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The Natural Soap Book: Making Herbal and Vegetable-Based Soaps [Paperback]

Susan Miller Cavitch
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 20.50
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Book Description

Jan. 8 1995
The definitive resource for making vegetable-based soaps from scratch, from buying supplies to cutting the final bars.

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
Price For Both: CDN$ 31.06

One of these items ships sooner than the other.

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Product Details

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Take This Book Too Too Seriously Jan. 11 2002
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There are WAY BETTER soapmaking books to buy... Oct. 30 2001
About 4 years ago I was very interested in making my own soaps & I was thrilled when I found this book at a garage sale for $0.50! Unfortunatly when I got home & popped it open I was scared away from soapmaking for about 3 years! No kidding, this book presents the simple, relaxing and enjoyable craft of soapmaking as a looming, expensive, dangerous task.
Last year when I decided to try it again I carefully avoided this book and went in search for something helpful and informative. I came up with 'melt & pour soapmaking' by Marie Browning. That book is absolutly amazing! It dosen't get into making soap from scratch, but it is a wonderful way to ease yourself into this hobby. I highly recomend it to all beginners & advanced soapmakers alike. It's simple yet detailed & an easy, fun read. In contrast this book makes the whole process seem more complicated than it ever should be.
Now that I know what I'm doing, and I feel completely confident in my craft I've gone back to this book and I've found that it really does have quite a bit of useful knowledge. It's too bad that it's not writen in a very user-friendly manner. Overall what I'm saying is that it contains good information, but there are way better soap making books out there for you to spend your money on. And if your new to soap making don't even consider this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not just the same ol' thing. May 9 2000
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good, but........ Nov. 24 1999
By A Customer
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative soap making Book
Very awesome book and also very informative about everything you need to know about making soap!!! It a great read !!
Published 5 months ago by Shakira Degre-Grand-Soul
5.0 out of 5 stars bon ajout à cette serie
si on a deja the soap companion par le même auteur on peut se passer de celui ci, plusieurs choses reviennent... Read more
Published on April 21 2010 by Marie Josee Lortie
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done
As a soapmaking beginner, I found this book to be very helpful. It gives a good grounding in the basic knowledge, chemistry etc. Read more
Published on March 21 2008 by Susan W
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to the Cold-Process Method
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... Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2002 by A. Kulcsar
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of basic info
This book gives the new soap maker lots of ideas and suggestions to get started. You will learn all the basics to craft soap. Read more
Published on April 2 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Preachy Book With Pricey Recipes
I love to make soap for my family and to sell. I find "The Natural Soap Book" to be a great disappointment. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2001 by Stephanie Rose Bird
4.0 out of 5 stars Recipies are too big for beginers!
Very good, informative and explicit. The only flaw that I found is that the recipies are not appropiate for a beginer in soapmaking since these ones are too big. Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2001 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for EXPERIENCED soapmakers!
At first I wasn't too sure about this book. The author mixes standard measurements with metric (a big no-no! Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2001 by praesignis
4.0 out of 5 stars Reference--Wow; Recipes--Well?
For me, Cavitch's book was the key to unlocking two other books: The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss and The Complete Soapmaker by Norma Coney. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2001 by Marty Provencher
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
She tells you so much information in an easy to understand style. I also like the fact that she includes bulk suppliers and their contact info. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2000 by "farmdragon"
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