well, kinda. “….but you DID say that!” said someone who remain nameless. Yes, I said that. Anyone can make soap! Its not a complicated PROCESS. We add an alkali base to fats, they saponify, we add fragrance, pour it into a mold, and cut and cure. Simple PROCESS…. However, that does not mean developing a recipe is uncomplicated as a science, nor does it mean just anyone can make GOOD soap. Anyone can buy a can of shortening, add some lye, and make what would be considered soap… but wow is that going to be some unfortunate soap.
There is a youtube tutorial that suggests just that. It uses only crisco shortening… it gives you an incorrect lye amount (according to soap calc its over half an ounce too much, and yes that small amount is a big deal.) Then, they mix it without gloves, in a crowded and dirty kitchen using tap water.
I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but thats not good soap. Sure its soap. But you wouldnt want to wash yourself with it.
A good soap maker must calculate their oils carefully, balance them based on the qualities we want to have our soap to have. How bubbly we want it, balance cleansing with conditioning. Balance hardness with creaminess. We spend hours running calculations, agonizing over reducing 1% of this and adding 1% of that to reach the perfect calculation. We have intricate scales that allow us to be certain we are adding just the right amount, because too much of one thing or too little of another can make a bad batch of soap. We cure our soaps lovingly and carefully, and test them endlessly to be sure we are satisfied… and even then there are hundreds of different results you can get with just a bit of tweaking.
There are some AMAZING soap makers out there. Everyday I connect with new soap makers on etsy, on soap making boards, that make me bow down in respect. But for all the good, there is also sometimes bad. How can you tell you are getting quality soap? Usually you can simply tell by the description. You can also ask. Do they know what they are talking about? What they are even creating and selling? Chances are if they dont you will know pretty quick.
Heres to the amazing soap makers out there who have served as such an awesome inspiration to me, and the ones willing to continue to be amazing tutors to me as the years go by. Anyone can make soap. Cheers to the ones who work so hard to make it well!!