Shopping for Soap Making or Bath & Body Products eBooks

Copyright 2014-2016

by Lisa Maliga

tapiocashampoobarKINCrafting books are always in demand, especially around the holiday season. In 2011, I published my first melt and pour soap crafting ebook. Since then, I’ve noticed a proliferation of other ebooks on all types of soap crafting methods, along with how to make other bath and body products. Many of them are written by authors who write about a variety of nonfiction topics.

Last month I was contacted by an author of a soap making book in search of a review. I was interested in seeing what types of soap it covered so I agreed to look at it. When I received the PDF copy, I noticed it had photos, always a plus, but the material seemed to be regurgitated. After reading it, I learned nothing new. Contacting the author to inquire about her soap making experience, I didn’t receive a response.

And that’s the problem with many of the newer titles; the author is just repeating facts they’ve either read online or in other books. Some of them aren’t avoidable, like the history of soap making, but others are. There have even been cases of ebooks that were “written” by authors who found content/recipes on websites, copied and pasted them into a file, and slapped their name on the content.

What I’d encourage you to do when buying nonfiction titles is to take a minute or two and see if the author is an expert in the field they are writing about. When it comes to soap, lip balm, lotions, perfume etc., see if they discuss how they make and/or sell the product[s]. If they don’t sell what they are writing about, then check to see how long they’ve been making the products.

MOREJOYmedOther tips on finding worthwhile ebooks:

~ How long is the book? Amazon posts an approximate page count, as do other online bookstores. Using the sample feature can give you a clue as to how long the book is, especially if it contains a table of contents. In fact, most nonfiction books should contain one.

~ What is the book’s price? Free. Well, why not take a chance if you have the room [and the time!] but for books priced at $0.99 and above, I’d recommend that you read the sample to see if it’s going to be of interest to you. Another gripe readers may have with a soap crafting book is that it might be about a different type of soap making technique than what they’re seeking. By checking out the sample you avoid downloading the “wrong” type of ebook.

~ Does the book include recipes? Does it only contain recipes? Are the recipes indicated by grams/ounces? Both? If it only contains recipes, does it give information that might be necessary such as safety tips, where to buy supplies, basic facts about soap and/or other body products? For those who make soap from scratch, recipes with accurate measurements are imperative as lye, oils, water and other additives must be carefully calculated.

~ Is a supplier/resource section included? I think it’s helpful to provide resources so that people can easily locate any of the ingredients that the author writes about. When I first began crafting melt and pour soap, I didn’t have any ebooks to read with lots of pictures and step by step instructions. Now all of us do, as there are many to choose from!

Shea Butter Soap Recipe

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2011-2014

shea butter melt and pour soapShea butter is a popular additive to soaps, lotions, creams, lip balms, shampoos, conditioners, and lotion bars. Why? The healing qualities of this African nut fat abound, helping those with dry skin, sunburn, minor skin irritations, and in just plain softening and conditioning the skin and hair. You can use either refined or unrefined shea butter in your soaps. You can also purchase a soap base with shea butter already included.

 

INGREDIENTS:
8 oz. opaque melt & pour soap base
1 teaspoon shea butter
1/2 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil

MOLD:
Two 4-oz. rectangle molds

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Slice up the opaque soap base into cubes.
2. Melt the shea butter and the soap in a double boiler OR crock pot.
3. Pour into molds.
4. Refrigerate or freeze until soap is hardened.
5. Unmold and allow to return to room temperature.
6. Wrap in cling wrap.
7. Label.

This recipe is from the eBook The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting.

Interview with a Soap Crafter – Odette Handley, Riverlea Soap

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2014

Hello Everyone!

Ocean Breeze Melt & Pour Soap
Ocean Breeze Melt & Pour Soap

Today is the first interview with a soap crafter. Allow me to introduce Odette Handley of Riverlea Soap. This very talented lady is from South Africa and she makes some beautiful soap–as you can see. Here is what she has to say about the joys of making soap and running her own business. [Click images to enlarge].

