I started making soaps when my oldest child developed eczema. Since she was only a couple months old, I was completely opposed using steroids on her skin especially after I read the risk factors with using steroids creams on children/babies, and the possible side effects of longterm usage of steroids. So I tried every natural baby/eczema product I could find. Unfortunately, none of them worked on her skin, and a few even made it worse. Out of desperation I learned out to make soap along with every other shampoo, lotion, butt balm, etc that I put on her skin. Finally she had the beautiful, healthy, clear skin you expect to see on a baby. Soon, people were asking what I was using on her (the difference in her skin was quite dramatic), and my family and friends were wanting more soap than what I was giving them for birthdays and Christmas.
Although there are many cold process soap makers out there, they mostly fall into two categories. Either they make beautiful soaps that smell really nice, but they use synthetic fragrance oils (a possible allergen and irritant) and synthetic soap dyes (FD&C/food coloring dyes or coal tar dyes), or they make natural soap with essential oils (like me), but they only use botanical colorants (some of which I use) which have the limitation of more muted coloring and being a possible skin irritant due to allergies. If you are are allergic to a particular herb you will probably be allergic to soap colored with that herb, (I can’t use fennel colored soap because I’m very allergic to fennel) or it can potentially cause skin sensitivities (some people can’t use soaps colored with “spicy” herbs like paprika). So, at my daughter’s request for really pretty soap, I decided to research which colorants have very little potential for being irritating or allergenic and aren’t synthetic. I found that cosmetic mineral pigments like micas and oxides were the perfect choice for my soaps since they are minerals and were never alive, they don’t contain proteins or pollens (most allergies are caused by a substance’s protein or pollen). Some are naturally occurring, mined out of the ground, and then purified to remove any contaminates. Some are created in a lab using exact same methods as the earth (same raw ingredients plus heat and pressure only the element of time is removed), but manufactures are able to speed up the process by adding extra heat and pressure to make these mineral faster than the earth can do it. Another benefit being the production in a lab setting is these minerals are created without the harmful contaminates having to be purified out.
I love using these micas and oxides because not only have humans used them for thousands of years of self expression in art work from cave wall paintings, traditional canvas art, and pottery to name a few, but they were also some of the earliest cosmetics/body art humans used. So I feel like there is a special connection to all the artists in history, and I consider soap to be my art medium.
As a special note, I also use only micas that are free from both talc and bismuth oxychloride since these are potential irritants. I also refrain from using micas that contain carmine. Although I personally love the natural red color that carmine imparts, it’s another ingredient that can be allergenic.
My goal is to have the best smelling, prettiest, natural soap you can find for your skin, sensitive or not.
I hope you will enjoy these musings on this soap filled blog, and feel free to drop me a line or ask any questions.