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Love is in the air...

Love is in the air! Whether you’re for or against the celebration of Valentine’s Day, it’s

happening, and it is hard to escape the fever of roses, gifts and cards that settles on

everyone in the days leading up to it. Inevitably, thoughts turn to love and relationships, and

it’s not a stretch to suggest that soapmaking and relationships have a lot in common.

You must approach each with care; focus on quality; put in the right ingredients; remember

to keep enjoying yourself; learn from your mistakes. Learning how to get these things right

is a process: it takes time, research, and practice. You need to give in to it to be sustained by

it; you need to trust that some parts will require magic and some will require work.

The recipe for true love is something I can’t help you with, but the recipe for a great soap?

I’m your girl! Like love, soap is not the same for everybody, and my perfect soap recipe will

be different from yours. Luckily, there are ways to formulate a soap recipe to improve your

chances of making your dream soap.

Different ingredients result in a different final product, so how you incorporate them into a

recipe is important. I’ve written about ingredients, like olive oil and coconut oil before, and you can read more about the basic chemistry that forms the foundation of soap making here.

The most basic soap recipe uses a 34/33/33 ratio. A common combination would be 34%

olive oil, 33% coconut oil and 33% palm oil. These oils compliment each other perfectly:

olive oil is moisturising and coconut oil is cleansing and encourages large bubbles. Palm oil is

also a lathering agent, and it produces a hard bar. You can read more about using palm oil

For something a little bit more complicated, you could try another standard: 30/30/30/10.

Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil and an added 10% of a luxury oil, like mango butter or sweet

almond oil. Luxury oils are usually extra nourishing but in high amounts can lead to a soft -

and expensive – bar of soap. I use a small amount of rosehip oil in the Rose Clay soap.

Rosehip oil is rich in vitamins A and C, hydrating and regenerative, and adds a definite touch

of luxury to this amazing bar.

The first soaps I made were a simple olive oil/coconut oil/ shea butter recipe, and you can

find one here Palm Oil Free Soap | The Soap Kitchen™ . This is still one of my favourite soap

recipes, unfussy and full of goodness, but as long as you stick to the general rule of 60%

hard oils (solid at room temperature) to 40% soft oils (liquid at room temperature) with a

little bit of research you could be making soap with as many as 8 different oils.

Once you’ve decided what type of soap you’d like to make – is your perfect bar cleansing?

Nourishing? Lathers with big bubbles? Rock hard? And how simple or complex you’d like

your recipe to be, you’ll need to either find a recipe from a source you trust, or formulate

your own recipe using knowledge of the individual properties of your ingredients and a lye


It takes a while to get it right, but the results are worth it. Like I said, it’s a process. Not

something that is perfected in a day but requires time, patience, and love. Just like


Happy Valentine’s Day xx

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