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63 Reviews
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104 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soap queen
A good friend bought this book for me as a gift. If only he knew what he'd started.I made my first batch, followed it with another and another and now I have my own skincare business
The book is attractively set out.The recipes are easy to follow and the photography is very pleasing on the eye.
There are tried and tested recipes a useful saponification...
Published on 4 Nov 2005 by Amazon Customer

versus
147 of 151 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures but some BAD information
I will start by admitting that it was a chance encounter with this book in my local library that started me on what has now become an obsessional interest in soapmaking. However, as I have learned more, I'm afraid that dispite lots of very pretty pictures, this book gives some serious misinformation.
Firstly, within the first few pages, there is a section where she...
Published on 2 Dec 2008 by S. Baxter


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104 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soap queen, 4 Nov 2005
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
A good friend bought this book for me as a gift. If only he knew what he'd started.I made my first batch, followed it with another and another and now I have my own skincare business
The book is attractively set out.The recipes are easy to follow and the photography is very pleasing on the eye.
There are tried and tested recipes a useful saponification chart and a handy troubleshooting guide in the event of any mishaps. If you want to make soap from scratch then this is the book for you.
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248 of 250 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book tells you how handmade soap is REALLY made., 27 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
There are quite a few books around that say they can teach you how to make handmade soap when in fact they teach you how to add fragrance and colour to pre-made soap and stick it into moulds. This book is not one of those. It actually teaches you how to make handmade soap from scratch using caustic soda and oils which, almost miraculously; change into the most gentle, moisturizing handmade soaps. I cannot begin to describe to anyone the absolute elation and sense of achievement one feels when you unmould that first log of soap, and the second and the third . . . You feel you could put it on a tray and run through the streets shouting, "I did it! I made this wonderful soap from a pot full of oil." My friends think I'm brilliant! My husband brags about my soap and even my children turn up there noses at the stuff their friends have in the bathroom. I am a soap star and all because I know something that many people don't know. Making handmade soap from scratch is easy! And how do I know? Because Melinda has made it easy and has gone to great lengths to explain it as simply and concisely as possible from all the safety precautions right through the whole process including packaging it and presenting it for everyone to admire. There are a whole lot of brilliant recipes for just about every skin type and preference, plain and simple to downright decadent and good enough to eat. There are even some recipes for other handmade toiletries to compliment your handmade soap. And if you're one of those brainy people who likes to make up your own recipes then you can do that too 'cause she's got all the charts and information about the oils which you need to work out what goes with what and how much to use. She's just left out one section in her book. She doesn't tell you how the heck you can stop making soap once you've started. What am I going to do with all this soap, Melinda? And I feel the soapmaking urge coming on again . . .
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201 of 203 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Written in UK English, not US English - JOY!!!, 15 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
If you live in the UK, you've never made soap before but want to, and find US-talk of 'quarts' and 'K-Mart' altogether irrelevant, this book is a little book of joy.
The introductory sections for first-timers are clear, concise and instructive. The whole book is extremely well written with a notable lack of frilly waffle.
The book is written by a UK-based author and it provides a welcome change - weights and measures are given in grams and ounces, listed stockists are UK-based, ingredients that are difficult to find in the UK are highlighted.
The selection of recipes is very good, complemented by photographs that allow you to check your finished product is as it should be.
General sections on the qualities of different oils and natural additives are well presented and informative.
In summary, a brilliant starting point for any soap-maker, especially if you're in the UK.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent & Informatiive, 28 Jun 2005
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
I have a number of soap making books and this one is definitely the best. The recipies are good, excellent for the beginner and are in sensible sized batches so you can make a few pounds of soap at a time. Once you have tried a few of her receipies you feel confident to make up your own. Highly recommended!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 16 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. As a complete beginner it lists many different ingredients and how to combine them to get the soap you are after. The recipes are easy to follow, and the resulting soap is (in my case!) wonderful to use. However there are so many recipes it can be hard to choose which to make. I'd thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in making their own soap.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book but BEWARE!, 24 Nov 2007
By 
Derek J. Owen (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
Overall this is an excellent book BUT be very careful! Base oil quantities are measured in ounces or grams and these are fine. Essential oils and other additives, however, are specified in table spoons and in grams... The gram measurements are WRONG! It appears that whomever translated the spoonfulls into grams had been on the sherry! I have just made a batch of soap which called for four tablespoonfuls of Callendula petals or 45grams! 45grams of Calendula petals are about four cups! The same is true of the essential oils. The recipe calls for one teaspoon or 5 grams... 5 grams is about three teaspoonfuls!

Buy the book by all means, its a good book; but when measuring out ingredients use grams or ounces for the base oils but then teaspoons or tablespoons for the additives.