 

Cupcake Soap
Cupcake Soap

What prompted you to start working with melt and pour soap?
I had been making CP soap and was looking for a soap to behave in a different manner, and I wanted to make clear soaps so I thought I would try MP as it didn’t look too difficult. Boy was I wrong. After my first attempt I packed it all away and didn’t try it again for a year. In that time I did some research and realised it could not be as hard as I imagined. I was right I love it now.

What other types of soap do you craft?
I make a lot of CP bars. I think working with CP is my favourite. It is so versatile. I have been known on the odd occasion to make liquid soap and Body Butter. Do you also make bath & body products? Yes I make lotions, bath oils, liquid soaps body butters and fizz bombs and solid bubble bath.

When did you decide to sell your soap?
This was very soon after I started making soap in 2007. I saw a gap in the market for natural novelty soaps that looked like cup cakes and slices of cakes. So I changed direction slightly from the bars of soap and when straight to desserts.

Do you also sell your soap at crafts fairs/markets, stores, etc.?
Yes I do and I LOVE it. It is such a great way to meet your clients. They come back for more at every market. The least I can do I be there to sell it to them.

If selling online – what are the advantages to selling online?
I love selling on line because it is almost passive income. I have already made the soap so it is not a custom order. I already have the ingredients in boat loads so when some one buys on line there is no stress as it is already pre packed. You just fill the order, take payment and ship it. Easy peasy.

What is your favourite fragrance or essential oil?
My favourite EO is Neroli by far. I love this EO so much. The smell gets me every time. Fragrance would have to be Green Tea, uplifting and fresh. What are your most popular scents?

My most popular are Vanilla, lemon Verbena, Lavindin EO, I have some spicy ones for the guys and those always sell well.

What soap crafting books have you read?
Oh now that’s a list. I am an avid reader so I have a lot. My first book was Soap Naturally by P Garenza & Tadiello which I read from cover to cover while lying in hospital recovering from a back operation. I also have Soap handmade and pure by Tatyana hill, Soap bubbles and scrubs by Nicole Seabrook, Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin Dunn , Soap crafting by Anne Marie Faiola, Natural soapmaking by Bev Messing, Soapmaking the Natural way by Rebecca Ittner, The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss, Gourmet Soaps made Easy-Melinda Coss, SoapyLove Squeaky Clean soap projects-Debbie Chialtas, Bath Bombs, Elaine Stavert, The Soapmakers Companion- Susan Cavich, The Everything Soapmaking book-Alica Grosso… And more. I love to read.

Where do you get your soap/packaging ideas?
I love Pinterest so I get quite a few ideas there but my sister is a chef so I get a lot of inspiration from food books.

Packaging is another story… I really battle with this and find myself lost on many occasions. I think I need an intervention. Ha ha.

What advice would you give to new soap crafters?
Be methodical, work tidy, have fun and grow organically. Don’t try to do it all at once. Your most important aspect of you business is cash flow. Manage like a tight fisted old lady.

How did you come up with your company’s name?
That was a tough one. We went round in circles a lot. We were moving from the city (Durban on the east coast) to our farm in the Midlands and I thought maybe if the soap is made there I would take on the name of the farm. Hence Riverlea Soap.

Riverlea Rose Soap
Riverlea Rose Soap

See more at her website: http://www.riverleasoap.com
Visit her blog to see her helpful tutorials: http://www.riverleasoap.blogspot.com

Do you make and sell soap? Do you have your own online shop and want to be interviewed? If so, just send me an email: lisa_maliga@msn.com Please use “Interview with Soap Crafter” in the subject heading.

What is FUN FOODIE SOAP CRAFTING? Plus Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2016

fun foodie soap crafting lisa maliga ebookChapter 1 ~ Be a Fun Foodie Soap Crafter!

Initially, this book was going to be all about soap crafting for the frugal. The problem is– I’m not a frugal person when it comes to soap crafting. For me, it’s worth it to spend a certain amount of money to get the right ingredient or mold or whatever’s needed to make soap. Sure, if it’s on sale, that’s a bonus. I’ve even stocked up on ingredients that are on sale that I ended up giving away because I had no use for them.

