Doing What You Love

My last few post were kind of heavy so today I wanted to do something light. About five years ago I discovered a new area of beauty that I wanted to explore; making body care, like cold processed soap, body butters, lotions and hair products.  I am a researcher at heart so when I find things that intrigue me; I need to know “everything” about that subject. Which often gets me into trouble when I am self diagnosing a medical issue on web MD; anyone else do that.  When I decided to go natural I read blogs, books, looked at YouTube videos to learn all I could about natural hair.

When my sister in love started making cold processed soap I was fascinated and wanted to learn more. I read articles and watched YouTube videos. I looked for local classes to make soap and skin care but there were none in my area, I did however find a class in New York City. Michael and I took a road trip to NYC and I learned how to make body butters, salves (the soap making class was sold out) and a class on starting a handmade business. The class was amazing! I learned how to make cold process soap from books and YouTube. I have been making soap for about 5 years now; the process is like a science experiment; who knew. I made soap and body butters often for my family and friends. When I started running out of space to store the soap I stopped making it with the intention of making more when the supply was low. Well, we ran completely out which meant I had to buy commercial soap and its just not the same. I didn’t make soap for over a year but in the last 4 weeks I have made 12 pounds of soap! We won’t run out anytime soon!


Soaping Supplies


Heating Oils and Butters


Lye Water + Oils =Soap


Safety First

Making cold process soap can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions; goggles, mask, gloves, long sleeve shirt, pants socks and shoes to protect yourself from the lye water that may splatter or the raw soap that could get on your skin and burn.  Since lye water can reach a temperature of 200 degrees I tend to get very hot wearing all the gear (not to mention I have a lot of hair and menopausal) not a good mix. The finish product is all worth it in the end.


Raw Soap In Soap Mold


Cut soap ready to cure

We all know oil and water don’t mix but “lye water” and oil mix perfectly to create soap. I love trying new recipes with great ingredients (Shea butter, mango butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, essential oils; etc.). I control what goes in my soap!  There is a downside to making cold processed soap; waiting. The soap has to cure for at least 4 to 6 weeks to allow the soap to dry and harden (checking every few days to turn and move the soap for proper air circulation). Once the soap is ready I test it; some recipe yield a rich frothy lather while others are more subtle with very little lather.

(FYI- most commercial soap and shampoo contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate  to create lather this ingredient is also found in laundry detergent and dish washing detergent. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is very drying and harsh on skin and hair; after all its used in Tide and Dawn). 

Taking time to do some of the things I enjoy makes me happy!

What do you love to do? What have you always wanted to do or learn?

Do you make time for the things you enjoy?


  1. Mander
    July 10, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    I love reading about your soap making process! 🙂 Is that pic with all of the bars of soap from your last adventure? And is it ready to use yet or are you still waiting? 🙂

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 10, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Hi Mander! That picture was of my batch from almost a month ago! They are almost ready! Yes still waiting

  2. Janice Davis
    July 11, 2017 / 12:07 am

    Can you send some my way by your mom

  3. CurleyKai
    July 11, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    I did not realize that process was so intense. You go girl. I will buy a bar from you for all that work! I make my own whipped hair and body butter using Mango Butter (similar consistency of Shea Butter but has no discernable smell of it’s own, so perfect for adding your preferred fragrances or essential oils), Coconut Oil or Almond Oil, Vit E… to preserve and whatever fragrance I happen to want for that batch)… I have also used grape seed and wheat germ oils but usually not.. on hair and body.

    I also make sugar scrubs for myself and for gifts. Everyone loves them!

    • Karen's Essentials
      July 17, 2017 / 6:34 am

      Hi Kai! Yes it is a process but its so worth it!

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