I love handcrafted soaps and the luxury of their simple ingredients. I shunned the commercial and highly perfumed soaps at the grocery store long ago. Like my food, I want to be able to pronounce and recognize every ingredient that I’m putting on my body.
I’ve always been interested in making my own soap and so I recently received the The Natural Soap Chef: Making Luxurious Delights from Cucumber Melon and Almond Cookie to Chai Tea and Espresso Forte to help me on that journey. The book is written by Heidi Corley Barto, a self-taught soapmaker who discovered the craft when her youngest daughter was born. She needed a soap that wouldn’t irritate the new baby’s skin and that started her on a journey of discovery that led her to the hobby of soap making.
Her book includes quite a few cold process recipes and a few mixed. There’s a comprehensive list of the materials needed as well as information on finishing and packaging your finished product. All throughout the book Barto shares hints and tips on how to use her handmade soap recipes to get a great result. She also includes some background on soapmaking and advice on combining your own scents, ingredients, and colors so you can move beyond her recipes and create your own.
Some of her signature bars include lemon verbena, chai tea, pink grapefruit, cut grass, Guinness Stout, baby rose, and more. The only disappointment in the book are the photos. They’re small and not taken in the best lighting. Still, this is a small drawback and doesn’t negate the overall usefulness of the book.
The Natural Soap Chef: Making Luxurious Delights from Cucumber Melon and Almond Cookie to Chai Tea and Espresso Forte is a great reference book for first time soap makers and experienced soapers alike. I may finally give it a try…or I’ll continue paying $4-$6 a bar for great handmade soap knowing that there’s a lot of work that goes into making it and I will appreciate the effort even more.
Connect with Heidi Corley Bargo
- The Natural Soap Chef Facebook Page
- Tumblr Page
- Penelope B Soap Facebook Page
- Penelope B Soap Tumblr Page
The Natural Soap Chef Book Details