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The Natural Soap Book: Making Herbal and Vegetable-Based Soaps Paperback – January 8, 1995

109 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

The Natural Soap Book: Making Herbal and Vegetable-Based Soaps + The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How (Natural Body Series - The Natural Way to Enhance Your Life) + The Everything Soapmaking Book: Learn How to Make Soap at Home with Recipes, Techniques, and Step-by-Step Instructions - Purchase the right equipment ... soaps, and Package and sell your creations
Price for all three: $36.92

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

It's fun to make your own natural soaps at home!

Susan Miller Cavitch takes the mystery out of soapmaking, sharing her formulas for making high-quality vegetable-based soaps that are good for your skin -- and free of synthetic additives.

The Natural Soap Book gives you:

* Clear directions and illustrations to guide you step-by-step through the entire process -- from buying supplies to cutting and trimming the final bars.

* Recipes for old favorites like oatmeal/honey and avocado soaps to Susan's unique recipes for goat milk, borage, and even a tropical shampoo bar.

* Creative wrapping and gift packaging ideas.

* Formulas for exotic specialty scents like Holiday Spice, Sweet Earth, and Southern Summers.

* Profiles and tips from professional soapmakers.

About the Author

Author Susan Miller Cavitch is the founder and president of Soap Essentials, Inc., a Memphis-based retail mail-order company producing homemade herbal products. She is the author of The Natural Soap Book and The Soapmaker's Companion. Susan lives in Eads, Tennessee.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 6th edition (January 8, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882668889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882668888
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author Susan Miller Cavitch is the founder and president of Soap Essentials, Inc., a Memphis-based retail mail-order company producing homemade herbal products. She is the author of The Natural Soap Book, which gained praise from Debra Warner from the Orange County Register: "The Natural Soap Book will be a welcome guide for anyone taking up the home craft." Country Living magazine also had acclaim for this book: "Ms. Cavitch walks her audience through the complete process of soapmaking, and teaches readers everything from how to acquire materials and equipment to how to trim the final results." She has also written The Soapmaker's Companion. Susan lives in Eads, Tennessee.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is _the_ book to acquire if you are planning to make vegetable oil based soap. There's a lot of information packed in this book. It presents all the elements of soapmaking very systematically, and explains the simple chemistry and logic behind the recipes and techniques. It specializes on the best ways to make vegetable oil soap -- which can differ from animal fat based soap. I'm a beginner. I made my first batch last night and it is happily solidifying in the molds as I write. I would buy this book in addition to whatever other soapmaking books you feel inspired to buy, because it covers just about everything and is a really good reference. It includes a large appendix of suppliers and a reassuring table of what to do when things go wrong. My only complaint is that it doesn't have a good description of what "tracing" looks like -- tracing being the sign that your soap is ready to pour into the molds. But, none of the other books I read did either. It's subtle, and I think it's the sort of thing you learn to recognize after you've made a couple of batches. Note that each of the eight basic recipes makes 40 bars of soap, so be prepared to share with friends!! If the amount of info in this book seems a bit overwhelming, beginners might also want to consider picking up a copy of Ann Bramson's book.
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174 of 186 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a beginner soap maker and found this book to be extremely informative. There is a great amount of information regarding the different types of oils and additives you can use. But, being a beginnger, I found the recipes waaay to intimidating and extremely large. I almost got turned off of soap making thinking that I would need a scale to measure lye to tenths of grams! (i.e. lye weight 567 7/10 gm) Also her recipes call for you to make batches of at least 40 bars each, an amount I was not interested in making. There is a lot of good information in this book, but I think that this book is for people extremely serious about soap making.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A. Kulcsar on August 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for an solid foundation of information for the cold-process method of soapmaking, get this book and its companion, "The Soapmaker's Companion" by the same author. This book provides a great deal of information to making cold-process (mostly vegetable-based) soaps. Some of the material is a little heavy (the parts on the chemistry of soapmaking) but is very important information if you want to learn to be creative and create your own recipes. The recipes are quite large, as some other reviewers commented, and the great thing about the companion book is the smaller recipes. You will not be able to find most of these ingredients at your local supermarket (e.g. pomace olive oil and palm oil). The recipes call for the real ingredients used in the industry that you will have to find - but with the popularity of the Internet, finding these ingredients is much easier than it used to be. This book may not be a one-stop-shop for information, but this book and the Companion come VERY close!
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Wilber on January 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have been making soap for about 3 years and I have had a lot of botched batches of soap along the way. Most of my mistakes were by following the advice of "experts" who have written books about how to make soap. At the beginning I bought Susuan Miller Cavitch's book on how to make Natural Soap and Herbal Soaps and I tried to follow her advice. I couldn't figure out how to calculate the lye. You have to be a "rocket scientist" to figure it out if you try to do it her way. I followed her advice on putting wax paper in the bottom of my box and the wax paper turned to mush and I couldn't get the soap out without mashing it all up. I started out by making huge batches of soap like she said and I found that when a batch of soap doesn't turn out you have wasted huge amounts of time, effort and money. And what do you do with all that soap unless you are in the business of selling soap? And what beginner is? I think l-2 pound batches are much better. You can experiment and learn your craft and not have huge amounts of money lost if it fails. She has no recipes for small batches. Also I think 80 degrees is way too low for the fat temperature. I have found that ll0 degrees works out for me every time. Soap making is really easy, not nearly as scarey as she makes it look. I did like the sources at the end of the book and have found some really good suppliers from it. All in all, I think her book is interesting to read, but just don't take it too seriously if you are a beginner. If you have been making soap for a while, then pick it up and read it.
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104 of 112 people found the following review helpful By P. S. Black on May 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I really enjoy the straight forward writing style of Ms. Cavitch. She speaks to you like you're having a conversation with a good friend.
In the Introduction she gives some basic chemistry of soap lessons which are very easy for the non chemist to understand. Then she goes on to explain different types of soap, different fats and oils what when you might want to use each. All through the beginning are charming, little stories about real soap makers and their businesses. What a nice touch.
This seems to be a very well thought out book with just oodles of information on just about every aspect of making soap. She's even included a small section on blending essential oils and give some suggested blending for certain scents.
The coloring section isn't as lengthy as I think it could be, but it is a good start for the beginner, especially for those who want to start using herbs for coloring soaps.
I can't say I agree with Ms. Cavitch on her temperatures explanation. But that does seem to be more of a preference thing. She feels that vegetable soaps made over 95 degrees F are problematic, but I have never found that to be the case. Actually... I have found the opposite to be true.
Weighing your essential oils in advance as she suggests you do in Step 1, is going to give you a problem unless you tightly seal it. I learned right away that they will evaporate into the air. What you weighed out before you started stirring will be partly gone by the time you use it! She does however, later in another section, mention that you should tightly seal the container.
A picture, an actual photograph, of what 'trace' means would be nice. Would it kill these authors to say something like, "thick like pudding"?
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