I have a confession. I got into soaping because of a challenge that I joined on Craftster where we have one year to post a completed project in every board. One of the boards is for Bath and Beauty and for that board I decided to try out soaping. Part two of this confession begins like this: I had been blinded by commercialism. I mean, we're all told that the stuff sold in stores has been tested by scientists and FDA approved (when needed) so it MUST be better than handmade, right? Right?
Boy, have I been wrong when it comes to soap... I have been noticing a drastic change in my skin since I've been getting older. This past winter, my skin turned on me and became extremely dry and cracking. Lotions helped a bit, but boy did they burn and hurt :( I switched to the commercial soaps that touted "extra moisturizing" in hopes that they would help save my hands, but it still didn't help. The damage had been done.
Never will I rue the day that I received my first batch of melt and pour soap from Brambleberry and made my first soaps. Already I could feel a difference in the level of moisture in my hands! That made me curious and so I searched for more information on why this was. That's when I happened upon another great website/forum TeachSoap where I met lots of great soapers!
This is what I learned from them and from other searching around the interwebs: Old school cold process soaps are the best. Why is this? Well, commercial soaps start out with cold process, then they reprocess the soap over and over to extract glycerin (a clear and natural byproduct of the soaping process) which is used in many other commercial products (especially in food). Melt and pour soap is a glycerin based soap where extra glycerin is used in the soaping process to make a clear soap. Glycerin is a great moisturizer! So, we have commercial soaps taking the moisturizer out of their soaps and Melt and Pour soaps which are used mainly for being moisturizing (and pretty ^_^). Meanwhile, Cold Process soaps get the best of both the cleansing AND moisturizing worlds!
So, I got curious as to how Cold Process would hold up between the other two extremes, took the plunge and bought 3 wonderful soaps (my mom's day present ^_^) from one of the avid forum users over at TeachSoap, Emily Shieh from Shieh Design Studio. She works with both Melt and Pour (M&P) and Cold Process (CP) soaps.
The three soaps I ordered from her were:
Lilac in Bloom CP
This one still needs to cure, so I haven't been able to use it yet. But it's beautiful to look at and it smells so prettily of lilacs!
Milk Clay Facial CP Soap
This wonderful soap doesn't show it's true sparkle (it actually does sparkle!) until it gets wet. It is a soap suited for oily skin because of the clay in it, which works wonderfully for my forehead and nose (I have combination skin on my face). The bar lathers up nicely and though I was worried about the scent, Red Currant and Thyme, it has turned out to be my favorite scent to date! It makes me extremely happy that this soap is going to last me a long time because it makes my bathroom smell incredibly yummy ^_^
Magnolia and Orange Blossom CP
This bar is just pretty to look at, too. Straight from the packaging, I noticed it had a weird spicy note to it which threw me off, but now that I have let it sit out in the open, it has lost that note and smells wonderfully of the Mangolia floral with just a hint of the orange. It's a harder bar and takes a little bit to come to a lather, but once those bubbles start going they are so nice and creamy. My hands feel squeaky clean after using this bar ^_^
Emily was also incredibly nice and added some other samples of her work into my box :) So along with what I ordered, I received some small pieces of the following soaps to try out!
I had actually posted this one up a couple weeks back. I loved the look of it then, and now I can say I really love the scent. It's a barely-there clean scent and it create bubbles and lather very nicely. This is fighting for the best soap I received from this order (fight for first against the Milk Clay Facial Soap).
I love the soft pink versus the soft gray look of this soap. The scent is very perfume-y to my nose and as such I would use this when I go on date nights with my hubby :) I haven't used this one yet, so I'm not sure how it lathers and cleans yet.
Wild Lavender Honey
This one also threw me off when I first took it out of the package. It smelled heavily of honey, but now that it's been sitting in the air the lavender scent has broken through and smells heavenly with the honey. Again, I haven't used this bar yet so I'm not sure about those details yet.
I've been enjoying my new soaps immensely and my skin has never felt better! Please, go and check out her blog and etsy store for her new and upcoming soaps! She has a couple of pumice scrub soaps curing that I'm thinking about purchasing in the future when I get some extra cash in my pocket!
Also, because of this positive experience has convinced me to start thinking about doing some CP of my own... In fact, I already went out to my local Ace Hardware and purchased my first 16 oz. of lye ^_^;; Now all I need are the oils and correct tools!