Sarah Harper started making her own soap nine years ago and has progressed from experimenting in her kitchen to owning her own soap company, The Clovelly Soap Company, and craft studio, Rowan Tree Studio, where she teaches skills to others. We asked Sarah about the soap making process and her new book, The Natural & Handmade Soap Book…
When and why did you start making your own soap?
“I started making my own soap back in 2004 when I became sensitive to chemicals in shower gels and other commercial bodycare products.”
Do you need lots of tools and equipment to make soap at home?
“Most of the equipment for soap making is already in your house and there is no specialist equipment needed.”
Which method of soap making do you prefer?
“I prefer the traditional cold process method as it produces the best results in terms of the quality of the soap and its benefits to your skin. You can tailor the recipes to make your own aromatherapy soaps and use lots of lovely nourishing oils. The bases used in melt and pour are pre-made so you don’t get to control the ingredients in the base recipe but they do allow you to get started with simple fun projects.”
How do you go about creating a new soap?
“When I want to create a new soap I think about what my range may be missing and hide away in the workshop with all the lovely botanicals we use for the courses and start blending oils. I usually have an idea in my head to start with and then think what ingredients would produce that type of soap.”
What are your favourite ingredients to work with?
“I love the process of blended essential oils and creating unique fragrances that give a real aromatherapy treat. I also love using food-based ingredients like cocoa powder and cinnamon.”
Do you have a favourite project from the book?
“My favourite soap in the book is the peppermint pumice. It smells like after dinner mints and has a lovely gentle exfoliation – I can’t stop smelling it!”
What are your top tips for anyone who’d like to try soap making?
“Start with a very simple recipe and good basic instructions, once you have mastered the basics you can move on to adding lots of other ingredients but the basis of a decent bar of soap is simplicity and good technique. Follow the safety information and weight everything out in advance so that is all goes smoothly and don’t forget to insulate well to get the best results.”
Get your copy of The Natural & Handmade Soap Book or download the PDF eBook now. To find out more about Sarah, visit her website at: www.theclovellysoapcompany.co.uk.