on June 27, 2001
I've made several dozen batches of cold-process soap over the last year. I was very excited to try the recipes and techniques in this book. Oy vey, what a production! I read the book three times cover-to-cover and was still thoroughly confused and intimidated.The book is badly organized and sometimes contradictory. Finally, in desperation, I decided to make the "Translucent Liquid Soap" recipe in Cavitch's Soapmaker's Comapanion. Blessedly simple by comparison, and after my first batch the Faillor techniques began to make a bit more sense. .The (Cavitch) recipe turned out nicely, and once I get a bit more practice, I will look forward to making Faillor's recipes, but take my word for it, a beginner would be thoroughly befuddled by this book.
on August 28, 2003
Just finished reading the book. I can understand how some can get confused.
Log onto [yahoo] and check out groups and look for the soap forums which will help you understand more. The people on the soap forums will lead you to links and books for additional help for liquid soaps.
I understood the book. It actually make me want to hop online and start purchasing additional supplies to making liquid soap.
Pictures and recipes were delightful.
The only problem was that the author used coconut oil as part of her recipes and I use only palm kernel oil. However, there are other web sites that I can calculate the palm kernel oil.
You must read carefully and if you don't understand, stop and hop online and start surfing the net for help in regards to making liquid soaps.
This book was referred to me and I do not regret the purchase.
It has helped tremendously!!!!!
on December 18, 2001
I bought this book not knowing what to expect since I had read other books on liquid soap and the results I got were pretty bad!
Excellent step by step instructions! I have made over 250 bottles of liquid soap for a craft fair in my country (venezuela) My Best selling items so far!.
Recipes are not quite what one expects for hair shampoos but for everything else (gels, bubble baths, etc) they are just great!
I do recomend this book 100%. I promise you'll be surprise at how easy and inexpensive it is to supply your own household with great Shower Gels.
on September 9, 2013
This book gives a very good and informative overview of the chemical composition of liquid soaps, why they behave the way they do and what oils to use to achieve certain results, lye composition and dilution ratios, but the methods to cook the soaps are desperately out of date. Even if you decided to make your soaps the old fashioned "Failor" way, you have to flip back and forth within the book - the instructions aren't structured in a logical way for the beginner (somewhat hard to follow). If you're looking for an all-inclusive book that will teach you how to make liquid soaps with the widely-accepted, quick and efficient crock pot method, this isn't the one for you. While you do need an understanding of how to compose your recipes chemically, no question, you can get your step-by-step liquid soap making instructions on youtube instead.
on January 5, 2002
I was very excited when I bought this book I couldn't wait to get home and start making my very own soap! Than I opened the book and was thoroughly confused! Terrible editing, Awful directions, that often have no rhyme or reason! I have ruined 3 batches of soap already. I have read the book from front to back 5 or 6 times and only after 2 of my friends and I sat down together and read the entire book together did we finally start putting together what the author is so poorly trying to teach you! I do not recommend this book unless you are prepared to spend hours trying to decipher it!
on August 21, 2000
Making Natural Liquid Soaps is a must-have for your soap library! It's packed with great detailed information on how to make liquid soaps. It gives lots of recipes and step by step information on how to make liquid soaps, shampoos, gels, and more. It is also visually beautiful with many lovely color pictures that inspired me to make liquid soaps. Ms. Failor also has a great chapter on scenting soaps with many creative scent blends for you to try. This is the definitive guide to liquid soaps.
on November 10, 2000
I have been making cold process soap for years and was very excited to see this book that teaches you (finally) to make liquid soap through hot process. It is, however, very difficult to follow and there are several sections where the author trips up the reader and confuses the intructions. She also tells us to add color and scent and bottle your product immediately. This made my soap change weird colors and lose it's scent so I do not recommend this from my experience. Store it in a huge sealed tub, leave out the color, scent when it cools and bottle it when you are ready to give it to someone. I was able to turn out a nice batch this way but never felt as though I followed the directions properly. Also, unlike cold process, you cannot find all of your ingredients at the grocery store. You must find a chemical supplier which makes the process a little harder. On a whole, the book is great and unlike anything else on the market. This author continues to publish books that push the soapmaker one step further which I like. Be prepared for a good lesson in patience. This is not quick stuff as it took me a whole day to make my first batch. But like cold process, it gets easier and quicker the more you do it.
on December 13, 2015
Rather a challenge for a first-time soaper, but very informative and a good overview for anyone hungry to try this (and willing to slog through a bit of dense reading). Recipe book this is not; you have to read it and understand the contents before you use it (at least I did!). That said, there's an awful lot of really, really good information in here. The explanations are detailed and helpful, and give you the information you need to either just do what it says (successfully) or play around and have some fun with the ideas in there. You do need to read it through to make sense of it, but then as someone who's learning a fun new skill, that was definitely not a problem for me! My bit of chemistry background (from a very VERY long time ago!) - helped a lot, in spite of having forgotten most of it. I found the book understandable with a bit of focus, and very much worth the mental exercise.
The reviewers who say it can be confusing have a point: the book goes through the "basics" and then into the details and specific issues (sequestering, neutralizing, additives, troubleshooting) while referring back to previous parts of the book. And in some instances there are things you need to know "right now", which are not covered until quite a bit farther along in the book. So you have to be familiar enough to jump around. But once you get the hang of the overall layout of the book, it's definitely workable. And when you get the highlighting, jot notes, and post-it flags in there, it becomes really, really good.
