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4.7 out of 5 stars30
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2011
This book is not only a great introduction to the art of soap making but also describes how you can turn your hobby into a business run from home while not shirking from describing the potential `headaches' that go with this. In her Introduction the author also talks about how soap making has enabled her to engage in social soap making enterprises in Africa. May I add that I have found that soap making is also great for enlarging your own social network through soaping groups?

The book covers traditional cold process soap making, hot process and also a technique where the only heat used to melt the oils and fats comes from the lye solution itself. I have tried this method and found the quality of the finished soaps was actually improved. There is also a comprehensive section on both liquid soap making and creams and lotions.

The book does not spare you the technical side of soap but it does this quite effortlessly remaining thoroughly readable throughout. It is stuff you really have to know if you want to be a serious soap maker. There is even a surgery where you are told how ailments can be cured. The recipes in the book are readily made in your own kitchen often using utensils you will likely have to hand. Each step of the soap making process is fully explained including the basic ingredients, additives, essential oils and fragrances. Particularly useful are the many tips learned from bitter experience. The many diversely sourced recipes in the book ranging from the botanical wonders of Africa to using silk fibres to make your soap feel silky are not to be missed. Accompanying the recipes are equally many elegantly nuanced photographs.

The author at one point states that natural soap making is alchemy. I think this book with its many exotic recipes is an alchemist's guide to soap making enabling you to bring something of the elixir of soap into your home.
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on 20 September 2012
This is the most recent of Melinda's books on soapmaking and, as she herself admits, incorporates certain changes in procedures from those described in her earlier books, which experience has shown her to be beneficial. The end result is a comprehensive and well-written book which tells it like it is. Some may not like to hear that healing properties of oils will to a large extent be destroyed by the soapmaking process or that setting up a soapmaking business requires skills which are at least if not more important than the ability to make nice soap.

However, this is a good buy and even experienced soapmakers will find something of interest in it as Melinda has included formulations based on her experiences in Africa and the product she found there.

There is a section on spa products which is just the right length, constituting an introduction to the subject rather than attempting to go into the creation of spa products in depth.

The photography is excellent and in general enhances the book both visually and as a means of providing information.

It is, in fact, hard to fault this book. Will you learn everything about soapmaking from it? No. But you will learn enough to start making nice soap and to gain a realistic idea of what running a soapmaking business involves
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on 8 October 2012
I purchased this book several months ago, and have been trying many of the soap recipes. The book offers a considerable variety of soaps to make from basic ingredients, using the cold process method, including hard and soft soaps. The book is easy to follow with comprehensive instructions, and descriptions of all ingredients.

All but one of the soap recipes worked well, the sea salt soap did not work for me. The recipes are varied and offer an insight into possibilities for making your own soaps.

The book also includes sections on creams and balms. I am about to make some of these, and given the success of the soaps, I am fully confident the recipes for these will work well.

Some of the ingredients e.g. watermelon oil, have proved impossible to source in the UK, at least I haven't found a source. However, I think this book deserves a 5 star rating.

If you are looking for a book to instruct you in how to make soaps I can recommend this one.
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on 31 October 2013
As I started with soap making, after a lot of searching, I decided to get this book to start off. I feel very annoyed now at how this book taught me the wrong from the start, not a great way to get going. I quickly corrected it by reading other books and forums and realising that the technique used in this book is very lazy and nowhere near traditional.
The safety guidelines are good and the backgrounds as well. But when it comes to the recipes, I would not bother! 3 batches failed, and this after using the highest quality ingredients and following the recipe word by word. The images are completely misleading. Reading this book back now after months of experience I'm quite shocked that some of these recipes have actually passed safety assessment tests! Massive amounts of essential oils are NOT good for your skin, and you can certainly not call something 'natural' when it contains oxides and dyes for colouring, not to mention animal fat!