Then I thought about supermarket soaping and essentially that’s what this book is all about – using ingredients that you can find in your local supermarket. I’m a fan of watching cooking and baking shows. So, I’ve learned a lot about the process a chef goes through to make an exquisite dinner or a show stopping dessert. Yes, I’ve watched Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Food Network Star, Cake Boss, and Save My Bakery—along with several other foodie type shows on various channels. I’ve seen people cook in fancy restaurant kitchens, in small food trucks, and over campfires and grills.  And that’s when it hit me, write a book that’s dedicated to those who love food AND soap! 

In Fun Foodie Soap Crafting, you’ll learn what food can be added to soap, and how to make soap that looks like food. There’s a special section on pretty packaging and labeling so you can present your soapy gifts, and much more. As with my other soap crafting books, all the recipes have been tested. I’ve even used a new melt and pour soap base so that I can offer feedback on it for those of you who want to try it. 

There are so many different varieties of soap we can make, so many endless combinations, so much room to harness our creativity. As always, I encourage this as it benefits your creative side and those who use your soapy products. Fun foodie soap crafting is a great way to spend time with an interested child and give them the opportunity to learn a new skill. It’s nice for people of all ages to make and later package as gifts for just about any occasion. You might want to make lots more soap after trying this wonderful hobby. I say, go for it!

Amazon: Fun Foodie Soap Crafting

B&N NOOK: Fun Foodie Soap Crafting

All bookstores: Fun Foodie Soap Crafting 

Selling Your Soap at Craft Fairs & Farmer’s Markets

hollywood fruits nuts flakes soap
Hollywood Fruits, Nuts & Flakes Soap

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2016

I’m no stranger to craft fairs and farmer’s markets as a customer. I’ve attended these types of events since I was a kid. They’re fun to go to and I know what to look for when shopping for soap and other bath and body products.

What initially attracts my attention is how the soap is displayed. Nice, neat rows of soap? Stacks of the stuff? Baskets, containers or little tubs brimming with it? Soap that needs to be cut for you like wheels of cheese [think Lush]. Soap loaves? Some shelves flaunting your soapy wares? For lots of brilliant examples, go to Google images and type in “soap displays for craft shows.” You’ll see loads of ideas in just the first few images.

The Scents of the Season

I’ve read and seen that there are certain scents that sell better in the warm weather than around Christmas or in cold weather. In warm weather, the trend is for lighter fragrances like florals, especially lilac, lily of the valley, sweet pea, anything with the word “blossom” in it, and fruity scents. Consider the fruits that ripen during the warmer months: Strawberries, peaches, watermelon, mangoes, papayas, blueberries, plums, etc. Vanilla is a warm aroma that is associated with baking but is good any time of year. You can’t go wrong with a fresh green herbal fragrance or one reminiscent of the garden, like mints, thyme, or rosemary. Then you have the perennial citrus favorites: lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. You’ll attract customers with fragrances that smell like the elements: ocean breeze, tropical rain, fragrant meadows, country roads, or forests.

In the fall and winter, the aromas are a little heavier. Say hello to pumpkin–that’s a perennial fall through Christmas favorite. And for Christmas, you’ll have candy cane/peppermint, eggnog, balsam, bayberry, cinnamon, Christmas tree/evergreen, mulberry, and frankincense and myrrh.

To Wrap or Not to Wrap?

Unwrapped soap, [naked soap], shows off the products to the fullest advantage. You can clearly see the size, color, and texture. The customer can get up close, and smell the aroma. The problem with naked soap is that it’ll be handled by anyone. Also, by not having labels people with allergies won’t see if it contains a potential problem ingredient. A label should be included with each soap whether it’s written on a chalkboard, printed on a sign, available on slips of paper or on the backs of business cards.

Which leads to how you bag your bars of soap. No matter what type of bag you use, always include a business card/flyer/brochure/postcard that has your vital stats like your website address, email, business address, phone number, and all-important company name. If you’re a wholesaler make sure that’s mentioned in your promotional literature. That customer might own a hotel, bed and breakfast, or shop that will be very interested in your products.

