Handmade Soap by Tatyana Hill


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Aug 19, 2019
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Let me start with a disclaimer: I read this book translated into Swedish, this may have affected the content.

This book is from 1999, and the aesthetic is very 90’s. The soaps are often cut into irregular blocks, and full of chunky botanicals. The instructions are illustrated with clear photos of the different steps, I like that.

There are three cold process recipes. The first has coconut, olive and sunflower oils, and according to Soapcalc is slightly lye heavy. The second is for a ”moisturising” soap, which is slightly superfatted. The third is for a ”Castilian” soap which has a little more olive oil. All the recipes seem to have a 25% lye concentration.

Instructions and Techniques
The instructions are clear, illustrated, and the only really bad advice I found was the ”use vinegar to neutralise lye splashes” thing.

Two things stood out to me:
1) hand stirring. With a 25% lye concentration, soaping at 35centigrade, with two thirds soft oils. Tatyana tells us it’s normal to reach trace after about forty minutes. My arms are tired just thinking about it.

2) rebatching/grating and melting. Seems like so much trouble and I don’t really understand why she does it. In some soaps, scent and all sorts of plant material are added at trace, in others they are stirred in after melting the grated soap with Even More Water.

To sum up: this is a book of recipes, with basic instructions, and I feel its time has come and gone. It’s cute and I would have loved it 20 years ago if I had been into soapmaking then.