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started with a problem to solve.
A number of years ago, I developed a case of
dry, itchy, irritated skin. The dermatologist I went
to prescribed some creams and some
skin care routines, but she had only one recommendation for an
over-the-counter soap to use.
That seemed odd to me, but not surprising. Commercially made soap is engineered to produce just the right texture, just the right latheriness, just the right shelf life, and so on, and it made sense that some of the chemical compounds that are used might be irritating to skin that's already inflamed and sensitive.
Not long after that, I read an article about making soaps as gifts. It sounded like an nice idea. And simple enough. You shred up some soap, melt it in hot water, mix in some essential oils, maybe add some herbs, and pour it into molds.
So I got on the computer and started searching for stores that might carry the castille soap I needed for the recipes.
But what I soon began to come across were websites that were actually about making soap. From scratch! Real, actual soap!
I was really intrigued by the idea. Over the next couple months I did more reseach and I learned that you can formulate handcrafted soaps to be especially mild, or especially moisturizing, or especially beneficial for certain skin types or skin conditions.
Armed with all this knowledge, I decided I really wanted to give soapmaking a try. I found stores from which I could get a few basic soap making oils, I picked up the equipment I needed, and I made my first batch of real soap.
It was a total failure! In soap making terms, it "seized," meaning that it immediately turned into a big glob of solid soap that was suitable only for the garbage can. But even though it was a failure, it had the unmistakable, tantalizing smell of real soap. I had actually made soap! Worthless soap, but soap nonetheless. I couldn't wait to try it again.
Since then, I've made hundreds of batches of cold process soap, and my goal has always been to use natural botanical or botanically-derived ingredients to the greatest extent possible. No animal products or by-products. No chemical detergents or preservatives. No FD&C colorants. Just great soap that's made from renewable, sustainable ingredients. The result is a wonderful selection of soaps of which I am very proud.
Photo of the Edgewater Beach Apartments,
the only remaining portion of the posh, pink
Edgewater Beach Hotel complex.
And at the risk of sounding like a total nerd (not that you or anyone else reading this will even care, but hey, it's the "About Us" page, and we can say whatever we want About Us, right?), I've become totally fascinated by the chemistry of soapmaking. Who knew that I would ever be able to look at a model of a fatty acid molecule and be able to tell you whether it's a saturated or unsaturated fatty acid? Amazing where one's passions will lead!
But I digress. To go back to where I started . . . about my eczema. The fact is that I've never had another serious eczema flare-up since I've been using my soaps. It's under control. And my customers who have problems with eczema say the same thing.
But the best news is that handcrafted natural soaps are as beneficial for normal skin as they are for problem skin. As part of a larger program of better health and skin care, soaps made from natural ingredients can play a valuable role.
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