Free Samples!

Who doesn’t love free samples? I do, but I don’t expect them. Unfortunately, some people think you should not only provide freebies, but you should either give your soap away or offer substantial discounts. And they’ll come up with some pretty wacky reasons as to why they’re so privileged. Including little bars or slices of soap [along with your contact information] is a goodwill gesture. It often leads to more sales. It’s also recommended that you clearly label the name of the soap/product freebie along with a brief description. Lavender Soap is usually sufficient for people to figure out what it is, but that perennial kiddie favorite, Monkey Farts, might need a few keywords to explain that it’s a fruity or coconutty soap.

Pricing – Buy 3 get the fourth bar free or any variation that promises a free bar of soap will get me over to your booth in a flash! People enjoy getting bargains.

Soapmaker, Salesperson—or Both?

Standing behind a booth all day selling your wares can be a challenging to the more reserved soapmaker. However, you’re the expert. You know every aspect of your soaps from ingredients to oils to molds to packaging. Sometimes dealing with various personality types can be taxing. You’ll encounter the inevitable free sample trolls and the free recipe trolls. In other words, there will be people who want to do exactly what you do. You can’t control that. I’ve seen and read about this countless times. Just be polite and don’t indulge them.

Some soapers prefer having a salesperson do their work for them. Whether an employee, or a relative or friend, as long as they can effectively answer questions and promote your products. And please be a conscientious soaper that has extensive knowledge of your product along with lots of experience when it comes to making it! Many times, I’ve wandered into a crafting forum and seen newbies in despair over their soaping boo-boos that have come belatedly to their attention during a craft show. That includes soap that started as sapphire blue in the morning but the sunlight faded it to pale blue or even bone white. Soaper, know your products!

Another advantage soapmakers have by selling their wares at a public venue is the opportunity to meet customers and listen to their needs. You’ll see trends in fragrances. After the venue is over, take inventory and see what your hot sellers are and what doesn’t do as well. You might consider offering a special ordering service to those that want unfragranced soaps or palm-free soaps, etc. Perhaps you have many fragrances/essential oils that aren’t used in your current product line—if you have customized scenting you’ll attract new customers.

Whether you sell soap and supplement it with other products, packaging it in a gift basket is another way to attract interested customers – no matter what time of year.

Have lots of fun, sell lots of soap and know that you’re making the world a cleaner place one customer at a time!

Read more soapmaking stuff!

What is Moringa Seed Oil?

moringa seed oilBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014-2016

I’ve worked with moringa seed oil for a few years and have tried this wonderful oil, sometimes referred to as ben oil, in several skincare products. The nutty aroma is a bit strong but when a fragrance or essential oil is added, the scent is disguised. It’s also a heavy oil, closer to olive oil than lighter oils like meadowfoam or camellia—both derived from flowers. Moringa seed oil, whether from Africa or India, is derived from vitamin and protein filled seeds that flourish on the Moringa oleifera tree. The skin moisturizing benefits are the result of the fact that moringa seed oil is high in vitamins A and C, calcium and unsaturated fatty acids. Moringa seed oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help heal minor skin complaints such as cuts, bruises, burns, insect bites, rashes and scrapes quickly. It may also be helpful for purposes of tanning or maintaining a tan, due to being rich in copper and calcium, important nutrients for the skin.

The above photo shows the rich golden color of the moringa seed oil. Notice the size of the papery looking seeds.

I was in correspondence with Mr. Rayl, a citizen of Botswana, who first introduced me to moringa back in 2005. He wrote: “Dr Jean Baptiste the Moringa Project scientist called me and wants me to come down to the capitol for a visit and to take me to meet the only other person who is growing Moringa trees on a fairly large scale and selling the products, an MD who has a clinic in the south. He has 300 trees. He made a press to extract the seed oil. But I being a mechanic all my life know how to do that. I have a friend who has a machine shop so I plan to make one also. The moringa seed oil is great for cooking oil, also can use it in a lamp like kerosene and it has no smoke or odor. It also can be used on the skin. Can grind the dry seeds and use the powder to purify water. It is in the Bible about that in Exodus.”