If I was to take anything form this book, it would be combinations for recipes, but start your recipe from scratch and run everything through a lye calculator, as the recipes in here are definitely not correct.

The are many other books out there at a fraction of the price, and 10 times better. Try "Make your own soap" by Joy James, fantastic little book with the proper foundations and flawless recipes.
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on 25 October 2011
This book is so lovely to look at and has good instruction. The soaps look lovely and are made with good ingredients. The lotions etc at the back are also really nice, I can not wait to try them. There are even instructions for making liquid soap. Very good value for the price.
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on 2 June 2013
ive always wanted to give it ago at making my own soaps. so I was trying to look for a book that had lots of info as well as simple to understand. this is the PERFECT book for first time makers. it tell you everything you need to know.
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on 6 October 2011
Natural Soap by Melinda Coss, focuses on using natural ingredients in soap making, and the soaps within the book could not look more beautiful. Whether you are looking for an introduction to the art of soap making, or are experienced, this book and it's wonderful recipes will have you ordering Sodium Hydroxide faster than you can say it.

Soap making is thought of as being technically difficult and a little on the dangerous side of crafting. However, with Melinda's wealth of experience, she has perfected a cold process method which simplifies soap making. The book majors on this method and the techniques section is comprehensive and understandable.

The beginning of the book focuses on the required ingredients, and the method of making soap, and yes, there is a lot of information, but it's necessary stuff. Diving into the actual recipes themselves should be enough to persuade you that getting through the technical sections will be worth it. There is no denying that the ingredients will have to be specifically sourced, but there is a thorough section at the back of the book for sources especially those in the UK.

The photographs and styling are stunning, seductive to the potential soap maker. Each recipe, and there are over 40, has suggestions for variations and packaging. Here at CoolCrafting, we like that.

I didn't expect there to be other product types included in the book, but along with traditional Bar soaps and Liquid soaps, there is a great section on Creams, Balms, Whips & Melts.

On my soap making list are Fig & Honey, Laurus Nobilis, and Bollywood. The heavy creams such as Sleeping Beauty sound like the perfect antidote to the oncoming Northern winter, and I love the idea of Flower Milk. With a little forward planning I could be growing some of the ingredients for my very own soaps and creams from my very own garden - could it be more satisfying!

I particularly like the fact there is an emphasis on building a business around your soap making. Many crafters enjoy their hobbies so much, they would love to make a living out of it. Melinda has some great advise, some of it tough love, about starting up, and more helpful information if you decide it could be for you.

In summary, this is a seductive book, which gives enough information for the beginner to start soap making, and enough inspiration for the experienced soap maker to take their hobby to a business level.

This is an extract from a book review on the CoolCrafting website
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on 9 August 2012
Much more than just a soap recipe book, it contains detailed yet understandable technical information about making soaps along with ideas and recipes for lotions and creams. The instructions are clear and concise, a list of suppliers is given at the back and there's even a section on setting up your own business. A well thought out source of information for anyone thinking of having a go at making soaps. Excellent.
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on 13 September 2012
I have really enjoyed reading this book. It's very educational and I think I might try making some of these recipes as it looks like a lot of fun.
Also gives information about what to look out for when buying ready-made soaps and makes a bit more sense of the contents of what is out there on the market.
I was exceptionally pleased to see that this book teaches more than making bars of soaps - it includes recipes for liquid soap and shampoo, as well as lotions, balms and scrubs. Could keep me busy for quite some time...
The author also gives advice about selling the goodies once they are made or giving as gifts.
I was also surprised to learn about alternative uses for batches of soap if they go wrong - or for left-over bits like trimmings or the ends from large blocks.
I highly recommend this book for anyone thinking of starting to make soap as it will guide and inspire in everyday language that is easily understood by someone who might not know the techincal jargon.
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on 5 November 2013
This book has sent me firmly on my way into soap making, I feel confident using the recipes inside and I have some great soap as a result. I would recommend to any novice wishing to gain experience.
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