Also... Page 13, under the "ten commandments", step 5 reads "As you add the water to the sodium hydroxide" DO NOT DO THIS it would be bad, very bad! Always add the sodium Hydroxide to the water.

So I have three wrecked batches of soap because I followed the gram measures. I'm wiser now... and so are you.

Derek
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147 of 151 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lovely pictures but some BAD information, 2 Dec 2008
By 
S. Baxter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
I will start by admitting that it was a chance encounter with this book in my local library that started me on what has now become an obsessional interest in soapmaking. However, as I have learned more, I'm afraid that dispite lots of very pretty pictures, this book gives some serious misinformation.
Firstly, within the first few pages, there is a section where she has a highlighted section of the 10 main points to remember, one of which is to always ADD THE WATER TO THE CAUSTIC SODA, rather than the reverse!!! Luckily, she does explain elsewhere that in fact the reverse is true, but still, a beginner (as I was) could just go to that section to refresh their memory as to which way the two should be combined with disasterous results.
Secondly, she translates the measurements of essential oils from teaspoons/tablespoons into grams (that might be mls - I've given the book back to the library) completely wrongly. (It's o.k. if you follow the teaspoons/ tablespoons measures).
Thirdly, the amount of Sodium Hydroxide in some of the recipes is wrong - e.g. in one recipe (I haven't checked them all), it is 25% TOO MUCH!
Fourthly, she uses 'vegetable oil' and 'vegetable shortening' in many of the recipes; if you don't know what type of oil or shortening you are using you cannot accurately calculate the amount of Sodium Hydroxide to use. On realising this, and with a fridge half full of Cookeen, I contacted them only to be informed that their product does not include either Soya or Palm oil, and that they would not in any case disclose the recipe.
Fourthly, you will never be able to legally sell that soap in the U.k., because you will not be able to accurately declare the ingredients.
Fifthly, she does not warn of the dangers to your project of using the wrong water - she suggests that bottled water is o.k. All bottled waters are not equal, and some have a lot of minerals in them which will destroy your batch. I find distilled water gives reliable predictable results; not so bottled water.
Fifthly, many of the recipes are just not good recipes (even where the amount of Sodium Hydroxide is correct); a major factor being that they will be so hard that they will fracture on cutting, and be almost impossible to actually cut a decent bar from; and many will also be very drying.
Sixthly, there is no reference to EU regulations, and the book gives the impression that it is o.k. to just sell soap you have made, without spending longer on paperwork than making soap :(
Seventhly, she doesn't really discuss the gel phase (where the soap is left to 'cook' in the mould); in my experience small batches have much more difficulty getting hot, and the edges and corners will not make good soap. I appreciate that small batches of a pound or two, which is where the book is focused, are just what the beginner wants and needs, but more explanation of this, and some extra measures (e.g. heating the moulds, ensuring that they are wrapped/insulated really quickly _ and even put in a luke warm oven) would have been helpful.
Eightly, I do think that some more resources - like the nearest Aisan supermarket- could have been thrown in.
However, I have given this book 2 stars, because it is written in an entertaining and friendly style, has lovely pictures, and the authors enthusiam for the subject shines through - and has been responsible for the fact that I now have so much soap I can hardly get into my house :(
Sorry Melinda, that's just how I see it.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 14 Jan 2007
By 
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
I don't really write reviews but this book has really inspired me to make some soap and I feel I would like to share that. The book is informative, helpful and written in such a way that 1) this lady has a fun sense of humour and 2) her recipes work! I have tried several and it is a good idea to start with one of her basics, just to get the feel of what you're handling. Caustic soda is a dangerous substance, but this is what creates the soap, so as long as you are careful and responsible with using it the results are wonderful. My favourite one is the goats milk ylang ylang to which I cut up a loofah and inserted this into a mould, when cut they make beautiful exfoliants with a creamy lather and a beautiful scent. All in all a well written book written by a real person.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb creative book on cold process soapmaking, 2 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
Ms Coss has produced a beautiful book that has something to offer both the beginner and the experienced soapmaker. She explains clearly the process of making basic soaps then goes on to a kaleidoscope of ideas. As a bonus the book itself is a work of art.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to soap making., 16 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) (Paperback)
I got this book as a Christmas present, and made my first batch of home-made soap on New Year's Eve. It is now the middle of April and I have a cupboard full of yummy soaps I have made myself. The instructions in the book are very simple and clear. All the recipes I have tried so far have been foolproof. The illustrations are beautiful and very inspiring.
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The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series)
The Handmade Soap Book (The Handmade Series) by Melinda Coss (Paperback - 1 Dec 2000)
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