During our two-year correspondence, Mr. Rayl wrote glowingly of the moringa tree. He told me how beneficial it was from the oil to the leaves to the seeds.

“Each part of the Moringa tree has their own benefits and vitamins, etc. The leaves, the seed pods when young can be cooked eaten like beans when they are a little older can be opened and seed kernel can be cooked and eaten in any recipe for peas. When seeds are mature can be roasted or fried taste like peanuts. The flowers are great steeped in a cup boiling water for 5 minutes and honey or sugar added. The root can be cleaned etc. on young trees a horseradish substitute but must be careful with that and not use it too often, I don’t really recommend that as that is the only part that is questionable as far as I am concerned. I have not tried it and probably won’t. We use the leaf powder on or in food every day.”

I bought some ground moringa leaves but didn’t get around to making a tea out of them. When added to melt and pour soap they soon turned dark brown, something that happens to most leaves. I found a supplier of moringa oil in India and bought a large bottle to begin experimenting with it. I soon discovered it was an excellent ingredient in any shampoo, due to those gentle cleansing proprieties that our scalp needs. Adding moringa oil to any liquid or solid shampoo is very easy to do. Like many exotic oils on the market, moringa oil has been used in India, Africa and many other Asian countries for centuries. We are very fortunate to be exposed to these wonderful oils and find out just how effective they can be to us.

I used to get my moringa oil sent from India. Here’s the link to the company: http://www.paritoshherbals.com/index.php

But if you want to find it on Amazon, check out: http://www.amazon.com/Moringa-Luxurious-Antioxidant-Rich-Moisturizer-Natural/dp/B00886YS74

Recipes that include moringa seed oil can be found in this book: How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars 

 

 

Packaging Your Melt and Pour Soap

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2011-2016

Melt and pour glycerin soap should be wrapped in shrink wrap or plastic wrap. This is done for two reasons. 1. It preserves the moisture. 2. You can see the product. Although this slightly narrows your range of possibilities, packaging and labeling your handcrafted melt and pour soap doesn’t have to be boring. You can also use cling wrap in various colors and designs.

papaya nectar melt and pour soap

You can shrink wrap your soap with a special machine or with a heat gun used at the lowest setting. Personally, I haven’t ever used a machine to wrap my soap as I prefer the simple and economical method of using cling wrap and neatly taping the soap with a glossy finish tape.

pink gingham organza soap bag

You can have a theme to your soap such as floral, nautical, children’s, geographical, holiday, etc.  Once it’s wrapped in clear plastic, you can tie a ribbon or strip of fabric around the soap to decorate it. Muslin, organza and net coverings could be used. Your presentation can be as simple or ornate as you choose. The easiest way to present your soap is to include it in a gift basket. Add in other bath and body products such as lotions, shampoo, conditioner, comb and brush, powder, perfume, wash cloths/towels, a loofah mitt, etc. Gift baskets [or bags] are great for a theme. For example, a children’s gift basket can include toys, and your soap could be added in inventive ways such as having a teddy bear holding it or placing it in the back of a toy car or truck. 

This excerpt is from the book The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting

To see thousands of wonderful examples of soap packaging, visit the Talented Soapmakers board at Pinterest.

 

What’s So Great About Pascalite Clay?

pascalite clay soap lisa maliga joy of melt and pour soap craftingBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2006-2014

It’s not hard to find claims of products with extraordinary healing powers online and offline. We want quick fixes, whether over-the-counter, doctor prescribed, or self-medicating synthetic drugs. Yet it seems to be that some of the simplest and most effective remedies come directly from the earth itself. What’s earthier than clay? And how powerful is clay? For 30 million years there has been a clay mined in only one area of the United States. The location is near the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming, home to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. The wheel is approximately 10,000 feet above sea level. While it’s a lot newer than Stonehenge, interestingly enough it’s 80 feet across, and maintains 28 spokes, comparable to the lunar month. To the Native Americans, this has always been a sacred site, sort of like an astronomical observatory.

