One of the newest additions to our online Bookstore, Soapmaking the Natural Way by Rebecca Ittner features 45 melt & pour recipes that rely on natural ingredients for color, scent, and character. Ittner does a great job of showcasing how natural additives can be used to enhance glycerin soaps. You'll find page after page of colorful, unique soap projects with easy to follow instructions. Soapmaking The Natural Way would make a great book for first time soapers, or for melt & pour enthusiasts that haven't branched out into using natural additives yet. It covers a pretty good range of Essential Oil combinations, natural exfoliants, and ingredients used for color and texture.
I tried out two recipe from the book, Milk & Honey, and Himalayan Magic. Both recipes are from the Exfoliate section of the book, simply because exfoliating soaps are my personal favorite variety of melt & pour.
You can see the Himalayan Magic soaps on the right, and the Milk & Honey soaps on the left. Of the two recipe, Milk & Honey was by far my favorite. It had a nice aroma, even before I added the Vanilla. I cheated a bit for the sake of thrift, and used Fench Vanilla Fragrance Oil in place of Vanilla Essential Oil, but even with that concession the bars smelled very nice. Also, since we don't carry a Shea Butter Suspension Base, as called for in the book, I used half Shea Butter Melt & Pour Base and half Suspension Melt & Pour Base. I think the color and the texture of the soaps turned out very nicely. They are rich, creamy, and they lather very well. What more could you ask for in a glycerin soap?
As for the Himalayan Magic, I wasn't as impressed. I had my concerns about the salt and soap mixing when I looked at the recipe, but decided to suspend disbelief for a moment and give it a shot. Mixing the Himalayan Salt into the melted Soap Base went about as well as I expected, which was not very well. The salt clumped and sank, and for the life of me I could not get it to mix, let alone suspend in the soap. If there is a trick to this recipe, Ittner did not include it. On the other hand, the soaps smelled wonderful. The combination of Rose and Geranium was very pleasant, and suited the color of the soap quite well. I should also note that although the salt did not spread out in the soap, it still looks very pretty suspended in chunks through the middle of the bars.
I am looking forward to trying out many more of the recipes in this book. A few that have particularly peaked my interest are: Brown Sugar & Vanilla, Ladies Citrus Shave, Orange Marmalade, and Carved Quartz. Kristi at Fiber Fool made up her own batch of the Ladies Citrus Shave from this book. They are gorgeous, so make sure to stop by her blog and check them out!
Have you read this book? If so, please share your own review in the comments below!