The title begs the question, If soap, like the famed 99.44 percent pure Ivory, isn’t natural, then what is? Ittner clarifies the answer in her introductory chapter, explaining that she intended to “avoid all animal and petroleum-based products, synthetic colorants and fragrances.” That said, the rest is amazingly easy. Take run-of-the-mill kitchen equipment such as measuring spoons and double boilers, mix, then heat in the stove or microwave; add other techniques, from embedding objects to layering and swirling; and it’s soap. She spends many pages detailing the natural materials, colorants, additives, and scents for a good foundation; the next four chapters are devoted to 45 recipes, each with color photographs, lists of materials and tools, and easy-to-follow numbered instructions. Choose among the different soap properties (soft, smooth, exfoliation, cleanse, and luxurious) to yield such products as calming jasmine and green-tea soap, cornmeal and wheat germ scrub, and energizing lemongrass soap. Embedded are sidebars on soap success, to ensure quality products, and a final chapter on packaging, with details on bags, tags, and paper wraps. --Barbara Jacobs
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About the Author
Rebecca Ittner is a magazine and book editor, writer, photo stylist and craft enthusiast. Her work has been featured in many magazines craft books. To see more of Rebecca's work, visit rebeccaittner.etsy.com or read her blog at livelovecraft.com.