Not far from this sacred site is a mine where pascalite clay, technically known as Calcium-Bentonite Montmorillonite, hails from. This clay is mined underground to avoid contamination, and then the dense, beige colored clay is solar dried at the mountain site. Unlike the more commonly found sodium bentonite, pascalite is a non-swelling clay, meaning it doesn’t expand up to seventeen times its size when water is added. While pascalite absorbs water like a sponge, it doesn’t increase in proportion. Pascalite also is high in calcium, iron, and magnesium; making is safe for internal and external use.

Several years ago I ordered some pascalite from pascalite.com as I’d been researching an article about various clays and the references to pascalite were somewhat astounding. It seemingly cured spider bites, cleared up bad skin, stopped minor skin irritations such as poison ivy and oak from spreading and itching, and even helped revive flagging energy if taken internally. With recommendations like that, I had to try the stuff. So I got some, used it a few times, experimented with it in clay facial masks, and then forgot about it as I investigated other natural oils, butters and clays. The great thing about clay is that if it’s correctly stored, the shelf life is infinite.

I decided to try a pascalite clay mask to condition my scalp, as I’d read that many toxins are stored there due to the products we use and environmental factors. Another benefit is that pascalite was easily rinsed out within a few minutes. And I didn’t even need to shampoo it out. The results were also worth it—my hair was shinier and fuller and felt very clean—as did my scalp. Odd, but I’d just added clay to my scalp and hair and it felt cleaner than if I’d used a shampoo! So, I also put about a teaspoon’s worth into my shampoo so I could have a clay shampoo. Of course, I had to shake it really well, but again, it was easier to rinse out and I had fewer tangles. Then I made a small peppermint pascalite soap with added powdered green tea so I could have my own pascalite shampoo bar—which smelled terrific and worked really well. You can find the Pascalite Clay Soap recipe in my eBook The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting.  [Seen above is the photo of the soap and the Pascalite container.]

Pascalite is different from other clays such as rhassoul, French green, Moroccan red, kaolin and even sodium bentonite. Perhaps because it’s near an energy vortex of a Medicine Wheel, or that it is solar dried at a high elevation. Maybe it’s due to the geological formation of the earth in that area of Wyoming, or all the factors contribute into making pascalite a beneficial clay. It’s named after the French trapper, Emile Pascal, the first white man who used pascalite back in the 1930’s. According to the company’s literature, “…while setting out his traps in the outcropping of clay, his badly chapped and cracked hands became covered with the cheesy earth. Later when he washed his hands off, he noticed they seemed better. He started using the clay, and encouraged his friends, as well.”

And there it is, a special clay found only in one area of the U.S. that can help assist us in a very earthy way.

Apple Barrel Soap Recipe

apple barrel glycerin soap By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2013-2016

This is a fun and easy soap to make. Apples are good every day of the year, you know about that apple a day remedy! The resulting soap can have several variations in color and fragrance.

Apple Barrel Soap

Ingredients:

8 ounces clear melt and pour soap base

pinch of burgundy mica

smaller pinch of gold mica [optional]

1/2 teaspoon apple fragrance oil

Mold:

2 four-ounce round molds

Instructions:

Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. Just before the soap is fully melted, add mica and fragrance. Mix well and pour into molds. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.

prepper's guide to soap crafting and soap storage lisa maligaFrom the 0.99 eBook The Prepper’s Guide to Soap Crafting and Soap Storage.

 

Berry Blue Christmas Soap Recipe

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2011-2016

Just wanted to share a new soap recipe I came up with for the holidays. This is a versatile recipe and can be made any time of the year–just change the name!

BERRY BLUE CHRISTMAS SOAP RECIPE

berry blue christmas soap recipe lisa maliga

Ingredients:
16 ounces clear soap base
Blue mica
1 teaspoon acai berry fragrance

Mold:
4 four-ounce molds

Instructions:
Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. Just before it’s fully melted add colorant. Stir well. Add fragrance. Pour into molds. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.

This recipe is from the eBook 12 Easy Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

Want to learn more about soaping? Check out my SOAPMAKING page for more recipes, book links and articles. 

HAPPY SOAPING!