The Joy of Soap

piggy-soap

If you haven’t notice already, we have a bit of an obsession here at Phylia with beauty and health products. We could go on and on about our favorite sink side goodies, and if you keep watching the “Favorites” section of this very blog, you’ll soon see it fill up with oils, lotions, and potions, that we love.

But in the end, much like food or art or thank you notes, there is nothing quite like making it yourself. Over the last few years, as a hobby and a way to relax, we’ve been hand-making soaps, combining all natural ingredients, setting the results into sweetly shaped molds and giving away the finished beauties as gifts to family and friends. Soap making is a fascinating process, a soothing, rewarding ritual. It is a long-standing tradition as well, a craft that has existed for centuries, passed down from one generation to the next.

In fact, dig into soap making history and you’ll find that that foamy bar on the side of the tub is the result of thousands of years of evolution. As early as 2800 BC, in fact, Babylonians were making a mixture of akali and cassia oil for bathing. The Egyptians followed suit, using cyprus and sesame oils. The Romans added animal fat to create something close to the soaps we know today, solid blocks of waxy substance, dressed up by varying combinations of oils and scents.

The French, however, were the ones to truly refine soap making and transform the process in an art. By the 19th Century French soap makers were churning out pure, luxury soaps, replacing animal fat with rich olive and vegetable oils and rare exotic scents. Read More…