a desire to have personal products that are truly natural, organic and nourishing, I began making my own. I’ve found many great recipes on the internet and so have created a DIY personal products page here containing links to “tried and true” recipes. I have also made a page containing recipes for household cleaning products, which are comprised of minimal and less toxic ingredients and work as well, or even better, than something you can buy in a store.

homemade personal productsRecently a couple of people have asked me if I would sell my products at their get-togethers. One is the local chapter of WAPF, a group of people who are more inclined to make their own products than buy mine. But the other is a friend who has formed a therapy ranch for people with brain injuries. She intends to eventually turn her ranch into a CSA. I currently donate my graphic and web skills to her, and am willing to also donate proceeds from the sale of my products. So, with these in mind, I’ve designed a product line called “True Blue” — products that I make that contain nothing but pure, organic, minimal ingredients. The identity design came to me in a flash. The products are not cheap to make, but in comparison to prices of similar commercially-made products from stores, are surprisingly economical and are the real deal. Even commercially-made products that tout themselves as being organic or 100% “natural” have ingredients that I can’t identify. Mine do not. Mine are so pure, made with food grade organic ingredients, that you could actually eat them.