1) to make soap from local ingredients, especially those that we could grow ourselves
2) to not use any chemical additives for colour, scent or preservative
We achieved the first aim recently when we made 100% tallow soap from our own beef. That means that the ingredients were tallow, rainwater, caustic soda and essential oil. The only thing we had to buy was the 100g or so of caustic soda and 15mL of essential oil, so that was pretty close to being locally sourced ingredients. (I am interested in making soap from wood ash instead of caustic, but that is another project!).
I came across the Nerdy Farm Wife Jan Berry’s ebook “Natural Soap Making” (Affiliate link) at just the right time (actually it would have been good to find it earlier, as it starts with a great step-by-step guide with photos of each step, perfect for beginners). We had mastered our plain tallow soap and we wanted to know how to add natural colours and scents, and that is exactly what this book is about, although Jan uses different oils instead of tallow. “Natural Soap Making” explains how to use herbs in your garden and other naturally occurring clays and powders in your soaps, including using herbal teas with the caustic mixture, infused oils and powdered herbs. I didn’t follow an exact recipe, because I wanted to use tallow, but we did try several of the ideas and produced some lovely soaps.
I recently wrote that I have plenty of lemon balm in the garden. As it was growing vigorously, and has strong healing properties, I decided to use it in soap. I made an infused oil in macadamia oil, and I dried a handful of leaves to be pulverised in a coffee grinder. This produced a grey/green flecked soap. We used an essential oil blend for the scent. (And Pete has further refined his stainless steel moulds).
100g macadamia infused with herbs
900g beef tallow
15 mL essential oil blend
2 tsp of powdered herb
|the finished lemon balm tallow soap|
|the ingredients (note that rosella tea did not work)|
1 kg beef tallow
15 mL essential oil blend
2 tsp of zeolite clay (mixed with 1 Tbsp of water)
|the finished zeolite tallow soap|
|Pete's stainless steel moulds looking good!|
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Disclaimer: The ebook was sent to me by Jan to review and I have signed up for the affiliate program, so if you buy it through me, I get a small commission. You know that I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great book. If you disagree with me, let me know. Also, while I have reproduced for you the soap recipes that I used, I take no responsibility if they don’t work for you or cause any harm, sorry, but you make soap at your own risk! And don’t use rosella tea with the caustic!
Natural soap using beef tallow