The Efficacious Gentleman

The Ethical Gentleman

While I do not currently sell my soaps, it is something that I am actively working towards – here in the EU it is not as straight forward as it is in The United States, for example, which means it is taking some time to get in a position to sell my products.  Throughout this time I am faced with ethical choices and I also engage with other soap makers who do sell and face similar questions of ethics.

For me, ethics are a very important part of my plans. (more…)

Shaving Soaps # 1 & 2

Shaving Soap # 1

A short time before I started making soap, I got in to traditional wet shaving – using a double-edge razor with blades, as well as a brush with shaving soap to make the lather. I hadn’t really given any thought to making shaving soaps until there was a discussion about it on The Soap Making Forum. It didn’t take much reading for me to decide that I was going to have to give it a try for myself.

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Tenth Soap – Salt Bar # 2

Having really enjoyed the first salt bars and was getting low on stock – this gave me a great chance to experiment with a couple of changes to the previous recipe.

A member on the Soap Making Forum had posted some interesting ideas on changes to the oils. The previous recipe had 15% Olive oil, but this time I changed that to 10% Avocado oil, upping the Coconut oil amount to 85%.
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It Happens Eventually – First Major Issue

When it comes to soaping the odds are stacked so that mean, eventually, every soaper will have a fairly major issue to contend with. It might be a batch overheating or separating in the mould, or some issue with fragrance oils reacting badly and causing the soap to seize solid in the pot before it is even poured. This happens most often when trying out a new recipe or technique and not so often with something tried and tested. As it happens, I had a pretty major issue with a batch of soap that I was making. While it was a slightly different recipe, the problem came from something that can strike at any time – soaper error. (more…)

Seventh Soap – General Purpose Soap # 2

My very first soap was one that I had hoped would be a soap that could be used for the face, body and hands for people with normal skin – hence the name “General Purpose Soap”.  It will come as no surprise that while the idea was sound, the recipe itself was not!  Making soap is fairly easy.  Making a soap that does exactly what we are looking for is much harder to do.  The General Purpose Soap # 1 was perfectly usable – in fact it was very popular – but I thought that I could do better and wanted to come back and revisit it.

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Fourth Soap – Lard # 1

Almost there, catching up on things that I have already made.  The trouble is, I’m still making things as I write the blog so the finish line keeps on getting further and further away!  But seeing as talking or writing about soap is very high on my list of pastimes, this is certainly no bad thing.

This soap was a collection of new things for me.  As it was my fourth soap, that is not hard to imagine.  But it was the first time using lard, the first time using oats and the first time using Hot Process.  I will post about the different process (hot and cold) at a later point, but as a wee introduction it means that I heated the soap batter in a slow cooker until it was completely soap and then I put in the essential oils and moulded it all up.  In Cold Process, the soap batter becomes soap in the mould and requires more time.

In the olden days, before vegetable based oils were widely available and affordable, people made soap with animal fats.  Lard is from pig fat while Tallow comes (more…)