Carmel Lavender offers on-farm workshops in crafting artisan soaps. Through much of history, soap making was the craft of turning natural fatty oils into soap. This was often done at home, or by small artisan soap makers. They used time-honored processes and ingredients which by default, produced natural products. By learning the art of soap making, you can bring naturally made soaps into your home.
Every time we wash our hands, our face or our body, we put soap on our skin. We will wash ten to twenty times a day. It is one of our more frequent rituals. Much attention is given to what goes inside our body. But what about the outside? Our skin is the largest organ. And it is not impermeable. It can absorb toxins directly which make their way into our body. It is therefore important to consider what goes on our skin just as carefully as we consider the food that we eat.
If I were to go snorkeling in shark infested waters, I might scrub myself down with SLS soap, but otherwise I think there are much better choices for the health of my skin.
With the dawn of the industrial age, the soap making became an industrial pursuit. This inevitably lead to price pressure. How to make the cheapest bar of soap. The goal became minimizing costs, and maximizing profits. Industrially manufactured chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and parabens began replacing natural oils and waxes. The result was a bar of soap that lathered and cleaned at a fraction of the cost. But are these chemicals good for our skin? While studies claim that it is safe for use on the skin, I personally prefer more natural alternatives. Other uses of SLS include biocide, shark repellent, and pesticide.
Therefore, soap making for natural living requires the careful selection of the fatty oils that are the fundamental basis for the product. The class covers different oils, and their personalities when they become soap. To the left, we see several different oils used in the class. Can you identify what these are? Many of them are edible and are commonly found in our kitchen for food preparation. Making soap from oils that you feel comfortable putting in your food, makes a lot more sense than soap primarily made from chemicals used as pesticide.
One of the important topics of the class involves soap formulation. We will cover the types of ingredients necessary for a complete formula, ratios, and custom formulation. We will also review the specific formula that will be used for the remainder of the class. Soap formulation requires careful measurement. Also covered are the basic equipment needed, and the proper use. The class is designed to give the student a comfortable working knowledge of everything needed to go home and start making soap.
Safety is an important aspect of soap making. There are materials used in the making of soap that can be hazardous to handle. The class will discuss the commonly used ingredients that can pose safety risk, the safety equipment necessary, and the proper use of the equipment. For soap making to be fun, it is very important to practice safe handling of the materials and so this will be an important topic in the class, and we will practice safety procedures throughout.
As a group, we mix a live batch of soap using a class formula. Students experience directly the process of saponification and watch the soap make its transformation from oils to the final form. The soap batch will then be distributed to the students to begin experimenting with the crafting of unique soaps by adding botanicals and other ingredients. There are many different botanicals that can be used to give soap unique properties and character. Students can experiment on their own while crafting bars of soap they will take home with them for their personal use.
That’s not a glass of chardonnay, those are pure essential oils. One of the most fun ways a soap crafter can impact the final product is through the addition of essential oils. This is also one of the advantages of learning to make soaps on a working lavender farm and essential oil distillery. Essential oils are added to soaps to influence not just the aesthetic but also the therapeutic qualities of the finished soap. And this is one of the major advantages of making your own soap. Every body has unique conditions and requirements. Therefore, when you make your own soap for yourself and your family, you can carefully choose the essential oils to be perfectly matched with your own skin. When you buy soaps, you are forced to buy the ‘least common denominator.” The formula the commercial soap maker has chosen to be most suited to the largest group of potential customers. But when you make your own, you can craft it to your own unique specifications. How perfect is that? We therefore cover the use of essential oils, and the techniques for adding them into our formula.
We hope you will join us for our soap making class at Carmel Lavender. Please click here to check our events page for the next available class. Or you may inquire using the form below. See you there!