A few caveats: first, I started with the Kindle edition. Well, every reference to "see page 42" is perfectly useless on Kindle... there are no page numbers and only maybe-links, so I have to rely on bookmarking and my familiarity with the book (and I just got it a week ago... "familiarity" is being used very loosely here) to find the relevant bits.
Second, all the recipes are for about 6 lb of soap... not exactly experimenting-size quantities (unless you keep a lot of very dirty kiddies around the house). And because the book uses almost exclusively actual measurements rather than percentages (and imperial to boot), it's difficult to scale the formulas. My solution was to convert each recipe to percentages before I started, and then use the percentages as grams... . This way amounts become small enough to use for testing, and are much more scaleable. I did some of them as percentages of total oils and some as percentages of the total recipe... both worked. I did run everything through a lye calculator before I started though, just in case it lost something in the conversion!
There are a few recipes for shampoos in there and while they look really nice, I have read that soap as shampoo can be very hard on your hair. I would be cautious about using any of these formulas as shampoo. It may be just fine but personally I"m not jumping on that wagon just yet.
I could have used more photos about less-than-perfect results, too, to know what I'm trying to avoid. The photos are lovely: there are lots of beautiful pictures of perfect soaps, fancy bottles and perfect bathrooms, and that's nice, but what I really needed for my first try was the pictures of what to expect if I'm doing it right, and what has "oops!" written all over it. The beginning of the book includes pictures of what the soap stock should look like at every step, which I found VERY helpful. But - there's so often a "but" - there are no pictures of what you DON'T want to see: cloudy soap, separated soap stock, that sort of thing. So when I tried my first recipe I really didn't know if that swirly stuff in there was "cloudy" or just normal non-neutralized soap.
Also, it would be nice to know what other sort of things you can do and alternative methods to deal with less-than-perfect results. For example, I absolutely love the pearly shimmer of some of the commercial soaps and would love to reproduce that at home... does "cloudy" lend itself to that? What kind of colourings and shimmer stuff can be used in liquid soaps? (never mind the transparency... what's safe?) The book doesn't cover how to get anything other than crystal-clear liquid soap. I'll experiment and figure it out (that first batch ended up being just fine so I know that THAT sort of cloudiness is okay)
So the bottom line: I liked it enough to have ordered a hard copy after Igot the Kindle... It's a great basic reference and gives you all the information you need to get started. Whether it's the BEST book out there, I don't know. As some of the other reviewers have indicated, the web is definitely enough of a resource that it fills a lot of gaps. Between this book and the soaping blogs, I've been very satisfied with the results.
on April 26, 2000
Review of Making Natural Liquid Soaps, by Catherine Failor ISBN: 1-58017-243-1
Are we ready for something completely new in soap making? I think so. :)
Catherine Failor's new book is with the times. She has apparently been hard at work in her kitchen coming up with fun new ways to play with soap!
The focus here is making liquid soap, shampoo, dog shampoo, shower gels, and bubble bath. Yep, everything people have been asking me for lately.
This is NOT a cake mix type of book. It is complete instructions from making these items from scratch. One word of warning though, you WILL have to get POTASSIUM hydroxide to use this book. ....................
Ms Failor goes into great detail to explain her hot process method. There are lots of pictures to help! The friendly layout of this book will remind you of a magazine article. A very LONG magazine article, haahaa.
I just finished reading this and I have to tell ya, I have learned a lot about fats and soaps and hot process and liquid soaps, and so much more! There are little charts to help you help yourself in making your own recipes, although there are enough recipes in this book to keep you chained to the stove creating for a long time!
It is obvious that the author has been working with these recipes in her book for quite some time and has discovered the pitfalls before hand and already advised you how to handle them in the trouble shooting section.
There is a healthy section on blending scents, both fragrances and essential oils. And I can't even do my usual complaint about over usage of essential oils, haahaa, she uses the 'by the part' method of blending so it fits everyone's needs. ;)
Being alcohol sensitive myself, I really appreciate that she has two different methods in the book. There is a method that works without using alcohol to clarify the soap. She even gives properties of the various fats and oils that you use based on clarity of the finished products.
If you are the type of person who just won't follow complete instructions, this book is not for you. I think it is written well enough for a beginner to use, but I don't know that a beginner is so hooked on soap making that they will want to take this on. It is complicated as far as soap making goes. Liquid soap making and shampoo making require a lot more effort than cold process soap making. But, if you are a seasoned soap maker who has become a bit bored with doing the same ol' thing, this is definitely for you.
I'm excited to try out these shampoos and shower gels. :) ..............................................it is rare to find such a new topic that you can really sink your teeth in to. Also, it is rare to find such a complete book that isn't the same old thing with a different cover. :) I'm impressed and the book got me excited!
I highly recommend this book. :)...................
on November 2, 2000
I've been a cold-process soapmaker for 2 years and was ready to explore other kinds of soapmaking. I picked up C. Failor's book on liquid soapmaking and was hooked. There's a lot of great information here. Initially I was a bit overwhelmed before diving in, but that's how I felt before making my first batch of cold-process soap as well! Liquid soapmaking, like almost every other craft, requires just a little time and patience before it becomes second nature. My first batch of liquid soap was a success-perfectly crystal-clear-and with a couple more recipes under my belt, I feel as comfortable with this soapmaking as I do with cold-process soapmaking. I was a bit perplexed by the review of October 18th in which Michelle referred to hard-to-obtain chemicals and complex chemical equations. There are no chemical equations in this book and as for the chemicals-does she mean potassium hydroxide, borax, boric acid? Nor do I agree with her that this book is for "professional" soapmakers only. The book is for anyone who wants so make their own natural liquid soap ( since almost all liquid soaps on the market are synthetic).