I launched my soap making courses in the spring of 2015 in response to popular demand and it has been a truly amazing experience. It is really rewarding to receive so much positive feedback after teaching a class.
"You cannot fail to walk away feeling inspired and more knowledgeable.” Julie
“You have given me the confidence to carry on making soap at home.” Catherine
I have welcomed a very diverse range of students onto my courses ranging from aromatherapists, nurses, artists and dance instructors and they have travelled from far and wide - Oxford, the Isle of Man, Wales and Scotland!
It’s been great to see everyone getting really creative in my classes and there is always a bit of “bake off” style banter which makes for a really fun day.
There are psychological benefits of making soap too. When you take time out to focus on the process of creation you become deeply absorbed in the task and zone out which is in itself a form of relaxation. Research has shown that creativity can actually decrease stress and relieve anxiety.
So what do we do on the course?
The standard format of the day starts with coffee, nibbles and an informal chat followed by the theory of soap making including instructions on how to use a soap calculator to help you formulate your own recipes. After my soap making demo the remainder of the morning is spent making your own batches of soap, usually in pairs. There are lots of different recipes to work through which means everyone takes a lovely selection of soap home at the end of the day.
During the lunch break we generally talk more soap and find out more about each other and the afternoon is spent making the second batches of soap and getting creative with some soap decorating.
If we have time at the end of the day we have a soapy quiz for fun and to find out how much you have learned during the day! Then the fun really begins when we divide all the soap up so everyone has a lovely selection of soap to take home.
Everyone that has attended my course has told me how satisfying and rewarding it is to make soap from scratch instead of buying it and they leave with a real buzz ready to show friends and family the fruits of their labour.
There have certainly been many presents created in my classes as handmade soap makes a really thoughtful gift whether it be for Birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s or Father’s Day. Everyone appreciates the time and effort that is invested into making a handmade gift and it’s certainly more unique than receiving a pair of socks and less fattening than a box of chocolates!
Finally, sharing a few of the frequently asked questions that pop up during the day.
What are good ingredients to include in soap for sensitive skin?
Olive oil, which happens to be my favourite ingredient, is one of the most skin friendly oils available. In fact one of the most gentle and soothing soap bars you can make is with 100% olive oil which is also known as castile soap. There is not much of a lather but the inclusion of coconut oil in soap may be too drying for extremely sensitive skin as it does such a good job of cleansing.
Chamomile essential oil is calming and soothing and also has anti-inflammatory properties. However, if no fragrance is desired then a chamomile infusion can be included to provide a healing nature to the soap.
How do you decide what base oils to use when you start to create your own recipes?
The most exciting part of soap making is researching the different oils and their properties and deciding exactly what you would like in a bar of soap. A basic rule of thumb to start with is 60% hard oils and 40% soft oils. It’s all about experimenting and coming up with a recipe that you and your skin will love!
Places are filling up fast for my soap making courses and I look forward to more of you joining me in my love of lather. Book now to avoid disappointment!